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Julie Worth
01-01-2006, 06:03 PM
A book review...

78 reasons why your book may never be published & 14 why it just might, by Pat Walsh.


If the title is bloated, that just reflects the book itself, for most of the 92 reasons are little more than padding. As ideas go, this one has all the oomph of magazine filler. And Iíll admit it made me mad as I skimmed it, for it is not much more than a rant against authors and how stupid they are, rather than an honest attempt to be helpful. Take the number one reason, for instance: your book canít be published because it hasnít been written yet. Clear enough, but still he blathers on for eight pages, in case you didnít get it. (You can almost see him sloshing his drink at a cocktail party.) Now that heís eliminated all of the would be writers (telling them to take his book back to the store and get their money back), he begins with the serious attacks: you think youíre good, but youíre not good; you canít tell a story; you think itís easy, but itís not easy. You donít know grammar; you donít care about syntax; you have no vocabulary; youíre an idiot. An idiot, you hear me! Flipping through it, I began to hate the man. But still, it gave me insight into the publishing mind, for after seeing so much crap, everything must look like crap, and so the black heart of the publisher is revealed: they hate authors, for authors are idiots.


I didnít buy this book, for it is not worth buying. I didnít read it, for it is not worth reading. However, I did check it out from the library, and I did skim it. And amid all the ranting and sloshing of drinks, this publisher does say something from time to time that is surprising, and perhaps worth thinking about. For example, he says not to read your work aloud.


Huh?


Yep. Thatís the opposite of what many here would tell you, but thatís what he says: reason 22: you read your writing aloud too much.


Okay Walsh, Iím keeping my lips closed from now on.

UrsusMinor
01-01-2006, 10:00 PM
I admit that Mr. Walsh's book is a little rant-prone. That's one of the things I enjoyed about it.

This is definitely not a typical follow-your-bliss-and-the-money-will-come inspirational writing book. It is the viewpoint of an overworked editor who has been bombarded with too much tripe. But its great strength is that it is honest--and I happen to believe that getting inside the snowblind, jaded head of an editor is a useful exercise.

The book is unkind and even deliberately discouraging. Yet I found it to be valuable, and to provide a perspective no other book out there provides. For that reason, I suspect it may become something of a classic.

On the other hand, I can easily understand how another reader might find it extremely annoying: this one is definitely not for everyone.

PattiTheWicked
01-01-2006, 10:46 PM
You know, I saw that in Barnes and Noble just this morning. I skimmed over it on my way to the coffee bar, and came to the conclusion that while he may have some good ideas, most of them wouldn't be useful to me personally. I didn't think this book would tell me anything I didn't already know.

Glad I passed on it.

WriterInChains
01-01-2006, 11:49 PM
This book was recommended to me by one of MacAdam/Cage's authors & I thought it was funny & engaging [but I'm a sarcastic b!tch in general :)], & it made me think about a couple of things in a new way. Walsh gave Craig Clevenger a break so he's in my Pantheon Of Editors. It's just too bad he's not working as one anymore -- he could've "discovered" another great writer or two, maybe even one of us? *shrug*

Just my $0.02.

Happy New Year everyone! :)

Jamesaritchie
01-02-2006, 05:17 PM
It's a book guaranteed to make almost any unpublished writer angry, but it's also a book that tells the truth on almost every page.


Actually, after seeing so much crap, anything even remotely good shines like a diamond. It shines so brightly that the temptation to buy mediocre fiction is almost overwhelming.

The simple truth is that almost everything an agent or editor sees is crap. Pure, unadulterated, unholy crap. There are far, far too many wannabe writers who think writing is easy, who honestly beleive they don't have to know grammar (I can always hire it done! Yeah, right. If you believe this, you are an idiot.), who think syntax is a surcharge on whiskey, or who simply don't read enough. There are far too many wannbe writer who think you can learn to write by watching TV, or by reading only a few novels in your own genre.

There are far too many wannabe writers who don't even know what a story is, let alone how to tell one well, and far, far too many wannabe writers who put characters on the page that would give cardboard a bad name.

