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, publicists, copy editors, creative writing instructors, writing groups, book sellers, jacket designers, audio book narrators, and just about anyone and everyone who's involved in bringing a book to market. She's joined by literary agents, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra, from P.S. Literary Agency who read and critique query letters and opening pages in their regular Books with Hooks segment. Expect good advice, honest insights, and a few laughs along the way.
A Wealth of Information Shared by Super Editor, Amy Einhorn
In today's Books with Hooks segment, we do a lot of brainstorming, which doesn’t necessarily align with the author’s vision for her novel, reminding us all that the author is the one who decides what their story is and isn’t. Carly and CeCe also chat about how editors like unlikely friendship stories; authors not having to give up on manuscripts, but persuing the ones that give you the best chance at publishing; taking care not to give resolutions in the query letter; aiming for a pressure cooker vibe; and how life-tense and story-tense differ.
Bianca chats with Amy Einhorn, President and Publisher at Henry Holt & Company, and editor of Liane Moriarty, Sarah Blake, Jenny Lawson, Laurie Frankel, Min Jin Lee and many other award-winning and bestselling authors. Amy shares a wealth of information about publishing, editing, the qualities of a good story, what makes an author successful, and much more.
How Being Impatient to Publish Actually Works Against You - Ruth Ozeki
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss avoiding hypothetical questions; escalating baseline stakes and tension; how authors are the puppet masters of their own universes and need to justify all of their choices; giving the reader something familiar in the opening of a fantasy novel; the difference between head-hopping and omniscient POV; how to format dialogue; how you need to frame your memoir with a hook; and avoiding writing a character's struggles that are all internal.
Bianca chats with award-winning author, Ruth Ozeki, about there being no age by which you need to publish; writing in your own time when you give yourself permission to write; people assuming the main character is based on yourself; how you need to work hard to find yourself in all of your characters and give them a part of you; how the antagonist is the hero of their own story; the creative process vs pathology; writing a book because you have questions you get to act out with your characters; how the author and reader co-create a different book every time a reader reads it; and taking your time and understanding the tension between the poles of patience and impatience.
From the Archives: What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Published - Courtney Maum
Host and author, Bianca Marais, talks with the fabulous Courtney Maum, author of Before and After the Book Deal, about writing killer query letters and the ten things Courtney wishes she knew before she published her first book, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You. The episode is filled with tons of practical writing advice and lots of laughs. Learn from someone who's been there, done that, and wishes they'd known better.
In Praise of the Prologue and Organic Backstory - Christina Clancy
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss digging into trauma to reveal the root emotion; how even literary fiction needs a hook; readability and writing in italics in certain fonts; needing to connect with character; how a query letter must include details of a specific climax; always keeping the reader wondering about what’s going to happen next; and tackling certain themes responsibly. Carly also sings a time stamp jingle!
After which, Bianca chats with Christina Clancy, author of Shoulder Season, about the research that goes into writing a novel; thinking about your book even when you’re not able to write; knowing when to stop researching and start writing; how close you need to stick to historical fact and how much can be invention; starting a whisper campaign; finding ancillary resources; when a story needs a prologue; being willing to cut things even during a third draft; figuring out where the beating heart of your story is; and why every writer has to despair at some point of the process.
From the Archives: Talking with the Bestseller Whisperer
Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with Tara Singh Carlson, the first editor to have two of their novels picked by Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine Book Club. Besides acquiring numerous bestsellers like The Silent Wife, The House at Tyneford and The Light We Lost, she's also edited the publishing phenomenon, Where The Crawdad's Sing by Delia Owens, which has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for more than three years. Tara discusses what it takes to be the next Delia Owens as she shares amazing insight into how bestsellers happen.
The Evolution of a Rejected Manuscript on its Journey to Publication
On today's Books with Hooks segment, we have an author come onto the show to discuss her submission with us. In the segment, Carly and CeCe chat with Shari about linking multiple POV stories in a query letter; answering the 'why now?' question; establishing what’s at stake for each POV character; how an offer implies a transaction, and how all of life is about power; being careful who you comp as that creates expectations; explaining the thematic pressures that affect characters; how regret is a passive emotion; and nailing entry and exit points in each chapter.
After which, Bianca chats with debut author of The Tiger Mom's Tale, Lyn Liao Butler, about how to find support as a debut novelist; debuting in a hostile climate; how much is out of your control as a debut author; revising a novel and changing POVs in the process; all the mistakes writers make with their first novels; the evolution of a rejected manuscript on its journey to publication; why reading is so important; how to use feedback and critique; and how to choose the right agent.
Love this podcast! It has helped me return to writing
CeCe, Carly and Bianca have fabulous insight and advice, and they have amazing energy together. Very motivating and informative podcast.
As other reviewers have mentioned, I would like to hear more insight and opinions that are not simply CeCe and Carly echoing or agreeing with each other. We would like to have as many angles as we can get!
The best podcast for novel writers
These people are pros and they are prepared. Head and shoulders above most writing podcasts.
What I needed!
I am a person who learns by example. Bianca, Carly, and Cecilia really hit the mark by reading query letters and critiquing the first chapter. I’ve learned more from this podcast then any article/blog/vlog about writing.