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.
Article Archive: The Practical Writer
Articles from Poet & Writers Magazine include material from the print edition plus exclusive online-only material.
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 professor Ann Pancake gives advice on how to evaluate criticism of your work.
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.
Is it against the law for an American literary journal editor to publish a translation of a poem by a member of a terrorist organization? Is it illegal to translate it? Learn what writers need to know about the Patriot Act.
For some writers, community service comes naturally. But for those of us who are accustomed to guarding our precious writing time with our lives, the very thought of adding another activity—no matter how worthy—is daunting. We watch in awe as fellow writers teach, mentor, and travel to remote locations to give workshops to populations ranging from the incarcerated to the homeless to senior citizens. Why do they do it? How do they find the time and emotional energy? Is it possible to serve others without neglecting one's own work?
For writers seeking a structured learning environment without geographical or scheduling restrictions, the Internet can be a viable alternative to the bricks-and-mortar classroom.
As more and more literary journals develop online counterparts to enhance, complement, and extend the presence of their print editions, editors—despite their love of the physical object—are finding new was to take advantage of the cost-effective and virtually boundless medium.
Should an author simply count herself lucky to have landed a book deal, or should she fight for what she wants during the various stages of publishing it—the editing process, cover design, and promotion? Before deciding, it's important to understand what obstacles might stand in the way before encountering them and what to expect from all the effort.
A new publishing model is emerging. Companies like Context Books, MacAdam/Cage, and McSweeney's Books are breaking with what has become standard publishing practice, and authors, agents, and the media are taking notice.