Publishers do not have black hearts. They love writers. At least they love writers who take writing seriously, who don't submit more crap just like all the other crap that makes their lives miserable day in and day out. They love writers who understand that you DO have to know grammar and syntax and punctuation, that you do have to read often and widely, that you do have to understand good writing is not subjective, and who know and understand just what it is that publishers, and the reading public, are really looking for.

There is no reason to love, or like, or even tolerate, writers who do not know and do these things.

As for reading your work aloud, in a very real sense, he's absolutely right. Reading your work aloud is a very good way of catching typos and the like, but it's also the worst possible way of judging quality. When you read work aloud, you can make it sound any way you want it to sound.

Writing is going to be read silently by the great majority of reader, so no voice inflection, no voice emotion, only the silent word on the silent page. You work must stand this test. A good reader can make a phone book sound interesting when he reads it aloud. When a writer reads his own manuscript aloud, he reads it the way he thinks it should sound, which is often not at all the way it's going to sound to the average reader.

Reading your work aloud? To catch typos, sure, go ahead. To judge quality? No, do not read your work aloud to judge quality. It doesn't work, and can fool you into thinking something you've written is a lot better than it really is.

Anyone who can be discouraged from writing probably should be. Better than 90% who try writing simply do not have the talent or the skill. Period. Most of the rest lack the determination, or fall into that category where they believe such things as grammar and punctuation and syntax are not things they have to know inside out.

Writing well is always difficult. Telling a good story is even harder. Making characters come alive on the page is darned near impossible. Having a dream does not mean having the talent to make that dream come true. That's just how it is. Too many writers sound exactly like those horrible first round contestants on American Idol, but they can't hear their own voices.

The smartest thing a new writer can do is probably to read Pat Walsh's book two or three times. It tells the truth, and the truth is not that publishers have black hearts. The truth is that most people can't write. The bigger truth, on touched on early and often in this book, is that very often it's the writer's own fault that he can't write because he doesn't take such things as grammar, etc., seriously. He finds excuses for not reading enough, for not writing enough, for this, for that, and for the other.

Pat Walsh knows what he's talking about, an dthis is actually a very encouraging book. But it's also a brutally honest book, and honesty is something new writers simply do not get enough of. Everyone tries to be polite, to sof soap, to enocourage, even when there's nothing to encourage. Reading this book line by line about three times in a row, and believing every word of it, is the smartest thing any new writer could possibly do.

Cathy C
01-02-2006, 09:29 PM
syntax is a surcharge on whiskey

:ROFL: This made my whole day! I have to find somewhere to use this.

I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on it. But the two completely polar views of it expressed here will definitely make me pick it up -- even if only at the library. It should be interesting...

WriterInChains
01-02-2006, 10:07 PM
Hmmmmm . . . after I bought the book, I plowed through it in one sitting & immediately went back to read every section that surprised me over again -- maybe there's hope for me yet! :)

James -- I love your "syntax = surcharge" bit too! :)

paprikapink
01-02-2006, 10:21 PM
It sounds like Pat didn't do such a good job of getting his ideas across to folks who don't already grok him.

It sounds like the book makes sense to James because he's already gotten what what there is to get out of it -- he's done a good job of translating it for us.

I think I'll skip Pat's book and wait till James's comes out.

WriterInChains
01-02-2006, 10:38 PM
paprikapink -- While I'd be glad to read James' book too, I thought I should tell you that I didn't know Walsh was the one who gave Clevenger a break until I read the book that started this thread. Granted, the reason I checked out MacAdam/Cage in the first place was because they published Clevenger, but I didn't know who Walsh was before I read his book. I have, and will, recommend it to anyone who seriously wants to get a novel published. I guess his style of humor isn't for everyone! :)

Christine N.
01-03-2006, 01:27 AM
And that's the cold, hard truth... most people can't write. People who think they can, can't. And when people who can write tell others that they can't (no matter how politely) those who think they can but can't get all snippy. Not pointing to anyone who has replied to this thread, just making a sweeping generalization about the populace overall.

Someone finally had the balls to write it down? I gotta see this book :)

Inspired
01-03-2006, 02:07 AM
There are different methods of delivering the truth. It sounds like this guy does it in a rather rough way. Some relish that authentic tone. And others don't. I don't really need someone shouting "You stink!" in my face to know that I stink.

