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Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book

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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask is right here in this funny, candid guide by acclaimed author Courtney Maum. Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book has over 150 contributors from all walks of the industry, including international bestselling author Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask is right here in this funny, candid guide by acclaimed author Courtney Maum. Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book has over 150 contributors from all walks of the industry, including international bestselling authors Anthony Doerr, Roxane Gay, Garth Greenwell, Lisa Ko, R. O. Kwon, Rebecca Makkai, and Ottessa Moshfegh, alongside cult favorites Sarah Gerard, Melissa Febos, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Mira Jacob. Agents, film scouts, film producers, translators, disability and minority activists, and power agents and editors also weigh in, offering advice and sharing intimate anecdotes about even the most taboo topics in the industry. Their wisdom will help aspiring authors find a foothold in the publishing world and navigate the challenges of life before and after publication with sanity and grace. Are MFA programs worth the time and money? How do people actually sit down and finish a novel? Did you get a good advance? What do you do when you feel envious of other writers? And why the heck aren’t your friends saying anything about your book? Covering questions ranging from the logistical to the existential (and everything in between), Before and After the Book Deal is the definitive guide for anyone who has ever wanted to know what it’s really like to be an author.


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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask is right here in this funny, candid guide by acclaimed author Courtney Maum. Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book has over 150 contributors from all walks of the industry, including international bestselling author Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask is right here in this funny, candid guide by acclaimed author Courtney Maum. Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book has over 150 contributors from all walks of the industry, including international bestselling authors Anthony Doerr, Roxane Gay, Garth Greenwell, Lisa Ko, R. O. Kwon, Rebecca Makkai, and Ottessa Moshfegh, alongside cult favorites Sarah Gerard, Melissa Febos, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Mira Jacob. Agents, film scouts, film producers, translators, disability and minority activists, and power agents and editors also weigh in, offering advice and sharing intimate anecdotes about even the most taboo topics in the industry. Their wisdom will help aspiring authors find a foothold in the publishing world and navigate the challenges of life before and after publication with sanity and grace. Are MFA programs worth the time and money? How do people actually sit down and finish a novel? Did you get a good advance? What do you do when you feel envious of other writers? And why the heck aren’t your friends saying anything about your book? Covering questions ranging from the logistical to the existential (and everything in between), Before and After the Book Deal is the definitive guide for anyone who has ever wanted to know what it’s really like to be an author.

30 review for Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book

  1. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Maum

    This is life-changing stuff.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julia Phillips

    THE BOOK BIBLE IS HERE 🙏🏻

  3. 5 out of 5

    lark benobi

    It feels a little wrong to put this extraordinary book on my 'finished reading' shelf, because I'll be reading it, and reading it, and reading it. I can't imagine a time when I'll be done with it. As a writer who finds herself experiencing the things described around page 141 of this book, I'm finding the advice here extremely helpful on a day-by-day basis. It's absorbing to read through from start to finish, and it's so well organized that it's easy to find answers to immediate questions right It feels a little wrong to put this extraordinary book on my 'finished reading' shelf, because I'll be reading it, and reading it, and reading it. I can't imagine a time when I'll be done with it. As a writer who finds herself experiencing the things described around page 141 of this book, I'm finding the advice here extremely helpful on a day-by-day basis. It's absorbing to read through from start to finish, and it's so well organized that it's easy to find answers to immediate questions right away by consulting the chapter headings. Most how-to books for writers end with: "congratulations! you have just completed your first novel!" or at best: "congratulations! you've just signed with a literary agent!" Courtney Maum's book, in delightful contrast, takes you all the way through what happens once your book finds a publisher, how to be ready for it, and how you might be feeling along the way. It's packed with information. There is also a delightful amount of hand-holding. I loved being reminded that my qualms, self-doubts, and fears are all part of the process, no matter where a writer is in her career. Even if you're only at the first glimmerings of thinking about publishing your work one day, I recommend this book. It will give you a glimpse of where you're going, and it will help you go forward intrepidly at every stage.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Shapland

