BookEnds Must Reads

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jun 04 2009

Hello, faithful readers. I could use your help today. I’ve been thinking that it might be useful (and you tell me if I’m right) to have a section on the side of the blog entitled “Must Reads”—those blog posts you’ve found most useful that new writers could easily access to learn the basics, or sometimes not so basics, about the business.

I know that over the years a few of you have mentioned saving or printing certain posts for review later, and that’s what I’m thinking of. Those are the must reads. So if you could, in the comments section, share the names of the posts you think are must reads. I’m going to put my intern to work (and my webmaster, too, of course) to prepare a links section based on the most popular posts.



24 responses to “BookEnds Must Reads”

  1. Avatar Keri Ford says:

    Hey, Jessica. I book-marked this one sometime ago:

    Questions To Ask Before Signing With An Agent

  2. Avatar jessjordan says:

    I agree with Keri's post 100%. I'm not at that stage yet, but the Q's for an agent post was great, and I would love if, once I do hit that level, this post was easy to reference.

  3. Avatar Laurel says:

    You had two on word counts that I found very helpful:

    Why I Reject


    Word Count Rules

    I think newbie writers don't realize that the importance of word count is often an economic issue simply because the publisher doesn't want the expense of a big honkin' book no matter how good the story is. Wouldn't it suck to write a great book and scare everybody off with a word count that's just 10K too high?

    Janet Reid did a helpful post on how to calculate word count, as well. Lots of us don't know that you can't just use the word count tool in Word.

  4. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Whenever a discussion on query letters comes up I reccomend people read your post on putting the conflict in your query letter:

    And this one about pitch lines that don’t work:

    Cheers, Julie Rowe

  5. Avatar Dawn Maria says:

    I'm a newer reader to your blog. Is there something about how to research agents? When you really start looking for one, there aren't as many looking for your genre as you'd think. It's seems like agents still get queries addressed to Dear Agent, or for genres the agent doesn't represent, so I think so advice on what to do before you query would be a must read.

  6. Avatar rachel.capps says:

    I'm new to your blog and think this would be really useful – and much appreciated.

    I found this link really useful – on log lines:

  7. I write a blog for writers. Here are the blog article links I've shared from this blog.

    QUERY LETTERS HOW TO:  Agent Jessica Faust of Bookends has a series of blog posts on query letters that got her attention.  The letters are included, and she tells about why the letter worked. 

    The letter posts start here:

    THE BOOK PROPOSAL, FICTION Agent Jessica Faust explains the book proposal, a.k.a. the partial, used to sell your book to an agent or publisher.


    BOOK PROPOSAL, NON-FICTION Jessica Faust explains the book proposal for non-fiction.

    MARKETS: Agent Jessica Faust discusses Harlequin's more mainstream and non-romance lines in her blog.

  8. Avatar KJ says:

    The non-fiction proposal one ( Marilynn mentions is so fantastic, I send it to potential authors all the time.

    I also have your publishing dictionary saved, it's a really good basic list.

    -Katherine Arathoon

  9. Avatar E. Hartshorn says:

    I, too, have the "Questions to Ask Before Signing With An Agent" post bookmarked.

    Also, "What Can Authors Do to Sell Books" ( — not that I'm there yet, but I bookmarked it for when I am.

  10. Avatar Anonymous says:

    The series on Query Letters that got your attention and why is a must read for all writers.

  11. Avatar carly says:

    Your post on women's fiction regarding definitions and guidelines was particularly helpful.

    Women's Fiction: May 19, 2009

  12. Avatar Robena Grant says:

    Last October you posted about picking a genre for your book. I found it extremely helpful and went looking for it a few weeks ago, also read up on some of your other posts concerning genre.

    With RWA National coming up and having a couple of pitch appointments I'm trying hard to get a handle on exactly what I do write. My stories always seem to have elements of mystery, crime, romance, yet are not dark enough to be called romantic suspense. I still don't know what to call them, romantic adventure? : )

  13. This one, absolutely:

    I've posted this link and referenced this post more places than I can count.

  14. I poked around the blog for about ten or fifteen minutes and this is my list based on your previous entries:

    Anatomy of a Book Deal, November 25, 2008

    Contracts 101, September 13, 2007

    A Publishing Dictionary, August 21, 2008

    Stages of Editing, August 07, 2008

    Sally MacKenzie: Some Thoughts on Choosing an Agent,April 28, 2009

    The Easy Writer, April 13, 2009

    Rolling with the Punches, February 04, 2009

    Discussions with Your Agent, August 18, 2008

    Dissecting the Form Rejection Letter, January 30, 2009

    Be Careful of Assumptions, January 15, 2009

  15. And definitely anything on how-to write a query letter!

  16. Avatar jimnduncan says:

    Anything regarding querying process. Folks always like those. The string of posts you had analyzing queries was particularly good. The most recent 'what I'm looking for' post would be good as well.

  17. Avatar Ryan says:

    I think that would be a fabulous idea. I've not read through some of the other posts you've put up, but I know that Nathan Bransfords FAQs section on his blog has helped me out a great deal.

  18. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I found every post on the BookEnds blogs helpful. I still reference them. I also found the articles by Ann Marble under 'romance' on very useful. Alan Rinzler, Nathan Bradsford and PubRants are also great sources.

  19. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Alan Rinzler's blog articles:
    Ask the editor-8 tips for finding your voice
    Ask the editor-7 techniques for a dynamite plot
    Falling in love with your characters
    How successful writers keep up their confidence

  20. Ooh, I love a fun homework assignment! Here's a list of posts I've saved in my Bloglines feed. Some of them have already been mentioned, but I'll list them again to stuff the ballot box.

    Nov 4 08

    Nov 25 08

    Jan 05 09

    Any of the mid-January posts on what makes a good query letter.

    Feb 04 09

    Feb 09 09

  21. Avatar jilljames says:

    Jessica, I think you did a series on the parts of a contract and what they meant. I loved that.

  22. Avatar Miss Mapp says:

    Great idea and useful – thanks

  23. Avatar haleigh says:

    Great idea Jessica! There are two recent posts I've saved that I keep going back to:

    Agnet's Tastes

    Author Questionnaire regarding marketing

  24. Avatar M. L. Kiner says:

    "The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.