Torgo
01-03-2006, 06:55 AM
I have to say I disagree about reading your work aloud. I find it's a good way to pick up bad sentence structure and phrasing. Yes a good reader can make anything sound good; but - if you ever have to edit or produce audiobooks you'll see this for yourself - they sometimes have to work really hard at it.

JennaGlatzer
01-03-2006, 01:35 PM
I really benefitted from having my family do a "staged reading" (in the living room) of one of my screenplays. I got to hear where the plot dragged and which lines sounded unnatural (maybe all the better because they're not professional actors who could compensate).

I haven't read this book, so my comments aren't aimed at it. But the problem with books like that in general is that the target audience won't match the actual audience. That is, this sounds like it's directed at the putz writers-- the ones who believe grammar doesn't matter, pay no attention to proper protocol, send in first drafts, etc. However, those people don't read books about how to improve one's writing. They think they know it all already. Maybe, maybe, they'll drop in at a forum like this and ask a couple of questions (it's free and easy), but it'll usually be questions like, "Which agents represent mysteries?" or "How much money do first-time novelists usually make?"-- not "How do I create more compelling character arcs?" or "Is this chapter lead grabbing enough?"

So you end up with the writers who actually do care enough to learn, who take their writing seriously, reading books like that-- and feeling totally patronized.

Cathy C
01-03-2006, 08:17 PM
Well, I went out and bought it yesterday, just to see what it had to say. I have to agree with James. It's cold, brutal -- and completely honest. I've only read about the first 100 pages, but the advice in there is all very realistic about the publishing industry as a whole. But it doesn't allow for excuses. I can see Uncle Jim having written this book. It sounds pretty much like everything on his thread. "Butt in Chair. Write the book. Don't TALK about writing it." "If you've already thought about the perfect cover, and the actor to read it as an audio version, and the character to play the lead in the movie, you're NOT writing it -- and probably never will."

Harsh, but true. I'd recommend the book to anyone who's considering publishing, but Jenna's right. Those who need it would never pick it up, and those who would pick it up would already agree. It's a "preaching to the choir" sort of book. But I'll definitely finish it, because I just might learn something. And then I'll pass it along to another member of the choir.

maestrowork
01-05-2006, 07:37 PM
My question is -- who is the target audience? Would wannabe writers care about the "cold, harsh, take-no-prisoner reality of publishing"? Would published authors think, "This is preaching to the choir"?

Celia Cyanide
01-06-2006, 12:00 AM
That is, this sounds like it's directed at the putz writers-- the ones who believe grammar doesn't matter, pay no attention to proper protocol, send in first drafts, etc. However, those people don't read books about how to improve one's writing...So you end up with the writers who actually do care enough to learn, who take their writing seriously, reading books like that-- and feeling totally patronized.

So is there a way to tell what kind of writer you are without spending the money on this book, and deciding whether or not you've wasted your time and money?

Cathy C
01-06-2006, 12:37 AM
Well, I finished the whole book, and highly recommend it to anyone with a thick skin who wants to know what REALLY happens in the publishing world. But check your ego at the door, because it will get bruised very quickly.



So is there a way to tell what kind of writer you are without spending the money on this book, and deciding whether or not you've wasted your time and money?

Well, here are the "14 Reasons That You Just Might" from the back of the book. If you think you have ALL 14, then you're probably part of the choir.

PART NINE: The Good News

1. You Wrote a Good Book
2. You Are Honest With Yourself
3. You Do Your Homework
4. You Make Yourself Stand Out
5. You Have High Hopes... and Reasonable Expectations
6. You Have a Healthy Perspective
7. You Take Advantage of Time
8. You Learn from Rejection
9. You Are Flexible
10. You Take Calculated Risks
11. You Take Yourself Seriously
12. You Make Your Own Luck
13. You Have Fun

I'd say that probably 50% of the writers I meet are missing some combination of #2, #5, #6, #8, and #9. Without them, the road will be more difficult, and a writer might learn a great deal from the book.

JMHO! But I will be recommending this book to a number of people.

