Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba is a haunting novel about a little girl, Marina, who is sent to an orphanage after her parents die in a car crash that she survived. The other girls at the orphanage, however, aren’t so welcoming. They want to love her, but cannot; Marina wants to be accepted by them, but isn’t. Barba explores the inability to communicate and the heightened reality of childhood as his characters cannot break out of their fated roles and barrel on toward inevitable tragedy. It’s a short book at 97 pages, but the prose, mood, and intense characterization gripped me long after I put it down. Continue reading
In January, I copy edited my first full book manuscript. Naturally, it was an exciting moment for me as an editor. I had prepared for the edit for a few months, but I didn’t know quite what to expect when I sat down to copy edit 46,000 words within one week for the first time. I learned a few things that will make my next book project easier to tackle.
Here’s what I learned (and some things I wish I did) while copy editing my first book manuscript: Continue reading
I have a confession to make: Since November, I’ve been regularly submitting the few pieces of my writing that are polished enough to send into the world to lit mags. But rarely, so rarely, have I actually…read…lit mags.
It’s terrible. Around 75 percent of lit mag submission guidelines suggest that writers read the magazine to get an idea of what the editors like. This makes sense. But I haven’t done it.
I have no excuses, really. I like reading, I intend to support lit mags, and I want to find the best places for my writing.
So I’ve decided that in February, it’s time to actually read lit mags. Continue reading
Bookstores are my weakness, and quite unfortunately, I was recently subjected to several tempting multi-level, well-stocked London bookstores. Reader, it was terrible. As I threw more and more books into my arms (and eventually into shopping baskets), I tried to think of some constraints to narrow down which books I would allow myself to buy. I decided upon a few rules to guide my British book buying:
- I could buy books that weren’t available in the United States yet.
- I could buy books that had sucky U.S. editions but fabulous U.K. editions.
- I could buy books that were significantly cheaper in the United Kingdom than the American Amazon prices.
- I was required to buy the complete volumes of Roald Dahl’s short stories, because gah.
I just finished copy editing my first full book manuscript. After I had read through the entire thing, I was searching for “their” to check agreement, and I came across a sentence that was missing a word.
I stared at my computer in horror and blathered incoherent noises for a minute.
Later, as I was doing a final scroll-through of the Word document, I spotted an “every” that should have been “ever.” Oh no! I fixed it, obviously, but the negative thoughts rushed into my head: The manuscript is probably riddled with errors—egregious, noticeable errors—and I will be found out and never trusted with a book manuscript again. I’ll be stuck editing blogs until I go blind.
But then I remembered a very important lesson that I’ve had to teach my perfectionist self: Editors can’t be perfectionists. Continue reading
Almost everyone says the same thing about books you don’t finish: Just move on. Read something better, read something that’s more engaging. But for some reason, I stubbornly want to finish books that I’ve started.
If I start a book, I want to finish it so I can either write a review of what I didn’t like or be pleasantly surprised when the book improves as I read. And if I’ve gone to the trouble of buying a book and spent time reading it, it seems like a waste of time and money to abandon it.
Despite good intentions, I abandoned several books in 2017. Here are 10 books I didn’t finish last year: Continue reading
I first came across The End We Start From on a LitHub list of new releases in November. The initial description checked a lot of boxes for me: literary fiction, lots of overarching metaphors, beautiful prose. It sounded promising (and the cover looked gorgeous). When I saw it on the shelf in Barnes & Noble, I had to pick it up and decide for myself: To read or not to read? Continue reading
‘Twas the summer of 2016, and I was desperate for an internship somehow related to publishing. After my searches for internships showed that there were no relevant ones in St. Louis, where I would live for the summer, I had to figure out how to get the professional experience I desired. I had a list of publishers and literary magazines in St. Louis, so I started cold emailing. Not all of my cold emails were successful; most recipients never acknowledged my emails, in fact. But two were successful.
I emailed Amphorae Publishing and Open Books Press/Brick Mantel Books, introduced myself, and asked whether they needed an editorial intern for the summer. Both publishers responded that yes, they could use an intern.
Now, I’m not suggesting that I know some special secret about cold emails. I don’t—I just got lucky. But if my emails succeeded, maybe they’ll work as helpful templates for writing your own cold emails. Continue reading