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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need this book
The author is an experienced agent sharing his knowledge with a gentle humour. Ok, sometimes not so gentle - the quip about the type of negotiating stance a first-time author should take with their publisher is a real gem.

I read the book cover to cover in one sitting, skimming only the sections on collaborative writing and book packagers, and not only did I...
Published on February 9, 2005 by Simon Haynes

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Laughably out of date
I'm quite sure that this was just full of vital information back in 1983(!) (to be fair, it does have some post 2000 updates) when it was first published, but by today's standards its woefully inaccurate and gives advice that's just outdated. He acts like emailed submissions are some strange beast that will never catch on! I'm sad to say it, but buying this was absolutely...
Published 18 months ago by Jennifer Williamson


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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need this book, February 9, 2005
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This review is from: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Paperback)
The author is an experienced agent sharing his knowledge with a gentle humour. Ok, sometimes not so gentle - the quip about the type of negotiating stance a first-time author should take with their publisher is a real gem.

I read the book cover to cover in one sitting, skimming only the sections on collaborative writing and book packagers, and not only did I learn a lot I also laughed out loud at several observations. Information is so much easier to digest when it's presented in a breezy conversational style.

The book includes a sample publishing contract and several author-friendly clauses which can be substituted for the more usual publisher-friendly versions.

Like another reviewer's copy, my book also looks like a group of preschoolers had a go at it. Corners folded, underlining everywhere, notes in the margins... but that's always the sign of an informative title.

Highly recommended if you're at this stage of the game.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All About the Business of Publishing Books for Every Writer!, August 4, 2004
This review is from: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Paperback)
Several days ago I finished reading HOW TO BE YOUR OWN LITERARY AGENT, and my book looks as if its been in a HURRICANE! The cover is battered; the pages are dogeared; and the margins are scribbled in! This book was originally published in 1983 and has undergone two later revisions. But authors, don't read the early editions, though they have a lot of valuable info. in them. Read this latest 2003 revision that has been expanded to add observations about the way the publishing industry has changed including recent electronic advances. The book has chapters on negotiating contracts, how to make the best deals, steps books go through to publication, ongoing publicity before, during, and after the book is published, chain/independent bookstores, the role of agents, taxes, and on and on. This book is written by one of NY's top literary agents who has seen it all in the last 40 years of his career. Richard Curtis writes very well, sometimes humorously, and has covered just about everything. It is not a book about how to plot, flesh out characters, describe settings, etc. This book is about the business of writing books. The only criticism I have is that it does not include an index nor does it go into detail about Amazon.com and Bn.com, or how to track book sales. This is a must book for every writer. I am a reader of historical fiction and highly recommend any Leon Uris novel, the first novels of James Michener, slave narratives written by actual slaves, biographies of historical known and unknown historical figures and fictional young adult novels such as The Diary of a Slave Girl, Ruby Jo and The Journal of Darien Dexter Duff, an Emancipated Slave.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Conversation with a Top Consultant, December 31, 2008
This review is from: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Paperback)
Every aspiring writer should read at least one book on the business aspects of writing and publishing. If you only read one, it should be this one. If you read two or three, this should be one of them. It's a valuable book for all writers, agented or unagented. If you do have an agent, you should have some basic understanding of the contracts your agent sends you and the realities of the publishing industry. You may feel you don't need to understand contracts if you're still trying to make your first sale, but you're going to be presented with a contract even for a magazine sale, and you should have some understanding of what you're signing. And you should understand some things, such as the libel rules, from the time you first start writing. Curtis is a veteran author and agent. For a small price, you get the equivalent of several hours of conversation with a top consultant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Laughably out of date, July 29, 2013
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I'm quite sure that this was just full of vital information back in 1983(!) (to be fair, it does have some post 2000 updates) when it was first published, but by today's standards its woefully inaccurate and gives advice that's just outdated. He acts like emailed submissions are some strange beast that will never catch on! I'm sad to say it, but buying this was absolutely a mistake -- I can't in good conscious imagine this book would do any kind of justice to the way the market has changed.

