I just finished The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner and I have to say, it is one of the best writing books I’ve ever read. Description from Library Journal:
“Lerner’s credentials include editorial stints at Houghton-Mifflin, Ballantine, Simon & Schuster, and Doubleday. Working now as a literary agent, she shares an insider’s perspective on the publication side of writing. Definitely not a “how-to” book or a style manual, this chatty, informal volume is anecdotal and encouraging to the novice or amateur writer. The first part describes various types of writers Lerner has worked with over the years and how a writer’s personality influences both the writing and the ability to get published. Stronger and more helpful, the next section covers the process of manuscript submission and offers concrete advice about literary agents, query letters, multiple submissions, working with editors and publicists, and dealing with rejection and writer’s block. Because of her unique approach, this book will find its audience among writers groups and workshops.”
The first section describes various ways writers can sabotage themselves, and ways to become conscious of the some of the bad decisions we might make and how to work around them. The second half shines a light on the actual business of publishing. It was fascinating, funny, and heartbreaking at times. I checked it out from the library but will definitely be buying a copy. The one most important piece of advice I took away from this book? Writers who never give up are the ones who get published. Thank you, Ms. Lerner, for strengthening my resolve to never give up. I have to admit, a few weeks ago it was wavering, but not anymore!