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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 9 October 2006
This book discusses all the things I've been thinking about for so many years and has framed and solidified a lot of my insecurities and uncertainties about being a writer (or not). I'm usually a bit sceptical about writing manuals and the like - I have a shelf stacked high and I never open them - but this one lives by the bed and I keep flipping through it, going back to it, turning ideas over in my mind. Really inspiring for me.
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on 10 July 2006
This book is both highly informative and hugely entertaining. I enjoyed its mix of personal anecdote, wry comment and quotations from published as well as aspiring writers. It is both sensible and amusing as well as providing nuggets of wisdom from an acknowledged expert in this field. I think anyone who is thinking of writing a book (and who isn't?) should read this.
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on 28 February 2007
Alison Baverstock covers pretty well everything from personal support networks to what to do if there isn't a book in you, and supports her chapters with quotations from writers who sound as if they actually understand the trials and joys of writing rather than just churning out pages of print to order. There is excellent advice on finding an agent and a publisher, information on the publishing industry and how publishers, booksellers, librarians and literary agents make their various choices, a useful bibliography, brief biographical notes about the contributors relevant to their writing careers, and a list of useful addresses. The only thing she doesn't include is how writers deal with carpal tunnel syndrome, but otherwise this is a most useful and informative guide for anyone who gets the urge to put pen to paper or finger to key. Recommended!
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on 23 July 2006
I have to admit that I'm naturally inclined to rebel against prescription or proscription (aren't most writers?) - writers writing books about writing seem to me little more than commandments from distant, unapproachable gods. And I've found in my own creative writing course, most of the learning and discussion goes on in the pub after the lecture: if established writers sit around and talk about money, young and aspiring writers talk about writing, as they try to articulate the rush of ideas and inspirations thrumming inside them. And I think that's what makes this book so fascinating and engaging: the way it captures the spirit of a bunch of writers sitting round and talking about writing - except in a way that's interesting to other people. I like the way it feels like a discussion, an exploration, rather than a map, raising more interesting questions to consider than simply laying down "definitive" answers. The most important thing I have to say I got from reading was reassurance, realising that I wasn't doing so badly, that others faced the same struggles and doubts as I, and that whatever anyone else's work habits, as long as I had found a routine and work habits that helped me to keep writing, then that was okay. More than ever I realise the truth of Graham Greene's observation in The End of the Affair (another novel about a writer writing!): Inspiration finds you working, however you do it.
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on 22 June 2009
Alison Baverstock has done all the work for us - she's filtered the best information from the best brains in writing and publishing and combined them into this wonderful book. The advice comes from writers, agents, editors and publishers in all genres and numerous markets. This is a book for people serious about exploring a career in writing. Baverstock isn't afraid to bust the myth that there's a book in everyone - because there isn't. And I appreciate this approach, which doesn't indulge the would-be writer; instead, it is a frank, honest look at how the industry works, how writing works, and how to ensure you're doing the right thing on the path to the ISBN.
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on 5 October 2006
I picked up this book because, to be honest, I wanted to see my quotes in print but I stayed and found this text utterly engaging and read it from cover to cover within two days despite a current heavy workload. We all ought to thank Ms Baverstock for printing such an incredible amount of advice in such an easily digestible fashion and I can say that I have personally been helped and moved a great deal. At the very least I now have a far rounder understand now of why I continue to fail in the high professional arena.

I myself am calmer after finishing this book but I can easily see why it could also energise. I feel there is a less struggling happening. As if I have reached a plateau. Certainly, there were many chapters which reverberated within me.

I now have a better understanding of why I write and that was the essence of this book for me. It is clear and forthright and honest. Buy this book. It will make you a better writer and a better person.

Molly Cutpurse
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on 7 October 2009
I sat down with this book and a highlighter pen and didn't stop until I had reached the end. I love the way the book combines advice with story and real life experiences from best selling authors to aspiring writers. Everyone has something to give. The tone is not pushy and there are plenty of options for those who feel that perhaps that book inside can find other creative outlets. The non-patronising supportive tone hits the spot. This is clearly an author who has been there, done that and, er, written the book. Brilliant.
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on 10 June 2013
If you read this book, you will never write one. It goes beyond what is worth considering before sacrificing time, energy and money on a dream that may or may not work. However it goes too far, pulverising any natural enthusiasm and is a heavy read in itself. Perhaps useful to read if you work in publishing, otherwise don't bother.
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on 18 September 2008
Amazing to find a book which is so factual being so readable. It was a complete joy to devour its pages. It answered so many of my questions- including those which I hadn't yet realised I needed to ask. It felt as if a guiding hand had reached from the pages to steer me through a virtual tour of the vaguaries of publishing. Alison places the reader in a position to achieve real perspective on a world which seems shadowed and mysterious to the novice writer. Armed with Alison's advice, knowing it was born of huge experience, I felt encouraged to tackle my writing with renewed commitment and immediately made very positive changes to my approach. Invaluable.
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on 9 May 2010
... I suppose I bought the wrong book at the wrong moment. I've been writing for the last five years - with little success so far - and I have already come to terms with many approach and psycological problems dealt with in the book. The practical part is of little use to me because in Italy the book market is quite different from the english one. Furthermore I don't really like the patchwork of various people's opinions on the different subjects, which makes me feel the text as too fragmented. All the same I think the book can be really useful, because it covers aspects you will not find on other books, and makes you more aware of how the business works.
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