    I just wish I'd read it sooner! I just wish I'd read it sooner!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angie Kim

    I was lucky enough to get a draft of BEFORE & AFTER THE BOOK DEAL three months before the publication of my debut novel, and I devoured it in one sitting within 24 hours. It’s now been about 6 months since I’ve had it, and I’d say I’ve read parts of it at least once per week. Why has it become so indispensable for me? First, it’s an amazingly helpful how-to guide, with frank insider information that you can’t get anywhere else. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have questions you’re too afraid I was lucky enough to get a draft of BEFORE & AFTER THE BOOK DEAL three months before the publication of my debut novel, and I devoured it in one sitting within 24 hours. It’s now been about 6 months since I’ve had it, and I’d say I’ve read parts of it at least once per week. Why has it become so indispensable for me? First, it’s an amazingly helpful how-to guide, with frank insider information that you can’t get anywhere else. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have questions you’re too afraid or embarrassed to ask (think: sales numbers, advance $ figures, book tour budgets, and the like) and, in any event, you don’t even know who you’d ask because most of your friends are clueless debut authors just like you. This book answers them! Second, it’s a cathartic read for those moments when you’re feeling insecure, confused, or just generally awful about yourself and/or your book. (And believe me, no matter who you are and what happens to your book, you WILL have moments of panic, envy, and despair.) Courtney Maum shares anecdotes and insights about the publication process that are funny, honest, and wise. I can’t count the number of times I thought, “I felt the same exact way!” and felt better, knowing that I wasn’t alone, that it’s natural to feel what I was feeling. And just as many times, Maum provided an explanation and guidance about something that had been baffling me and my author friends. (For example, why do some friends say negative things about your book to you and/or tag you in negative reviews?! And how do you respond?) In summary, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be, has been, or is a debut author, and the perfect gift for aspiring writers. My one complaint about the book is that it wasn’t out years ago, when I was starting the whole writing/publishing business. I can’t wait until it’s out so that I can buy it for my writing friends and recommend it to every writer I know!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nic

    A fun, accessible book with some great detail on what to expect when you get your first book published. If any of my friends gets a book deal, I might buy them this book; I also recommend it to anyone who just wants to add realistic detail to their fun daydreams about being a published author one day.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Dostal

    This information is probably very good and helpful to someone, but it just gave me anxiety. Yes it’s important to have your eyes open to to the many pitfalls and challenges of publishing, but for me it was not a good book to read while drafting. Writing is hard enough without regularly reminding ourselves that all our work will probably lead to failure. Note: I wasn’t going to review this book given that the author said not to give books bad reviews (lol), but honestly, I don’t want anyone else t This information is probably very good and helpful to someone, but it just gave me anxiety. Yes it’s important to have your eyes open to to the many pitfalls and challenges of publishing, but for me it was not a good book to read while drafting. Writing is hard enough without regularly reminding ourselves that all our work will probably lead to failure. Note: I wasn’t going to review this book given that the author said not to give books bad reviews (lol), but honestly, I don’t want anyone else to give up writing because they’ve read this book. As coffeehouse press puts in all of their books: Literature is not publishing. Hold your dreams closer than your disillusionment, writers. It is okay to believe on magic.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julia Ember

    A really terrific book for career writers whatever stage of the journey you're at. I found the chapters on dealing with imposter syndrome and envy particularly useful, as well as the section on how not to annoy your editor! A really terrific book for career writers whatever stage of the journey you're at. I found the chapters on dealing with imposter syndrome and envy particularly useful, as well as the section on how not to annoy your editor!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Catapult

    Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask is right here in this funny, candid guide by acclaimed author Courtney Maum!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Deedi Brown (DeediReads)