As an aside, I also just finished Jenna's new book "The Street Smart Writer." Buy it! Read it! Use it to beat off the sharks in the world! It's the entire wisdom of this forum condensed into a bound, useable format! Yay! TERRIFIC BOOK, JENNA! :D

Mamawamba
01-06-2006, 11:04 PM
I'm reading this book right now, after seeing this thread, and I think it is hilarious. I found the tone to be tongue-in-cheek rather than patronizing. His sense of humor is self-deprecating enough to mitigate the otherwise harsh message. I get the feeling as I'm reading, as he states this often, that these are things he would never say to someone's face. I have not published a book and I feel like I'm learning a lot. This is much better than all of the cheerleader "Anyone Can Become an Author" that I've read.

Jamesaritchie
01-07-2006, 09:19 PM
I do think the trouble with such books is that those who need it most probably won't read it, or will read it and disagree with everything in it. In all honesty, I'm not sure anything can help the bottom 50% of writers who land in slush piles.

But I think, maybe, it will be of great help to a certain percentage of writers. There are those who do take writing seriously, who understand the need to master grammar, punctuation, etc. There are those who write hard, work hard, and who do understand the reason they aren't getting published is because they are doing something wrong, but just don't know what.

And there are many writers who may have been published in some small way, such as a short story in a small magazine, and who sometimes recieve positive feedback from editors, but who just can't get over the hump. It may be such writers will read this book, take it seriously, and improve enough to get where they want to go.

I also think there's something for well-published writers in this book. Reminders, if nothing else. Reminders that it pays to take chances, pays to separate yourself from teh crowd, and reminders that even those of us who have had novels published can't slack off or we'll find ourselves in the midlist cuts and on the remainder tables.

It is a brutally honest book, and it will anger many new writers, but it's also a truthful book, and one I thought was funny, rather than patronizing.

Jamesaritchie
01-07-2006, 09:20 PM
So is there a way to tell what kind of writer you are without spending the money on this book, and deciding whether or not you've wasted your time and money?

The writer's best friend is the library. If they don't have it, they can get it. But I don't think reading this book is a waste of time for any serious writer.

Jamesaritchie
01-07-2006, 09:26 PM
There are different methods of delivering the truth. It sounds like this guy does it in a rather rough way. Some relish that authentic tone. And others don't. I don't really need someone shouting "You stink!" in my face to know that I stink.
Sometimes there is no nice way to put something. If you want to be a writer, you need a thick skin. Pat Walsh isn't mean, he's just truthful, and the truth is always better told straight out.

I think that if you can really tell you stink without having someone tell you, you probably wouldn't stink.

Mike Coombes
01-08-2006, 03:41 AM
Anyone who can be discouraged from writing probably should be. Better than 90% who try writing simply do not have the talent or the skill. Period. Most of the rest lack the determination, or fall into that category where they believe such things as grammar and punctuation and syntax are not things they have to know inside out.

This is probably the truest thing I've read anywhere. It's the reason I no longer participate in critique groups.

Julie Worth
01-08-2006, 09:04 PM
Going through this thread, Iíve culled out a few lines for the back cover of Patís book. All in all it proves yet again what Iíve suspected all alongóthat Iím an idiot.


Pat Walsh isn't mean, he's just truthful
It is a brutally honest book
I think it is hilarious
I will be recommending this book
Harsh, but true
I gotta see this book
I plowed through it in one sitting & immediately went back to read every section that surprised me over again
it's also a book that tells the truth on almost every page
I thought it was funny & engaging
I suspect it may become something of a classic

PattiTheWicked
01-10-2006, 02:30 AM
After everyone wrote so many positive things about this book, I had to check it out, despite my earlier reservations. I picked up a copy at Barnes and Noble yesterday.

I am up to reason #6, and I am SO glad I dropped the $14 for it! This is absolutely hilarious! It's funny, in a snarky way that I adore, and it actually is useful.

Niesta
01-16-2006, 08:41 PM
Late to the party, as usual...

