Monthly Archives: December 2014

Best Writing of 2014 – Roundup

Even as I find myself reading Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s Song that doesn’t mean I haven’t carefully been tracking the best of 2014 writing lists that have been appearing. Please enjoy this roundup and I hope you take the opportunity to support your fellow writers. Happy holidays!

Martin Ott

Academy of American Poets | Standout Poetry Books of 2014 

Africa Is a Country | Recommends Best Books of 2014 | 2014 Best Books of the Year: Literature and Fiction

The Atlantic | Best Books I Read This Year: Staff Selections

The Atlantic | Best Television Episodes 0f 2014

A.V. Club | Best Comics of 2014

Books Live | The 16 Best “Bests Books of 2014” List

Book Riot | Five Book Culture Heroes of 2014

The Boston Globe |  Best Poetry Books of 2014

Bustle | 7 of the Biggest Book Controversies This Year

Bustle | 19 Small Press Books You May Have Missed in 2014

Buzzfeed | The 28 Best Books by Women in 2014

Buzzfeed | 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2014

Dazed | Best Literature of 2014

The Economist: Books of the Year: Page Turners

Electric Lit | Jeff Vandermeer’s Favorite Fiction of 2014

Electric Lit | 25 Best Short Story Collections of 2014

Electric Lit | 25 Best Novels of 2014

Flavorwire | 50 Best Independent Fiction and Poetry Books of 2014

The Guardian | Best Books of 2014: Year in Review

The Guardian | Best Science Fiction Books of 2014

The Huffington Post | 11 Books Strand’s Booksellers Loved Most in 2014

The Huffington Post | Best Books of 2014

The Huffington Post | 2014 Best Books for Women

Hypable | 10 Best Books of 2014

Hyperallergic | Top 10 Art Books of 2014

io9 | Best Science Books of 2014

io9 | The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2014

Kirkus | Best Fiction Books of 2014

Los Angeles Times | David L. Ulin’s Best Books of 2014

Mother Jones | Best Books of 2014 

New Hampshire Public Radio | Best Overlooked Books of 2014

New York Public Library | Best Books of 2014

The New York Times | 100 Notable Books of 2014

The New York Times | Best Book Covers of 2014

The New York Times | David Orr’s 10 Favorite Poetry Books of 2014

The New Yorker |  Best Books of 2014 

Newsweek | Favorite Books of 2014

NPR Books | Maureen Corrigan’s Favorite Books of 2014

Oprah (via HuffPo) | Best Books of 2014

The Philadelphia Review of Books | 14 Poets for 2014: The Year’s Best Books

Publisher’s Weekly | Best Mystery Books of 2014

Publisher’s Weekly | SF/Fantasy/Horror: Best Books of 2014

Shelf Awareness | Best Books of 2014

SFGate |  Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2014

Slate | Authors’ Favorite 2014 Books

The Telegraph | Best Books of 2014

The Telegraph | Best Young Adult Books of 2014

Time | Top 10 Fiction Books

Up the Staircase (Ocean Vuong) | Best Online Poems from Women Poets of Color (2014)

Wall Street Journal | Best Books of 2014

The Washington Post | 5 Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Books of 2014 

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Novel Insights – Road to Publication


– Guest blog post by Ethan Reid

A few weeks ago Martin Ott asked if I’d share my publication story with his readers. For those who don’t know, Martin and I attended graduate school at USC together and co-wrote a screenplay we pitched to a talent agency. Before that, I had educators along the way who helped foster the idea of becoming an author — and a wife willing to go along with the sacrifices it takes to get there.

In the mid-1990s, I had finished my undergraduate work in English with a Writing Emphasis at the University of Washington in Seattle, feeling like I still had much to learn about writing a novel. My craft wasn’t there yet, and I knew it. It’s been said that while some authors write for the process, others write to get published. I fall into the latter category and knew I needed to perfect my craft, so I entered USC’s Masters of Professional Writing Program. During my time there I met adjunct professors who helped me greatly, worked at a talent agency, and was lucky enough to meet Martin.

After Los Angeles, my path to publication nearly get derailed many times. Saddled with a student loan, I found myself working at KING TV as a news producer. My wife — a reporter at the station – was kind enough to let me shift to part-time work to finish the first novel before we had children. I wrote the second. Took three before one landed.  My son was born somewhere between two and three.

Back then, the trick was still about getting out of the agency slush pile, and as I felt so many queries were not being read, so I began to attend conferences. I volunteered at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association summer conference, working with the agents and editors behind the scenes. I pitched to many literary agents over multiple years, listening to the their reasons for declining representation for the first book, set it aside and wrote the second manuscript based on their feedback. The second MS came even closer to acceptance — by then I was hearing agents tell me I had nearly hit it out of the ballpark, but needed to refine my craft — so I put book two down and started the three novel with their advice rattling about my brain. Book three, The Undying, finally found a home.

Shortly before it did, I had a dozen agents who were ready to see my third novel. I sent the MS out in July in 2011 and months later received the phone call from the 212 area code from one of the agents I had met at the PNWA’s summer conference. I signed with Barabara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency and she found the book a home at a new Simon & Schuster imprint, Simon451. My editor, Sarah Knight, acquired The Undying as the first novel for Simon451 and it dropped this October. They’ve since acquired the second novel in trilogy to be released in May, 2015.

This last October, the publisher flew me to New York to attend the NY Comic Con. I was lucky enough to sit on a panel with R.L. Stine. I still work with the PNWA, helping run their agent and editor pitches at th summer conference.   I’m currently editing The Undying: Shades while working on the publicity side of things. It’s all oddly familiar to other authors’ path to publication, I’m sure. Expect to sacrifice a lot. Hope for help along the way. If you want to land an agent, I’d recommend attending a conference. Listen to why the novels are rejected. And most importantly, write a kick-ass book.


About the Author:

Author of The Undying (Simon451, 2014) and The Undying: Shades (2105), Ethan Reid received his BA in English from the University of Washington and his MFA from the University of Southern California’s MPW Program, where he studied under author S.L. Stebel, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Sy Gomberg, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Frank Tarloff. Ethan is a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Horror Writers Association, and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. He lives in Seattle with his wife and son.

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Filed under Fiction, Writing Tips