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Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Friday, October 07, 2005


Book review: Putting Your Passion into Print

Putting Your Passion into Print is a step-by-step guide for those of us writer hacks who wish to journey down the dark and discouraging road to getting our books published. It's written in a confident tone that's easy to digest; the authors are believable as experts on their topic.

The authors--Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry--are a dynamic husband and wife duo from Marin County, California. I know they're dynamic because I saw them speak last night at Books Inc. in Mountain View. What a team! She is a literary agent with the firm Levine Greenberg Literary Agency as well as a published author. He is an author, poet, former actor, and a speaker whose style suggests a background interesting and varied.

Besides Eckstut's insider knowledge of the publishing industry as a literary agent, both she and Sterry each went through the process of publishing a book before writing Putting Your Passion into Print. Eckstut is the author of Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen; she and Sterry co-authored Satchel Sez. Sterry also wrote Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent. Both are high-spirited speakers, cheerleaders for unpublished authors everywhere.

In Putting Your Passion Into Print, Eckstut and Sterry admit that breaking into publishing can be both daunting and challenging, but if you're willing to take their advice as subject matter experts, your chances of getting your book off of your hard drive and onto book shelves are much greater than the average wanna-be author. They explain how the publishing industry works, what you should include in a query letter, and whether or not you should finish your manuscript before you submit a proposal to an agent. (If your book is fiction, finish it first; if your book is non-fiction, write the proposal and some sample chapters first.)

Their book contains lots of information about the entire process of authoring a published book, from the idea (what should you write about?) to the publicity (how to get your book noticed and--most importantly--sold). They emphasize that the three most important things for any writer are researching, writing, and networking. I felt a little like a networker when I let Eckstut know that I would be doing NaNoWriMo this year and she told me that she represents the creator of the competition, Chris Baty, who authored No Plot? No Problem!, a book about how to compete in the NaNoWriMo competition and write a novel in thirty days. Hey, maybe the publishing world is smaller than I thought!

I recommend Putting Your Passion into Print for anybody serious about getting a book published. I can't say for sure that following their advice works, but last night they pointed out two members of the audience who have taken their class at Stanford (a workshop based on the principles in their book) and who now have book deals. If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is.