Review: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry

by Joel Friedlander on January 11, 2011 · 2 comments

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It always seems a bit risky when a publisher issues a new edition of a popular book but gives it a new title. That’s the case with The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It . . . Successfully! by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry.

Originally published in 2005 as Putting Your Passion Into Print, the new edition has been updated with a section on social media, and an acknowledgment of the coming influence of ebooks. Much of the rest of the book has been updated as well.

The authors have a deep background in publishing. Arielle Eckstut has had a long career as a literary agent and David Henry Sterry, her husband, has published eleven books with traditional publishers. Together, they operate TheBookDoctors.com website. Here’s their intro:

Between us, we have a quarter of a century’s worth of experience turning talented writers into published authors. Whether your book suffers from Titleitis, has no spine or needs a chapterectomy, we will help you fix it so that you can write it, sell it, and market it. Not to mention have fun while doing it.

Arielle Eckstut and David Henry SterryTheir experience in creating books and pitching them to editors and publishers is evident throughout the book. They rely on decades of experience to guide authors through the ins and outs of writing, pitching, signing, and promoting a book.

This is an endlessly useful, practical and inspiring book. The authors are relentlessly upbeat and enthusiastic about the world of publishing, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

Whether discussing the best way to write your bio, or how to format your query letter, or how to approach agents, they are full of expert guidance on the nuts and bolts of the writer’s life and the business of writing.

All the Guide is Divided Into Three Parts

The Essential Guide starts off with a section on “Setting Up Shop” where the authors guide you through an overview of the publishing process, explain how to perfect your pitch, how to find and land an agent, and dealing with both submissions and rejections. They include here a section on social media for authors.

The second part of the Guide deals with “Taking Care of Business” which moves on to how a publishing deal actually works, understanding the all-important publishing contract, and working with a publisher once you do get signed. At the end of this section is a chapter on self-publishing.

“A must-have for every aspiring writer.”—Khaled Hosseini, Author of The Kite Runner

Acknowledging the rise of self-publishing as a new way for writers to launch their career, or to take a chance at snagging an agent by racking up impressive sales for a self-published book, Eckstut and Sterry give a good overview of the process without too much in the way of detail.

The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book PublishedThis isn’t a handicap. In fact, it’s actually a pretty neat feature. The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published is squarely aimed at writers trying to break into traditional publishing. So the inclusion of a serious section on self-publishing is welcome.

The last section, “Getting the Word Out” covers publicity, book marketing, your book launch, and special sales.

The authors also supply 5 appendices with a bibliography, resources and forms you may find useful.

It Helps to Have Friends

The authors have lots of friends that you have probably heard of, and they call on them regularly to illuminate various parts of their presentation. So you might hear from Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational) when discussing how publishers allocate marketing resources.

“I started with nothing but an idea, and then I bought this book. Soon I had an A-list agent, a near six-figure advance, and multiple TV deals in the works. Buy it and memorize it. This tome is the quiet secret of rockstar authors.”—Timothy Ferris

They talk to Mark Coker (Smashwords) about ebooks, and include interviews with dozens of publishing insiders including Seth Godin, Neil Gaiman, Amy Bloom, Margaret Atwood, as well as agents, publicists, editors, booksellers and more.

Eckstut and Sterry are upbeat writer advocates throughout the book. They hold your hand, explain the often byzantine ways of the publishing world, and guide you at every step to develop your book and get it published and sold.

What to Expect When You’re Submitting

As far as the design of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published is concerned, it is unmistakably a Workman book.

If you have ever seen a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting—and who hasn’t?—you already know what this book looks like. It’s designed as if every single person who reads it has an attention disorder of such magnitude that they are incapable of making it even part of the way down the page of a book without having something to hold on to.

“Before you write your own book, read this one.”—Jonathan Karp, publisher, Simon & Schuster

Almost every one of the 480 pages in this book is adorned—or strewn—with sidebars, pull quotes, bullet lists, tint boxes, huge bold stacked headings, even larger and bolder chapter titles, number lists, tints, rules, drop caps . . . you get the idea.

I suppose “chunking” the content this way goes along with the breezy yet informative style of the writing, but I did find myself longing for a “volume” control so I could turn down the noise a bit to actually read the damn thing.

Takeaway: If you want to understand how traditional publishing really works, and the best ways to try to become a traditionally-published author, you won’t find a better book than The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. It’s the best companion an aspiring author could possibly have. Even self-publishers will gain a wealth of understanding about publishing, and many specific tips about marketing and selling your book. Highly recommended.

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The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published on Amazon
480 pages, $15.95, softcover
ISBN: 978-0-7611-6085-4
TheBookDoctors.com website

All Amazon links in this article are affilate links. Thank you for your patronage.

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