Review: The Forest for the Trees
by Betsy Lerner
by Shane P. Carr
Shane P. Carr
I am out searching the shelves of my local bookstore, I keep my eyes open for
that book that will enlighten me or offer some me some secret advice on how to
become a best-selling author. As most struggling writers will tell you, there is
no secret advice or magic that will make a publisher buy your book; however, in
my search I found a book that does come close.
Forest for the Trees: An Editors Advice to Writers
by Betsy Lerner is a fascinating book that gives writers a glimpse into the
world of editing and publishing from an editors point of view.
book opens with an honest and sometimes brutal look at the psychological makeup
of most writers. Through her experience working with various authors, Lerner
gives a first hand account of the trials and tribulations all writers face. She
covers personality traits and mental disorders that plague the most gifted of
writers, as well as the demons that can effect the creative mind, such as
alcoholism and drug abuse.
each instance Ms. Lerner manages to make you empathize with the writers she
discusses as she guides you through their rise to fame and their untimely
downfall to their inner demons. We learn that being a writer can be a trying
experience for the mind that wishes to create but cannot find the words to do
is where some of the subtle enlightenment sets in. While reading The Forest
for the Trees, I realized how much I had in common with many of the writers
discussed. It was refreshing and calming to learn that even great writers such
as Truman Capote, J.D. Salinger, and George Orwell suffered from "creative
angst." I gained the knowledge that I was not alone in feeling the emotions
that most writers experience.
Lerner even shares her own personal struggles to break into the field of writing
and publishing. With deft humor, Lerner manages to touch her readers hearts
with her most trying experiences in the publishing industry.
this point we only have only begun to approach the enlightenment this books
offers. In the second section, readers get the insiders look at what it takes
to get a publishers attention. Drawing from her personal experiences as both
writer and editor, Betsy Lerner gives solid advice on finding and agent,
preparing a query letter, and submitting to the right publishers.
She explains in detail what attracts the attention of an agent or editor,
as well as what will immediately turn them off to your manuscript.
whether you are a writer who is preparing to submit a manuscript, or just a
reader who wishes to learn how writers, editors, and publishers think, The
Forest for the Trees: An Editors Advice to Writers is a must read.
The Forest for
the Trees: An Editors Advice to Writers
1-57322-857-5 pub. Riverhead Books $12.00 U.S.