Wednesday, September 14, 2005

POD-dy Mouth Deal of the Week: How to get traditionally published for $35.00

Your P5 for Wednesday, September 14, 2005 (including a first: the top five books are all under 100K):

(1) SUFFER IN SILENCE: 24,798 5
(4) RATED F: 83,2615
(5) ISN'T THAT BIGAMY?: 91,5265

I get a lot of requests for perhaps the most indispensable knowledge there is: How can I get my book published traditionally?

Of course, there is no simple answer. Unless you are rich, like Kevin Trudeau, and can advertise your way into a bestseller, you'll have to do things the hard way and suffer like the rest of us: years of rejection and frustration, a few rounds with impotent agents, deals with editors who are either apathetic or move to another house just before your book is published, inferior book covers, lack of promotion, a kick-drop into the midlist and, finally, two books out of print and a teaching job at your local community college.

If you still want to bask in the un-glory, read on, dear friend. The best advice I can give is this: read the three books below. Stop what you are doing and read them, in order to save yourself time and anguish. If you can take the knowledge from these three books and throw the core of it into your writing, you will increase your chances of publication by (at least) a factor of ten. Forget the MFAs. Read these books and you will have everything you need to know.

(1) THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE (Strunk). WRITING! God knows, it has to be the tritest suggestion I can make, but it is alarmingly true to the core that so many writers have missed the fundamentals. I make a point of reading this book between every draft I write, hoping that someday I will get it all.

Take it from me--a person who has read so much bad work in print--this tool will give you the basics of all the tricky stuff. Besides, it's 100 pages. If you read it on the subway to work, you'll have it done in a few days. And keep your hi-lighter handy.

(2) 78 REASONS WHY YOUR BOOK MAY NEVER BE PUBLISHED . . . (Walsh). BUSINESS! It does not matter how wonderful your magnum opus is. If you don't get how the industry works, you will never stand a chance. The most important thing to do is write a perfect book. But typing "the end" is not where it stops. Instead, it's only the beginning. You need to understand how agents and editors work, think, and acquire. Blowing your chances with a lousy cover letter or obsessive behavior is the worst thing you can do.

I have not read any book as dead-on about the publishing industry as this one. It should be mandatory reading for all first-year English majors. And it's 200 pages. Eat your lunch out on the terrace and get through this one on a week. You'll need the hi-lighter again.

(3) THE FIRST FIVE PAGES (Lukeman). WRITING AND BUSINESS! Uber-agent Noah Lukeman dissects the importance of the first five pages of your book over the course of this text. Grabbing the attention of the targeted agent or editor is so mandatory that all of the 200 pages here are dedicated to it, including common mistakes, oversights and writing that tries too hard. The good news is that it is as entertaining as it is informative.

Another week, read before bed.

So that's it. For 2.5 weeks and$35.00 (much less via Amazon), you can learn everything (pretty much) you would need to know to get published. It's all right there in front of you. Get the knowledge. Don't waste time poring over the instantly outdated Writer's guides on finding agents or the endless (and useless) books on how to write query letters, blah, blah, blah.

Just pay attention and do your homework. You'll pass the test every time.