What’s in your Tacklebox?

I’m a sucker for hearing it like it is.  I don’t like sugar coating unless it’s on my donuts and I don’t like smarmy, schmmoozy words with an underlying purpose.  They make my skin crawl just a little–like when the baker tries too hard to slip the day old cinnamon twists in with the fresh ones just to get them off the rack.

You’ll get none of this with Lynn Price in her masterpiece, The Writer’s Essential Tackle BoxIn it, she writes for us, not herself.  After all, she’s an author and the editorial director of Behler Publicatons.  She doesn’t  benefit in any way if we sell our picture book Squirrels in Space.  Rather, she writes to give us an edge in a convoluted industry filled with contradictions and ever-changing practices.

I first became interested in Ms. Price through her blog.  What attracted me was her writing style.  She’s up front, honest and makes no apologies for how she feels.  Sound off-putting?  It’s not.  Because sprinkled within her posts like candy bits on a cake donut are wit and charm that have literally made me laugh out loud.  Almost every time I read her blog I learn something new about the publishing industry, the submission process or myself as a writer. 

Needless to say, when a fellow AQer began spouting off about a great new book he was reading, I was intrigued.  Finally he spilled that it was none other than Lynn’s Tackle Box.  Of course, I deliberated for a moment or two then purchased a copy for myself.  Who says word of mouth doesn’t work?

And now, I’m passing this word along to you: if you have only one book on your writer’s bookshelf, it should be The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box.  I know, because I have 27 of them.  Writing books, that is.  Not Tackle Boxes. 

So what makes this book stand out above the rest? 

Unlike many of the other books on my shelf, The Tackle Box is all encompassing.  One of the biggest mistakes budding writers make is not knowing the industry.  And there is so much to know.  Rather than tell it all herself, Ms. Price engaged the help of industry professionals to reveal the nuts and bolts of every aspect of book making. 

From agents to publicists to book reviewers and authors, she has every question covered and some we never thought to ask.  Ms. Price did her homework so we wouldn’t have to.

Yet she doesn’t stop there.  Once we’ve digested the process from manuscript to bookshelf, Ms. Price serves up an entire section on the dreaded submission process.  As an editor, she has seen her share of queries, paritals and fulls.  Rather than let us suffer through all the mistakes she’s encountered, she provides an honest reaction for us to learn from. 

“I wince every time I hear this…” and “I implode on a regular basis…” are just a few of her non-coated truths. 

I would rather hear this from a book, when I still have my query letter in front of me and can tweak a sentence or two, rather than in a rejection letter after I’ve offended my targeted agent.  Or worse yet, after I’ve been rejected by every available agent willing to consider a manuscript on alien squirrels. 

I was lost for days reading and rereading her myth busters on the submission process.  I think you will be too.

And if that isn’t enough, The Tackle Box tackles the controversy over publishers.  Who are they and what do they want?  What’s the difference between a POD, vanity press and small press?  Why is it important to know everything about your potential publisher before you submit your manuscript? 

True to her blog style, Ms. Price fearlessly takes on the ups and downs of each option and lays them out for us in easy to understand format.  By the time I was done reading, I could no longer plead ignorant on any aspect of publishing.  This alone would have satisfied me as a book buyer.  Yet, the best part remained.

Her tips on writing.  Granted, it’s a small section, like the pudding in the middle of an eclair, but it is packed with writing rules and leaves nothing out.  Want a tip on independent clauses?  It’s in there, complete with an example sentence for hands on learning.  POV, italics, cursing?  Yep, yep and yep. 

Yet in the end, what I loved most about this book is that Ms. Price doesn’t tell me how to get published, rather, she gives me the tools to do it myself.  And that comes in the form of a tackle box.

Armed with my line, hooks and a comprehensive guide to the process, I can confidently trawl the waters of the publishing industry.  With luck I’ll reel in a book deal.

