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Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life

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Starve Better makes no promises of making you a bestselling author. It won't feed aspiring writers' dreams of fame and fortune. This book is about survival: how to generate ideas when you needed them yesterday, dialogue and plot on the quick, and what your manuscript is up against in the slush piles of the world. For non-fiction writers, Starve Better offers writing techni Starve Better makes no promises of making you a bestselling author. It won't feed aspiring writers' dreams of fame and fortune. This book is about survival: how to generate ideas when you needed them yesterday, dialogue and plot on the quick, and what your manuscript is up against in the slush piles of the world. For non-fiction writers, Starve Better offers writing techniques such as how to get (relatively) high-paying assignments in second and third-tier magazines, how to react to your first commissioned assignment, and how to find gigs that pay NOW as the final notices pile up and the mice eat the last of the pasta in the cupboard. Humor, essays and some of the most widely read blog pieces from Nick Mamatas, author and editor of fiction that has caught the attention of speculative fiction's most prestigious awards, come together for the first time in a writers' guide that won't teach anyone how to get rich and famous... but will impart the most valuable skill in the business: how to starve better. Blurb: "Mamatas offers up a no-nonsense guide that should be required reading for all writers. Prepare to have some illusions shattered... because you need them shattered. A great resource from a guy with the experience to back up the advice." -Jeff VanderMeer, author of City of Saints and Madmen and Finch About the Author: Nick Mamatas is the author of three and a half novels, over seventy short stories, and hundreds of feature articles, and is also an editor and anthologist. His fiction has been nominated for the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards and translated into German, Italian, and Greek; his editorial work with Clarkesworld earned the magazine World Fantasy and Hugo award nominations. Nick's reportage, short stories, and essays have appeared in venues such as Razor, Asimov's Science Fiction, Silicon Alley Reporter, the Village Voice, The Smart Set, The Writer, Poets & Writers and anthologies including Supernatural Noir and Lovecraft Unbound. He teaches at Western Connecticut State University in the MFA program in Creative and Professional Writing, was a visiting writer at Lake Forest College and the University of California, Riverside's Palm Desert Campus, and runs writing classes in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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Starve Better makes no promises of making you a bestselling author. It won't feed aspiring writers' dreams of fame and fortune. This book is about survival: how to generate ideas when you needed them yesterday, dialogue and plot on the quick, and what your manuscript is up against in the slush piles of the world. For non-fiction writers, Starve Better offers writing techni Starve Better makes no promises of making you a bestselling author. It won't feed aspiring writers' dreams of fame and fortune. This book is about survival: how to generate ideas when you needed them yesterday, dialogue and plot on the quick, and what your manuscript is up against in the slush piles of the world. For non-fiction writers, Starve Better offers writing techniques such as how to get (relatively) high-paying assignments in second and third-tier magazines, how to react to your first commissioned assignment, and how to find gigs that pay NOW as the final notices pile up and the mice eat the last of the pasta in the cupboard. Humor, essays and some of the most widely read blog pieces from Nick Mamatas, author and editor of fiction that has caught the attention of speculative fiction's most prestigious awards, come together for the first time in a writers' guide that won't teach anyone how to get rich and famous... but will impart the most valuable skill in the business: how to starve better. Blurb: "Mamatas offers up a no-nonsense guide that should be required reading for all writers. Prepare to have some illusions shattered... because you need them shattered. A great resource from a guy with the experience to back up the advice." -Jeff VanderMeer, author of City of Saints and Madmen and Finch About the Author: Nick Mamatas is the author of three and a half novels, over seventy short stories, and hundreds of feature articles, and is also an editor and anthologist. His fiction has been nominated for the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards and translated into German, Italian, and Greek; his editorial work with Clarkesworld earned the magazine World Fantasy and Hugo award nominations. Nick's reportage, short stories, and essays have appeared in venues such as Razor, Asimov's Science Fiction, Silicon Alley Reporter, the Village Voice, The Smart Set, The Writer, Poets & Writers and anthologies including Supernatural Noir and Lovecraft Unbound. He teaches at Western Connecticut State University in the MFA program in Creative and Professional Writing, was a visiting writer at Lake Forest College and the University of California, Riverside's Palm Desert Campus, and runs writing classes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

