Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book

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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask is right here in this funny, candid guide by acclaimed author Courtney Maum. Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book has over 150 contributors from all walks of the industry, including international bestselling authors Anthony Doerr, Roxane Gay, Garth Greenwell, Lisa Ko, R. O. Kwon, Rebecca Makkai, and Ottessa Moshfegh, alongside cult favorites Sarah Gerard, Melissa Febos, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Mira Jacob. Agents, film scouts, film producers, translators, disability and minority activists, and power agents and editors also weigh in, offering advice and sharing intimate anecdotes about even the most taboo topics in the industry. Their wisdom will help aspiring authors find a foothold in the publishing world and navigate the challenges of life before and after publication with sanity and grace.

Are MFA programs worth the time and money? How do people actually sit down and finish a novel? Did you get a good advance? What do you do when you feel envious of other writers? And why the heck aren’t your friends saying anything about your book? Covering questions ranging from the logistical to the existential (and everything in between), Before and After the Book Deal is the definitive guide for anyone who has ever wanted to know what it’s really like to be an author.

Praise for Before and After the Book Deal

An American Booksellers Association Indie Next Selection

Forbes, 1 of the 10 Most Anticipated Books of the Year According to Independent Bookstores

“A sensible and brightly encouraging guide to publishing. Maum covers just about everything a first-time author needs to know . . . A valuable companion for aspiring writers.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“In this nuts-and-bolts guide, accomplished author Maum (Costalegre, 2019) explains the journey of publishing from the Word-document manuscript to the remainder pile . . . Her style is infectious, too―the reader gets an insight on what it’s like to be a real-life working writer, while also feeling close to the author and laughing along with her. This book is invaluable for the serious writer who is dedicated to publication, the rare title that’s both a reference manual and a page-turner . . . A logical next step for budding writers who have consumed Stephen King’s On Writing (2000), Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird (1995), and Chuck Wendig’s Damn Fine Story (2017).” ―Booklist (starred review)

“This witty, quirky guide to writing books as a profession, from novelist Maum (Touch), manages to be both funny and informative. Loaded with anecdotes and advice from her own career and from writer friends and acquaintances of hers, it provides a comprehensive guide to writing and selling books . . . Maum’s book should prove invaluable to new writers seeking advice and support in navigating their first publication.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Written with the insider know-how of a published author and industry insider . . . An indelible resource for any writer looking to get published.” ―Elena Nicolaou, Refinery29

“With humor and wisdom and the input of writers from across the literary firmament, Courtney Maum has assembled the go-to book for those looking to publish seriously and make a sustainable career of writing. I wish I could turn this book into a serum and inject it straight into my students’ veins. I’ll have to settle, for now, for imploring them to read this book.” ―Rebecca Makkai, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Great Believers

Before and After the Book Deal is full of writing and publishing wisdom you either should―make that must―know as you plot your authorial future (good luck to you!) or wish you’d known before you got into this mess in the first place (well, better late than never), and Courtney Maum is an ideal guide for the whole loopy adventure: sympathetic, just cynical enough, and uproariously funny. Plus she’s enlisted a battery of writers-who-have-been-there to share truths so invaluable you may find yourself, page after page, ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ing like Meg Ryan at Katz’s.” ―Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style

“This book is an act of generosity. It’s filled with insight, truth, and good advice; what’s more, it had me laughing often and loudly. A trove of riches.” ―R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

“Courtney Maum’s Before and After the Book Deal is to book publishing what What to Expect When You’re Expecting is to parenting: an indispensable how-to guide with frank insider information that writers can’t find anywhere else. Filled with anecdotes and insights that are funny, honest, and wise, it answers questions every aspiring author has but is too afraid or embarrassed to ask. A must-read for anyone who is, has been, or hopes to be a debut author, this will be my go-to gift for writer friends.” ―Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek

Praise for Costalegre

“A young girl follows her mother and a wayward group of artists into the Mexican jungle on the eve of World War II in this spare, enchanting novel . . . A lush chronicle of wealth, art, adventure, loneliness, love, and folly told by a narrator you won’t be able to forget.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“When young Lara finds herself in Costalegre, living with her mother and a gaggle of nineteenth-century surrealist artists, wonder and mayhem ensues. With this slim novel, Courtney Maum has gifted her readers with a breathtaking meditation on youth, art, and the ever-mysterious bonds between mothers and daughters. Costalegre is a spectacular high-wire act that dazzles and devastates.” ―Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel

“Mesmerizing and unsettling, Costalegre is a wonder, and Courtney Maum shows herself once again to be a writer of many gifts. This is a book for anyone who’s ever loved and not felt sufficiently loved in return; and for anyone who’s had to try to grow up; for, that is, everyone.” ―R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

“This story of a daughter searching for connection all around her has a sharp cutting edge, a world that changes its mood in an instant; bleak as the dregs of a wine-soaked dinner, then bullish as a house of hapless surrealists attempting to boil an egg. Memorable and meaningful, Maum’s work remains with me as a reminder of love in the agony of teenage years and art in the terror of war.” ―Amelia Gray, author of Isadora

“Here is war, and here is art. And here is a child trying to become an adult in the midst of a Mexican exile. Maum’s stirred a brew of careless Bohemians, führers and failed art students, negligent mothers and missing museums. Costalegre is as heady, delirious, and heartbreaking as a young girl just beginning to fall in love with our world.” ―Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark Dark

Praise for Touch

“Exuberant . . . Maum’s writing is easy, eager and colloquial, as oxygenated as ad copy.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“At the heart of Maum’s smart, playful, satirical novel is the clash between technology and human interaction . . . As she demonstrated so well in her previous novel, [Maum] brings astute social observations to relationships, whether workplace or romantic.” ―The National Book Review, 1 of 5 Hot Books

“Maum’s incisive, charming, and funny novel ebulliently champions the healing powers of touch, the living world, and love in all its crazy risks, surprises, and sustaining radiance.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“Maum . . . has such a incisive grasp of where tech and culture meet that she could add sociologist to her resume.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Praise for I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

“Here we have the literary beach read―a book that pleases people who read two books a month and people who read two books a year . . . [Maum] is abundantly gifted―funny, open-hearted, adept at bringing global issues into the personal sphere . . . eventually creating that rare thing: a book for everyone.” ―The Washington Post

“Maum is funny: the kind of funny that is mean and dirty, with some good bad words thrown in. And she has a satiric eye for artsy pretension . . . Enticing.” ―The New York Times Book Review


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