We review ebooks, courses and tools for writers, so you can make good decisions about how to invest in your writing career.
Program: Unconventional Guide to Publishing
About the creator: Chris Guillebeau is a popular blogger and traveler who writes about living an unconventional life. His second book, The $100 Startup, published by Crown, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He’s also author of The Art of Non-Conformity, published by Perigee.
Price: Three levels —
The Fitzgerald $58
The Austen $79 (most popular, and the version reviewed here)
The Hemingway $129
Who It’s For: According to Chris’ website, this product is for “someone who has always wanted to write a book, but doesn’t know where to start, an aspiring author or writer of any kind, a current author hoping to increase your audience, trying to decide between self-publishing and traditional publishing, hoping to build a following of active readers.”
The package is not about the writing process, or how to come up with your idea and write your book. The creator assumes that you have an idea, you are ready to write, will be ready to write soon, or have already written your book, and this guide will take you through the next steps of actually getting published.
What It Will Help You Do: This program is designed help a current or future author navigate the publishing world. It covers everything from finding an agent to crafting a book proposal, how the pitch process works and what the legal jargon in your shiny new contract actually means.
What’s Included: This varies, depending on which version you purchase. All of the versions come with a 45,000 word PDF guide, The Unconventional Guide to Publishing, written by David Fugate. David has been in the publishing business for over 20 years, representing many best-selling authors, including Chris Guillebeau and shares a really great insider’s view of the industry.
The Fitzgerald package ($58) also includes two MP3 audio interviews with editors from Hudson Street Press and Little, Brown about what they are looking for in authors.
The Austen ($79) also includes three MP3 audio interviews (the two above plus an interview with editors from Crown), and an extended interview with Chris Guillebeau about how community building relates to publishing. I also received several sample proposals with this package.
The Hemingway ($129) includes everything from the Austen, plus a video interview with Jonathan Fields on book marketing and an interview with David Fugate on the book proposal process.
The Best Part: The audio was great to hear to learn about what editors are looking for, and I definitely found myself taking notes. But the PDF was the best part for me because it was more of the nuts and bolts of publishing, which is what I was looking for. I felt as though the audio was a good supplement, but the PDF is what makes this really worth it.
I had no idea about the inner workings of the publishing world, and felt that I had a much better grasp on it after reading the Unconventional Guide to Publishing. David explains everything in an easy to understand way, which was helpful when you don’t even know where to start.
What Would Make It Even Better: If there was another PDF guide or an audio with suggestions about how to actually write your book (fleshing out the idea, creating an outline, what to do when you’re stuck, etc.), this would be the complete package that could take you from idea to published author.
Our Recommendation: The Fitzgerald and the Austen packages are a good value, and I recommend them if you are starting from scratch and don’t know anything about the publishing world. The Austen package has a couple more interviews, so if you are looking for more information about community building/building an author platform, or want to hear an additional editor’s point of view, then that is the package you want.
The website says that this product is also for current authors, but if you are already a published author, I don’t feel that you would get as much value from this product.
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