Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review: Publishing

It's the watermark of writing: Getting a book published. Some writers hope to get their one dream book published, some manage to be the next James Patterson and get a million books published, and some go it alone and self-publish.

Gail Godwin's memoir on writing, Publishing, is set to be published January 13 by Bloomsbury, but I was able to review it early thanks to NetGalley. The book is a quick read and gives a taste of the author's quest to be published. Godwin opens the book with an author's nightmare: getting turned down by a scout from Knopf, one of the most distinguished publishing houses (many in the publishing world name Knopf and Farrar, Straus and Giroux as two of the most distinguished houses). Godwin manages to bounce back with several bestsellers including A Mother and Two Daughters (1982), Father Melancholy's Daughter (1991), and Evensong (1999).

All three were published by different houses, but Godwin explains some of the writing process, having an agent and editor among them. At one point, she laments changes at Viking after it became part of the Penguin Group. Considering the recent mega merger of Penguin and Random House, two titans in the publishing world, how does it compare now to the Viking-Penguin merger back then? That was a question I had during most of the book.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not read any of Godwin's books prior to Publishing. Fans of hers will enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at how she wrote her books. I was more intrigued by the tales of her getting her books published, but there is also a fair amount of her life story intertwined as well.

Rating: 3/5 stars. I readily admit, I probably would have enjoyed this more had I read Godwin's previous works, but there was enough here to keep me invested. I was left wanting more details of the publishing industry, but Publishing was a good starting point.

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