The woman nervously stood to ask a question: How do you get a book published? The literary conference I attended some years ago had invited the author Alice McDermott for an informal question and answer session. This member of the audience, one of over 100 aspiring writers in attendance, was asking what was on most people’s minds that day.
“Write the best book you can,” McDermott replied, “and find an agent.”
That is all she has to offer? I thought.
In the shocked silence that followed, it struck me that McDermott had glossed over the most important part, exactly what we needed to know–how to write the best book you can. The questioner, appearing chastened and somewhat embarrassed from the knuckle-wrap McDermott had just delivered, sat down.
Writing of course is a mysterious and elusive occupation, and the path to success may be difficult to describe. But this was not…
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