Tip #3: Read, Read, Read
By: Stephanie S. Smith, Inside Pages Managing Editor
When I first interviewed for my internship in publishing, I brought my resume, application, and everything else they asked me to, and I also threw in my current reading list for that year. “You read all these this year?” was the surprised response, and I ended up getting the internship. I’d like to think it made an impression.
Reading trains you to be able to determine between outstanding writing, good writing, mediocre writing, and writing that needs an overhaul. It develops your editorial eye, and you begin to notice what makes a sentence work or when grammar needs tweaking.
Editors also recommend reading to keep up on current bestseller lists and following publishing trends, especially in the new digital frontier, to understand what kind of books sell in the Christian market. Two places to keep bookmarked on your browser are Publishers Weekly, a comprehensive resource for industry news and book reviews, and Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), dedicated to Christian books, where you can keep up on bestseller lists and news.
Make an effort to read across the spectrum. Don’t just pick old classics or the kinds of books you personally prefer, as our Acquisitions Editor, Randall Payleitner, advises, “You’ve got to read a ton… Read all kinds of genres and voices.”
If you don’t know where reading is going to fit into your schedule, make a routine or create a reading list with reachable goals to motivate yourself. As novelist Stephen King once said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
How has reading made you a better writer, editor, or wordsmith? How do you manage your reading list or make time for books?