~Richard Curtis’s How to be Your Own Literary Agent has been around since 1983, and was revised and expanded in 2003. Curtis doesn’t advise fledglings to become their own agents, despite the book’s title, but offers
There are a number of good books on writing available, many of value to even the most experienced writers. I’ve accumulated quite a few during my many years in the publishing industry and I’d like to share a few of the best:
How to negotiate your own contract alone is worth the price of the book as well as termination and revision rights, royalty statements and the bookkeeping games that publishers play. He also talks about warranties, permissions, option causes, ancillary rights, cyberbooks and hyper authors, ebooks, movie and TV deals and what writers need to know to launch their careers in today’s publishing environment, among other insider tips.
~Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel: How to Knock ‘em Dead with Style is another book writers should read. Novelist and
Ephron also discusses villains, choosing a title for your book, introducing your protagonist, planting clues or red herrings, laying in backstory, minor characters, point of view, dialogue and everything in between. I highly recommend this book written by a best selling novelist.
~How to Write Killer Fiction is another book writers should have on their shelves. I especially enjoyed her chapter on writing killer fiction. Her introduction quotes the late John Gardner, who
Wheat writes of many aspects of her “Funhouse of Mystery,” including organizing your novel, the two-layered ending, spy fiction offshoots, the hero’s journey, how to finish your book before it finishes you, endings that satisfy, the storyboard, comic relief and much more.
Another how-to book I’ve been hearing about for some time but only acquired recently
I’ve saved some of the best for last: Chris Roerden’s award winning books, Don't Murder Your Mystery and Don’t Sabotage Your Submission. The former New York editor, freelance editor and author lists ten reasons writers cause editors to cringe: Arrogance, as in
~ My book is so good it doesn’t need editing.
~ The only thing it could use is maybe a light proofreading.
~ Everyone will want to buy it.
~ Every publisher will want to publish it.
~ They’re getting a bargain at 150,000 words.
~ To make sure no one steals my ideas, I’ve already registered the copyright.
~ I don’t have to read guidelines, write a synopsis, or play by any of those other Mickey Mouse rules because those are for amateurs.
~ I never read books about writing.
~ What genre is it, you ask? Let the publisher figure that out. They’re in the business. It’s got romance, mystery, history, and biography, and autobiography.
~There isn’t another book like it.
(Excerpted from my ebook, Mysterious Writers: The Many Facets of Mystery Writing.