One of the key tenets of The Writer Laid Bare is the importance of paying attention. This almost obsessive focus is the writers’ stock-in-trade. Kofman calls it voyeurism, but in our attention-starved culture, being able to lock onto the details contained within a moment is more than just a tool to make our work more interesting (though Kofman makes a good case for that), it’s revolutionary.
Aside from the illuminating value of the poetry, these modern poems are a pleasure to read. While specifically published as a teaching tool for writers of poetry, anyone who appreciates contemporary poetry should find The Strategic Poet to be a valuable addition to a personal library. On top of everything else, it’s both a challenging and a fun book to study with, filled with insight, imagination, rewarding tasks, and exceptionally fine writing.
Tupelo is the perfect press to release a book like this. Founded in 2001, their twenty years of knowledge shines through, as does a pragmatism that I’m afraid could be lost if one of the big five publishers attempted to publisher a similar book. It’s apparent that Tupelo has a history of what they refer to on their website’s call for submissions as “energetic publicity and promotion.” That energy is contained in the dense sixty-some pages of Open Secrets.
Ethical marketing all about relationships, giving people work they will get value from, and working within carefully obtained permissions. It’s about creating a brand that people will continue to trust, so you’re not just selling one book, but yourself as a person. This kind of work builds on itself and each thing that you do increases the overall messages you’re putting out, creating a cumulative effect.
Each included author has something important to say and Mendenhall has a talent for finding just the right way to allow the authors to express themselves. Mendenhall has a knack at getting to what is significant, and revealing truths both about the writers and about their books. Nor do the interviews shy away from topical issues or cultural conflicts.
Jeff Herman’s iconic Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents is a well-respected industry standard, much like Writers Market. Now in its 28th Edition, the Guide enjoys continued acclaim and popularity—and there is a good reason for this. Flatly stated, it’s just the one of the best, if not the best, of many (many!) writers’ guides out there.
The Writing In Uncertain Times event at The Wollongong Writers Festival featured an amazing panel of commissioning editor for PRH, Lex Hirst, rapper and poet Omar Musa, author and screenwriter, Amal Awad and debut novelist, Daniel Findlay. The event concluded to this year’s festival and author, reviewer and interviewer Samuel Elliot was there to cover it.
Miller, the “writing whisperer” as Jessica Rowe puts it, has created a vital guide to memoir and other forms of creative nonfiction. Though there are many how-to guides on the market, this one is special, both for its depth of wisdom – Miller has over 26 years of experience in teaching others how to write creative nonfiction, as well as her own experience as a nonfiction author/memoirist – and for the simplicity and practicality of its approach.
DBC Pierre’s writing book is like his fiction – a bit bizarre, purplish, chaotic, and often brilliant. Release the Bats is inspirational, making it clear that anyone can be a writer regardless of circumstance, and that literature is all about the interplay of worlds (internal/external; the gap between chaos and the ideal). The book provides a welter of ideas and tools and does so in a surprisingly coherent manner. It’s surprising because the book has a tendency to ramble, philosophise in extended and often convoluted metaphors, explode into digression, and slide into memoir, with Pierre using his own experiences as an example of how and in what ways his tools work.
Most of the writers interviewed came across as incredibly generous, surprisingly humble, and warm and accessible. Wood allowed the writers to approve their interviews before they went to print, and the resulting transcripts are beautifully readable, smooth and lucid, without losing any of the candid nature of the conversations, or the intimacy. I felt, above all, that the information provided in these interviews was a tremendous act of generosity – not just in terms of authors sharing their best tricks, their struggles and their visions, but also because of the way these discussions draw the reader almost directly into the writing process.