30 review for Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    I've read a lot of books about writing. I don't really read the "writer's advice" books anymore, because I don't need help with grammar and punctuation and I don't need to be told why it's bad to start your story with your protagonist waking up from a dream and examining herself in the mirror. But I like reading books by writers about writing. Of course I loved Stephen King's On Writing, and I also liked John Gardner's On Becoming a Novelist, even though if I ever do become a novelist, I'll be n I've read a lot of books about writing. I don't really read the "writer's advice" books anymore, because I don't need help with grammar and punctuation and I don't need to be told why it's bad to start your story with your protagonist waking up from a dream and examining herself in the mirror. But I like reading books by writers about writing. Of course I loved Stephen King's On Writing, and I also liked John Gardner's On Becoming a Novelist, even though if I ever do become a novelist, I'll be nothing like John Gardner (or Stephen King, for that matter). Nick Mamatas is a professional writer. The traditional kind — the starving, write-anything-that-pays-the-rent kind who will rub your nose in your MFA aspirations and your bourgeois laptop-at-the-coffee-shop pretensions. Starve Better is a collection of essays and blog posts that is about half writing advice (or "advice") and half advice on how to make a living as a writer who has to scrounge up rent money this week. Mamatas has been a writing instructor, he's ground out articles for content mills and tiny, niche magazines, he's written a couple of books, and he also wrote a rather infamous piece called The Term Paper Artist, which I was surprised to reread in this book since I'd read it years ago and hadn't realized that was Nick Mamatas. These are all interesting, entertaining, and unromanticized short pieces about the writing life. Mamatas tries to be a curmudgeon, but it's obvious he really does love writing, the art and the craft. He also loves taking the air out of dilettantes and blowhards and mocking the mockable. He has something of an online rep, not being afraid to piss people off by saying their writing probably sucks and they have bad taste. If you really are one of those starving writers who means to make a living writing and aren't too proud to scrounge and hustle for whatever freelance jobs you can get, Starve Better seems to offer quite a bit of useful advice, though the publishing landscape is changing so quickly that as Mamatas admits in several of the articles, any advice about current markets will quickly become obsolete.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Imma be honest here. Nick Mamatas came across like kind of a dick. I understand that this was not meant to be a hand-holding book, nor a misty-eyed celebration of Art and Life and The Mysteries of Creativity, but... he still came across like a dick. Admittedly, while I have a lot of interest in writing, I have absolutely no interest in the short story or magazine market, so I'm probably not the target audience to begin with. Nick Mamatas is certainly not to blame for my own weird ambivalence abou Imma be honest here. Nick Mamatas came across like kind of a dick. I understand that this was not meant to be a hand-holding book, nor a misty-eyed celebration of Art and Life and The Mysteries of Creativity, but... he still came across like a dick. Admittedly, while I have a lot of interest in writing, I have absolutely no interest in the short story or magazine market, so I'm probably not the target audience to begin with. Nick Mamatas is certainly not to blame for my own weird ambivalence about publishing. And he makes some excellent points on the subject of "what do we talk about when we talk about 'making a living' with writing?" That, I found really valuable and interesting. But his narrative voice still made me want to hit someone. (Also, he referred, on several occasions, to people with depression as "depressives." I would have thrown the book across the room by the second instance if I weren't reading this electronically. It was gross and kind of offensive, but it wasn't worth the price of a new Nook.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aksel Dadswell

    Funny, honest, incredibly useful advice. If you're a writer, especially a fledgling one, you need to read this immediately. Funny, honest, incredibly useful advice. If you're a writer, especially a fledgling one, you need to read this immediately.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Pluck

    Excellent advice throughout. Cuts through the BS.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richard Wright

