Wednesday, 11 May 2016

'Paper Hearts, Volume 2: Some Publishing Advice', by Beth Revis

Title: Paper Hearts, Volume 2: Some Publishing Advice (Paper Hearts #2)
Author(s): Beth Revis
Release Date: 1st December 2015
Publisher: Scripturient Books
Genre: Writing Craft
Source: NetGalley

Synopsis:
Launch the right career for you.

There are more options than ever to get your book published. But what's the right path to a career as an author for you? Discover the different publishing paths, learn what's right for your story, and use specific tools and activities to present your work in the best possible way.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

With information that explores both traditional and self publication, Paper Hearts describes:

-How to Pick the Right Publishing Path for You
-Basic Professional Advice
-Practical Information on Agents
-How to Write a Query Letter
-Dealing with Traditional Publication
-Developing a Book for Self Publishing
-Budgeting and Investing Money in Your Career
-Steps to becoming a Career Author

...And much more!

BONUS! Includes an actual query letter that snagged an agent, plus guidelines and models to write a query or book description from an author who has successfully published in both methods.


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Unlike the more moral support and inspirational orientated advice of 'Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice', 'Volume 2' starts digging into the turning wheels of the publishing industry. What are the differences between self and traditional publishing? How do you decide which path to follow? How does one get an agent? What happens after you land that coveted agent? What does an author do once they get picked up for publishing?

Having done quite a lot of research about the publishing process, I was expecting this book to present me with a lot of repeat information, but that wasn't the case. Much like the other two volumes, Beth Revis focuses on areas that don't seem to get as much attention by other authors and writers of this genre, which made for a refreshing, enlightening read.

The section I believe illustrates that the most in the one that approaches the search for an agent. Most, if not all advice that I have read over the years regarding that has been on how to write the perfect query letter, and how to make an offer of representation a more likely possibility. 'Volume 2' focuses on that as well, of course, and we are given the practical example of the query letter that landed Beth Revis an agent for her 'Across the Universe' series. It is incredibly difficult to find query letters for published/successful novels to study, and having this offered by the author herself was not only surprising but also incredibly useful. Writing a query letter is something that I dread even though I am personally months, if not years away from that stage, and Beth offers some very original and helpful exercises to make that task as easy as possible.

Once the querying stage becomes (hopefully) a success and an offer of representation is made, I previously felt like there was a void in advice about what to do from that point, since that seemed to be the end goal of a lot of books I have been reading. The implication that an author should accept the first offer they get was there, and Beth is quick to say that while the temptation for that is incredibly strong, some other steps should be taken before that final 'yes', and this is the section I believe I will come back to in the future often and is probably the best in the entire book.

Once again, as an author that has crossed between both strains of publishing, Beth Revis offers no judgement against either and presents the cons and pros of both traditional and self publishing. Most people see self publishing as the way to go only if traditional publishing does not happen, and it is good to see that stigma slowly evaporating as quite a lot of authors find their place in self publishing and refuse to go the traditional route. Along with this goes her disclaimer that the publishing industry is ever changing and that advice can quickly lose its pertinence but I believe this book does an amazing job of keeping it valuable and relevant at least for some years to come.

While all the advice in this book can be applicable to any writer, there are some segments that seem to push away certain readers by being, for example, USA specific when talking about publishing houses and retailers. This is not ultimately a negative for people that have some knowledge of the industry in their country of residence, but it might be for someone that is just starting in their research. Do take this into consideration if you live anywhere else other than North America, but I personally do not believe it takes away from the message even those sections have to offer. Also, with its big focus on the querying process and the hunt for an agent, if you are seeking self publication you might feel like it is not as useful for your own experience throughout that section.

If you are a reader/writer on a budget and can only invest in one book out of this trilogy, I would definitely recommend acquiring this volume. While 'Volume 1' offers great advice it might not be for everyone, and there is some overlap between the end of this book and 'Volume 3'. All three 'Paper Hearts' are well worth the read, but if you are at a stage where you are still editing or finished with your novel this is the book that will be most useful for you. There won't be, for example, much need for Marketing advice if your book does not achieve publication, so if you are in a situation where you need to pick and choose what books to purchase, this is your best bet.

The publishing industry might seem like a monster to tackle, but this book makes that adventure less like a dive into a dark, bottomless pit and guides you through the process as a reassuring torch. Achieving a good balance to make it relevant for all, you will be sure to find something useful for your own path in its pages!

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