Resources for Writers

BOOK REVIEWERS AND MEDIA

This article by best-selling author Rebecca Skloot is an outstanding guide to the nuts-and-bolts of being a book reviewer.

The trade association of book critics is the National Book Critics Circle. A junior or student membership is available for $15. And of course reading their blog and following their twitter feed is free.

PEN America is a literary organization that defends free speech but that doubles as an advocacy source and networking center. $25.

Publishersmarketplace.com is an industry trade periodical

mediabistro.com has resources for all media professionals

mediagazer.com covers trending topics in media, publishing

publishingperspective.com is an industry roundup of news

bookjobs.com and journalismjobs.com are job boards

Clippings.me is an easy to use and free clips portfolio maker (you can see mine at https://clippings.me/mikelindgren).

Here are some periodicals that might publish work by novice writers: Empty Mirror, Luna Mag, the Millions, the BOILER, Rust and Moth, Grist Journal, Collapsar, WhiskeyPaper, Squalorly Lit, Wyvern, Sundog Lit, Gravel Magazine, Split Lip, etc. etc.

CALENDAR

End of May: Book Expo and BookCon

September: Brooklyn Book Festival (free!)

Spring: Awards season — National Book Awards and NBCC awards

RESEARCH

Go to the library. Bring a piece of mail and a photo ID. Get a library card. Go to nypl.org. Click “research.” Scroll down. Click “articles and databases.” Use “find e-journals by title,” “Oxford Reference Online,” and “JSTOR.”

ESSENTIAL REFERENCES

Strunk and White, The Elements of Style.

Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition.

Associated Press Stylebook.

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, online version.

American Heritage Dictionary.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“Ten Ways to Make Yourself a Better Writer” by Mike Lindgren, Medium, July 2015

“The End” by Boris Kachka, New York, 9/22/08

“Diary” by Colin Robinson, London Review of Books, 2/26/09

“The Last Book Party” by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Harpers, March 2009

“Diary,” by Christian Lorentzen, London Review of Books, 8/2/12

GLOSSARY

ARC — Advanced Readers Copy. A bound preview of the book sent to reviewers and bookstores in advance of the publication date.

backlist — the cumulative books a press has published in the past, which continue to sell in paperback and provide low-maintenance revenue. cf. frontlist

blurb — an endorsement by a fellow writer, used for pre-publication advertising and on the back of the book to entice readers.

clip — a published review, used to demonstrate a reviewer’s experience, style, competence, etc.

frontlist — the publisher’s new offerings for the upcoming season, to be published largely in hardcover and aggressively promoted. cf backlist

lede — the first sentence of an article or review, one which should grab the reader’s attention.

pitch — a message to an editor suggesting a book to be reviewed by the reviewer, including a description of the book’s relevance and the reviewer’s qualifications.

pre-pubs — Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus. Three periodicals which publish advance reviews of upcoming books.

trade — 1) intended for the general reader, and sold through bookstores; 2) a general-interest periodical such as the NYT, WSJ, etc., as opposed to pre-pubs.

wholesaler — a company that warehouses and distributes books to bookstores, i.e., the middleman between the publisher and the bookstore.