    As a writer, I like to read at least a book a year by other writers, writing about writing. A bit circular, but there you go. I find it gives me a bit of perspective on my own approach to listen to others discussing theirs. Consider it the equivalent of water cooler chat at the workplace. Books like this are all a matter of perspective, in a literal sense. They're one person's point of view, usually a tract on 'what works for them'. They're not to be taken as gospel, and the key to a good tome i As a writer, I like to read at least a book a year by other writers, writing about writing. A bit circular, but there you go. I find it gives me a bit of perspective on my own approach to listen to others discussing theirs. Consider it the equivalent of water cooler chat at the workplace. Books like this are all a matter of perspective, in a literal sense. They're one person's point of view, usually a tract on 'what works for them'. They're not to be taken as gospel, and the key to a good tome is an author with the experience and honesty to explain without patronising. Mamatas has written full time for much of the last decade, and much of this book is about the choices he made in order to do so. It's funny, and extremely honest, and leaves little room for the sort of self-delusion most beginning writers have about the future that might await them if they can ditch the day job. Fiction, for example, can only be part of your portfolio, and Mamatas gives some excellent facts and figures about why writing non-fiction is a must (it pays far, far better, there are more opportunities, etc). A very worthwhile read, particularly for anybody considering whether they want to drive themselves towards a full time writing career.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Grant Wamack

    Starve Better by Nick Mamatas is a how-to-book for writers wishing to live solely off their words. Now I’ve wasted many hours reading books on how to write-the technical side and the business side and Mamatas is one of the more beneficial guides. Many of the essays inside cover fiction and explore the mechanics of writing such as revision and story structure. The non-fiction side explains how make money off your words but the truth may not be what you expect. Also, he touches the subject of self- Starve Better by Nick Mamatas is a how-to-book for writers wishing to live solely off their words. Now I’ve wasted many hours reading books on how to write-the technical side and the business side and Mamatas is one of the more beneficial guides. Many of the essays inside cover fiction and explore the mechanics of writing such as revision and story structure. The non-fiction side explains how make money off your words but the truth may not be what you expect. Also, he touches the subject of self-publishing and new publishing trends. Mamatas’ writing is clear and concise and he doesn’t bullshit you about the publishing game. The main message I got out of this was how bad do you want it? Do you want to sit around and make excuse why you’re not writing or should you get up and start typing away? Perseverance, drive, and a little originality can take you a long way. Mamatas is a writer who has paid the bills off his writing and continues to do so to this very day. If you want to do the same, I would recommend reading Starve Better or else your starving just might get worse.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Teodor

    Frank and often hilarious collection of mini-essays and blog posts. Recommended for anyone looking to break into writing for the long haul, but also an entertaining insight into the life of the freelance writer in America, from MFA workshops to the ethically questionable (but, apparently, perfectly legal) art of writing term papers for a buck. Not all of the advice transcends international borders - for advice to be effective, it needs to be specific I suppose - but there's plenty of stuff that' Frank and often hilarious collection of mini-essays and blog posts. Recommended for anyone looking to break into writing for the long haul, but also an entertaining insight into the life of the freelance writer in America, from MFA workshops to the ethically questionable (but, apparently, perfectly legal) art of writing term papers for a buck. Not all of the advice transcends international borders - for advice to be effective, it needs to be specific I suppose - but there's plenty of stuff that's transferable no matter what country you're based/are working in: cutting down your stories when they need to be cut down, the effective use of scene breaks, writing punchy and non-labour-intensive content for websites, etc. Mamatas is no-bullshit but also non-aggressive, thankfully. He kicks your ass, but he's so grounded and real about the changes you need to effect to be a better writer, that it makes even the most grueling and harsh aspects of the process seem like a doable undertaking.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dave Versace

    Straight-talking (even brusque) advice on getting paying gigs as a writer, disdaining high-minded notions of Muse-borne artistic integrity in favour of writing to briefs, paying attention to what editors want and not dying of consumption in a garrett somewhere. Some of the observations concerning ebooks and self-publishing are a little dated - I'd love to see what Nick Mamatas has made of the self-publishing revolution since 2010 or so - and I would personally draw the line at making a living fr Straight-talking (even brusque) advice on getting paying gigs as a writer, disdaining high-minded notions of Muse-borne artistic integrity in favour of writing to briefs, paying attention to what editors want and not dying of consumption in a garrett somewhere. Some of the observations concerning ebooks and self-publishing are a little dated - I'd love to see what Nick Mamatas has made of the self-publishing revolution since 2010 or so - and I would personally draw the line at making a living from writing essays for lazy, incompetent or hopelessly out-of-their-depth college students. But on the whole it's solid stuff, told without recourse to mollycoddling or sympathy. Write good or die, as someone else once put it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    R.A. Deckert