    All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/. As a person who writes (long-form marketing content) for a living and reads a ton, of course I’ve always been curious about what it would be like to write a book someday. Recently, now that I’m active on bookstagram and interacting with authors and publishers all the time, I’ve become even more curious. Before and After the Book Deal was exactly the right book to scratch that itch. Courtney Maum takes every aspect of the writing and publishi All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/. As a person who writes (long-form marketing content) for a living and reads a ton, of course I’ve always been curious about what it would be like to write a book someday. Recently, now that I’m active on bookstagram and interacting with authors and publishers all the time, I’ve become even more curious. Before and After the Book Deal was exactly the right book to scratch that itch. Courtney Maum takes every aspect of the writing and publishing process and breaks them down from the writer’s perspective, from before you even have a draft to after the buzz about your new book has faded. It’s broken up into short, easy-to-digest subsections and organized very usefully and clearly. Reading this book felt exactly like sitting down with Courtney for coffee (okay maybe not exactly, because I had to make my own coffee and such) and picking her brain about being a writer. She is conversational, candid, funny, and generous. She also really did her homework and spoke to I-don’t-even-know-how-many other writers, agents, and publishing professionals to get their perspectives, too. Like, SO MANY. And despite the chorus, it’s not a cacophony; it’s all threaded together naturally, cohesively, and helpfully. A true feat. I recommend this book not only for those who think they may want to write a book, but also anyone who simply wants to know more about how the book sausage gets made. It’s that well written and easy to read. I think I’ll be re-reading and referencing this book for years to come. Thank you, Courtney, for all you have done here. Truly.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    Truly a wonderful collection of resources as well as encouragements and harsh truths from Maum herself and from many of her friends and colleagues in the industry, on both sides of the rejection letter. Even if you're still just thinking about tackling your first book-length project, I'd highly recommend reading this because it will certainly prove helpful. If you're experiencing writer's block and/or suffering from imposter syndrome, YOU NEED THIS yesterday, go get a copy. I think most writers Truly a wonderful collection of resources as well as encouragements and harsh truths from Maum herself and from many of her friends and colleagues in the industry, on both sides of the rejection letter. Even if you're still just thinking about tackling your first book-length project, I'd highly recommend reading this because it will certainly prove helpful. If you're experiencing writer's block and/or suffering from imposter syndrome, YOU NEED THIS yesterday, go get a copy. I think most writers who haven't yet hit their stride or who still have a day job (which you should probably try to hold on to because, health insurance), wherever you land, pick this up.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Flynn

    A book that everyone needs to read if they are about to have their first book published, or fairly recently had their first book published, or just hope to publish a book someday. It's frank, funny and practical. I wish I'd been able to read it before my book came out three years ago, but even now it's useful. I find I can't stop thinking about the part where Courtney Maum acknowledges she's both blurbed books she hasn't read and ghostwritten blurbs for another authors. Frank indeed! It's both re A book that everyone needs to read if they are about to have their first book published, or fairly recently had their first book published, or just hope to publish a book someday. It's frank, funny and practical. I wish I'd been able to read it before my book came out three years ago, but even now it's useful. I find I can't stop thinking about the part where Courtney Maum acknowledges she's both blurbed books she hasn't read and ghostwritten blurbs for another authors. Frank indeed! It's both reassuring and disconcerting to realize that this process (the blurbing part, I mean) is just as much of a racket as I had suspected.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alanna Why

    “Most importantly: expect nothing... It's just you and your work, always. For better or for worse.” I try not to read too many books about writing, as I find they simply send me into existential crises about my own writing habits and as such, are NOT HELPFUL! However, my friend and writer Jeff Miller sent me an e-mail with a link to a newsletter from writer Courtney Maum about beat sheets that I found very insightful in the springtime. I was delighted to find out that she had written a full-leng “Most importantly: expect nothing... It's just you and your work, always. For better or for worse.” I try not to read too many books about writing, as I find they simply send me into existential crises about my own writing habits and as such, are NOT HELPFUL! However, my friend and writer Jeff Miller sent me an e-mail with a link to a newsletter from writer Courtney Maum about beat sheets that I found very insightful in the springtime. I was delighted to find out that she had written a full-length book about the publishing industry that was released in January of this year. This is probably one of the most practical writing books I've read. A lot of writing books are written by people, mostly straight white men, in their 50s and 60s, and I find the advice just isn't very useful to an emerging writer in 2020. This, on the other hand, had extremely practical advice, being written by a woman currently writing, publishing and hustling for her craft. How refreshing it was to read that you don't have to write every day! As someone who has been developing their daily writing practice after the last two and a half years and has never managed to write more than three to four days a week while also working to pay the bills, I found this very freeing to see published in a craft book. I applaud Maum for giving realistic advice on how to develop your writing craft while also having a Real Ass Life. That being said, I probably wouldn't recommend reading this unless you have some kind of regular writing routine. It is a lot more about the publishing side of things than it is the craft of writing, so unless you already have a draft of a manuscript in the works, it would probably be pretty overwhelming to read. Still, this is a really invaluable guide if you have a draft finished or a serious project you are working towards – I found the advice on the agent process and advances particularly illuminating. Overall, this is totally an essential read for writers who take their craft seriously!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Pyles

