Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book (Paperback)

Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book By Courtney Maum Cover Image
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“Even better than answering the questions a writer is afraid to ask, this book more importantly answers the questions a writer may not know to ask. Filled with anecdotal examples (both negative and positive), humor, and a lot of common sense advice, this book covers everything an aspiring writer might need to know, including how to deal with agents, editors, publishers, advances, social media, book tours, movie/TV rights, depression, failure, and, yes, even success.”
— Keith Glaeske, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC


Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask is right here in this funny, candid guide written by an acclaimed author.

There are countless books on the market about how to write better but very few books on how to break into the marketplace with your first book. Cutting through the noise (and very mixed advice) online, while both dispelling rumors and remaining positive, Courtney Maum's Before and After the Book Deal is a one–of–a–kind resource that can help you get your book published.

Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer's Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book has over 150 contributors from all walks of the industry, including international bestselling authors Anthony Doerr, Roxane Gay, Garth Greenwell, Lisa Ko, R. O. Kwon, Rebecca Makkai, and Ottessa Moshfegh, alongside cult favorites Sarah Gerard, Melissa Febos, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Mira Jacob.

Agents, film scouts, film producers, translators, disability and minority activists, and power agents and editors also weigh in, offering advice and sharing intimate anecdotes about even the most taboo topics in the industry. Their wisdom will help aspiring authors find a foothold in the publishing world and navigate the challenges of life before and after publication with sanity and grace.

Are MFA programs worth the time and money? How do people actually sit down and finish a novel? Did you get a good advance? What do you do when you feel envious of other writers? And why the heck aren’t your friends saying anything about your book? Covering questions ranging from the logistical to the existential (and everything in between), Before and After the Book Deal is the definitive guide for anyone who has ever wanted to know what it’s really like to be an author.

About the Author

Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Costalegre, Touch, and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You and the chapbook Notes from Mexico. Her writing and essays have been widely published in such outlets as BuzzFeed, The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Interview, and Modern Loss. She is the founder of the learning collaborative The Cabins, and she also works as a product namer and publishing consultant from her home in Connecticut. Find out more at

Praise For…

Forbes, 1 of the 10 Most Anticipated Books of the Year According to Independent Bookstores
An American Booksellers Association Indie Next Selection

The Rumpus, What to Read When the New Year Is Just Around the Corner

"I have worked in and adjacent to book publishing for nearly a decade, and my copy of Before and After the Book Deal is still dog-eared and rumpled, as a pored-over book should be."—Keziah Weir, Vanity Fair

"Anyone who’s trying to get a book published or is in the process of being published should consider this guide required reading . . . An unusually candid guide to nearly every question you might have about the process. It’s also filled with tons of practical writing advice, and is very funny. I’ve returned to it again and again." —Rachel Krantz, BuzzFeed

"For all of you planning, yet again, to write that book that you've had in your head for years . . . A comprehensive guide to navigating the tricky world of publishing." —Alison Stewart, All of It, WNYC

"An all–inclusive guide for writers on how to navigate and, importantly, survive the publishing world . . . Maum peels back the gauzy romantic curtain of a working author's life and replaces it with clarity and detailed advice." —Sarah LaDuke, The Roundtable, WAMC

"Unique in scope and style, Before and After the Book Deal is a gem in the world of writing resources . . . It's informative, it’s relatable, and most of all, it helps me feel prepared to keep moving forward." —Karley Conklin, Write2Ignite

"This book is invaluable for the serious writer who is dedicated to publication, the rare title that’s both a reference manual and a page–turner . . . A logical next step for budding writers who have consumed Stephen King’s On Writing (2000), Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird (1995), and Chuck Wendig’s Damn Fine Story (2017)." —Booklist (starred review)

"This is the how–to book for a new era of publishing." ––Jonny Diamond, Literary Hub, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year

"Invaluable to new writers seeking advice and support in navigating their first publication." —Publishers Weekly

"With humor and wisdom and the input of writers from across the literary firmament, Courtney Maum has assembled the go–to book for those looking to publish seriously and make a sustainable career of writing. I wish I could turn this book into a serum and inject it straight into my students' veins. I'll have to settle, for now, for imploring them to read this book." —Rebecca Makkai, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Great Believers

“This book is an act of generosity. It’s filled with insight, truth, and good advice; what’s more, it had me laughing often and loudly. A trove of riches.” —R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

"Before and After the Book Deal is full of writing and publishing wisdom you either should—make that must—know as you plot your authorial future (good luck to you!) or wish you'd known before you got into this mess in the first place (well, better late than never), and Courtney Maum is an ideal guide for the whole loopy adventure: sympathetic, just cynical enough, and uproariously funny." —Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style

Product Details
ISBN: 9781948226400
ISBN-10: 1948226405
Publisher: Catapult
Publication Date: January 7th, 2020
Pages: 384
Language: English