    The best part of this book is the title, 'Starve Better.' It's brilliant. The subtitle is: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life, which succinctly tells you what it's all about. Any writer, or would be writer, has read a couple of hundred books like this. This is a run-of-the-mill book of this genre, neither startling good nor startling bed, just generally a good read and a lot of good advice. The best part of this book is the title, 'Starve Better.' It's brilliant. The subtitle is: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life, which succinctly tells you what it's all about. Any writer, or would be writer, has read a couple of hundred books like this. This is a run-of-the-mill book of this genre, neither startling good nor startling bed, just generally a good read and a lot of good advice.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fin

    Kameron Hurley gave me this book last year, so thank you, Kameron! This book is a fabulous introduction to the real world of publishing. Because Mamatas is so prolific with short stories, he gives them the most time here, but he has plenty to say about other forms as well. If you want to write well, there are plenty of books out there to help you do that (Lamott, King, Zinsser, and of course Strunk and White come to mind). If you want to publish what you write, start here.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    Excellent book on writing, I really loved the no-nonsense, snarky approach and the focus on genre fiction. He blows the cobwebs off of a lot of the conventional advice mantras and either convinces you they're ridiculous or reworks them to make them better. A fun and quick read with a lot of great information, highly recommended. Excellent book on writing, I really loved the no-nonsense, snarky approach and the focus on genre fiction. He blows the cobwebs off of a lot of the conventional advice mantras and either convinces you they're ridiculous or reworks them to make them better. A fun and quick read with a lot of great information, highly recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    A collection of essays from writer and editor, Nick Mamatas provides an excellent read for any interested writer. Some information feels aready dated, particularly where he quotes figures from the early 2000s and where he talks about payment for short stories when their value has pretty much collapsed in the genre world unless you are prepared to compete against the millions of other writers submitting for the same few outlets (which can be sole destroying). He provides practical advice on how t A collection of essays from writer and editor, Nick Mamatas provides an excellent read for any interested writer. Some information feels aready dated, particularly where he quotes figures from the early 2000s and where he talks about payment for short stories when their value has pretty much collapsed in the genre world unless you are prepared to compete against the millions of other writers submitting for the same few outlets (which can be sole destroying). He provides practical advice on how to make a living writing, but not just in the field of fiction, but non-fiction articles, tech authoring and the like so for anyone who wants to make a living purely from the written word regardless of how, this is an ideal little book. The highlight for me in this book were the parts that celebrated the flaws to be found in short stories, that they should be kept, that endings should be 'ragged'. This has soothed the balm of uncertainty in some of my own writing when faced by conflicting critiques, gives me the confidence to go with my gut. A valuable reference tool for any genre writer.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Donyae Coles

    I liked a lot of what this book had to say. I do happen to the market reader for it, a freelance writer who writes short fiction and nonfiction articles. It was a quick read with some real, practical advice for how to write and submit. That being said, there were some things that I did not like. Some of what was said in the book is dates now, mostly in the freelancing section. Still, I found a lot of wisdom in the book and although for me, it was a lot of stuff I already knew, it was nice kick i I liked a lot of what this book had to say. I do happen to the market reader for it, a freelance writer who writes short fiction and nonfiction articles. It was a quick read with some real, practical advice for how to write and submit. That being said, there were some things that I did not like. Some of what was said in the book is dates now, mostly in the freelancing section. Still, I found a lot of wisdom in the book and although for me, it was a lot of stuff I already knew, it was nice kick in the pants at some parts to get back to work.

