The definitive source of information, insight, and advice for creative writers, from the nation’s largest and most trusted organization for writers, Poets & Writers.
For half a century, writers at every stage of their careers have turned to the literary nonprofit organization Poets & Writers and its award-winning magazine for resources to foster their professional development, from writing prompts and tips on technique to informative interviews with published authors, literary agents, and editors. But never before has Poets & Writers marshaled its fifty years’ worth of knowledge to create an authoritative guide for writers that answers every imaginable question about craft and career—until now. Here is the writing bible for authors of all genres and forms, covering topics such as how to:
-Harness your imagination and jump-start your creativity
-Develop your work from initial idea to final draft
-Find a supportive and inspiring writing community to sustain your career
-Find the best MFA program for you
-Publish your work in literary magazines and develop a platform
-Research writing contests and other opportunities to support your writing life
-Decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing
-Find the right literary agent
-Anticipate what agents look for in queries and proposals
-Work successfully with an editor and your publishing team
-Market yourself and your work in a digital world
-Approach financial planning and taxes as a writer
-And much more
Written by Kevin Larimer and Mary Gannon, the two most recent editors of Poets & Writers Magazine, this book brings an unrivaled understanding of the areas in which writers seek guidance and support. Filled with insider information like sample query letters, pitch letters, lists of resources, and worksheets for calculating freelance rates, tracking submissions, and managing your taxes, the guide does more than demystify the writing life—it also provides an array of powerful tools for building a sustainable career as a writer. In addition to the wealth of insights into creativity, publishing, and promotion are first-person essays from bestselling authors, including George Saunders, Christina Baker Kline, and Ocean Vuong, as well as reading lists from award-winning writers such as Anthony Doerr, Cheryl Strayed, and Natalie Diaz. Here, at last, is the ultimate comprehensive resource that belongs on every writer’s desk.
About the Author
Kevin Larimer is the editor in chief of Poets & Writers, where he edits Poets & Writers magazine; oversees the website, PW.org; and directs the organization’s program of events, Poets & Writers Live. He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he served as the poetry editor of The Iowa Review, and holds a BA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Mary Gannon is the executive director of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses. From 2013 to 2018, she was associate director and director of content for the Academy of American Poets. From 2010 to 2013 she was the editorial director of Poets & Writers, where she oversaw the production of PW.org and the publication of Poets & Writers magazine, for which she served as editor from 2004 to 2009. She received her MFA in poetry from Arizona State University, where she was awarded a Swarthout Writing Prize in poetry, and a BA in English from Skidmore College.
"A welcome vade mecum on the business and art of writing for publication . . . A book of benefit to well-practiced as well as novice writers, full of useful advice, pointers, and prompts."
“A lucid, lively, thorough, enormously helpful book that I’ll be recommending to prospective authors for years to come.”
—Jynne Dilling Martin, associate publisher and director of publicity at Riverhead Books
“Publishing has always seemed mysterious to writers published and unpublished, to people new to the business and sometimes even to people who have worked within it for decades (me). So what a wonderful thing to have a resource like this. It clears the mist for emerging and established writers and provides a comprehensive answer to every question a writer might ask. It also makes me wonder if Kevin Larimer and Mary Gannon left a spy camera in my office.”
—Nicole Aragi, literary agent, founder of Aragi, Inc.
“It’s not every day the word complete strikes one as an understatement, but in the case of the title of this wonderful book, it is. What Kevin Larimer and Mary Gannon have created here is a teeming compendium. Larimer and Gannon’s insights and suggestions are grounded in comprehensive research and common sense, further enriched with insights, inspiration, and reading lists from a wide spectrum of the country’s most respected writers. You bring the talent, this book will do the rest!”
—Fiona McCrae, publisher of Graywolf Press
“Leave it to Poets & Writers to give us the comprehensive guide to the writer’s life. Here is the inspiration to feed your dreams as well as the nuts-and-bolts advice to put food on the table. I wish this excellent resource had been around when I was starting out!”
—Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage