Monthly Archives: August 2012


My good friend and president of Stephens Press, Carolyn Uber, answers the question of “how long should a book be.”

If you’re writing a book, looking for an editor or agent, or submitting to a publisher, these facts will come in handy. Read the full post from her Working Titlez blog:

Word Counts Count

My manuscript is now 150 pages. How long is the average book? Is it long enough?

A: That depends. Is your story done?

Short answers aside, there are some important issues an agent, editor or publisher will consider when evaluating your submission…

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The Battle of the Sexes … Really?

As I waited at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas to board a flight to Los Angeles, my eyes caught sight of a nearby newsstand. I’m always interested in what the latest publications are, what’s hot in the literary world. But it wasn’t the articles or magazines themselves that intrigued me. I was struck by the ORGANIZATION of the magazines themselves.

Hopefully, you can see (sorry, smart phone photo app does not make me a professional photographer) Forbes and Money and Newsweek on the left side – and Oprah, People, Cosmo, and Vogue on the right. Okay, I get that. Business, serious stuff together – gossip, fun, “light” stuff also together.

What assaulted my gender-free Berkeley college days is the fact that one section is labeled MEN’S INTERESTS and the other WOMEN’S INTERESTS. (If you can’t see this at the top of the displays, can you guess which one is labeled which … and why I’m having an aneurism?)


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Wild Review … or …

… my review of Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Author tells of surviving elements, inner battles in ‘Wild’

Tuesday, Aug. 07, 2012 at 05:00 AM

Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of her solitary journey along 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail is not just a journal of a long-distance hike. Yes, it is a tale of surviving the elements, facing danger — from man, beast and nature — fighting fatigue, hunger, thirst and blisters, but that is almost secondary to the battles waging from within as she tries to understand the death of her mother, the dissolution of her marriage, the destruction of her family.

Still, Strayed’s storytelling in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail does not resort to maudlin musings or sappy sentiments to hook her readers; she is honest in admitting her own shortcomings and less-than-stellar behavior. While she is angry and hurt, she does not blame others for her own failures. She does not pick and choose what to remember or share with us; instead, she airs all her dirty laundry (which, after miles and days without a shower, is literally quite a lot) and asks only that we accept her choices, whether we respect them or not.

Strayed is not the first person to have lost a parent, gotten a divorce or taken on a challenge, yet she writes with such skill that we do not dismiss her struggles as petty or common; her crisp language cuts to the heart of the matter (even in her own confusion). “I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in.”

Wild certainly found its way into my head.

Jami Carpenter is a freelance editor for Stephens Press, Trapdoor books, and independent writers, host and executive producer of Vegas PBS Book Club talk show and co-author of Education in the Neon Shadow.


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A Mind-Body Experience

We always knew reading exercised the brain …

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