Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book
Everything you've ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask is right here in this funny, candid guide written by an acclaimed author.
There are countless books on the market about how to write better but very few books on how to break into the marketplace with your first book. Cutting through the noise (and very mixed advice) online, while both dispelling rumors and remaining positive, Courtney Maum's Before and After the Book Deal is a one-of-a-kind resource that can help you get your book published.
Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book has over 150 contributors from all walks of the industry, including international bestselling authors Anthony Doerr, Roxane Gay, Garth Greenwell, Lisa Ko, R. O. Kwon, Rebecca Makkai, and Ottessa Moshfegh, alongside cult favorites Sarah Gerard, Melissa Febos, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Mira Jacob.
Agents, film scouts, film producers, translators, disability and minority activists, and power agents and editors also weigh in, offering advice and sharing intimate anecdotes about even the most taboo topics in the industry. Their wisdom will help aspiring authors find a foothold in the publishing world and navigate the challenges of life before and after publication with sanity and grace.
Are MFA programs worth the time and money? How do people actually sit down and finish a novel? Did you get a good advance? What do you do when you feel envious of other writers? And why the heck aren't your friends saying anything about your book? Covering questions ranging from the logistical to the existential (and everything in between), Before and After the Book Deal is the definitive guide for anyone who has ever wanted to know what it's really like to be an author.
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About the Author
Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Touch and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, the chapbook Notes from Mexico, and the handbook Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book. Her writing and essays have been widely published in such outlets as BuzzFeed; The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; and Modern Loss. She is the founder of the learning collaborative The Cabins, and she also works as a product and cosmetic shade namer from her home in Connecticut.
An American Booksellers Association Indie Next Selection
Forbes, 1 of the 10 Most Anticipated Books of the Year According to Independent Bookstores
The Rumpus, What to Read When the New Year Is Just Around the Corner
"A sensible and brightly encouraging guide to publishing. Maum covers just about everything a first-time author needs to know . . . A valuable companion for aspiring writers." --Kirkus Reviews
"In this nuts-and-bolts guide, accomplished author Maum (Costalegre, 2019) explains the journey of publishing from the Word-document manuscript to the remainder pile . . . Her style is infectious, too--the reader gets an insight on what it's like to be a real-life working writer, while also feeling close to the author and laughing along with her. This book is invaluable for the serious writer who is dedicated to publication, the rare title that's both a reference manual and a page-turner . . . A logical next step for budding writers who have consumed Stephen King's On Writing (2000), Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird (1995), and Chuck Wendig's Damn Fine Story (2017)." --Booklist (starred review)
"This witty, quirky guide to writing books as a profession, from novelist Maum (Touch), manages to be both funny and informative. Loaded with anecdotes and advice from her own career and from writer friends and acquaintances of hers, it provides a comprehensive guide to writing and selling books . . . Maum's book should prove invaluable to new writers seeking advice and support in navigating their first publication." --Publishers Weekly
"For most writers (a broad category of aspirational self-identification that warms my heart!) getting an actual book deal is the be all and end all, the final trophy at the end of a thankless, grueling marathon . . . But wait! There's more, a lot more. If any of this gives you anxiety--the before or the after--Courtney Maum is here to help, along with the 150 literary stars she's called on for advice. The key word in the book's subtitle--'A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book'--is that last one in the series, and Maum should know: a great exemplar of what it takes to make a life in literature, Maum is a tireless advocate of her fellow writers, while also finding the time to publish five books (thus far), and run an annual writers' retreat, The Cabins. This is the how-to book for a new era of publishing." --Jonny Diamond, Literary Hub, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year
"Like sharing a coffee with a kind and witty mentor, Before and After the Book Deal is an ideally conversational guide to traditional publishing . . . If you're in search of a guide that's both intensely readable and undeniably practical (which, let's be honest, you are), strap on your swimming cap and dive headfirst into this book." --Joe Walters, Independent Book Review
"Written with the insider know-how of a published author and industry insider . . . An indelible resource for any writer looking to get published." --Elena Nicolaou, Refinery29
"The chapters presented here are some of the most comprehensive and helpful pieces of advice on how to be a working writer that I've ever read." --Amy Brady, Chicago Review of Books
"For all of you planning, yet again, to write that book that you've had in your head for years . . . A comprehensive guide to navigating the tricky world of publishing." --Alison Stewart, All of It, WNYC
"An all-inclusive guide for writers on how to navigate and, importantly, survive the publishing world . . . Maum peels back the gauzy romantic curtain of a working author's life and replaces it with clarity and detailed advice." --Sarah LaDuke, The Roundtable, WAMC
"If you have been daydreaming or even thinking for a while about wanting to publish a book, then this is a must-read for you! Maum captures everything you've ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask and/or didn't know where to ask. I truly appreciate her candidness and humor throughout this book." --Christina Ciampa, All She Wrote Books, Boston Magazine
"The new writer's bible." --Kailey Brennan, Write or Die Tribe
"An insider's guide on how to navigate the path toward publication . . . I, for one, will be buying this book today; if you've got a book in the works, or know someone who does, I'd suggest you follow suit." --Hannah Van Sickle, The Berkshire Eagle
"Courtney Maum has written the answer to my prayers . . . A great collection of advice from some of the brightest minds in the industry." --Michael Selleck, Norfolk Now
