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3 Journalism-y Things You Should Add to Your Reading List

s&sFacts of life: writers can’t be great unless they constantly write (practice makes perfect), and writers won’t be inspired to write unless they read. We should be reading everything: historical biographies, crappy fiction, beautiful prose, intricately-woven nonfiction narratives — and don’t forget, we should be reading the work of people who are smarter than us when it comes to digital innovation and journalism.

Here are just a few newer pieces of literary work I’ve been (and will be) digging into and would recommend for writers and reporters:

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Score That Job: Hachette Book Group

Do you have the New York Times Best Seller list memorized? Do you have a passion for books and want to get into the publishing business?

In this episode of “Score That Job,” career expert, author and mediabistro editor Vicki Salemi sat down with Andrea Weinzimer of Hachette Book Group to get the inside dirt on what they’re looking for in a candidate.

Here a few tips — know the industry and know which authors they publish (hint: rhymes with James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, David Sedaris…). Or just watch the video.

You can view our other MediabistroTV productions on our YouTube Channel.

Before You Sign That Book Contract

It’s finally happened: Your journalism and technology savvy have led to a print book deal. But before you jump to sign that contract, take a moment to read it thoroughly. Bets are, it won’t have your best interest at heart; hidden in the fine print are some common clauses that might kill your future prospects. For example:

The exclusivity clause. This clause states that you could not do any writing related to your book. That’s insane, especially for writers who work in the areas they write about.

“Writers have to make a living, and only rarely does a book contract offer enough money for a writer to meet living expenses without taking on other work,” said Meg Schnieder, an Iowa-based author of 12 books, including The Everything Guide to Writing a Book Proposal.

Find other potential deal breakers and steps to renegotiation in The 7 Biggest Red Flags in Book Contracts.

ag_logo_medium.gifThis article is one of several mediabistro.com features exclusively available to AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, you can register for as little as $55 a year and get access to these articles, discounts on seminars and workshops, and more.

The Data Journalism Handbook: The Next Newsroom Staple?

Move over, the AP Stylebook. A new handbook is in town and there’s a good chance it will become a newsroom must-have.

The Data Journalism Handbook launched this past weekend at the School of Data Journalism, based at the 2012 International Journalism Festival in Perugia. It is a one stop shop for reporters interested in learning about data journalism and includes a free, open sourced web version so anyone can access it.

“The book’s contributors are a who’s who of data journalism,” wrote Simon Rogers, a contributor to the handbook, in a post on the Guardian’s Datablog. “There are pieces by data journalists from the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, the Financial Times, Propublica and the New York Times. And that’s besides contributions from three of us at the Guardian.” Read more

How to Write a Killer Book Proposal

Writing a book is hard enough, but why does writing about the book you’ve written feel impossible? In mediabistro.com’s 7 Steps to a Winning Book Proposal, published authors, editors and agents spell out the necessary steps to crafting a viable and compelling query letter.

Step one, assemble the basics. Your query letter must include an overview, marketing plan, competitive book analysis, and author bio and platform, along with a table of contents, chapter summaries and a writing sample.

Bring these pieces together in an intuitive order, but don’t dwell too much on what’s the perfect arrangement. “If you’ve got the ingredients — a really fresh idea or a fresh spin on an old idea, good writing, and a platform and a promotion plan — it doesn’t make any difference what order they are in,” said Michael Larsen with Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents. “Editors can skip around, and will and do.”

Read the full article here. [subscription required]

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