At Unsolicited Press we value our books. We value our authors and the material that they put out into the world. But we value something else even more: reference and written craft books. Books that help us do our job better. Books that help our writers do an even better job writing fascinating stories.
Last week, we polled the office, our editors, writers, production team, IT folks...everybody...to see which books were the most important to them in editing, writing, and reference. Here were the three MOST popular books:
The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot by Charles Baxter
All fiction and creative nonfiction writers should own this book. The book will teach you how to write beyond the bare bones. As though you are writing a play, but people must enact the motions with their imagination.
Acquisitions editor SR Stewart said that she read this book in her first fiction workshop and it changed the way she wrote. It was the reason her stories were selected by publishers.
According to Amazon's description of the books, "Fiction writer and essayist Charles Baxter’s The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot discusses and illustrates the hidden subtextual overtones and undertones in fictional works haunted by the unspoken, the suppressed, and the secreted. Using an array of examples from Melville and Dostoyevsky to contemporary writers Paula Fox, Edward P. Jones, and Lorrie Moore, Baxter explains how fiction writers create those visible and invisible details, how what is displayed evokes what is not displayed."
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird may be the most important writer reference book in the office. Nearly every editor has a copy within reach. It isn't some silly how-to book. It is a book that reckons with the trials of writing.
According to Publisher's Weekly:
"Lamott's miscellany of guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight. Among the pearls she offers is to start small, as their father once advised her 10-year-old brother, who was agonizing over a book report on birds: "Just take it bird by bird." Lamott's suggestion on the craft of fiction is down-to-earth: worry about the characters, not the plot. But she's even better on psychological questions. She has learned that writing is more rewarding than publication, but that even writing's rewards may not lead to contentment. As a former "Leona Helmsley of jealousy," she's come to will herself past pettiness and to fight writer's block by living "as if I am dying." She counsels writers to form support groups and wisely observes that, even if your audience is small, "to have written your version is an honorable thing."
The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published...
We wish that every writer would read this book before choosing to send out a manuscript. It gives all writers the guide to sell and market your book. Many authors walk into a publishing contract without the notion that they are 95% responsible for marketing their own books....yes, it is true. And while at UP, we give you a marketing packet to boot, it is your job.
"The best, most comprehensive book for writers is now completely revised and updated to address ongoing changes in publishing."
*All pictures are linked to Amazon if you want to purchase the book. Unsolicited Press makes a small fraction of change from your purchases. All proceeds fund the running of the press and never into anybody's pocketses.
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Most of our editors cherish our subscription with Audible. Right now they are offering free trials and a free audiobook. This is a great place to listen to Baxter's "The Art of Subtext." Think about it.