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Making It in Historical Fiction

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The bestselling author of Take Off Your Pants!, the popular outlining guide for writers, is back with another how-to manual for those seeking to start a career in historical fiction. There’s no doubt that historical fiction is popular with readers. In fact, the genre is expanding all the time, gaining market share and influencing other media at a rapid pace. But the HF ma The bestselling author of Take Off Your Pants!, the popular outlining guide for writers, is back with another how-to manual for those seeking to start a career in historical fiction. There’s no doubt that historical fiction is popular with readers. In fact, the genre is expanding all the time, gaining market share and influencing other media at a rapid pace. But the HF market has some peculiar quirks that can challenge any writer. In Making It in Historical Fiction, Libbie Hawker shares her knowledge and experience in the world of commercial HF. Hawker’s strategy for success begins long before you write your book. You’ll learn how to spot key opportunities in the modern publishing market, how to create an advance plan for your books that will maximize reader loyalty and build excitement, how to make the genre’s tropes work for you, and more. From understanding the average HF reader to branding your books; from choosing subjects with commercial appeal to fine-tuning dialogue and narrative voice, this book contains everything modern historical novelists need to tap into the commercial potential of the genre.


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The bestselling author of Take Off Your Pants!, the popular outlining guide for writers, is back with another how-to manual for those seeking to start a career in historical fiction. There’s no doubt that historical fiction is popular with readers. In fact, the genre is expanding all the time, gaining market share and influencing other media at a rapid pace. But the HF ma The bestselling author of Take Off Your Pants!, the popular outlining guide for writers, is back with another how-to manual for those seeking to start a career in historical fiction. There’s no doubt that historical fiction is popular with readers. In fact, the genre is expanding all the time, gaining market share and influencing other media at a rapid pace. But the HF market has some peculiar quirks that can challenge any writer. In Making It in Historical Fiction, Libbie Hawker shares her knowledge and experience in the world of commercial HF. Hawker’s strategy for success begins long before you write your book. You’ll learn how to spot key opportunities in the modern publishing market, how to create an advance plan for your books that will maximize reader loyalty and build excitement, how to make the genre’s tropes work for you, and more. From understanding the average HF reader to branding your books; from choosing subjects with commercial appeal to fine-tuning dialogue and narrative voice, this book contains everything modern historical novelists need to tap into the commercial potential of the genre.

30 review for Making It in Historical Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Cornish

    Excellent resource for authors of historical fiction! This is a super helpful book. I can't wait to put Libbie's suggestions to use. While this is geared toward historical fiction authors, there are many tips I think all authors will find useful, especially Libbie's five simple steps for great cover copy!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    I'm a fan of this author's other books, both fiction and non-fiction, so it's pretty unsurprising that I liked this one as well. (Also, she loves Wolf Hall, so she clearly has great literary tastes.) This is a systematic, practical approach to building a career as a historical novelist, starting with choosing your time period and taking you all the way through packaging and marketing the finished product. I especially enjoyed the chapters on research and how best to incorporate it in your story. I'm a fan of this author's other books, both fiction and non-fiction, so it's pretty unsurprising that I liked this one as well. (Also, she loves Wolf Hall, so she clearly has great literary tastes.) This is a systematic, practical approach to building a career as a historical novelist, starting with choosing your time period and taking you all the way through packaging and marketing the finished product. I especially enjoyed the chapters on research and how best to incorporate it in your story. Hawker's humorous, upbeat delivery makes this an all-around enjoyable and informative experience.

