The First-Book Market: Where and How to Publish Your First Book and Make It a Success

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9780028622484: The First-Book Market: Where and How to Publish Your First Book and Make It a Success

There are hundreds of thousands of aspiring writers in the United States, and until now, there has been no single directory for them to turn to for help in making their first book a success. In The First Book Market, they will find out about grants and awards available exclusively to them as first-time authors, get advice on writing effective query letters, and learn how to increase professional visibility, work with literary agents and speakers bureaus, and promote their books. Combine all of this with advice from leading writers and top book editors on how to get published, and The First Book Market is sure to become a resource that every aspiring writer cannot do without. Jason Shinder, an award-winning poet, anthologist, editor, literary arts director, and teacher, is the founder and executive director of The National Writer s Voice Project of the YMCA of the USA. He has received writing awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California State Arts Council, and the New York Public Library, and is an advisor to the President s Commission on the Arts.

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Review:

This is a great resource for anyone with a first book in the can or in the works. Editor Jason Shinder has gathered together a formidable amount of information on awards for first-time authors and publishers seeking first books. Sandwiched between Shinder's lists are all kinds of treasures: contemporary poets and fiction writers talking about their first books; the stories behind the first books of classic American writers; and information about arts organizations, health insurance for writers, and related publications.

Writing a book isn't easy, getting published isn't easy, and staying in print thereafter isn't easy, either. Prose and poetry writer Terese Svoboda reminds us that "the point of it all is not the book party and certainly not the royalty statement, but the wonderful moment when the story or poem comes together." Henry David Thoreau, we learn, paid for the publication of his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, which was a miserable failure; "I have now a library of nearly nine hundred volumes," he is said here to have written in his journal, "over seven hundred of which I wrote myself." And Anna Monardo relates the 12-year struggle between the time she first started taking notes toward writing her novel The Courtyard of Dreams and its eventual publication; the book was remaindered a mere 15 months later.

But take heart. What we learn from this book--and particularly from Shinder's very thorough Promotional Action Plan Worksheet--is that a writer's work is far from done when the book is done. Take, for instance, Terry McMillan's all-out campaign for her first novel, Mama. Feeling that the book's publicists were not doing as much as could be done, McMillan sent out over 4,000 letters to her publisher's sales reps, bookstores, various organizations, women's studies programs, college librarians, and readings series. She visited bookstores and autographed copies of her book. The upshot? She did 40 readings, 7 television shows, 6 radio shows, and 14 newspaper interviews, and received over 30 reviews. "The day before my publication date," McMillan writes, "I had sold out of my first printing." Granted, this is Terry McMillan we're talking about. But all that legwork certainly couldn't have hurt. --Jane Steinberg

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