Writer's Resources Articles

An interesting article on copyright from the Copyright Clearance Center. 

Click here to read the article. 

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 Nieman Reports

Brief Story, Book Proposal, a Longer Feature, Then a Book

‘… it would be a while before people would say, “Hey, this is a book.” ’

By Amy Ellis Nutt

"There is nothing normal about my journalism career—I landed my first newspaper job at 42—or my book-writing career. In a former long-ago life as a sports reporter, I coauthored a golf book/memoir for a woman on the professional tour and it hit the remainder bin faster than a two-foot gimme hits the bottom of the cup. So after a 13-year hiatus and a move from Sports Illustrated to The Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey—you get the upside-down idea, right?—I had some trepidation about embarking on a second book. ......

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The Platform: Good Reviews Are No Longer Enough

Apr 20, 2011

Authors: Peter Osnos

Publisher(s): The Century Foundation

"As a longtime publisher of what is known as “serious” nonfiction, I am acutely aware of how sensitive most authors are about book reviews. After extended periods of research and writing, it is unnerving to find your work in the hands of someone else to pass judgment. Authors of established distinction feel the sting of a critical review, or worse, being ignored, especially by the Sunday New York Times Book Review, which remains for many writers the arbiterne plus ultra. It is time—probably past time—to declare that traditional book reviews are no longer the dominant...

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On January 1st, 2011 The Strothman Agency will begin only accepting electronic submissions. Physical query letters will be recycled or returned unopened.

Please visit http://strothmanagency.com/submission-guidelines for more submission information.

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Writing A Query Letter

by Jodi Meadows


I like queries. No, I love them. They’re such short, humble things, but their importance is undeniable. Queries are the initial step to nabbing an agent. They’re your first impression, and your best chance at getting an agent to pay attention to you.

Considering how drastically queries can affect careers, it always shocks me when writers carelessly throw something together, assuming it will be adequate. Which is not to say I think people should get worked up over things like margins and which paragraph your wordcount/genre should be in. There’s also no point in trying to find magic offer-of-representation-words. They don’t exist. No, you must query responsibly and realistically.

The purpose of a query is to make someone so...

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Query letter

Lit Agent Lauren MacLeod Has "Sweet Spot" for Funny Books

"Lauren MacLeod of the Strothman Agency is poised to help her clients through the ebook revolution. In this interview, she tells us why her agency only takes books that they are passionate about, and why the ebook is not the death of publishing.

What is your title and who do you work for?
I'm a literary agent with The Strothman Agency. I'm terrific at what I do because I stay very dialed into all the digital changes authors are facing both in regards to e-book and publicity and marketing. This puts me in a better position to negotiate on my clients behalf as well as give advice. Furthermore--though I suspect this is true of many agents and perhaps even most people in the publishing industry--I truly love my work and there is nothing I'd rather be doing. If I won the...

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From The New Yorker

Alphabet Soup by Susan Orlean

"This is a true story:

My first book was acquired by two people I will call Editor A and Editor B, who ran a small imprint at a big publishing house. We had a great lunch to celebrate. A few months later, Editor A left book publishing to become a newspaper writer. Editor B became my primary editor. She and I had a nice lunch to talk about my book.

A few months after that, Editor B was promoted to publisher of the larger house—let us call it Publisher W—that owned the small imprint. Because Editor B—that is, Editor/Publisher B—now had too many duties to edit my book, I was assigned to Editor C.

Editor C and I had lunch. A few months later, he got a new job at another publishing house. I was assigned to Editor D.

Editor D and I had lunch. It was a pleasant...

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Last weekend, Wendy Strothman joined two editors, three other agents and about 30 midcareer writers at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.  The setting was a panel discussion that sought to demisify book publishing.  Here's one piece of their invaluable advice:

Editors and agents think simultaneously about the quality of the idea and the existence of a market for it. This is why in developing a book proposals it’s important to research and write about the competition—the existence of other successful books in an area shows that people will be willing to plop down $25 for a book on the subject. As Wendy Strothman explained, if she’s going to spend months with an author developing a worthy idea, she wants to make sure that there will be a payoff in eventual sales.

For the rest of Constance Hale's report on the panel, head over to...

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Client Hélène Boudreau has some excellent advice on her blog today about query letters.  Her query letter was so well done that Jabberwocky is using the first sentence on her book cover.

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What every author should know:  if you want your book to succeed today, you’ll need to do lots of legwork.  Here’s an inspiring story from a bestselling author:

 From: The Immortal Book Tour By Rebecca Skloot -- Publishers Weekly, 11/9/2009 2:00:00 AM

A month ago, I’d have thought the idea of organizing my own book tour with the help of my brain-damaged father was nuts. My father, Floyd Skloot, has written several books about the neurologic damage he suffered from a virus in the ’80s—it affected his memory, his abstract reasoning, and his ability to think about multiple things at once. Exactly the abilities a person needs to envision and organize a book tour. And I’m no better. Somewhere between writing a book, taking a teaching job, freelancing, and becoming my own publicist, things got a bit...

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Book Tours

Rachelle Gardner has a great post up on her blog about why authors (as a group) need agents (as a group):

" You, as an individual author, may or may not require the services of an individual agent. But whether or not you realize it, whenever you deal with a publisher, you're benefitting from the collective work of agents over the years.

For the last few decades, agents have been on the front lines when it comes to advocating for authors in their relationships with publishers. It's interesting to speculate on the state of publishing contracts if agents had never been involved and authors had to fend for themselves or just take whatever the publisher was offering. ..."

Reach Rachelle's entire post here.

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Since today is "Cyber Monday," we want you to remember your local independent bookseller.  Here's a note from one of our favorites...

A Note from Jeff
Friday, November 27th, 2009
Dear Friends,
I thought I'd use...
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From The Times:

The internet is killing storytelling


Narratives are a staple of every culture the world over. They are disappearing in an online blizzard of tiny bytes of information

"Click, tweet, e-mail, twitter, skim, browse, scan, blog, text: the jargon of the digital age describes how we now read, reflecting the way that the very act of reading, and the nature of literacy itself, is changing.

The information we consume online comes ever faster, punchier and more fleetingly. Our attention rests only briefly on the internet page before moving incontinently on to the next electronic canapé.

Addicted to the BlackBerry, hectored and heckled by the next blog alert, web link or text message, we are in state of Continual Partial Attention, too bombarded by snippets and gobbets of information to focus on anything for very long. Microsoft researchers have found that...

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By Jonathan Meyer, Intern

November 1 marks the start of this year’s National Novel Writing Month (wonderfully abbreviated as NaNoWriMo).  The event, which challenges people from all walks of life to complete a 50,000-word piece of fiction in 30 days, is in its eleventh year.  In 2008, over 20,000 writers were certified “Winners,” meaning they met or exceeded the minimum word count, turned in their manuscript on time, and made sure their work made at least some sense.     

NaNoWriMo is the literary equivalent of Hands Across America, except with actual...

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Agency client (and masterful synopsis creator) Hélène Boudreau has posted an excellent guide to writing synopsis on her blog. This is a great method for authors who have trouble distilling their novels into a one page description.

Read Hélène's 9 step synopsis crafting method here.


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Submission Guidelines

Detailed instructions for writers interested in submitting a query to us.

Proposal Writing Suggestions

Our author's guide to writing  Non-Fiction proposals.