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Friday, July 31, 2009

Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers by Irene Watson, Tyler R. Tichelaar, and Victor R. Volkman

Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers by Irene Watson, Tyler R. Tichelaar, and Victor R. Volkman (Rated: C)

Did you ever wish you could sit in a cafĂ© with an experienced writer, editor, publisher, or marketing guru and pick their brain? Wouldn’t it be great if you could sip your favourite brew as they revealed their success secrets to you? Well, in many ways, reading Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers is just like that. It is composed of interviews, reports, and lessons learned from the writing industry’s most experienced veterans who took part in podcasts at www.authorsaccess.com.

It’s a great book for writers to study as the advice and useful information can help them succeed before, during and after writing a book. Its large format makes it easy to read and to highlight text or post notes. It is divided into nine sections and readers can quickly scan through the table of contents and find the topic that interests them most and read it first. The chapters need not be read in chronological order but as a whole they give the reader a better understanding of the undertaking of book writing, publishing and marketing. In addition, included after each article is the original podcast URL as well as the author’s website(s) allowing for further research and, thus, access to more resources.

Although a more experienced writer may know some of the information, it can easily serve as good reminders. I learned many new things reading this book. As a published author and writer, I particularly enjoyed reading Chapter 8 – Marketing Your Work, Chapter 9 – Making the Most of Technology, Chapter 1 – The Craft of Writing, and Chapter 4- Editing Your Work. These chapters alone make the book very worthwhile. The chapter on book reviews is especially eye-opening, both for the author and the reviewer! If you are looking to self-publish, most of the advice in this book is for you. It can prevent you from making serious mistakes and teaches the basics of being a professional writer.

The only information I thought missing was that related to submitting to a traditional publisher, such as elements of a good book proposals, what agents look for in manuscripts, and how to write query letters. The back cover promises book proposals as one of the success secrets revealed, however, according to the index, book proposals is only mentioned twice and in passing. It’s not a topic discussed per se. So mentioning it as one of the book’s secrets can be misleading for the buyer.

Perhaps, because the authors had extensive experience in self-publishing, they chose to focus mainly on this as many writers today are choosing this avenue of publishing that is becoming more and more popular. And, because of the many podcasts on www.authorsaccess.com that were not covered in this book but that do contain such information for the traditional route, it wouldn’t surprise me if a second, anticipated book followed this one.

This book is an excellent reference tool that should be read more than once to fully absorb all the success secrets it reveals, and I’d like to thank the authors for sending it to me. I will be referring to it many times, as I place it next to my many indispensable writer resource books on my bookshelf.

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