On How I Write by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof (2007)

Book coverThe The 2023 Winter Reading Challenge has a category (at the top, no less) Listen to a Book. As the Philosophy: Who Needs It? audiocassette was not actually a book, I had to go searching for something else. Fortunately, the Nogglestead to-listen shelf is not as deep as the to-read stacks–basically, it’s the top of the hutch on my desk, where the audiocourses I’ve bought at library book sales remain, casting shadows and eclipsing the little lamps I have up there, for years, and more years to come since I’m in the car far less these days. And, like another audio book I’ve listened to this year (Pure Drivel by Steve Martin), I actually (I think) have a printed copy of the book in the far deeper to-read stacks, so I will (possibly, as the to-read stacks are deep, and I am not as young as I was when I started this paragraph) read this book as well as listen to it. But the Winter Reading Challenge demanded I listen to it, so I did.

This is a fifteen-year-old (!) book that talks about how best-selling author and industry Janet Evanvovich of the enumerated Stepahine Plum series of books writes. I say “industry” because she makes clear that her family works in the family business–her husband is her manager, and her daughter is her Web master (and perhaps fifteen years later her social media manager). And this book is a bit of a FAQ from her Web site–basically, she’s answering questions readers have posed on it about writing.

So her daughter asks the questions in the read version, and Janet answers. Ina Yalof is mainly a nonfiction writer who has collaborated with Janet Evanovich before, so she comes in with some no-nonsense answers about the business from time-to-time. And they inject numerous bits from the Stephanie Plum novels to illustrate Janet Evanovich’s answers in early parts of the book.

The book is broken into sections about writing and then about the business of submitting and publishing. The bits about writing, inspiration, and mostly just, you know, writing, are the best. When she starts talking about getting an agent and the business of publishing, she tut-tuts self-publishing, but that seems to have come to the fore more than it would have back then. Perhaps it’s just the circles I blogtravel in where this is true. But trying to get an agent and then get sold to a big publishing house? That seems so last century.

So the audiobook version runs about four hours, and it does include listening to Ina Yalof read references at the end. So not too long of a time investment, and probably worth it. Although to be honest, it has not compelled me to open a word processor and write. I am not sure what would these days.

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