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"Any first time author can be made to look "fabulous" -- it's all about how an agent, author and publisher present the author. Every author has a background and a story, which can be told to the book- sellers and public in a boring way or a way that is spectacular."

  Barbara   Zitwer

"If an author is a terrific writer and has a voice or perspective or style that's not been seen before, there is a far greater chance it will have a place in the literary market. Though it's true that it can be tough to get a first book published, agents and editors are always looking for the next voice or story."

  Elise Capron

"Whatever you're doing in this business, whether you're an agent, editor, or writer, it's crucially important to keep on top of what's happening in the industry. Agents and editors are much more likely to take writers seriously if they can name other writers in their genre whose work they admire ..."

  W. Gottlieb

"The truth is that most publishing professionals needn't read further than that ... Judging a book in five sentences might sound like an outrageous idea. But it's really not."

  Noah Lukeman

Recommended Craft Books

The Portable MFA - This book has it all: how to write fiction, how to write plays, how to write for magazines ... It's the best single source on writing that I've found so far (and I've read almost all of them).

What if - Do one exercise a day from "What If?" and you'll be writing for more than a third of a year. The book is packed with 115 exercises. Indispensable.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel - Rewriting is what separates the pros from the amateurs. Frey finishes everything off with the most important thing it takes to become a great writer.

The Art of Fiction - Because Gardner strives for "higher art", his musings and instructions for the beginner go much deeper than ordinary how-to books. A must for all novel writers.

Stein on Writing - "Your job," says Stein, "is to give readers stress, strain, and pressure. The fact is that readers who hate those things in life love them in fiction.

Bird by Bird - Lamott's suggestion on writing the novel is down-to-earth: worry about the characters, not the plot. Writing is more rewarding than publication. Easy for her to say?

Writing the Breakout Novel - Maass forces writers to take a hard look at the quality of their work. Great for beginners.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - Adhering to "show don't tell," the text includes both good and bad examples, and at the end of every chapter is a tip checklist plus exercises.

Book Resources for Writers

The worst advice a writer can get is to ignore the market, forget craft, and simply "write from the heart." Our motto: "From the Heart, but Smart." Believe it or not, most aspiring authors do little to familiarize themselves with the most recent novels in their genre. Big mistake. We always cajole our writers to stay well read, know their market inside out, especially what type of work first-time authors are getting published. Why? Because their work is a better indication of what the market is looking for. As follows:

BookSense Picks
The indie bookers include a best picks page. A must for serious writers of all genres.

A-Z, loads of reviews and much more. The place for "all things chicklit." The genre is expanding.

Historical Novel Society
Both English and American historical fiction here. Excellent starting place. Five stars.

House of Blogs - all genres
A creation of Webdelsol.Com. FIVE LIVE blogs like Maud, Powell's, Beatrice, and more, + a list of the best + a remarkable blog search engine. If you want the real dig on a new novel, the bloggers are waiting for you.

Mystery Reader.Com
No fancy cosmetics here, but MR gets the job done. Great capsules, archives, + all sub-genres. Learn from the many-stars and one-stars too.

MetaCritic Scores for Lit Books
A "scoring" site for literary commercial books. Check the scores then hit the blogs.

San Francisco Chronicle
You might not agree with all the SFC book reviews, but they won't stop coming. Good archives. All genres plus non-fiction. Worth comparing to MetaCritic and blogger reviews.

The SF Site (sci fi/fantasy)
An explosion of book reviews on the very first page. Begin your search here.

Young Adult
YALSA, yowza, the best of the year list, plus check out Reading Rants for their latest reviews by category.


Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Julie Kaewert: "Because I was changing agents, I knew it was important to learn how to package the MS effectively ... When I saw the Seven Mountains Writers Conference on the website, it looked like just the thing. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations in every way."   Read More...

Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Kate Gallison: "One way to lengthen your life is to stretch it backwards, and so I read a lot of history. Early movies fascinate me. They were both like and unlike stage plays of the time, borrowing actors and melodramatic plots, but developing entirely new techniques for portraying dramatic action. "   Read More...

Interview with Algonkian attendee, Greg Haas: "I could tell a story about how the process works. Fiction gave me a chance to go where non-fiction wouldn't let me…inside people at both ends of the political food chains heads. The final inspiration came from a strange place Karl Rove spent a great deal of time."   Read More...

Interview with Algonkian attendee, Candy Somoza: "The preparation work got us thinking about the book in the store, how it got there, what makes it sell. While we read works and studied the writing, we also focused on the outside, so to speak, the marketing, and that was essential to prepare us."   Read More...

Interview with Algonkian attendee, Barbara Marquart: I also wanted to tell a story that celebrates the deep bond between mothers and daughters - the struggles we all face to transcend our circumstances, forgive each other's failures and accept each other's limitations in order to find peace.   Read More...

Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Thierry Sagnier: "I was stuck, hadn't done any serious writing for months, and a friend of mine—also a writer—suggested I attend a workshop to kickstart me. So I looked on the net and found that there were quite a few places that offered what I wanted, but when I researched the Algonkian conference, I recognized the name of a reporter I really respect. He'd been there and was highly complimentary, so that sealed it for me."   Read More...

Interview with Algonkian attendee, Alex Keto: "I've been to handful of other conferences and decided that if you find yourself in a large room with someone almost out of eyesight in the front talking at you, the results are what you would expect: generic advice that doesn't really help."   Read More...

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Washington, D.C. 20006

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