A person who publishes a book wilfully appears before the populace with his pants down

—Edna St. Vincent Millay

Here is the ultimate guide for how (and how not) to approach agents and prospective publishers about your work. It may even save you from wasted effort and unnecessary rejections. You only get one shot with each one, after all.

I can imagine the proposal for this book now: ‘Estimated writers societies and groups x estimated membership…assume 15% purchase…guaranteed market of…’

Sound too technical for you? Well this book is full of harsh realities. Publishing is a...

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It was an easy task to devour this book quickly. The prose is light, but the effects are crafted with a deft hand.

Most of the stories deal with the lives of women, although two are from the perspective of young males with voices that are equally authentic. The stories traverse the intimate territories of grief, rejection, religious feeling, guilt and the struggle to understand one’s self. In exploring these emotional landscapes, Swann often dips in and out of the...

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The line of publications on the subject of Gallipoli grows ever longer, but occasionally something fresh turns up. This book, where all the action occurs in a five-day period, reads more like a fast-paced fictional thriller than an historical account. The author has achieved this in three ways: he delivers a contiguous, multi-layered narrative by sewing together every available detail (Turkish as well as Allied); the use of diaries, reports and letters allow him to ‘get...

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Let's face it. There are loads of how-to-write-a-novel books out there. Some are full of lots of technical gumph and you feel disheartened just reading them. Others are light and fluffy and you wonder how anyone could write a postcard using their advice. This book falls somewhere in between, having the positive aspects of both alternatives.

Louise Doughty is a published author who wrote a regular newspaper column for the London Daily Telegraph that took her readers...

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Of all the ardent book lovers out there I'd guess there's a fair portion who have fantasised about being surrounded by books all day and extending their time in bookshops to the hours of 9 to 5. I know I have. I even went so far as to research the subject, only to find out about the low margins, long hours, tough competition and how darned hard it is.

This book is about a woman who actually turned her fantasy into reality, albeit for a short time. I heard Annette...

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Having just spent two months in India it was great to pick up a current interpretation of where this country finds itself in 2007. Shashi Tharoor is a well-respected writer on the international scene and he balances his love of his own country with some pretty sharp judgements and analysis on where it could, and should, do better by its people.

Tharoor’s life experience (he was the youngest undersecretary general of the UN when appointed), exposure to the cultures of...

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For anyone with an interest in geopolitics and the vagaries of world power and who wants to understand what is happening in the world a little better, this book makes for compulsive and informative reading. Whilst the decline of the Roman Empire has been analysed ad nauseum (Gibbon’s classic receives its due here) and comparing America to the Roman template has also occupied many minds, this book still manages to make a refreshing addition to the body of work.


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© 2012 Alicia Thompson
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