 

*Disclaimer: no donuts were harmed in the writing of this post, nor was I paid in any way to assess the virtues of this book.  Rather, when I sent an email to Behler Publications with the intent to purchase The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box for my blog contest, they donated the prize.  For anyone following my blog or my tweets, you already know the Behler Blog is one of my most referenced sites–and that was before the donut donation.*

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16 responses to “What’s in your Tacklebox?

  1. Sounds like a great book – with or without the donuts 🙂

    I haven’t read it yet – I’ll put it on the list!

    • Jemi,

      Don’t you find that the list grows to astronomical proportions? Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get to the bottom of it. Just today, my blog reading added four new books to my must read list. Not that that’s a bad thing…if I were a single, unemployed hermit with unlimited funds!

  2. Thanks Cat. Now I want a donut. 😉

    I’ve read through some of my copy of the book, and it’s a LOT of info to process! But I can tell already it will be very useful.

    • The front half can be heavy, as it’s filled with info on all aspects of the industry. It is not a book to be read in one sitting, but definitely one that should be digested over time. I guess it’s a product of being so comprehensive. Which is what I liked about it. Eventually, we shouldn’t have any questions about the process that we so blindly walk into.

      Sending virtual donuts…

  3. Sounds like this is a book that should be on the shelf of our local library as well as on my own shelf at home. Thanks for the info. (I’m a sucker for writing books, too).

    • Patricia,

      I really enjoyed this book. It answered so many questions about the business as a whole as well as stylistic questions and out right no-no’s.

      I’d say it’s the equivalent of three books- general info, submissions and style. Well worth the money. At least for me.

  4. I will have to add this to my list of ‘must-haves’. Thanks for the terrific referral.

  5. LOL.. great review. I really truly want to pick it up. It will have to wait, as I’ve been dealing with expenses for my recent wedding and now honeymoon. BUT………. eventually, I plan on getting this.

    Her blog is great and funny enough, that’s how I came across your blog. I had read a comment you made to her and followed you on over here, only to find another fantastic blog.

    • Thanks Void! I actually did the same with you. I guess great minds think alike!

      And on that note, it’s nice to see that making comments on one blog actually nets a cyber friend.

  6. Dear Cat, I could not resist sending you this poem wrote: We all have to examine periodically what is in our tackle boxes.

    My Two Tape Measures

    I noticed I had two tape measures
    In my fishing
    Tackle box–
    One 8 foot
    And the other
    5 foot.
    What was I thinking?

    No Loch Ness Monster
    Lurks in the Juniata River
    Or the Susquehanna
    For that matter.

    All I could do
    Was Laugh
    I really was dreaming.
    I never caught
    A fish longer than 15 inches
    In my life.

    Even the musky
    Who reside
    In these waters
    At most
    Grow 3 or 4
    Feet long.

    I was overly optimistic.
    In twenty years
    I have only seen
    One musky
    Caught
    That size
    And I was not the
    Lucky fisherman.

    Even if I ever
    Hooked one that big,
    My 10 pound test line
    Would have snapped
    In a split second.

    I decided
    To replace
    My two measuring tapes
    With a 36 inch” one.

    Even that one represents
    Wild optimism:
    My biggest catch
    Fishing in the River
    Was a 15 inch
    Smallmouth bass.

    And I paraded it
    In the local newspaper
    Office
    Showing off
    My “monster” fish.

    They shooed me
    Out their front door
    Although they did
    Mention my catch
    In the next issue.

    What a joke!
    It was the smallest bass
    You can keep legally.

    Anyway,no one
    Is going to laugh
    At me
    Any more.
    The 8 and 25 foot
    Tape measures
    Are now gone
    From my tackle box..

    • Siggy,

      Very true! I live with a house full of fisherman and they are almost as optomistic as we writers are. Yet I think that’s the whole point. Without the dream there is no purpose.

      Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great review, except now I’m hungry.

  8. Thanks for doing such a good review of that book, Cate. I have been on the fence about whether or not to get it, and have now added it to my Amazon.com list!

    • I really liked it. It’s not one of those you read in one sitting. Rather, it’s one to digest over time. However, the information within is well worth the time it takes.

      If you get it, I hope you like it.

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