Your Novel Proposal: From Creation to Contract (Blythe Camenson & Marshall J. Cook)

I get a lot of books for free, because (1) I’m a writer with writer-friends, (2) I review books, and (3) I teach books and thus build course booklists. I got this book for free a while back and decided recently to read it, because (1) students often ask me questions about publishing stuff that I can usually answer but sometimes can’t, and (2) I’m finishing my novel rewrites this summer and need to think a bit more about its possible publication — so I thought I might learn something.

Well, I really didn’t learn anything. However, this would be a good book for people who are pretty new to life in general and want some of the basic, nuts & bolts info in a well-organized, clean presentation. A lot of this kind of stuff you just learn by being friendly, and talking to other writers, or just by thinking twice. I always wonder at the people who need a full page of text to tell them not to call an agent in the middle of the night, at home, or who might think it professional to print their romance novel on pink paper and douse it in perfume. If you need to be warned against such things, then you should buy this book and smack it against your face anytime such an idea enters your little pinhead.

I also hoped this book would contain some interesting craft ideas or writing exercises I could use, but that whole “creation” part of the title? Well, it’s not exactly in the book. I think they just wanted the alliteration of “creation” and “contract.” Oh, also, it doesn’t discuss contracts to any significant degree. And there’s no such thing as a “novel proposal” (well, there is, but nobody reading this book would ever need to write one, and it doesn’t discuss them — the closest it comes is discussing synopses). So I don’t know what the title is all about.

This book is pretty much a crash course in common sense. It was a total waste of my time, except that I got to count it as one of my 95 books. I probably would have stopped reading it otherwise. Which made me think of a possible negative element of this challenge: How many people have wasted their time finishing a bad book just so that they can count it towards their 95?

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