I don't recommend this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the way to get published - it works!, April 4, 2010
This review is from: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Paperback)
I cannot thank Richard Curtis enough for this book. I'm not a reader of self-help books as a rule, but this one I underlined. My publisher - chosen with Curtis' instructions in mind - said he'd never seen a cleaner copy than my manuscript.

When I walked into my attorney's office with the list - Curtis" list - of the things I wanted to see in my contract, my attorney said, "You've been doing your homework!"

Thank you, Mr. Curtis; I'm a fan from the earliest edition, and I just bought 2003's.

A.D. Slade
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a Must-Own, April 14, 2010
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This review is from: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Paperback)
When I started out to sell my first book, I bought A LOT of books on agents and the publishing process. In the end, this is the only one I'd say was definitely useful. I spent probably a year querying agents unsuccessfully, and while that process forced me to think a lot more about audience, presentation and the reader's experience, it didn't result in much else except making me desperate and insecure. I eventually pitched an idea to an independent publisher directly, and that resulted in the publication of my first book. It was a GRUELING process and took longer than I would have wanted, but three years from inception to publication is really not bad. *How to Be Your Own Literary Agent* enabled me to feel confident I wasn't making any mistakes when I signed the contract (when I was WRITING the book, well, that was all on my shoulders).

I do think the publishing industry has evolved in a way that it excludes a lot of talented but inexperienced writers. In that respect, I think it's is easier for fiction writers, since there's an enormous community that's all about developing the skills you need to get from where you are to where you want to be. Even though nonfiction is much less competitive (and more lucrative), there's no comparable community dedicated to helping nonfiction writers develop the skills they need to produce an excellent product that publishers and readers will love. If that's the boat you're in, I don't know what to tell you except "Go with God."

Anyways, this is definitely at the top of my Top Ten Publishing Books. If you don't land an agent but are determined to press on, this is certainly a must-own.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for New Writers Breaking In, September 18, 2007
This review is from: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book that describes the business side of literary agencies, publishing houses and the relationship between the two that makes the publishing wheel go round. He offers loads of contractual tips and explainations of your rights - which is very important.

I read his book when I was shopping my own book Never Trust A Man In Alligator Loafers. I still refer to it and brush up on contract knowledge and rights.

If you're wondering if you need a literary agent - my answer is yes!
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To help writers understand the publishing industry, July 29, 2005
By 
Professor May (Columbia Falls, MT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Paperback)
The title "How to be Your Own Literary Agent" may be misleading for some people, who may take it to mean that by reading this book, one can skip the need of querying for agents. It doesn't help you get published; it says you still have to have agents to get into big publishing houses, but it does give an insider detailed view of the agent business and the publishing industry.

For the aspiring writer, most of the information is interesting but not useful, as the book itself admits - who in the world dares to bargain with the editor anyway, when he is ready to kiss the editor's feet for agreeing to publish his first book? However, for people who wish to become professional writers, such knowledge will certainly come in handy after one becomes published.

The book reads smooth and is extremely funny, making it a pleasurable bedtime reading. I finished it around 3 a.m. with a sore neck. For example, Mr. Curtis mentions this client who claimed to be a mafia hit man. As a result, he had little trouble getting his royal check on time - he'd simply call the publisher and say "if my royalty check ain't ready by noon tomorrow, I'm gonna marry you to a plate-glass window." (p.114)

As one can imagine, the publisher was quick to meet this guy's special needs. Then one day the poor guy was found shot dead outside some motel. Mr. Curtis didn't think the publisher did it.

I highly recommend this book to any writer.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential for writers, May 12, 2007
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This review is from: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Paperback)
The title is a bit misnomered since in effect an author cannot be his own literary agent and to access editors at the major publishing houses the screening of a representative is now required by most. That aside, the book is a treasury of essential insider information for not only the newbie but for an author like myself who after having seven books published is still struggling to get his work into print.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Own Literary Agent, March 9, 2014
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This review is from: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Paperback)
I bought this book to help me sell novels that I had written. My first novel to be submitted to a publisher was accepted and I no longer needed the book, but I have it on the shelf in case I need it in the future.
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How To Be Your Own Literary Agent: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published
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