- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; Revised, Updated edition (October 5, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159448483X
- ISBN-13: 978-1594484834
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 116 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Forest for the Trees (Revised and Updated): An Editor's Advice to Writers Revised, Updated Edition
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"With an early promise not to 'Strunk you over the head with rules about style, ' Lerner... provides inspiring, uncondescending advice for writers." -Entertainment Weekly
"[Lerner] doesn't preach on how to write a book but rather tries to help writers and would-be authors cope with such problems as 'being alone with it.' It's a survival course. She wants to help the writer who cannot get started embark, the writer stalled between projects ignite. She wants you to be an effective 'self-promoter' and not a 'self-saboteur.' The book is also an affirmation that late bloomers can become successful writers." -The New York Times"
"[Lerner] has a wicked sense of humor. But don't think that means her book isn't brilliant. It is. Cleverly disguised as a sensible reference work, [this] is in fact a riveting safari through the wilds of the writer's brain, as well as an honest and unpatronizing guide to publishing from every angle. Its tone is singularly authoritative, compassionate, irreverent, and unafraid. Unquestionably a gift to writers of every persuasion." -Newsday
"Economical and witty. The Forest for the Trees should become a permanent part of any writer's or editor's personal library." -The Seattle Times
"Solid, insider advice on every step of the publishing process... With this book, Betsy Lerner becomes what every writer hopes for--a friend in the business." -Chicago Tribune
About the Author
Betsy Lerner has worked as an editor at Houghton Mifflin, Ballantine, Simon & Schuster, and most recently as executive editor at Doubleday. She lives in Pelham, New York and is currently an agent at the Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency.
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PLOT - In The Forest for the Trees, Betsy Lerner brings her years of knowledge as an editor to the table and dispenses advice on a variety of subjects for the aspiring ( or even seasoned) writer. Lerner does not give advice about how to write a story. This is not a creative guide. Lerner's book is focused on giving a writer solid information on the publishing process. She explains the business side of books and gives tips on moves a writer can make to work within this ever-changing system.
The first half of the book deals with different types of writer personalities that Lerner has encountered. She explains things that she suspects hinders these different personality types from achieving their writing goals and how these types of writers can maintain their focus. The second half of the book deals with the nuts and bolts of the publishing world.
LIKE - I appreciate and respect that Lerner has shared her experiences in her field. There is a lot to be learned in this book and I suspect that it will be a frequent reference over the years. As a beginning writer, there was so much that I learned about publishing. I felt like I gained a completely new perspective on the process. When I finished reading, I felt like my mind was exploding from all of the info!
My biggest take-aways are to have patience, work hard and follow my gut. It seems that the world of publishing moves slowly and that might be hard to swallow in our society that demands immediate gratification. I was heartened by the examples of known authors who have faced multiple rejections and failures, before finding success. Lerner's book is filled with useful information that she dispenses with wit, sarcasm and kindness. I felt like on a whole, the publishing industry is filled with book lovers, who really want to discover that next book that they will fall in love with...and then sell it and make a huge profit!
DISLIKE - Does not long enough count? Seriously, this book is an invaluable tool. I couldn't put it down, because I was just absorbing all of the new information. This book was a revelation.
RECOMMEND - A must for aspiring writers, even those who are considering self-publishing. I'm sure that even the established writer could find wisdom in The Forest for the Trees. Read this book sooner, rather than later.
Like my review? Check out my blog!
Every writer should own this book.
This is not a "how to book," on writing, but rather a carefully written work full of pithy anecdotes about authors, editors, agents, publishers, publicists, booksellers and the rest of the pantheon of individual needed to put a well-written book into the hands of a reader.
The author lovingly and frankly shares with her readers the good, the bad and the ugly lessons she has learned first-hand and vicariously in several decades of inhabiting the publishing world. As someone who writes on a regular basis and who is intrepidly plodding along on writing a novel, I found her advice both practical and heartening. She does a wonderful job of describing the idiosyncrasies of writers of every stripe, identifying common obstacles - lifestyle-related and psychological - that can trip up an aspiring writer.
Her love for literature,for the written word and for the peculiar type of person who is compelled to write books comes across loud and clear. It feels that we writers have someone in our corner on an otherwise sometimes lonely and hostile planet.
I especially appreciate the author's collection of examples and insights from other writers and books (including a useful bibliography), as well as her behind-the-scenes perspective on the publishing world. Most of all, I'm inspired by her words: "Your job is to marshal the talent you do have and find people who believe in you."
The bottom line: Writing is "a long-distance race." So join the marathon and make friends with this book, too.