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Your First Novel: An Author Agent Team Share the Keys to Achieving Your Dream Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1582973883 ISBN-10: 1582973881

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (September 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582973881
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582973883
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Superb advice on writing a great novel and getting it published." —Harlan Coben, author of Promise Me

"The advice in Your First Novel rings so true that I found myself sighing through its pages, thinking ‘If I’d been told this earlier, what a lot of trouble I’d have saved myself.’ This book offers the spark of inspiration that gets a writer both mentally and physically geared for the task. Then it delivers something equally vital: clear-headed, positive advice about the business side of writing a novel. It’ll inspire you to create, challenge you to be great, and bolster you with the wisdom of two seasoned professionals." —George Hagen, author of The Laments

"This book is essential reading for anyone impractical enough to try to write a first novel and anyone practical enough to do what it takes to get published. Ann RIttenberg and Laura Whitcomb offer just the right amount of encouragement and common sense. And Dennis Lehane's foreword should become to writers what the Breyer's Pledge is to ice cream." —Peter Blauner, author of Slipping Into Darkness and Slow Motion Riot

About the Author

Ann Rittenberg has been in publishing for twenty-four years, six as an editor and eighteen as an agent. She's worked on the first novels of Dennis Lehane, Kathleen George, and more, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Laura Whitcomb is the author of the acclaimed A Certain Slant of Light. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

More About the Authors

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 39 customer reviews
This book has been very helpful as far as style and writing.
Stacy
In short, where in the past I might have felt anxiety, after reading this book I feel empowered.
Myfanwy Collins
Great information about the process of what an agent does and what the editor does.
Kae

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Myfanwy Collins on September 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dennis Lehane is winningly honest as he dishes out tough love in his inspiring foreword, leading into the first half of the book (written by novelist Laura Whitcomb) which focuses on the craft of novel writing and is filled with helpful hints, book recommendations, and exercises.

The second half of the book (written by agent Ann Rittenberg) focuses on the business side of publishing your novel. I devoured this section. Even though I had what I thought was a clear understanding of how things worked on the business side, I was not comprehending it as clearly before I read this book, as I am now that I have read it. This section also offers reading recommendations, web site links, and much insider knowledge.

If you are writing your first novel (or your second, third, fourth, fifth, and even if you have already published a novel) this book is for you--as it leads you from inception to publication and beyond. You might find--as I did--that after reading this book you feel better about your work because you realize how much you are doing right by yourself and your work in the potentially intimidating writing life.

In short, where in the past I might have felt anxiety, after reading this book I feel empowered. And that is the strength of being informed.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Ruth H. Maxwell on December 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
I write for children and found this book extremely useful. The introduction by Dennis Lehane was inspiring. I was moved to tears by his generosity, of his exposing his own struggles and dreams of writing. The rest of the book demonstrated what he had written. Laura Whitcomb not only inspires, she provides practical, easy to use methods for contacting and using your "muse"--creative powers. In the second half of the book, Ann Rittenberg is honest and straight forward in the advice she gives about the business aspect of the writing business. After the first read of the book, I felt more confident and motivated as a writer. The second read of the book was like a workshop for me. I highly recommend this book.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By L. Fernow on October 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Reading this book is like having two wise and supportive friends take you aside and really dish about what it takes to successfully write and publish a novel.

Laura Whitcomb offers inspiring and practical advice on the writing side: everything from how to prepare your right brain for the creative process, to how to end a chapter.

Ann Rittenberg demystifies the entire publishing process and offers a rare look at what happens when (not if) you sell your novel. Her examples of bad query letters are hysterically funny and make you realize you really can do better than THAT.

Both authors are generous with their references and honest in their suggestions. Regardless of how far you are in your own novel writing process, you will find something useful and enjoyable in this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Scott Sherman VINE VOICE on May 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
Finishing my first novel was a long, often painful, often exciting journey. But when it was done, what came next? I really had no idea.

Having accomplished one of my life's major goals, I was thrilled just to complete the darn thing. But would it ever get published? Would anyone ever read it?

I felt like Peggy Lee singing "is that all there is?"

I needed help. After taking a look at many of the resources out there, I settled on Ann Rittenberg's and Laura Whitcomb's excellent Your First Novel as my primary guide.

I'm so glad I did. Now, to be honest, since my book was already done, I didn't read Ms. Whitcomb's chapters, which focus on the writing process. Instead, I hungrily jumped to Ms. Rittenberg's sections on how to sell it.

And sell it I did. Following Ms. Rittenberg's very clear and logically organized advice, I was able to obtain an agent and a publisher. I knew what questions to expect, what objections I'd have to overcome, and how best to package and present my work.

I've looked at many books of this sort, and Your First Novel was the most helpful for me. In fact, now that I'm writing my second novel, I've started to read Ms. Whitcomb's writing advice. Hopefully, it will be as rewarding as Ms. Rittenberg's contributions were, and it will help me avoid the dreaded sophmore slump.

Good luck to you in your journey!

Scott Sherman, author, First You Fall: A Kevin Connor Mystery
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matt on June 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've spent hundreds of dollars on dozens of books designed to teach aspiring authors the craft. Most of the books sing the same song and at the end the reader realizes he's just wasted many hours of valuable time that could have been spent practicing the craft or reading worthwhile prose.

Despite the dozens of writing-related books it recommends throughout the book, Your First Novel: An Author Agent Team Share the Keys to Achieving Your Dream is the only book on writing you need. It shows, not tells, aspiring novelists by providing countless examples from familiar works, something most other books lack.

The book is divided into two sections, one about authoring a book and the other about publishing the novel. I haven't read the second part (I want to finish the manuscript before I start thinking about getting it into print), but I still feel confident in giving the book five stars because even if the publishing section was filled with blank pages I have learned more from the first section than I have from every other book I've purchased (including On Writing by Stephen King, Telling Lies for Fun & ... yawn ... Profit, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creative Writing, 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists, The First Five Pages, and many, many more).

If you are serious about writing a novel, this book is a must-have.
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