167 episodes

This is a podcast for emerging writers who want to improve the quality of their work and learn more about the publishing industry. Your one host, Bianca Marais (the bestselling author of 'The Witches of Moonshyne Manor') interviews authors, agents, editors and just about anyone and everyone who's involved in bringing a book to market. She's joined by her cohosts, literary agents Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra from P.S. Literary Agency, who read and critique query letters as well as opening pages in their Books with Hooks segment. Expect good advice, honest insights, and a few laughs along the way.

The Shit No One Tells You About Writing Bianca Marais, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 131 Ratings

This is a podcast for emerging writers who want to improve the quality of their work and learn more about the publishing industry. Your one host, Bianca Marais (the bestselling author of 'The Witches of Moonshyne Manor') interviews authors, agents, editors and just about anyone and everyone who's involved in bringing a book to market. She's joined by her cohosts, literary agents Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra from P.S. Literary Agency, who read and critique query letters as well as opening pages in their Books with Hooks segment. Expect good advice, honest insights, and a few laughs along the way.

    The Different Routes to Publication

    The Different Routes to Publication

    In today’s Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe critique two queries each, discussing catchy titles; voice-y and specific details in queries; using line breaks; grounding readers in the scene; using opportunities for interiority; the emotional entryway technique for any genre; ensuring a unique hook to make your story stand out in a sea of similar stories; the web effect of characters and plot points; and strong pacing.
    After which, Bianca chats with Charlene Carr, author of Hold My Girl, on getting representation and the journey to publication; self-publishing; the worthiness of non-Giller winning writing; Charlene's latest novel; the Canadian setting of Charlene's novel; and having an agent from a different country.
    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Websites: www.theshitaboutwriting, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.com
    Charlene can be found at @charlenecarrauthor on Instagram and at www.charlenecarr.com


    Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

    Privacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Writing About Grief & We Answer Your Questions & We Give You Comp Titles

    Writing About Grief & We Answer Your Questions & We Give You Comp Titles

    In today’s jampacked Bonus Episode, Carly and CeCe answer all your questions, tackling the difference between trade and academic publishing; using a title that already exists; the use of historical slang in historical YA; using comps from self-published authors; the difference between the various genres of suspense novels; the potential mistakes that make it past the revision stage; the use of domain names for author websites; resubmitting a refurbished novel to the same agent; querying with a co-writer; and the difference between women's fiction, upmarket fiction, and book club fiction.
    After which, Emilie Sommer of East City Bookshop give all the phone-in listeners various suggested comp titles.
    Finally, our guest interviewer, Femi Omotade chats with Onyi Nwabineli, author of Someday, Maybe, about the inspiration behind the grief and loss in the book; writing difficult subject matter; adding humour and light and love to balance out the grief and loss and despair; her writing and publication journey; her writing process; and the main messages Onyi wants readers to take away.
    Support us at https://ko-fi.com/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwriting
    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Websites: www.theshitaboutwriting, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.com
    Onyi can be found at onyi-nwabineli.com, on Instagram at @onyiwrites, and on Twitter at @OnyiWrites
    Emilie can be found at @emiliegsommer on Instagram and East City Bookshop can be found at @eastcitybookshop and at www.eastcitybookshop.com
    Femi can be found at @thebookalert on Instagram


    Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

    Privacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy

    • 1 hr 40 min
    Finding Mentors in Your Writing Journey

    Finding Mentors in Your Writing Journey

    In today’s Books with Hooks, Carly, CeCe and Bianca look at two queries, in the process discussing a metafiction query letter; the idea of having characters written by other authors being used in your novel; digging deeper on a line level; originality and tropes; and the importance of specifics in interiority.
    After which, Bianca chats with Audrey Burges, author of The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone, about writing humour in a darker book; how she found her agent; having connections in the writing community; not losing momentum during drafting; working with her editor after her book deal; and having a mentor through the WFWA mentorship program.
    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Websites: www.theshitaboutwriting, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.com
    Audrey can be found at audreyburges.com, on Twitter @Audrey_Burges, and on Instagram @audreyburges.


    Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

    Privacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Pitching a Book Before You Write It

    Pitching a Book Before You Write It

    In today’s Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe critique two queries each, in the process discussing the concept of a protagonist knowing their fate or path; the importance of imbalance in the opening scene; an example of an 'excellent' query letter; and what is required in a query letter when your novel covers a long period of time.
    After which Bianca chats with James M. Lang and Sarah Connell Sanders, authors of Small Teaching K-8, on approaching university and small presses without an agent; creating a nonfiction proposal; how to find the right publisher/imprint; getting invited to speak at events and how those costs are handled; being qualified to write on a nonfiction topic; the process of interviewing experts for info to include in a book; the collaboration process with co-authors; ensuring you’re addressing a need in the market; and managing the social media aspect of marketing your book
    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Websites: www.theshitaboutwriting, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.com
    Sarah can be found at sarahconnellsanders.com and on Instagram at @sarah_connell
    Jim can be found at www.jamesmlang.com


    Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

    Privacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy

    • 59 min
    Seize the Day and Write the Book!

    Seize the Day and Write the Book!

    In today’s Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe critique two queries each, in the process discussing extraordinarily long query letters; why it’s tricky to have a character whose ultimate goal is death; including dual-POV in the metadata; the importance of curiosity seeds in the opening pages through interiority and emotionality; how not being specific enough in a query letter makes agents hesitate to request pages; lack of interiority in the third person; using spelling according to the country the story takes place in and/or where you’re pitching it; framing your memoir so it’s written for the reader, not the writer; starting a memoir with a bird’s-eye view or a summary of what happened; stripping the tension at the beginning of a story; and writing tightly on a scene level
    After which Bianca chats with Abby Maslin, author of Love You Hard, about being clear as to why you’re writing a memoir; the universal threads of struggle that connect us as humans; removing shame from experiences; structuring a memoir; getting the reader to invest in the characters before throwing them into the action; not telling too much too soon; recognizing what parts of your memoir need to be cut out because they belong to a different memoir; and writing for therapy vs writing to tell a story
    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Websites: www.theshitaboutwriting, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.com
    Abby can be found at www.abbymaslin.com and on Instagram at @abby_maslin


    Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

    Privacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Using Emotional Memories in Writing & Our End-of-Year Wrap Up

    Using Emotional Memories in Writing & Our End-of-Year Wrap Up

    In today’s Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe critique two queries each, in the process discussing putting your own spin on a classic trope; writing physical descriptions of characters; the difficulties w beginning your novel focusing on a character who is not the protagonist; how to explain that you've had a previous agent; and a good example of voicey prose.
    After which Carly chats with Kitty Johnson, author of Five Winters, about structuring a novel differently than the “norm”; creating obstacles for the main character to face; finding the balance between light and heavy topics; using emotional memories in writing; capturing grief in a story-forward way; and the most challenging and exciting things about Five Winters.
    Finally, Carly and CeCe do their end-of-year wrap up!
    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Websites: www.theshitaboutwriting, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.com
    Kitty can be found at www.kittyjohnsonbooks.com and on Instagram at @kittyjohnsonbooks


    Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

    Privacy & Opt-Out: https://redcircle.com/privacy

    • 1 hr 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
131 Ratings

131 Ratings

3rd Time Mom #2 ,

Top notch!

Everything about this podcast is excellent—the quality of information for emerging and aspiring writers, the enjoyment factor, the community.

DiegoYYC ,

Amazing writing advice!

As a new writer I am grateful for all the love and hard work that Bianca Marais and her team pour into the podcast. There is a huge amount of high quality advice geared to new writers (but useful for many levels). Beside the actual content, the chemistry between the hosts is amazing, leaving you completely re-energized and with new ammunition to tackle your own work. I am completely hooked to the show and eager to listen to every new episode.

Miriam Laundry - Author ,

Solid insight for all writers

This is such a fantastic “peek behind the curtain” for the professional writer. I love being able to hear directly from an agent with honest feedback. A great education

Top Podcasts In Arts

CBC Radio
CBC Radio
Roman Mars
NPR
Avery Trufelman
The Moth

You Might Also Like

Savannah Gilbo
K.M. Weiland
Kelton Reid
James Thayer
Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler
Joanna Penn