Does your book need to be finished before you seek representation? Do agents really read synopses? Agent Jenni Ferrari-Adler, whose clients include Lauren Shockey and Emma Straub, answers these questions and more.
Article Archive: The Practical Writer
Articles from Poet & Writers Magazine include material from the print edition plus exclusive online-only material.
Gabriel Cohen, coordinator of Sundays at Sunny’s, one of New York City’s longest-running literary reading series, talks with John B. Thompson, author of Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century, who demystifies the complexity of the book-publishing industry in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
The former executive editor of Alice James Books reveals her strategies for editing a strong book.
In the sixth installment of our series Inside Indie Bookstores, contributor Jeremiah Chamberlin travels to New York City to speak with Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Books.
When is the best time in your career to look for representation, and when should you call off an author-agent relationship? Terra Chalberg, whose clients include Lori Ostlund and Glenn Taylor, tackles these questions and more.
In the fifth installment of our series Inside Indie Bookstores, contributor Jeremiah Chamberlin travels to Denver to speak with Joyce Meskis, owner of Tattered Cover Book Store.
The agent of authors such as Kevin Brockmeier and Marisa de los Santos offers her thoughts on self-publishing and what she looks for in the first five pages of a writing sample.
In the fourth installment of our series Inside Indie Bookstores,
contributor Jeremiah Chamberlin travels to Milwaukee to talk with Daniel Goldin, owner of Boswell Book Company.
Today, Karl Marlantes's debut novel is garnering praise for its vivid, trenchant portrayal of American soldiers in the thick of the Vietnam War. But for more than thirty years, the manuscript languished in literary purgatory, while the author struggled to find an agent—not to mention a publisher—willing to take it on.
The agent of authors such as Samantha Hunt, Dinaw Mengestu, and Josh Weil offers advice on shaping a query letter and when to follow up after pitching your book.
In the third installment of our series Inside Indie Bookstores, contributor Jeremiah Chamberlin travels to Chicago to talk with Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen, co-owners of Women & Children First.
Agent Katherine Fausset answers questions from readers about the agent's role in submitting work to literary magazines and
In the second installment of our series Inside Indie Bookstores, contributor Jeremiah Chamberlin travels to Portland, Oregon, to talk with Michael Powell, owner of Powell’s Books.
In the inaugural installment of Inside Indie Bookstores, a new series of interviews with the entrepreneurs who represent the last link in the chain that connects writers with their intended audience, Jeremiah Chamberlin talks with Richard Howorth about his initial vision for Square Books, how a bookstore can stay relevant in the twenty-first century, and the future of independent bookselling.
Ordering poems becomes a familiar act if you consider the lyric poem in its original form—the song. And if you were the kind of incessant list-maker Nick Hornby describes in his novel High Fidelity, the kind who also made mix tapes from your album collection. If you were the kind of geek my college boyfriend, Tim, was and—admittedly—the kind I was too.
“Can you really teach creative writing?” Professor and novelist Dan Barden answers this while offering his own unorthodox approaches to teaching a workshop.
From conceptualization to marketing and sales, novelist Timothy Schaffert reveals the ins and outs of book jacket design, offering examples and tips on how authors can work with their own agents and editors to facilitate the process.
Balancing parenting with a career is a challenge for any professional, but for writers, it can require a fresh outlook on life.
Novelist and memoirist A. M. Homes investigates how an author's Web site should look and function.
Whether you create it yourself or hire a designer, developing an author Web site is one of the best ways to promote yourself and provide an authoritative source for readers to discover your work.
One afternoon in March 2003, I received an unexpected phone call from writer Julianna Baggott. "I've got a crazy idea," she told me. "It's so crazy, I feel a little nervous even bringing it up."
Perhaps because many writers and their adherents are poorly paid and often go unrecognized, they cultivate a variety of myths—some about the creative process, others about the profession itself—to justify what they do, to cheer themselves up, to inhabit a mystique.
In April 2003, an agent sat down with me, pointed to my manuscript, and said the words I had been dreading: I think this should be a novel. I shuddered. I was no novelist. I was a minimalist, a votress of the goddess of gesture, a worshipper at the altar of the succinct. I was a short story writer.
From the beginning the founders of the Associated Writing Programs and other pioneers have argued that, through effective creative writing programs, students can attain lifelong skills of critical thinking, empathy for others, and an understanding of the creative process, the key to all innovation. The schools featured in this article—Knox College, Oberlin, and Sarah Lawrence—have been working to make undergraduate creative writing degrees a hallmark of their respective institutions for some time now.