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Book Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published, Fifth Ed. by Sheree Bykofsky and Jennifer Basye Sander

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Sheree Bykofsky, a name you’ll likely recognize as a literary agent and co-author Jennifer Basye Sander, author or co-author of over thirty books have compiled the one-stop guide to sorting out the complex business of becoming an author.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published offers a fresh take on the basics: attracting an agent, becoming an expert and “acting like an author;” in which they remind you how to talk and think like one. No matter where you are in the publishing process, you can refine and update your knowledge of today’s publishing process.

At almost 400 pages, the book is an excellent value, as it can help you achieve breakout success; the long-term goal of most writers. A trend in publishing today is to invest in authors with staying power. If you truly see yourself as a career author, you’ll find there are a variety of ways to make money through your writing.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published includes a comprehensive descripton of special book categories, going beyond fiction and non-fiction because today more than ever, it is important to focus on your specific niche markets. So you’ll learn about new sub-genres, including Manga, Shtick Lit, and Urban Fantasy.

While the realities of getting published aren’t sugar-coated, the authors share their optimism, helping you see how to be one who succeeds. Having a good idea for a book won’t guarantee your success, but you can find the success factor with careful research on the market you’re aiming for.

Chapter Four is all about market testing techniques. Look at what is out there and more importantly what’s missing. Be honest and measure yourself by your rivals credentials, instead of merely hoping you’re good enough to compete.

The authors devote a full three chapters to the core success factors: your query letter and book proposal. They remain the critical factor that drives your success

Chapter 14 offers a unique view into what happens at behind closed doors at Agent and Editor meetings, and is worthwhile for all authors to read. Additional material that makes The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published stand out includes progressive ideas for repurposing prior writing, such as reprinting material in ebook formats, and book proposal samples, plus access to more bonus material online.

Whether you are starting out, just finished writing a book, or plan to reissue an older book, Chapter 25 answers all your publishing questions on self-publishing, print-on-demand, and ebook publishing.

About Helen Gallagher