A helpful, reassuring guide to putting together a publishing team.

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WIZARD OR WANNABE?

HOW AUTHORS & SELF-PUBLISHERS CAN VET THE PROFESSIONALS THEY NEED TO EDIT, DESIGN & SHEPHERD THEIR BOOKS

Authors who self-publish should hire freelance editors, designers, and consultants to spruce up their books, according to this primer.

Neighbour, a book editor and ghost writer, warns readers that every manuscript requires much specialized effort to turn it into a readable, marketable work and offers expert advice on finding reliable professionals who can do it. These include experienced editors who will use a coldly objective eye to diagnose the inevitable flaws that authors cannot perceive in their own work and fix everything from a manuscript’s overall argument and tone to the placement of commas and dashes; designers who can craft eye-catching, genre-appropriate art and choose fonts for the cover; and interior designers who sweat the myriad tiny but crucial details of page layout, from picking the right margin size to avoiding unsightly “rivers” of space between words. In addition, a writer needs a book shepherd—the author has been called one—who can coordinate all of the above and also oversee a volume’s printing, distribution, and marketing to the “reader persona” who is the likeliest audience. Neighbour packs her slender, no-nonsense manual with lots of useful lore on everything from arcane publishing jargon to professional associations that keep databases of working editors and designers, and she provides a trove of practical tips for vetting prospective freelancers. (Among the questions she suggests for interviewing editors are “Do you offer free editing of sample pages, so I can see how we might work together?” and “How would you handle numbers in my manuscript?”) The author’s brisk, lucid prose is lit by tart humor (a professional cover designer is not “a family member who has never taken a design or composition course”) and, alas, marred by at least one typo that her own editor overlooked (a period missing at the end of the sentence “Self-publishing doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own”). Authors who are serious about making a mark with their books will find a wealth of information and insights here.

A helpful, reassuring guide to putting together a publishing team.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9962541-5-1

Page Count: 107

Publisher: Upriver, Downriver Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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