"Clear, witty and self-effacing . . . Writing can be solitary, but Maum is like a debut author's best friend, and she brings along other friends in the business to share eye-opening anecdotes about how to survive birthing that first-book baby." --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, Shelf Awareness
"Writing with humor and drawing from her own deep experience, and that of dozens of other authors and editors, Courtney manages to guide writers through the tremendous/horrendous/terrifying/mystifying/incredible process of publishing. Not only does she describe every scenario this writer could imagine, she also seems to have a gift for addressing every emotion--even the ones that bring down the strongest amongst us. Whether you are still working through a first draft or about to sell your second novel, this book will feel like a warm, fuzzy hug and it will help set you free from most of your fears because Courtney makes it clear--we are not alone." --Rachel Barenbaum, Dead Darlings
"With humor and wisdom and the input of writers from across the literary firmament, Courtney Maum has assembled the go-to book for those looking to publish seriously and make a sustainable career of writing. I wish I could turn this book into a serum and inject it straight into my students' veins. I'll have to settle, for now, for imploring them to read this book." --Rebecca Makkai, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Great Believers
"Before and After the Book Deal is full of writing and publishing wisdom you either should--make that must--know as you plot your authorial future (good luck to you!) or wish you'd known before you got into this mess in the first place (well, better late than never), and Courtney Maum is an ideal guide for the whole loopy adventure: sympathetic, just cynical enough, and uproariously funny. Plus she's enlisted a battery of writers-who-have-been-there to share truths so invaluable you may find yourself, page after page, 'Yes! Yes! Yes!'ing like Meg Ryan at Katz's." --Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
"This book is an act of generosity. It's filled with insight, truth, and good advice; what's more, it had me laughing often and loudly. A trove of riches." --R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
"Courtney Maum's Before and After the Book Deal is to book publishing what What to Expect When You're Expecting is to parenting: an indispensable how-to guide with frank insider information that writers can't find anywhere else. Filled with anecdotes and insights that are funny, honest, and wise, it answers questions every aspiring author has but is too afraid or embarrassed to ask. A must-read for anyone who is, has been, or hopes to be a debut author, this will be my go-to gift for writer friends." --Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek
"Courtney Maum breaks down the mystifying process of publishing . . . The comprehensive guide is equal parts entertaining and enlightening." --Elizabeth de Cleyre, Chippewa Valley Writers GuildPraise for Costalegre
"A young girl follows her mother and a wayward group of artists into the Mexican jungle on the eve of World War II in this spare, enchanting novel . . . A lush chronicle of wealth, art, adventure, loneliness, love, and folly told by a narrator you won't be able to forget." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"When young Lara finds herself in Costalegre, living with her mother and a gaggle of nineteenth-century surrealist artists, wonder and mayhem ensues. With this slim novel, Courtney Maum has gifted her readers with a breathtaking meditation on youth, art, and the ever-mysterious bonds between mothers and daughters. Costalegre is a spectacular high-wire act that dazzles and devastates." --Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel
"Mesmerizing and unsettling, Costalegre is a wonder, and Courtney Maum shows herself once again to be a writer of many gifts. This is a book for anyone who's ever loved and not felt sufficiently loved in return; and for anyone who's had to try to grow up; for, that is, everyone." --R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
"This story of a daughter searching for connection all around her has a sharp cutting edge, a world that changes its mood in an instant; bleak as the dregs of a wine-soaked dinner, then bullish as a house of hapless surrealists attempting to boil an egg. Memorable and meaningful, Maum's work remains with me as a reminder of love in the agony of teenage years and art in the terror of war." --Amelia Gray, author of Isadora
"Here is war, and here is art. And here is a child trying to become an adult in the midst of a Mexican exile. Maum's stirred a brew of careless Bohemians, führers and failed art students, negligent mothers and missing museums. Costalegre is as heady, delirious, and heartbreaking as a young girl just beginning to fall in love with our world." --Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark DarkPraise for Touch
"Exuberant . . . Maum's writing is easy, eager and colloquial, as oxygenated as ad copy." --The New York Times Book Review
"At the heart of Maum's smart, playful, satirical novel is the clash between technology and human interaction . . . As she demonstrated so well in her previous novel, [Maum] brings astute social observations to relationships, whether workplace or romantic." --The National Book Review, 1 of 5 Hot Books
"Maum's incisive, charming, and funny novel ebulliently champions the healing powers of touch, the living world, and love in all its crazy risks, surprises, and sustaining radiance." --Booklist (starred review)
"Maum . . . has such a incisive grasp of where tech and culture meet that she could add sociologist to her resume." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)Praise for I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
"Here we have the literary beach read--a book that pleases people who read two books a month and people who read two books a year . . . [Maum] is abundantly gifted--funny, open-hearted, adept at bringing global issues into the personal sphere . . . eventually creating that rare thing: a book for everyone." --The Washington Post
"Maum is funny: the kind of funny that is mean and dirty, with some good bad words thrown in. And she has a satiric eye for artsy pretension . . . Enticing." --The New York Times Book Review
"Courtney Maum bursts onto the scene with a hilarious and wise novel . . . Richard Haddon is one of the more lovable male characters we've encountered this season . . . You'll find yourself agog at Maum's masterful storytelling and dead-on descriptions." --Glamour
"Antic, sexy, satirically deft, and of course funny, this novel is also, on both the personal and political levels, smart about the bottomlessness of our capacities for self-sabotage, and moving about the fierceness of our yearning to make good." --Jim Shepard, author of You Think That's Bad and Like You'd Understand, Anyway