  14. 4 out of 5

    M

    While the advice in this book is not meant for everyone (Nick specializes in non-fiction over fiction) and some articles are a bit outdated, as the market keeps changing, I did find good advice inside, especially about the nitty-gritty details on how to deal with editors, submissions and so on. So, while you might want to read this book with a grain of salt, do read it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Macpherson

    Not a bad collection of writing essays. SOme of them were smart and instructive. A few smug, but that seems to be a pattern in writing books. The smugness was not as dire as in others so pretty good. The essays in the appendix were the best in my opinion: the issues of MFA programs and working for a term paper mill.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Johann Thorsson

    This is a great book for writers, especially genre short-story writers. Mamatas has been in the field for a long time, both as a writer and an editor. In Starve Better he gives advice on writing well and on how to earn money writing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stratos Moustakas

    Nick Mamatas, do a sequel. You've managed to leave us wanting. You've been through another decade of writing, editing, publishing, milling. Your Twitter advice is killer. Don't just stitch them up next time. Grow the thing to memoir proportions. Give us your On Writing. Please! Nick Mamatas, do a sequel. You've managed to leave us wanting. You've been through another decade of writing, editing, publishing, milling. Your Twitter advice is killer. Don't just stitch them up next time. Grow the thing to memoir proportions. Give us your On Writing. Please!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Quentin

    Great essays on (making a ) living as a writer, and written in a funny, accessible style. I particularly liked the essays on freelancing in the various dark corners of the writing world (third tier publications, term paper Mills, etc...)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    "If you know nothing, get to a damn library." Ah, sweet sweet words. "If you know nothing, get to a damn library." Ah, sweet sweet words.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    review to come, but this is a definite must-buy for anybody who wants to write.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Falynn - the TyGrammarSaurus Rex

    Interesting book of essays about writing short fiction & surviving the freelance writing life. Well worth a read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul Fergus

    This book is common sense gold nuggets, plucked from the sewers of the writing industry by a wily and resourceful prospector who knows how to make a mean pot of beans. You couldn't ask for a better collection of insight and technique; people waste years of their lives to ferret out even one nugget of wisdom. Most writers haunt the sewers like hungry ghosts, their dreams dying in the gutter. The author has tackled just about every stream in the tunnels that might pan out, and he shares his results This book is common sense gold nuggets, plucked from the sewers of the writing industry by a wily and resourceful prospector who knows how to make a mean pot of beans. You couldn't ask for a better collection of insight and technique; people waste years of their lives to ferret out even one nugget of wisdom. Most writers haunt the sewers like hungry ghosts, their dreams dying in the gutter. The author has tackled just about every stream in the tunnels that might pan out, and he shares his results so you can get an idea of what goes on in accessway 45-B of the MFA program track. The value of the sections will vary depending on which speaks most to your immediate situation. For me, the last paragraph of the "All Advice is Terrible Advice" essay pays for the book. The "This is How You Freelance" essay should be required reading in schools. This is stuff worth going back to and finding a way to implement in your life, even if you aren't a writer. Mind you, these are the sewers and that means human waste. For every bookstore, publisher, or content mill above there's a waste disposal tube running right through every writer's heart. The warmth of literacy is fueled by the bodies of the millions of contestants who happily throw another limb in the trough for one more go at the wheel of fortune. The sphinx never laughs, but keeps on spinning the next round. If you are shocked and alarmed that the industry is like this, that anyone would actually wade the sewer without galoshes or a mask to collect coins then you missed the point and probably didn't read the book's introduction like 99% of students at a test. Millions of ways to collect coins; choose one that works for you. And may you never be put in a situation where the electric bill is due and you have to choose between weakness in your limbs or being warm. If you don't write, consider this a kind of ghost story, with tips on how to make the ghost pay for every inch of flesh it chews. You can shudder with relief that you have not been bitten by the gold bug and put the book down wiser than before. Personally, I think this kind of honesty is way overdue. Even if one cannot help but stick their arm in the grinder and suffer in writing hell, let them at least know the reasons and make informed, more conscious decisions. This stuff is brought to us into the daylight by someone who has been in the labyrinth and taken notes even as the minotaur peeled off his skin. That by itself is worthy of respect. To articulate those notes and render them in a form that is useful and easy to read? Well done.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Júlíus