    A fantastic resource with contemporary advice on how to survive the publishing industry. This is a real must have for aspiring writers and even for seasoned vets, no matter what sphere they publish in (self, indie, traditional). You get advice straight from the horses mouth with Maum who is an established writer herself, but she also sought out anecdotes and stories from dozens of writers, agents, editors, and other publishing industry experts. All of this is folded into Maum's light-hearted and A fantastic resource with contemporary advice on how to survive the publishing industry. This is a real must have for aspiring writers and even for seasoned vets, no matter what sphere they publish in (self, indie, traditional). You get advice straight from the horses mouth with Maum who is an established writer herself, but she also sought out anecdotes and stories from dozens of writers, agents, editors, and other publishing industry experts. All of this is folded into Maum's light-hearted and humorous prose, which lets you not take yourself too seriously (thank goodness). You need to pick this one up, or at the very least read it once.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sunyi Dean

    Brilliant, funny, brutally honest. If you're at all anxious or confused about the querying and publishing process, I would highly recommend as it's full of a comprehensive breakdown and lots of practical tips not only for surviving publication, Submission, querying, and writing, but for keeping your shit together whether things are going badly or very well (both have challenges and pressures and disappointments). In addition to her own input there is a lot of detail from editors, other writers, a Brilliant, funny, brutally honest. If you're at all anxious or confused about the querying and publishing process, I would highly recommend as it's full of a comprehensive breakdown and lots of practical tips not only for surviving publication, Submission, querying, and writing, but for keeping your shit together whether things are going badly or very well (both have challenges and pressures and disappointments). In addition to her own input there is a lot of detail from editors, other writers, and many useful anecdotes from all sorts of publishing staff, eg publicists and booksellers. I found this book by listening to the Track Changes podcast, a podcast series of 10 episodes or so that will dismantle the trade publishing world and discusses your favorite (lol) industry in depth.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sydney Young

    I only meant to read a part of this book, save the rest for later. But it was so compelling and intimately detailed that I couldn’t put it down. Thank you for the honesty, Courtney. I may need to go see a therapist now instead of later.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Holly Pigache

    A bible for anyone looking to publish a book, or for anyone working in the publishing industry!!! Full of wisdom and gems!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    More for litfic writers than genre writers and more trad than self-pub, but still, applicable info for anyone considering publishing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sabra

    I listened to the audiobook for Before And After The Book Deal by Courtney Maum during my 2 hour appointment at the dentist today. It made everything more hopeful and pleasant and I highly recommend reading everything by Courtney Maum! I have read many books about publishing and craft, and this is definitely in my top 3 picks for any writers with the goal of getting published. I really appreciated how the book is very diverse and yet succinct. For example, the writer discusses chapbooks, poetry, I listened to the audiobook for Before And After The Book Deal by Courtney Maum during my 2 hour appointment at the dentist today. It made everything more hopeful and pleasant and I highly recommend reading everything by Courtney Maum! I have read many books about publishing and craft, and this is definitely in my top 3 picks for any writers with the goal of getting published. I really appreciated how the book is very diverse and yet succinct. For example, the writer discusses chapbooks, poetry, the pros and cons of self publishing. I especially appreciate the deep dive into the economics of writing that isn’t sugarcoated and the discussion of book advances or two book deals. I’ve searched for a guide to ask the unwritten rules for becoming a published author who also makes money and was so happy to finally read it! My favorite sections were when the book analyzes what is success. Success can indicate many different metrics and definitions.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Kunkel

