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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published, 4th Edition Paperback – August 1, 2006

28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1592575183 ISBN-10: 1592575188 Edition: 4th

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sheree Bykofsky, the founder and owner of the Sheree Bykofsky Literary Agency, has written and represented hundreds of successful titles over her long publishing career. She regularly teaches university courses on publishing and speaks at writers’ conferences across the country.

Jennifer Basye Sander has been an author and book packager for nearly 20 years. Her career has spanned all aspects of the business, from retail sales and book acquisition to editorial and publicity. She and her husband founded the Big City Books Group, which develops book projects and has over 40 successful books in print.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; 4th edition (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592575188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592575183
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Thomas D. Kehoe on April 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought five books to help me write a book proposal:

"How to Write a Book Proposal, 3rd edition," by Michael Larsen

"78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published & 14 Reasons Why It Just Might," by Pat Walsh

"The Forest for the Trees," by Betsy Lerner

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published, 4th edition," by Sheree Bykofsky and Jennifer Basye Sander

"Think Like Your Editor," by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunado

The worst was "How to Write a Book Proposal." This book felt like a bad date, like I wanted to wash my hair after reading it. The intent is to teach you to be an "Authorpreneur (r)." Yes, Larsen has registered this word. You'll learn such gems as everyone has 250 friends, and each of them has 250 friends, so you can "spread the word" about your book to more than 62,000 people by e-mail. I think there's a word for that -- spam. Larsen also says to include your promotion plan in the book proposal, including pushing "the paperback edition as hard as you can" when it's published a year after the hardcover edition. I'm not an agent or editor, but I'd think that an agent would giggle quietly to themselves if you were so presumptuous as to include a marketing plan for the paperback edition. (To the author's credit, he doesn't say you should suggest which actor should play the main character in the movie version of your book.) Then there's the chapter about including illustrations and cover art. Excuse me, I thought the editor and art director develop the cover art? I can't imagine creating the book cover to include in the proposal. And the author recommends including a "surprise," such as a baby shoe with a note saying "Now that I have a foot in the door." The book has one good piece of advice: pick a good title.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Pistorius on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a freelance writer and owner of several bookshelves literally groaning with stacks of books on writing. I've devoured books on writing the way my teenage daughter digs into pizza, always hoping for some mantra that would help pave my way to publishing success. Although I am a successful magazine (Woman's Day, Cosmopolitan, etc.) and newspaper (Chicago Tribune, etc.) author, and have contributed to several anthologies, I have yet to hold a book in my hand with my name on the cover. THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO GETTING PUBLISHED is the most practical book on publishing that I've ever read, and I've read them all! Not only is each chapter packed with advice for writers at every level of the publishing process, but the text is highly readable and even entertaining. All the sidebars and boxes keep the large volume of information from ever becoming dry or boring. And the icing on the cake is a CD-ROM with templates for pitch letters and proposals--just what every writer needs, when he's faced with the daunting task of selling himself to publishers. Thanks so much, Sheree and Jennifer!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John M. Artz on September 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
So many books about how to get your book published are really either books about writing or the disguised memoir of an acquisition editor. But a person trying to get their first book published really just needs some bare bones advice about the mechanics of publishing. When should you send a query letter instead of a proposal? When should you write the book first and when should you just spec it out. When do you need an agent and when can you go it alone. When is it OK to call somebody? What is the big deal with this SASE that everyone keeps talking about? The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published provides the nuts and bolts advice you need to get started in your search for a publisher. It is not magic. It is just hard work. And this book lays it out beautifully.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Green VINE VOICE on June 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're writing non-fiction, this book will probably be very helpful. But if you're interested in publishing a novel, you'll probably be left wanting. This is not to say the authors don't cover publishing fiction, just that it's neither their expertise nor their focus. It's like a restaurant meal where the mashed potatoes were great, but the meat just wasn't very flavorful - it's just not satisfying.

The authors, both who've worked as editors, one who seems to have published a number of books on miscellaneous and sundry topics and the other who has worked as an agent, give lots of good advice on how the publishing business works and who the various people are that you might deal with. They tell you what it's like to be an editor and how you should treat them, and ways to improve your chances of being published. They suggest methods for doing market research and coming up with topics that might fill a book. Also covered are the benefits of using an agent and ways to publicize your book. They even include a CD in the latest edition with sample proposals and query letters which follow the generally accepted formats in the business.

And yes, they try to work fiction and its nuances into the text, but it almost always feels like an afterthought and often seems a bit confusing. Most of the examples given apply mainly to non-fiction, such as establishing yourself as an expert in your field beforehand by giving interviews or writing for your local paper. At first it wasn't that big of a deal, but by the end of the book I felt pretty disappointed. There is some really helpful information here, but it's just not targeted at publishing fiction.
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