p assio n
Book helps authors navigate
the publishing industry
By Stephanie E. Ponder
ACCORDING TO A recent study, 81 percent for fun,” says Sterry. Each has
of Americans say they have a book in them. published successful books.
What those people might not have is the He parlayed a lifelong interest
know-how to turn an idea into a published in Satchel Paige into a book David Henry Sterry
book. Enter husband-and-wife team David he co-wrote with Eckstut. and Arielle Eckstut
PH YLLIS CHRISTOPHER
Henry Sterryand Arielle Eckstut. She used her love of Jane
The two Costco members combined Austen as a springboard to write bookproposaltotheimportanceofland-their experience in the industry—they’re Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of ing an agent to whether or not to self-publish.
both published authors, and Eckstut is a Jane Austen. While knowledge is power, Sterry and
literary agent—and came up with Putting “The drive of writing a book is passion,” Eckstut emphasize three key activities for get-
Your Passion into Print (www.puttingyour adds Eckstut. “Otherwise you’re not going to ting a book published: research, networking
passionintoprint.com). The key word in that get through it.” and, of course, writing.
title is “passion.” Their comprehensive resource, which Research means knowing everything from
“The message is to pick something you’re weighs in at just under 450 pages, covers topics the details of your topic to what a particular
passionate about that you’d be doing anyway that plague all writers, from how to write a agent likes or dislikes. For example, Eckstut
CONTINUED ON PAGE 37
short stories to literary magazines, they
also check basic grammar and punctua-
tion along with creating cover and query
letters. The service also acts as a clearing-
house for the information Smith and her
COSTCO MEMBER Ronnie L. Smith staff compile, such as submission guide-
worked in a doctor’s office for 15 years lines and names of editors.
before a virus in her inner ear brought on Smith, 49, tells The Connection that
a debilitating case of vertigo. While she she accepts only about 80 percent of the
was recuperating, but still on bed rest, a writing that comes to the office. “I wouldn’t
poet friend asked her if she would help sleep at night if I took on writers who I
submit her poems to literary magazines Ronnie Smith (in red) and her staff at thought I couldn’t publish,” she says. To
for publication. Smith began working a Writer’s Relief help writers submit work. her credit, Writer’s Relief clients had more
few hours a day, then a few days a week. than 250 pieces of writing accepted in a
While Smith regained her health, the magazines for more writers, she sought two-month period.
poems began to be published. Smith’s the help of her mother and her mother’s Despite her early worries that no
friend suggested she provide the same best friend. The for-profit Writer’s Relief writer would want to pay for the service
service—researching literary markets and has since moved into an office in her business offers, Smith has found that
submitting poems—to other writers. Ridgefield, New Jersey; the staff of 12, creative types will gladly hand over the
Smith followed through on her plus three freelancers, handle 300 clients. business aspects.
friend’s suggestion and formed Writer’s “We serve a very particular group of But Writer’s Relief isn’t all business:
www.wrelief.com). In the first writers doing a certain kind of writing,” The staff celebrates acceptances with
month she had two clients and worked says Smith of the 12-year-old business. their clients. “It’s very helpful that there’s
out of her garage. As she began to sub- Writer’s Relief not only aids writers by someone who believes in you and helps
mit poems and short stories to literary handling the submission of poems and you,” says Smith.—SEP
NOVEMBER 2005 The Costco Connection 35