I’d posted this review elsewhere some years ago, and still feel the same about the book. EVERY author and aspiring author (and editors) should read it. (Don’t be thrown off by the word ‘Romance’ in the title — it is not about romance novels.)
This is a collection of Ms. Resnick’s articles from various periodicals, including Nink (monthly journal of Novelists Inc.), SFWA Bulletin, and Romance Writers Report, about aspects of the publishing business and the business of being a professional author.
Ms. Resnick has an entertaining style, so the book is a pleasure to read. But it is the information contained that is most important. Despite her occasional diatribes against publishers and editors (and what author doesn’t feel that way sometimes?), she offers a huge amount of information and practical advice to authors. She tells it like it is, faces the rough realities of trying to support yourself as an author.
The best articles related to the “craft” and career of an author, in my opinion:
The Luck Myth – Yep, it’s persistence, not luck, that gets you the breaks.
Passion – Why you feel the need to write, and how to have a “spark” in your writing.
Copy Edits We Have Known and Hated – Funny and scary anecdotes: “a good copy editor is worth her weight in chocolate, a bad one makes you jumpy about copy edits for the rest of your career.”
…Does Not Meet Our Needs at This Time – “Professional writers get rejected. All of the time. Even by their own publishers. Even by editors who like them personally and like their writing. In fact, multi-published, award-winning writers get rejected all of the time.”
Labelismization – The marketing aspects of determining genre, establishing a “brand” for your books.
It Can Happen Here—And Often Does – “Bizarre mix-ups, infuriating screw-ups, and wacky mistakes that are out of the writer’s control.” Like having your name misspelled, your book misprinted.
Going Public – Perils of booksignings.
How Long Does It Take? – To write a book…
Jabla – Writer’s block, disappearing writers, one-book wonders.
The Artist’s Knife – “Just as the artist’s knife scrapes, folds, and carves one’s talent and vision into a masterpiece, the writer must find her own inner knife to refine, regroup, and dig deep when challenges arise and plans founder. The writer must carve her talent into work that builds her career.”
Habit Forming – The process of writing is different for every writer.
Of course, for sheer fun, read the article “Enlarge Your Penis”, on addiction to the Internet.