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Before and After the Book Deal - A Writer’s Guide to Finishing Publishing Promoting and Surviving Your First Book - cover

Before and After the Book Deal - A Writer’s Guide to Finishing Publishing Promoting and Surviving Your First Book

Courtney Maum

Publisher: Catapult

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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 not seen since Betsy Lerner's The Forest for the Trees and Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry’s The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published
Everything an aspiring author or curious reader has ever wanted to know about publishing but was too afraid to ask in a funny, candid guide by acclaimed author Courtney Maum (Touch, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You) 
Featuring advice and intimate anecdotes from over 150 contributors, including bestselling authors Anthony Doerr, Roxane Gay, Lisa Ko, Garth Greenwell, Nathan Hill, R. O. Kwon, and many more, plus agents, film scouts, film producers, translators, disability and minority activists, and power agents and editors 
 Shot through with humor and heart, with sections ranging from "Am I writing the wrong book?" to “Reining in your ego,” to “What if I die before my book comes out?,” this book is a personal, realistic, and wonderfully voyeuristic guide through the publishing process, from starting the manuscript to publication day to book tour and on to the sophomore project and beyond
 In 2015, Courtney Maum published an article in BuzzFeed titled “Why Being a Debut Author Isn't Exactly a Dream Come True” that struck a nerve and received a huge response, inspiring her to write this book https://www.buzzfeed.com/courtneymaum/nipple-deep-in-a-mudpit-of-despair
Perfect for aspiring and debut authors, as well as MFA program directors and faculty, agents, scouts, and supportive family and friends of writers, the book is broken into two sections:

BEFORE THE BOOK DEAL: Part One: “Getting It Right” (including advice on goals, voice, sensitivity readers, to MFA or not to MFA); Part Two: “Getting It Out There” (including how and where to submit/pitch, rejections and perseverance, editor etiquette, and weighing whether to self-publish); Part Three: “Getting Paid” (including financial planning, teaching, and earning a living—or not); Part Four: “Getting It Represented” (including a robust FAQ on agents and all aspects of the agented process); Part Five: "Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Advances"
AFTER THE BOOK DEAL: Part One: "Pre-publication" (including contracts, developmental edits, your book’s team, blurbs, covers, preorders, and more); Part Two: "PUBLICATION! (- [email protected]#$%^&*¡:o)" (including managing expectations, how to cope with reviews, sales, subsidiary rights, when current events eclipse your book, and more); Part Three: "When the Show Goes on the Road" (including book tours, burnout, and media preparedness); Part Four: “Post-publication (Or, Life After Your Debut)”: (getting back to work, the academic market, speakers agents, sustaining a literary community); Part Five: Advice from Authors and Publishing Professionals  

Catapult, in addition to publishing award-winning books, runs a robust and acclaimed writing classes program. With classes both in New York City and online, including a yearlong novel generator and opportunities for fiction writers, poets, playwrights, essayists, and more, Catapult has quickly become known as a serious alternative to the MFA program, as well as an important community for working writers after they finish their MFAs. And with Catapult having already published books like Peter Orner's Am I Alone Here?, Jane Alison's Meander, Spiral, Explode, and the PEN America Best Debut Short Stories annual anthology, Catapult continues to demonstrate a commitment to publishing books for writers at every stage of their careers and has a built-in audience of tens of thousands of students to market to.

Bookseller Praise for Before and After the Book Deal

"This book will save you hours of googling and hundreds of dollars on industry magazine subscriptions. Though some of Courtney Maum's advice is invaluable, what's even more impressive is her attention to the minutiae of the book deal that is difficult to find: How long should I wait to follow up on an email? What's the deal with book advances (and can I live off mine)? How do I maintain my sanity while on book tour? Who should I thank in my acknowledgments page? Should I be nice to booksellers? (The answer is yes.) Maum lunges straight for taboo subjects (money, dropping your agent, what to do when you don't like your book cover) and collects best practices from hundreds of top-notch writers, editors, publicists, and agents." —Spencer Ruchti, Harvard Book Store (Cambridge, MA)

"Courtney Maum’s Before and After the Book Deal may be the most practical book about writing I’ve read. Sure, Maum talks about inspiration and how to find an agent. But have you ever seen a writing book talk about what to do at conferences if you don’t drink? Maum sensitively and comprehensively explains the bookmaking process down to the most granular detail, with help from dozens of her writer friends. But reading the book is no slog. It works as a reference book to dip into as needed, yes, but Maum’s sharp and funny voice makes Before and After the Book Deal enjoyable enough to read straight through." —Danny Caine, The Raven Book Store (Lawrence, KS)

"I'm not a writer and it's definitely written for writers, but I thought the humorous but real tone was great and made it a fast read for containing so much information. Also liked how it wasn't just the author's perspective but sourced from multiple writers." —Mimi Hannan, La Playa Books (San Diego, CA)

