The Forest for the Trees

Edition: Revised
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2010-10-05
Publisher(s): Riverhead Books
List Price: $18.00

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Customer Reviews

An exquisite read  July 27, 2011
Rating StarRating StarRating StarRating StarRating Star

Anyone who designs to write a book should read "The Forest for the Trees". Betsy Lerner answers all the questions an author has who wishes to break-out into the world of publishing. Anyone who has a vague interest in books will find this book a snappy page-turner and discover that writing and getting published is more than difficult. Betsy Lerner has provided us with a fine example of the art of writing. In short, "The Forest for the Trees" is an exquisite read.

The Forest for the Trees: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


Quickly established as an essential and enduring companion for aspiring writers when it was first published, Lerner's sharp, funny, and insightful guide has been meticulously updated and revised to address the dramatic changes that have reshaped the publishing industry in the decade since.

From blank page to first glowing (or gutting) review, Lerner is a knowing and sympathetic coach who helps writers discover how they can be more productive in the creative process and how they can better their odds of not only getting published, but getting published well. This is an indispensable user's manual to both the inner life of writers and the increasingly anxious place where art and commerce meet:

the boardrooms and cubicles of the publishing house.

"Betsy Lerner has three great qualities for an editor: intelligence, sensitivity and passion. She writes with wit and astounding perceptivity. Writers, take heed!" - Nan A. Talese, Publisher and Editorial Director of Nan A. Talese/Doubleday.

"...delightful and very helpful read, a distillation of both editorial and writerly wisdom...should be a permanent part of any...personal library.'' - The Seattle Times, May 21, 2000

"Lerner is good because she can see what the writer sees, and moves from there to what the author needs to see. She understands delusion. Her book encourages clear-sightedness when writers deal with publishers." - Bookpage, March 2000

Author Biography

Betsy Lerner is a 26-year veteran of the publishing industry. Now a partner in the Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Agency, she is also the author of a memoir, Food and Loathing. The recipient of the Tony Godwin Publishing Prize for Editors Under 35, she has been recognized by PEN and the Academy of American Poets.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
The Ambivalent Writerp. 13
The Naturalp. 31
The Wicked Childp. 49
The Self-Promoterp. 73
The Neuroticp. 93
Touching Firep. 111
Making Contact: Seeking Agents and Publicationp. 135
Rejectionp. 163
What Editors Wantp. 185
What Authors Wantp. 211
The Bookp. 229
Publicationp. 255
Bibliographyp. 279
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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