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The Writers Handbook 1998

ISBN 0871161834 / 9780871161833 / 0-87116-183-4

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Book summary

The Writer's Handbook, published annually by The Writer, Inc., is a close cousin to Writer's Market, which is published annually by Writer's Digest. Both list thousands of places to sell your writing. Writer's Market lists more markets (4,200 vs. 3,200 in The Writer's Handbook), and its listings are generally more in-depth, but The Writer's Handbook devotes its first 535 pages to 110 chapters about writing. Erica Jong discusses why we write: "We write for love. That is why it is so easy to exploit us." Sidney Sheldon offers hints on how to keep readers reading: "end each chapter on a note of suspense." He also passes along a bit of wisdom from Mickey Spillane: "The first page of a novel will determine whether someone buys the book, and the last page determines whether that person will buy your next book." Barnaby Conrad holds forth on the funny business of book titles (at one point, he says, the working title of Babbitt was Pumphrey). Others expound on subjects such as effective dialogue, espionage thrillers, writing about the outdoors, creating greeting cards, playwriting, writing history for children, and negotiating book contracts. [via]