Just wanted to add my $0.02 -- I had never heard of this book until this thread, which inspired me to pick it up from the library. Funny, yes, but wherever it hits close to home, it's gonna hurt. I can't claim to have come away unscathed myself, but it's a great eye-opener.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Ezy Rider
01-19-2006, 12:48 PM
I sincerely believe that pure ignorance is the only way to become a good writer.

Advice is for people who want to think ahead. Did anyone tell van Gogh that it was wrong to cut off an ear, NO! And if they did, would he have listened?Yet he became famous just the same.:tongue

NicoleJLeBoeuf
01-19-2006, 01:07 PM
OK, I will have to look for this at the library tomorrow.

But I still have a problem with the "don't read aloud" crowd. Heck, my ear is my best friend when it comes to smoothly flowing prose and realistic dialogue. I suspect that there are prerequisites for the use of the ear, however, that without which JamesARitchie's and Pat Walsh's vehement advice is better taken. Also, I think out loud a lot. Maybe the need to read one's work aloud as part of the line-edit process goes hand in hand with the tendency to talk to oneself. Sometimes I just need to hear the thought to be convinced I actually thought it, y'know?

Meh. One online library search later, and I see that there is no Pat Walsh available to me. At least, not the one that wrote this book. Meh again. But one day, one day...

MacAllister
01-19-2006, 01:10 PM
Eh. I'm a read-out-louder, too. I get a much better feel for when and where I need to tweak the pacing, or fix awkward phrasing.


I'm also more likely to read aloud the words that are really there--not the words I think I wrote.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
01-19-2006, 01:14 PM
I'm also more likely to read aloud the words that are really there--not the words I think I wrote.Exactly! Exactly! Yes.

I have also been told that it is useful to read a work backwards, word by word, aloud. This divorces the sentence meaning from the individual words, allowing the reader to better catch silly typos.

This probably works better with shorter works than longer works.

blacbird
01-19-2006, 06:40 PM
I have also been told that it is useful to read a work backwards, word by word, aloud. This divorces the sentence meaning from the individual words, allowing the reader to better catch silly typos.

This probably works better with shorter works than longer works.

I do this sentence by sentence, as he first step in editing a first draft. You catch not only typos, but bad grammar, stupid construction and a certain amount of general clumsiness. It's not much use at the bigger-issue stuff involving pacing, consistency, overall structure, etc. That becomes a matter for the next step in editing. But it's highly useful to kill off as much of this smaller nit-picky stuff as early as you can, so it doesn't distract you from the more substantive editorial things.

caw.

UrsusMinor
01-20-2006, 04:56 AM
Jenna raises the question of the target audience for this book. No, it isn't just for those in the bottom half of the slush pile. And some of the things he warns about are problems that could affect even the greatest writer--such as bad timing. It really is a list of reasons your book might never be published, and they range from you-can't-effing-write to how you manage your relationships with your agent.

Although I was the initial defender of this book, I can't say that I agree with everything in it. In particular, I partly disagree with the "reading-aloud" dismissal. If you know how to read aloud for faulty rhythm, it is a powerful tool, but I've met writers who, when they read their own stuff aloud, introduce so much inflection and pitch that it all sounds great to them. (What these folks need to do, ala Jenna's comment, is have someone unfamiliar with the work read it aloud--preferably as monotonically as possible.)

I also disagree with some of his comments about book doctors. What he concieves of as book doctoring is a combination of line editing and tutorials on writing, and he suggests you take a class or workshop instead. True enough. But for a book where the writing isn't a problem, book doctoring at the structural level--discussing pacing, story logic, the relative role of characters--can be invaluable. I once paid a book doctor to give me a "memo" on a novel; he gave me nine pages of things to think about (particularly cuts). A good book doctor does what a good editor at a publishing house would do if they had already acquired your manuscript--gives suggestions on how to make it a better book. The problem, of course, is finding a good book doctor...

But those are quibbles. I still recommend this book to any writer who will stand still long enough to listen to me blab about it....

Pat Walsh
02-10-2006, 04:31 AM
Hi All,

I found this thread doing my occassional google search on my book, 78 Reasons. It's a bit odd to read a discussion of your work that was not meant for your eyes but it has been very educational. I want to say thanks for both the kind words and thoughtful criticisms. If I may, I'd like to respond to a few points.

