122 episodes

This is a podcast for emerging writers, who are looking to improve their work with an aim to having it published, or anyone who would like a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry. Your host, Bianca Marais (the author of 'Hum If You Don't Know the Words' and 'If You Want to Make God Laugh') will be interviewing 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 and 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

This is a podcast for emerging writers, who are looking to improve their work with an aim to having it published, or anyone who would like a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry. Your host, Bianca Marais (the author of 'Hum If You Don't Know the Words' and 'If You Want to Make God Laugh') will be interviewing 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 and opening pages in their Books with Hooks segment. Expect good advice, honest insights, and a few laughs along the way.

    The Poetic Efficiency of Writing Well at the Line Level - Emma Straub

    The Poetic Efficiency of Writing Well at the Line Level - Emma Straub

    In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe each discuss the same three queries, unpacking why queries are meant to be short and sweet; the difference between a setup and a reveal; agent burnout and pitching the most exciting info about your novel ASAP; and upping tension by subverting character expectations in the first few pages. Also, Carly surprises us by advocating for a prologue, and Carly and CeCe disagree on one of the queries!
    After which, Bianca chats with Emma Straub, author of THIS TIME TOMORROW and owner of Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, about a smart strategy for dressing for tour, her inspiration for her most recent novel; planting clues and foreshadowing through your manuscript; the importance of writing well at a line level; and how Emma's unpublished works helped her on her journey to publication.

    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Website: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.com
    Emma can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @emmastraub and her website is www.emmastraub.com

    • 1 hr 17 min
    Pacing at a Chapter Level, How the Industry is Faring, and We Answer Your Questions

    Pacing at a Chapter Level, How the Industry is Faring, and We Answer Your Questions

    In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Hanny Mary McKinnon, author of NEVER COMING HOME, about how to write characters that we root for even though they’re bad; pacing at a scene or chapter level; adding in “sparkly touches” during the editing/revision stage; how to ensure a reader won’t want to put your book down; and knowing when a scene or chapter isn’t enhancing your story
     After which, Bianca chats with industry expert, Jane Friedman about how the publishing industry is faring; the lack of diversity in and social dynamics of the industry; current trends in publishing; how BookTok has been driving book sales; self-publishing vs traditionally publishing; thinking long-term when you’re making the decision about which publishing route you want to take; and all of Jane’s resources available for writers.

    After which, Carly and CeCe answer all of your burning publishing questions!

    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Website: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.com
    Hannah can be found at @hannahmarymckinnon on Instagram and @HannahMMcKinnon on Twitter, and at www.hannahmarymckinnon.com
    Jane can be found at @janefriedman on Instagram and Twitter and at www.janefriendman.com

    • 56 min
    The Secret to Incorporating Backstory

    The Secret to Incorporating Backstory

    In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe each critique two query letters. In the process they discuss closing the distance between narrator and reader; ensuring the reader knows exactly who to root for and what the hook is; how secrets in a query letter must carry inherent stakes with them; voice-y hybrid second person; and planting curiosity seeds.

    After which, Bianca chats with Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas, about a ‘scaffolding’ writing technique; incorporating mythology into your writing; Stacey's writing process and journey to publication; being intentional with your opening pages; and the secret to incorporating backstory.

    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Website: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.com
    Stacey can be found at @staceyrswann on Instagram and @StaceySwann on Twitter, and at www.staceyswann.com

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Being Out on Sub, Drafting vs Revising Mode, Answering Your Questions and Comps Titles

    Being Out on Sub, Drafting vs Revising Mode, Answering Your Questions and Comps Titles

    In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca first chats with Jessica Payne, author of Make Me Disappear, about getting "the call"; how long the editorial process can take before going on sub; how publishing is like dating; how to tell when you’re close to getting offers of representation; writing under contract while launching a debut; and establishing relationships with Bookstagrammers and a potential launch team before you’ve sold the book.

    Bianca then talks with Amy Jones, award-winning author of Every Little Piece of Me about writing as rewriting; saving your deleted work; how drafting a novel is like building a house; place-holding chapters and  scenes; and drafting mode versus revising mode.

    After which Carly and CeCe answer your burning questions.

    Finally, Emilie Sommer from East City Bookshop gives you comps titles!

    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Website: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.com
    Jessica can be found on Twitter at @authorjessicapayne and on Instagram at @jessicapayne.writer and at www.jessicapayne.net
    Amy  can be found on Twitter at @amylaurajones and Instagram at @amlaujo and at www.amyjonesauthor.com
    Emilie can be found on Instagram at @emiliegsommer and East City Bookshop can be found at @eastcitybookshop

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Emily Henry's Advice for Writing Good Dialogue

    Emily Henry's Advice for Writing Good Dialogue

    In today's Books with Hooks, we're joined by Paige and Rianne who submitted their work for critique. Carly and CeCe discuss how to make your query properly voicey and following the ‘language’ of your novel;  cornering your protagonist to create tension; the need for a personified antagonistic force in your query/novel; and the need for active emotions.

    After which, Bianca chats with Emily Henry, NYT Bestselling author of Book Lovers, about developing characters; the progress made in the romance genre; writing as an inherently political act; what draws Emily to writing about publishing; and Emily's advice for writing good dialogue and witty banter. 
    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Website: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.com
    Emily can be found at @emilyhenrywrites on Instagram and at www.emilyhenrybooks.com

    • 1 hr 3 min
    What Makes an Editor Fall in Love with a Book & How to Manage Your Writerly Anxiety & A Bookseller Gives You Comps

    What Makes an Editor Fall in Love with a Book & How to Manage Your Writerly Anxiety & A Bookseller Gives You Comps

    In today's Bonus Episode, CeCe chats with Sarah Cantin, Executive Editor at St. Martin's Publishing Group and the editor of the #BookswithHooksBC pick, The Ballerinas. They discuss what made Sarah fall in love with the submission for The Ballerinas;  what “pre-empt” means in an offer/deal; instantly knowing the genre vs pondering the straddling of two genres; the ratio of submissions vs offers; what to do when a book doesn’t sell as well as you thought it would; likeable unlikeable protagonists; and Sarah's book recommendations. 
    After which, Bianca chats with Susie Orman Schnall, the award-winning author of We Came Here to Shine, The Subway Girls, The Balance Project and On Grace. They discuss hiring a professional editor to put your best foot forward for querying; rejections from publishers and the importance of talking about them; understanding the hook of your novel; how to manage the anxiety of being a writer; trusting in your agent’s capabilities; and allowing yourself to feel shitty, but also remembering to measure your successes and celebrate them as you keep going.

    Finally, Emilie Sommer joins us from East City Book Shop to answer your comps questions!

    Find us on our socials:
    Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Website: www.biancamarais.com
    Sarah can be found at @sarahgcantin on Twitter
    Susie can be found at @susieormanschnall on Instagram and at www.susieschnall.com 
    Emilie can be found at @emiliegsommer on Instagram and East City Book Shop can be found at @eastcitybookshop on Instagram and at @eastcitybooks on Twitter
     

    • 1 hr 17 min

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