  3. 5 out of 5

    James

    Great, inspiring read. A book on writing actually worth spending money on. Thank you Libbie Hawker.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    There is a lot of good advice in this little book. While it is aimed at historical fiction authors, and has a lot of great demographic information about the typical reader thereof, the advice can be applied across the board. The author examines not only the story/plot process, but also the importance of packaging (cover, title, promotion, and more). Trends in historical fiction covers, for example, are reviewed in detail. Now, this book was published in 2015, so some things have changed while oth There is a lot of good advice in this little book. While it is aimed at historical fiction authors, and has a lot of great demographic information about the typical reader thereof, the advice can be applied across the board. The author examines not only the story/plot process, but also the importance of packaging (cover, title, promotion, and more). Trends in historical fiction covers, for example, are reviewed in detail. Now, this book was published in 2015, so some things have changed while others have not. The area with the greatest takeaways for me was in writing solid cover copy. I found the "five items" method to be of interest and will be employing it for future works.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angel Leya

    I picked this up because I love Libby Hawker's nonfiction stuff, and I've been thinking of doing some historical fantasy. I felt the topics covered were thorough, and she had a lot of great advice. Some of it is timeless, and some of it is a little less so, though she made sure to note that in her writing. I appreciated her take on the topic selection and marketing, but I found the advice on researching to be a little light. Still, a great book for anyone interested in diving into the historical I picked this up because I love Libby Hawker's nonfiction stuff, and I've been thinking of doing some historical fantasy. I felt the topics covered were thorough, and she had a lot of great advice. Some of it is timeless, and some of it is a little less so, though she made sure to note that in her writing. I appreciated her take on the topic selection and marketing, but I found the advice on researching to be a little light. Still, a great book for anyone interested in diving into the historical fiction book market.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katrina Nowak

    This guide from Libby Hawker has many useful tips for anyone interested in writing historical fiction. Chapters are relevant whether you are a hobbyist, looking to publish independently, or using an agent and traditional publisher. It is a niche book helpful to an audience of historical fiction writers.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Stanley

    Should be read by ever writer who wants to be successful reading historical fiction. Would have like some illustrations on plot arc included.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter Ferry

    Essential reading for all writers I don’t know about you, but I’m one of the those writers who on the one hand thinks he knows everything and yet on the other is incredibly insecure. Libbie Hawker’s book helped me realise that I’m more prepared than I thought while also offering so many key tips that I would never have thought of. Highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Athy

    It's rare to find a book about writing and the publishing industry that's focused on the very wide genre of historical fiction, which happens to be my favorite genre to read and the one I've ended up writing. This book had a lot of good insight and practical advice packed into it and I'll definitely be making use of some of it going forward in the future of my writing career. But there were things I didn't agree with simply because it doesn't mesh with the way I write. As specific as it was at t It's rare to find a book about writing and the publishing industry that's focused on the very wide genre of historical fiction, which happens to be my favorite genre to read and the one I've ended up writing. This book had a lot of good insight and practical advice packed into it and I'll definitely be making use of some of it going forward in the future of my writing career. But there were things I didn't agree with simply because it doesn't mesh with the way I write. As specific as it was at times, I felt like I was reading a manifesto of indie authordom at times; which is fine, but I maybe would've liked a tad more on genre specifics. Still, valuable info in here.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    Great info on a subject that doesn't get the attention it deserves. This is not a "how to write book" and does not advertise itself as such. It's a book that provides lots to think about and a helps you build a game plan for writing in the historical fiction field. I really liked it and highly recommend it to anyone looking to start or improve their career in historical fiction.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Reid

    Excellent book. Detailed information and sensible advice. It really gives you an idea of how to deal with historical fiction and it remains nearby because I find it comforting to pick it up and revisit it from time to time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    TM

    Quick read, helpful, informative. Much of this advice would also apply to other genre of writing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erik Hanberg

    Don't read too much into this. ;)

  14. 4 out of 5

    AndPeggy

    Good advice. Quick read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  16. 4 out of 5

    pm

  17. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Lalor

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lou

  20. 5 out of 5

    J.R. Alcyone

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kendall Hanson

  22. 4 out of 5

    Terry N Taylor

  23. 4 out of 5

    John Davidson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shiori

  25. 4 out of 5

    isabel

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  27. 4 out of 5

    L.M. Elm

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jimmie Aaron Kepler

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chanelle Nash

  30. 5 out of 5

    Helen Welsh

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