The Audience: I wrote the book for writers who didn't know what they were facing. I didn't consider the book as a means of discouraging bad writers, because they cannot be put off. I didn't mean to be discouraging to good writers by making the task of publishing seem impossible, because it is not. I really felt, however, that there are plenty of books blowing sunshine up people's holes and the shelves didn't need another one.

Reading aloud: A useful tool for some, but is over used by many. Some writers think reading the book aloud and making small changes constitutes a rewrite. Many manuscripts are filled with sentences that smack of being dictated and it shows.

Book doctors: Too many scam artists or incompetents and too few real things.

The Title: Too long, I know. My first title was Why Publishing Sucks, which my agent killed, and What Am I Doing Wrong, which my editor killed.

Thanks again for giving my book such thoughtful attention. Now that I've left editing to write full time, I have a renewed appreciation for how tough it is. Best of luck,

Pat Walsh

FolkloreFanatic
02-10-2006, 11:48 AM
Well, Pat, for what it's worth, I thought it was sobering and hysterical at the same time, because I shudder to think about the mistakes I might have made before reading it, and I shudder more at the mistakes others have made who definitely didn't read it. ;)

Good enough to read twice, imho.

popmuze
02-10-2006, 06:27 PM
Pat,

As a much published writer, who has gotten a lot of great feedback out of these boards, I think you should stick around and let people have the benefit of your experience, wisdom, attitude (and phrasing).

Cathy C
02-11-2006, 01:19 AM
Thanks for dropping by, Pat. Feel free to stop back anytime. :)

dlcharles
02-11-2006, 07:12 PM
Pat: You apparently evoked quite a reaction - and that is excellent! Making people THINK can be dangerous, but it is admirable. I cannot write worth a darn, but I can tell a good story. I also cannot sing, but that does not keep me from vibrating the walls of my bathroom with off-key harmony. I read everything on this thread several times and each time I picked up something helpful. And a welcome to you. Of course, there are exceptions to all rules - James Frey knows nothing about grammar either, but he made it.

8 more to the Holy 50 - I'll never make it!

Mac H.
02-12-2006, 09:39 AM
What these folks need to do, ala Jenna's comment, is have someone unfamiliar with the work read it aloud--preferably as monotonically as possible.Your PC's "read aloud" feature in Adobe Acrobat is great for this. It is as brainless and monotonic as you can imagine.

I use the read-aloud feature of 'Final Draft' now - I originally thought it was a useless gimmick and just tried it as a lark. It was embarrassing how many typos and missed words it picked up.

It is as if you have a particular stupid, barely literate person reading aloud - no sense of rhythm, irony or the concept of homographs.

Very useful for those occasions when your particular stupid, barely literate friends aren't around.

Mac

Pat Walsh
02-16-2006, 05:01 AM
Thanks all. I'll check back every now and then. This is great site and I'll help in anyway I can. Particularly, I can expound for hours on agents that suck and great books that never got much attention.

Julie Worth
02-16-2006, 05:14 AM
...I can expound for hours on agents that suck and great books that never got much attention.

Ha! That book I would buy.

popmuze
02-17-2006, 03:01 AM
Pat, I think you're talking about my life.

Pat Walsh
02-20-2006, 10:59 PM
It's every writer's life. Being ignored and being rejected is only the first of many hurdles to overcome. I just talked to an author I used to work with who wrote one of the best books I've every read (A Mouthful of Air) and she is having a lot of trouble finding someone to publish her next book. There's nothing fair in this business except that it screws everyone at some point.

ahh, good times...good times.

pat

JennaGlatzer
02-25-2006, 06:00 AM
Hi Pat! Sorry I'm late to the welcome party. Very cool to have you here.

I'd love to hear more on your view of agents-- particularly what separates good agents from bad agents.