    It's hard to review a writing how-to book effectively as more often than not the book only works for the reader if the actual advice the author is giving remains relevant to what the reader is aspiring toward. To solve this many of these books go general and give broad-stroke advice like "don't use adverbs" or "writer's write". But these sorts of advice only apply if the reader finds them relevant. Joe Hill asked once why people should follow his advice, because to him writing is like navigating It's hard to review a writing how-to book effectively as more often than not the book only works for the reader if the actual advice the author is giving remains relevant to what the reader is aspiring toward. To solve this many of these books go general and give broad-stroke advice like "don't use adverbs" or "writer's write". But these sorts of advice only apply if the reader finds them relevant. Joe Hill asked once why people should follow his advice, because to him writing is like navigating through a personal maze. So handing someone the map to his maze wouldn't help anyone. And that is what Starve Better does differently, for the most part, from most other "Writing how-to's" books, it goes into enough detail to show the reader, not how to navigate the writing maze, but how to deal with specific elements of any maze: sentance structure, short story problems, scene breaks and story rhythms. In those chapters the book shines and become utterly valuable to any writer wanting to better their craft. The rest of the book though falls short because of a strong focus on "the writing life". The specific focus on how to make money, or gather work (fiction and non-fiction), and in the end most of the "writing life" parts of the book serve as a template for non-fiction writing. For fictions writers, focused on selling short stories, novellas or novels, those parts don't feel relevant. I suppose because we all have to navigate our own mazes I didn't feel the relevance of those non-fiction parts and unfortunately those parts took up too much of the book for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tyrannosaurus regina

    I've read this book a couple of times before, largely for the same reason that I watch the WETA workshop featurettes on the LOTR DVDs multiple times—watching the process of other people's creativity inspires me. I don't find it a distraction. It makes me work harder. But that doesn't explain why I like this one so much. Ultimately, it's just practical. It treats the short story as a legitimate endeavour in and of itself. It acknowledges and respects that people write different things for differen I've read this book a couple of times before, largely for the same reason that I watch the WETA workshop featurettes on the LOTR DVDs multiple times—watching the process of other people's creativity inspires me. I don't find it a distraction. It makes me work harder. But that doesn't explain why I like this one so much. Ultimately, it's just practical. It treats the short story as a legitimate endeavour in and of itself. It acknowledges and respects that people write different things for different reasons. It breaks down the barriers between different "types" of writers; those people writing safety manuals are often the same ones writing your favourite horror stories. It talks about writing in a very grounded way. Talking about writing is not the same as teaching how to write. Sure, the book offers a lot of writing tips, but most of them essentially boil down to this: "Get over yourself and write". "Stop being so damn precious, and write." "You think you're too good for this kind of writing? You're not. Write." "If you're a writer, then write like it's your job." "You can't make a living writing if you don't write." And it's okay if you don't want to make a living writing. Lots of excellent writers don't. But if you do, then there's a whole mindset and skillset involved that goes beyond just putting fiction on a page, and this book sets that out for you straight up.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John

    A guide to the life of a professional writer that's simultaneously funny and no-nonsense - Mamatas writes with a dark, accessible wit, but with little romanticism about the craft or the profession. The book provides practical advice on both fiction writing and non-fiction writing, though the fiction section focuses more on short fiction. This is the sort of writing advice book I've been seeking for years. Most writing advice books either focus on the basics - to outline or not to outline; how to A guide to the life of a professional writer that's simultaneously funny and no-nonsense - Mamatas writes with a dark, accessible wit, but with little romanticism about the craft or the profession. The book provides practical advice on both fiction writing and non-fiction writing, though the fiction section focuses more on short fiction. This is the sort of writing advice book I've been seeking for years. Most writing advice books either focus on the basics - to outline or not to outline; how to structure a paragraph; how to make a scene come alive using sensory details, etc - or on inspiring the writer rather than instructing her (Bird by Bird; etc). Both of those are essential to a growing writer, of course, but only to a point. Mamatas presumes you've read those already and starts off in the deep end. If I have any complaint, it's that in some articles the prefatory matter takes up nearly as much space as the article itself. Also, a greater focus on long fiction would have been more useful to me, and I suspect other professional writers as well. Useful for writers, and a bargain at its ebook price. Recommended.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill Tarlin

