Some good stuff...

Brewing Fine Fiction - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff,  Pati Nagle

This is a compilation of pieces by denizens of a website who have been published: the tag line for the book is "Advice for writers from the authors at Book View Café". It is an extremely mixed bag, in content and quality. The overall theme I came away with, funnily enough, is "no one can tell you how to write" ... That, and "Get published? Don't hold your breath."

The e-book is nicely arranged along the chronology of producing a finished, possibly published work, beginning with "The Basics" and "The Craft" and moving on to "Research", "Marketing Your Work", and then to the catch-all chapter for everything that didn't fit elsewhere "The Writer's Life". My understanding is that all of the articles were culled from the website, but some of the articles were not only clearly written for another venue entirely but were grafted into this project without any editing to smooth the join.

Some of the articles are funny, some sharp and erudite, many helpful in one way or another. Others are of the sort of writing that inadvertently give me hope: if this person's writing can be published, surely mine can. It's a gamut of very different voices and messages, with no real binding theme apart from "stuff about writing and getting published" - and, as I said, the latter is spoken of in the same sort of terms as might be used for winning the lottery. I don't know if the intent is to discourage, but if it was it worked. I know that the economy has made it all more difficult. I know the interwebs have changed the game substantially. But this ... I suppose it's better to go into something with no illusions, with a realistic outlook and full understanding that it won't be all beer and skittles. It is, though, a sad thing to have every shred of optimism and hope snuffed out.