Greenwolf103
02-26-2006, 06:50 AM
Pat, a late welcome. :)

And, if I may add, even if you DO find an editor who doesn't reject you, you now face a new agony: Revisions. *shudders*

Celia Cyanide
02-27-2006, 10:03 PM
It's every writer's life. Being ignored and being rejected is only the first of many hurdles to overcome. I just talked to an author I used to work with who wrote one of the best books I've every read (A Mouthful of Air) and she is having a lot of trouble finding someone to publish her next book. There's nothing fair in this business except that it screws everyone at some point.

ahh, good times...good times.

pat

Mr Walsh, just reading this post is enough to make me want to read your book. This is very realistic and encouraging at the same time. Thank you for posting it.

Pat Walsh
02-27-2006, 11:50 PM
I'd love to hear more on your view of agents-- particularly what separates good agents from bad agents.

I think there are several types of bad agents. There are the obvious ripoff artists, of course. Then there are the incompetent boobs. Anyone can call them selves a literary agent. These spare-room tycoons collect fees from writers to make submissions that no one pays any attention to and in the end, they raise and dash their clients' hopes. There are many agents who would be good if they didn't try and take on too many clients, thereby serving none of them well. There are many sucessful agents who take on a client, submit a word to two or three places, and then drop the writer if it doesn't sell for big dollars.

The good agents are the ones that try and find writers to work with rather than books to sell. They are willing, given a reasonable amount of time, to read and give some feedback to their writers sophmore projects and book ideas. A good agent is conservative in managing their clients' expectations. A good agent has a discussion with their client about what publishing experience the writer wants.

I think what is more interesting is the good client/bad client situation. I'll post something on that soon because I've seen a lot of writers damage their reputations by mishandling the agent/client relationship.

Cathy C
02-28-2006, 01:27 AM
These are valuable pointers, Pat. This is the very first thing our agent did with us, and it really made us think about what we DID want out of writing. I look forward to your comments. :)

Pat Walsh
03-02-2006, 12:57 AM
[QUOTE=EggwardTheWalrus]Please, reading aloud is really, really important. I don't know about the rest of you but the voice I hear in my head when reading a piece of writing is the same as if I was reading it aloud. I am sure an expert could correct me, but didn't Dickens tour reading his work? This attention to how it could be read known by the writer really helps create the narrative richness found in his work.

Eggward The Walrus.[/QUOTE

Eggward, I agree that reading great writing aloud is a wonderful thing. I have found that reading a work in progress aloud as a form of editing does more harm that good because the inflection, accidental or otherwise, hides the flaws and makes the writer lose perspective on the piece. Listening to something is one way to interpret something, reading it is another and they do not always mesh well. It's not at all the biggest sin a writer can commit, and it may work well for some -- but not for most.


pw

David McAfee
03-07-2006, 06:29 AM
I just wanted to chime in and say that I bought 78 Reasons and read it cover to cover. Personally, I found a lot of useful information in there, and it's nice to get the info from an insider. Yeah, ok, I felt a few of the negatives didn't apply to me (don't we all?), but there were quite a few parts where I went "Oh... that's nice to know."

I especially liked the part where Pat said he liked hearing a book took 10 years to write. Mine took 8, and I wondered if that was a bad thing. Ah, well... revision revision revision.

Anyway, I was going to send you a letter, Pat, but since I know you are following this thread I'll just say thank you here. :)

Thanks for a great book. Good luck with your next one.

aruna
03-08-2006, 11:40 AM
Interesting thread, intersting views, and welcome, Pat, hope you stick around!

I have a confession to make: I never read aloud.

Mike Coombes
03-08-2006, 02:31 PM
Did anyone tell van Gogh that it was wrong to cut off an ear, NO! And if they did, would he have listened?Yet he became famous just the same.:tongue

If he'd have asked around, they would have told him it was dumb. They told him after, but he didn't hear them.

aka eraser
03-08-2006, 09:04 PM
I too, am guilty of never reading aloud.

Belated welcome from this corner too Pat.

Birol
03-08-2006, 09:37 PM
I don't typically read aloud, but I have found myself lately speaking bits and pieces of dialogue when I'm uncertain of the precise word choice so I can feel which choice is more natural.

Pat Walsh
03-11-2006, 05:52 AM
I've heard more about the reading aloud thing in my book than anything else and I don't know why. It's a small point compared to others. Prepostions are a much bigger problem overall.

Thanks for all the warm welcomes. This is a great site.