    This is a tremendously helpful, well-written, and perfectly laid out resource for writers - I've actually published a book, and I wish I could have read this beforehand! It covers a wide range of useful topics, and is quite funny as it gives actionable advice. A great gift for an aspiring writer or someone trying to take a leap forward in their career. Highly recommend! This is a tremendously helpful, well-written, and perfectly laid out resource for writers - I've actually published a book, and I wish I could have read this beforehand! It covers a wide range of useful topics, and is quite funny as it gives actionable advice. A great gift for an aspiring writer or someone trying to take a leap forward in their career. Highly recommend!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Well hello to my new writing Bible. If you want to be published in any form, you absolutely must read this book. It's sobering but it's empowering too. I underlined the hell out of it and will be coming back to it again and again as I navigate different types of writing and different stages of the process. I'm so grateful for this book because it demystifies what I imagine to be a somewhat intentionally opaque industry, and it's thoughtful and funny along the way. Well hello to my new writing Bible. If you want to be published in any form, you absolutely must read this book. It's sobering but it's empowering too. I underlined the hell out of it and will be coming back to it again and again as I navigate different types of writing and different stages of the process. I'm so grateful for this book because it demystifies what I imagine to be a somewhat intentionally opaque industry, and it's thoughtful and funny along the way.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    Maum gives all the right advice with the perfect sense of humor. This makes the bad news more palatable and the good news a celebration.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jami Nakamura Lin

    *This* is the publishing book we all should read--one that actually has relevant, up to date, necessary information for the anxious writer that is all of us

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kiera

    As an aspiring author, I feel this book was a perfect reference manual. I found it to be informative, humorous at times, and with the guest writers that appear, it's a helpful guide to get you from beginning to end. It truly covers everything you need to know. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is about to embark on the writing/publishing journey. As an aspiring author, I feel this book was a perfect reference manual. I found it to be informative, humorous at times, and with the guest writers that appear, it's a helpful guide to get you from beginning to end. It truly covers everything you need to know. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is about to embark on the writing/publishing journey.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lady H

    This was really good! A solid overview of all things publishing, though perhaps not as specific as I would have liked. I think this is a super good intro for folks new to the industry. Unsurprisingly, I personally didn't learn too many new things because I've already mired myself in so much research and author/editor/agent Twitter threads and blog posts that I'm...disturbingly familiar with the publishing industry for someone who isn't actually involved in it yet, but anyway. I really love the wa This was really good! A solid overview of all things publishing, though perhaps not as specific as I would have liked. I think this is a super good intro for folks new to the industry. Unsurprisingly, I personally didn't learn too many new things because I've already mired myself in so much research and author/editor/agent Twitter threads and blog posts that I'm...disturbingly familiar with the publishing industry for someone who isn't actually involved in it yet, but anyway. I really love the way Courtney Maum writes; she's very funny but also very practical and down-to-earth. I was a little weirded out by how she makes it seem like all writers are neurotic, anxiety-ridden messes, though. I think my only kind-of gripe/complaint is that I wish this book had included some more focus on the SFF/YA scene rather than being so heavily focused on the literary fiction scene, because the vibe really is quite different! At the very least I wish we'd gotten some input/commentary from SFF/YA writers. Otherwise, a really solid and engaging overview of the publishing industry!

