The Career Novelist – A Book Review

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Heinemann Trade
a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
Copyright 1996
ISBN 0-435-08134-9

If you read only one book on writing this year, make that book THE CAREER NOVELIST by Donald Maass. I have added Mr. Maass to my list of Unknown Mentors. These are the people who have helped me hone my natural talent, master the requisite skills, and taught me about the writing business.

Why buy this book? What makes it different from all the other books on writing? Donald Maass is a successful literary agent who knows writing and publishing. What he has to say about the importance of fiction echoes my own thoughts: that it’s a way of understanding ourselves and the world around us and that the world needs storytellers. “In our world of dislocation, of declining institutions, it is imperative that the values that bind us together be reaffirmed.” He asserts that the solo storyteller can show us “new ways of seeing and new paths toward understanding.” (The Career Novelist, p.xvi)

THE CAREER NOVELIST is not a writing primer. Rather it is book that offers hope in this difficult marketplace. Yes, Mr. Maass tells us, there is plenty of bad news out there for writers, but, there is also good news. Read this book, and you will feel hope blossom in your writer’s heart like a cactus flower after unexpected rain.

In a conversational style so intimate one feels as if Mr. Maass is sitting next to the reader, he reveals what a writer needs to know in order to be a successful career novelist.

When you finish the book, you will be able to write your own business plan, which is what all writers want a good agent to do for them. You’ll know where you have failed in the past. You’ll know what the next logical step in your career should be.

Whether you are just beginning to write and wonder if you have the skill and talent needed to create a career as a novelist or you are a writer who feels stuck in midlist or you are a writer who wonders what you are doing wrong, this book is for you. Everyone jokes about the secret of getting published. Well, this comes as close to a secret as anything I’ve read.

In closing, let me say, in case you didn’t get the message loud and clear. Buy this book! You’ll thank me, and you’ll thank Mr. Maass for writing it.

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