    This was an interesting read. It's essentially a survey of how Nick makes a buck. And one way is to cobble together an assemblage of blog posts and articles and market it as a how-to. The nuts and bolts of it is at least as good as Stephen King's On Writing; possibly more practical. My quibble is that the collection doesn't reflect much editing. Because it's pulled from existing pieces, certain asides and even entire anecdotes are repeated. The effect is one of haste and indifference to the end This was an interesting read. It's essentially a survey of how Nick makes a buck. And one way is to cobble together an assemblage of blog posts and articles and market it as a how-to. The nuts and bolts of it is at least as good as Stephen King's On Writing; possibly more practical. My quibble is that the collection doesn't reflect much editing. Because it's pulled from existing pieces, certain asides and even entire anecdotes are repeated. The effect is one of haste and indifference to the end product. That's sort of in keeping with the program of write everything and anything to keep the wolves from the door. Probably some of the info will become dated as more publishing upheavals come. I read this on ScibD and wonder how that translates into pennies in the author's pocket. I enjoyed the NM's awesome novel, Sensation and I have another novel of his on deck that I look forward to. He's someone to keep on the radar.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I’m generally not a big fan of books on writing. Even those books I’ve enjoyed I’ve never really recommended to other writers, as the whole writing process is so individual to any given writer that what I find useful may be worth very little to the next writer. But Starve Better is perhaps the only book on writing I’d unreservedly recommend to any writer. Mamatas brilliantly subverts much of the standard writerly advice out there. He’s unflinching, sometimes cynical, but never anything less than I’m generally not a big fan of books on writing. Even those books I’ve enjoyed I’ve never really recommended to other writers, as the whole writing process is so individual to any given writer that what I find useful may be worth very little to the next writer. But Starve Better is perhaps the only book on writing I’d unreservedly recommend to any writer. Mamatas brilliantly subverts much of the standard writerly advice out there. He’s unflinching, sometimes cynical, but never anything less than reverential of the craft. The book’s like a brass-knuckled punch in the face that left me smiling through broken teeth. Best of all it left me raring to write!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Novas

    Really interesting book about writing. Here you'll find various tidbits, anecdotes, and advice ranging from: the act of submitting work, what separates "good writers" & "great writers", the pros/cons of MFA programs, the difference in market value between non-fiction and fiction submissions, teaching, genre, etc. It's a plethora of information all told through Mamatas' unique style. He won't be holding your hand and making sure you're extra special, but he will teach you to separate yourself fro Really interesting book about writing. Here you'll find various tidbits, anecdotes, and advice ranging from: the act of submitting work, what separates "good writers" & "great writers", the pros/cons of MFA programs, the difference in market value between non-fiction and fiction submissions, teaching, genre, etc. It's a plethora of information all told through Mamatas' unique style. He won't be holding your hand and making sure you're extra special, but he will teach you to separate yourself from the flock. Most importantly, he makes sure you're given a realistic view of writing. It's not all glitz and glamour, schmoozing, and major book deals. You'll learn to Starve Better.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I'd heard of Nick Mamatas before because he's written some novels that I keep thinking I should read, but I hadn't actually checked him out until I bought Starve Better. This is a great little book filled with charm and intelligence, some very sound advice, and enough sarcasm to help the sugar go down (if you know what I mean). What I like most, is that I believe it would be truly useful for a writer just starting out. It's filled with the kind of lessons that most of us only learn the hard way I'd heard of Nick Mamatas before because he's written some novels that I keep thinking I should read, but I hadn't actually checked him out until I bought Starve Better. This is a great little book filled with charm and intelligence, some very sound advice, and enough sarcasm to help the sugar go down (if you know what I mean). What I like most, is that I believe it would be truly useful for a writer just starting out. It's filled with the kind of lessons that most of us only learn the hard way and has none of the pandering typical of how-to art books.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I managed to devour this 171 page paperback in one day and really enjoyed it. However, a brief word of warning; don't buy it if you're desperately seeking serious instruction on the craft of writing, because it won't deliver. What it does is entertain you with a a variety of short essays and humorous aphorisms about the author's experience as a writer. It's no Bird by Bird, but a definite good read about living the life of a writer. Well worth the $13.95. I managed to devour this 171 page paperback in one day and really enjoyed it. However, a brief word of warning; don't buy it if you're desperately seeking serious instruction on the craft of writing, because it won't deliver. What it does is entertain you with a a variety of short essays and humorous aphorisms about the author's experience as a writer. It's no Bird by Bird, but a definite good read about living the life of a writer. Well worth the $13.95.

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