  26. 5 out of 5

    D. Arthur

    This book is a must-buy for the (aspiring) debut author! Informative, funny, and conversational, reading this book is like a long coffee chat with your most helpful publishing friend. Courtney and the many other featured writers/editors/etc are all generous with their thoughts while still being honest and realistic. As someone who has often felt like she would be completely behind the 8 ball without an MFA, this book demystifies so much of both the writing and publishing process. Right now, the This book is a must-buy for the (aspiring) debut author! Informative, funny, and conversational, reading this book is like a long coffee chat with your most helpful publishing friend. Courtney and the many other featured writers/editors/etc are all generous with their thoughts while still being honest and realistic. As someone who has often felt like she would be completely behind the 8 ball without an MFA, this book demystifies so much of both the writing and publishing process. Right now, the before the book deal section is most relevant for me as I finish editing my debut novel and begin querying agents (gulp!). I feel much more equipped to do that after reading this wisdom. I look forward to revisiting this book if (when?!) I get that first book deal.

  27. 4 out of 5

    TaraShea Nesbit

    This book will whisper insight, good tips, and a little bit of gossip--the kind you might want before and after you write and sell your first book. Maum is funny and smart, but it isn't just her talking here: weaved into every few pages or so are interviews and insights from other writers. You really get a broad spectrum of experiences about the business side of books from poets like Rosa Alcalá to prose writers like Alexander Chee. This book will whisper insight, good tips, and a little bit of gossip--the kind you might want before and after you write and sell your first book. Maum is funny and smart, but it isn't just her talking here: weaved into every few pages or so are interviews and insights from other writers. You really get a broad spectrum of experiences about the business side of books from poets like Rosa Alcalá to prose writers like Alexander Chee.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Downs

    My memoir will be published in eight months, and this is exactly the book I needed to slow my descent into madness. This guide is full of practical advice, insider knowledge, and reassuring asides, all told in Courtney Maum's clever, confident voice. It feels like having a super cool best friend to guide me through all the messy, scary parts of publishing; I'm so glad this book exists. My memoir will be published in eight months, and this is exactly the book I needed to slow my descent into madness. This guide is full of practical advice, insider knowledge, and reassuring asides, all told in Courtney Maum's clever, confident voice. It feels like having a super cool best friend to guide me through all the messy, scary parts of publishing; I'm so glad this book exists.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    4.5 stars I thought this book was very informative and helpful while also instilled with a great sense of humor. Maum's jokes made it more fun to read rather than just an overwhelming load of info. I would definitely need to revisit certain sections again as they more specifically applied to me (there's a lot here!), but I thought it was beneficial to read it all the way through once and have a better understanding of the whole experience of publishing your first book - from actually writing the 4.5 stars I thought this book was very informative and helpful while also instilled with a great sense of humor. Maum's jokes made it more fun to read rather than just an overwhelming load of info. I would definitely need to revisit certain sections again as they more specifically applied to me (there's a lot here!), but I thought it was beneficial to read it all the way through once and have a better understanding of the whole experience of publishing your first book - from actually writing the thing all the way to moving on to whatever comes next. While this covers relevant info for any type of author, it does slant more towards the area of general literary novels/short story collections than genre fiction or nonfiction. It also has some sections focused on making a living as a freelance/professional writer or writing teacher as a way to sustain your art (the book does not mince words about how hard it is to make money as an author). I would definitely recommend to both aspiring and established authors as a fantastic view into the publishing world.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Beth Renee

    I started reading this book as I was finishing the first draft of my own first novel, and preparing to step out into the trembling, terrifying great unknown of What Comes Next. So many questions! So many industry buzz words that I didn't actually understand! So many people and steps to the process that I wasn't even aware I needed in my life! Fear not - Courtney came to my rescue, and she can come to yours, aspiring author. I learned SO MUCH - at a holistic, full-circle, macro AND micro level - I started reading this book as I was finishing the first draft of my own first novel, and preparing to step out into the trembling, terrifying great unknown of What Comes Next. So many questions! So many industry buzz words that I didn't actually understand! So many people and steps to the process that I wasn't even aware I needed in my life! Fear not - Courtney came to my rescue, and she can come to yours, aspiring author. I learned SO MUCH - at a holistic, full-circle, macro AND micro level - about the publishing world and all its players, and what it really takes to get your book into the hands of readers. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Courtney, for this invaluable, wise, accessible and welcomingly humorous guide. It has absolutely changed and fortified my life going forward as a writer.

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