Author in Progress was Therese's primary project in late 2015 though mid-2016. It began when she was approached by Writer's Digest to produce a book for authors with contributors from the site she co-founded in 2006, Writer Unboxed. The idea for the book came to her shortly thereafter: Address the key milestones a writer hits when writing a book, with practical tips on how to reach them while clearing psychological hurdles often faced along the way. She's proud of the final product, not only because it represents a symphonic effort by ~50 Writer Unboxed contributors and industry professionals, but because the content itself offers one page after another of positive and empowering content for authors in progress at every level.

You'll love Author in Progress if ...

  • You're an aspiring novelist working on your first book.
  • You're an experienced veteran looking for ways to enhance your career and connect with your writing community.
  • You've finished your first draft and want to know the next steps.
  • You're seeking clear, effective advice about publication-from professionals who are "down in the trenches" every day.

Author in Progress features:

  • More than 50 essays from best-selling authors, editors, and industry leaders on a variety of writing and publishing topics.
  • Advice on writing first drafts, conducting research, building and fostering community, seeking critique, revising, and getting published.
  • An encouraging approach to the writing and publishing process, from authors who've walked this path.

Excerpt: Introduction by Therese Walsh

After I got my publishing deal, the question I received most often from not-yet-published authors was this: How did you do it?

The pithy answer? You put your butt in a chair and write.

Don't you want to punch that answer in the face? It's like hearing someone with great hair say that she simply rolls out of bed in the morning and fluffs it a little. You know she has a cabinet filled with gels and sprays and various antifrizz products, but she doesn't want to share her secrets or admit to the mirror time required. She just wants you to admire the final product.

Well, butt in chair is only part of the story, and the least fantastical part at that. So let's try again.

How did you do it?

I spent several years writing and editing a version of the manuscript that would become my debut novel, but it wouldn't become my debut until after I gutted all of that polished prose. I tore the story to the ground and then built it back up with a new (more innovative) structure, new (shades-of-gray) characters, new (layered) storylines, and a new (stronger) voice. I finished the manuscript for a second time, and that version is what finally sold. The "formula," in broad strokes, was this:

    1. Write.
    2. Receive feedback with an open mind.
    3. Improve myself to improve my story.
    4. Repeat.

These steps contained fine brushstrokes, of course, as well as dozens of questions: What do you write? How often should you write? Do you need to take classes, read books, get an MFA? What barriers might you face, and how do you 4 Author In Progress overcome them? How do you receive feedback, and where do you find it? How do you process it all? Which changes do you-and don't you-make? What if you want to quit? How long must you go on? When is enough enough?