The Forest for the Trees (Revised and Updated): An Editor’s Advice to Writers

Betsy Lerner
Published in 2010
by Riverhead Books

“This is not a book about how to write,” says author, editor, and literary agent Betsy Lerner in this guide for writers. “I offer advice to writers whose neuroses seem to get in their way, those who sabotage their efforts, those who have met with some success but are stalled between projects.” In this book organized into two sections titled “Writing” and “Publishing,” Lerner starts with the creative side of the publishing process categorizing writers into archetypes: “The Ambivalent Writer,” “The Natural,” “The Wicked Child,” “The Self-Promoter,” and “The Neurotic.” In addressing different personalities and ways a writer might be blocked, Lerner aims to show how a writer’s style on and off the page can work in tandem. The second half of the book includes essential information on how to seek agents, handle rejection, promote your book, and understand what editors are seeking. Drawing from her experience as a writer and teacher of writing workshops as well as an editor and agent, Lerner offers an insider’s perspective on the life of a writer and ways to overcome and confront the demons that may be in the way.