"This is a guide for writers who are really writing (see the After the Book Deal part). Very nuts-and-bolts practical advice about agents and contracts and hating your cover, etc. Which assumes an extraordinary degree of success for any writer, but why not! If you're really in the weeds of looking for an agent, or dealing with a publisher, this would be super handy. And if you're just starting out, this will help you along the way with both the writing and the visualization of publication!" —Kate Jacobs, Little City Books (Hoboken, NJ)

"What a great resource to have for aspiring writers; everything about publishing explained in one place!" —Kate Reynolds, Colgate University Bookstore (Hamilton, NY)

"Before and After the Book Deal nicely fills a gap in the writing craft and theory section. In a light and accessible tone, Courtney Maum shares a terrific collection of advice and anecdotes for navigating the world once your book has been picked up for publication. As a bookseller, it helped me to understand a more complete picture of publishing and the work of being an author. I appreciated Maum's advice on working effectively with bookshops and generally being a decent human while on tour. It was a fun and funny read, packed with helpful tidbits, words of encouragement, and cautionary tales. Great for anyone who walks through bookshops picking out the space on the shelf where their future work will reside." —Meghan Hayden, River Bend Bookshop (Glastonbury, CT)

"As a veteran bookseller and events manager I have often longed for a book such as this one to help newly published writers on their way. Courtney Maum is the candid friend you didn't know you needed, and Before and After the Book Deal is the perfect manual to learn what's 'normal' in the industry, how to know if you are being treated fairly, how to be a good literary citizen, and how to keep going through the often mystifying world of publishing. This should be mandatory reading for each debut author at the time of signing—it's just that good." —E. R. Anderson, Charis Books & More (Decatur, GA)

"Even better than answering the questions a writer is afraid to ask, this book more importantly answers the questions a writer may not know to ask. Filled with examples (both negative and positive), humor, and a lot of commonsense advice, this book covers everything an aspiring writer could need to know: how to work with agents, editors, publishers, advances, social media, book tours, movie/TV rights, depression, failure, and yes, even success." —Keith Glaeske, East City Bookshop (Washington, D.C.)

"Reading Courtney Maum's wonderful Before and After the Book Deal, I'm struck by the experience I bring to it from two camps. First, as a bookseller, in how it advises writers on how best to interact with, well, booksellers. For that alone I would urge every writer, regardless of experience, to read this book. It is confounding to me the lack of common sense many authors bring to their interactions with the very people who will coordinate their events, hand-sell their books, everything. We are a critical resource, and we remember who the writers are that treat with us respectfully (and we talk among ourselves about them too!). Secondly, as a writer with one indie-published book out and now finding myself under contract for a next book, with a dream publisher and much higher stakes, I find many of Maum's discussions with other writers, anecdotes of how things can go awry, and subtle hints and tips to be invaluable. This book is one to keep on the Craft shelf for inspiration and referral over the years to come. What a wonderful addition to that shelf Before and After is!" —Chris La Tray, Fact & Fiction (Missoula, MT)

"I can’t tell you how many times writers who long to get their work out in the world have asked me how to do it. Here, finally, is a book I can recommend without reservations. In Before and After the Book Deal, Courtney Maum covers the whole shebang—from finishing your manuscript to promoting your published book—with candor, insider insight, and a wonderful sense of humor. Her book is as helpful for those who have published as it is for the novice. It’s going straight on my staff picks!" —Michaela Carter, Peregrine Book Company (Prescott, AZ)

"So useful! Courtney Maum is doing a lot of writers quite a service with this book." —Mary Laura Philpott, Parnassus Books (Nashville, TN)

"There are countless craft books and writing guides and publishing how-to manuals out there, but sadly for them, they're not written by Courtney Maum. Her pathos and her sense of humor and her willingness to address the cold, hard facts about the pursuit of writing as a career choice make Before and After the Book Deal an absolutely indispensable resource." —David Gonzalez, Skylight Books (Los Angeles, CA)

"I'll be unpacking the wisdom contained in this book for a long time. Get out the Post-it Notes, folks. Perfect for debut writers and those developing sophomore projects, Before and After the Book Deal is filled with actionable advice on everything from writing groups to MFAs, ARCs, and AWP, submission and rejection to pitching and publication, as well as contracts, budgeting, and much more. Acclaimed author Courtney Maum is here to lay it all out. There are no dumb questions. With advice from some of the finest contemporary writers and writing program founders like Julia Fierro and Tony Tulathimutte (over 150 industry contributors!), Courtney Maum writes with clarity and wit and will teach you not just how to go about putting a book out into the world, but also how to become a better self-advocate, editor, and literary citizen in the process." —Alex Helmintoller, DIESEL, A Bookstore (Santa Monica, CA)

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