Publishing by Gail Godwin


Publishing is a personal story of a writer's hunger to be published, the pursuit of that goal, and then the long haul--for Gail Godwin, forty-five years of being a published writer and all that goes with it. A student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1958, Godwin met with Knopf scouts who came to campus every spring in search of new talent. Though her five pages of Windy Peaks were turned down and the novel never completed, s...

Details Publishing

Release DateJan 13th, 2015
PublisherBloomsbury USA
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Language, Writing, Nonfiction, Books About Books, Biography

Reviews Publishing

  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 I was slow to warm up to this one, but eventually all the book talk won me over. Have never been a big reader of this author, though I read and did enjoy her latest, Flora. Very interesting to read her road to publication, and the fluctuating state of the publishing busyness in general. Had no idea how often publishers and editors either left their jobs or switched houses. Did know how many of the bigger publishers have combined and the rocky...
  • Rebecca
    (3.5) A fairly straightforward account of Godwin’s career, with a focus on the specifics of preparing books for publication: securing a publisher, being assigned an editor, and choosing titles and cover art, for starters. Then there’s also a book’s afterlife: its critical reception and sales, any awards won, and publicity efforts including book tours. A true introvert (see Susan Cain’s Quiet), Godwin admits that this part is always a chal...
  • Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
    Many Thanks to 'Goodreads' give-a-way offerings --to Bloomsbury Publishing company and to the author herself: Gail Goodwin.I thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful 'writers-memoir'. It felt very intimate, and real! I learned a little about each of her books. I personally already have a desire to read "A Southern Family" --(the author 'herself' felt it was the most challenging & complex - closer in autobiography than her other books). The book ...
  • Charles Finch
    3.5 stars. My review for USA Today: about writing should always be as practical as possible. It's fascinating to hear about how writers make money, what they take in the coffee they bring to their desks, how many pages they produce a week.It's never nearly as fascinating to hear about inspiration. Parenthood is a similar subject, in a way – the experience is already so emotionally intense that onl...
  • Paula Cappa
    This book is a fascinating peek inside the graces and hazards of the publishing world at a time when we had to find pay phone booths on the streets to make a call. Gail Godwin’s ‘struggling’ writing life began at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop with Kurt Vonnegut as her teacher. What a start, right? Partners on her publishing dance card, as she describes it, were names Robert Gottlieb, David Segal, Harvey Ginsberg, Nancy Miller, agent John Haw...
  • Suzzanne Kelley
    Publishing: A Writer's Memoir did not live up to my expectations. I was hoping for more about the publishing industry's transition over the period of this author's experience, and I wanted to know heaps about the significant people she worked with. I expected an emphasis on these important bits and pieces from an author whose publications spanned the decades from 1970 to the present, and because the book jacket touts "her insider's experiences wi...
  • Karen Floyd
    I found this in one of my favorite independent bookstores (The Country Bookseller in Wolfeboro, NH, USA) and read it in one afternoon and evening, staying up past my bedtime to finish it. Godwin writes in a conversational tone about wanting to be a published writer, and her adventures and misadventures in becoming one - finding an agent, getting read by editors and publishers, finally appearing in print and all the hoopla associated with becoming...
  • Alexa
    FIRST THOUGHTS: I will preface this by saying I am actually unfamiliar with Gail Godwin's works. However, her style of narration and the candidness with which she shares her publishing experience is interesting. She's worked with a lot of people, gone through ups and downs and it's clear that she's firm in her control as the writer of this memoir.REVIEW:(Originally posted on Alexa Loves Books)Let me preface my thoughts with two facts: 1) I have y...
  • Kelly Schuknecht
    This book caught my eye because I have been in the (indie) publishing industry for nearly 10 years. Working every day with writers who want to publish a book, I thought this memoir would be interesting. It certainly was, although I would recommend it more highly for readers who are already fans of Gail Godwin. I had never heard of her before, so I did have one regret while reading the book -- that I had not (yet*) read any of the books she discus...
  • Nancy
    It was fascinating to get an author's perspective on all the shuffling around of imprint and publisher ownership over the last 20-30 years, since I've been dealing with the same thing as someone purchasing materials for a library. But for me, it's just a pain to keep track of what belongs where. For Gail Godwin, this involved changes in editors and publishers with entirely different approaches to what a book (and author/public persona) should be.
  • Rhonda Lomazow
    Gail Godwin brings us into her world and her journey as a writer.Wefollow her first attempts at getting on to bidding wars editors coming&going publicity tours.We are also given the back stories for some of her novels .The intimate moments from her&friends lives that she turned into her famous novels.reading about her editors her friends her loves the day to day grind of the publishing world.A wonderful book for anyone who treasures reading&enjoy...
  • Lesley
    Maybe four and a half? Memoir of her experiences over the years in the changing landscape of publishing. Godwin is another of those writers who can pull off the authorial equivalent of the actor who can hold an audience while reading out the telephone directory (something that is becoming a historical curiosity in itself... what would be the contemporary equivalent?)
  • Helen
    Writers especially will enjoy this delightful romp through decades of publishing, from the 1950s to present, through the eyes of Gail Godwin. If you're an author, it will make you long for days when publishing was a genteel sport.
  • Sandra Hutchison
    After reading Gail Godwin's GRIEF COTTAGE I realized I'd missed this memoir, and was glad to remedy that. While it will most interest people who've read her novels and can thus enjoy the tidbits about what went into them and how they were received, there's a lot here for any serious literary writer and also any observer of publishing.That latter is what I take away the most, sadly. There's a long paragraph that resonates so much with my own 17-ye...
  • Gillian Oliver
    Found this at Burnley Library after a 'meet the author' event at the literary festival. The beginning (battling with the fear of being never-published), is richer than the end (parties, book tours, reviews, minders).Gail Godwin developed her imagination in league with her writer mother from an early age. Her first story is of a girl who brought home a hen's egg and found a baby dragon inside. The growing George is a metaphor for Gail's desire to ...
  • Jennifer
    This is a memoir written by author Gail Godwin about her efforts to get her books published. While she always dreamed of being a published author, it wasn't until 1968 when she was 33 that she had her first novel published. She has been a popular and prolific writer during her career. This memoir discusses working with agents, publishers, and challenges she has had along the way. Although I wasn't familiar with her books, I discovered one on my n...
  • Beverly Hollandbeck
    This was just the wrong book for me. I thought Gail Godwin was a publisher; she is a writer. And I have never read any of her books. The writing in this book is fine, except for the chapter about the different publishers and editors she has had--there were too many changing dance partners to keep track of. But most of the book is about her writing, so I was left out.
  • Kimberly Patton
    Interesting view from a successful fiction writer. I am not sure why I enjoyed it, because she shared lots of facts and names that didn’t interest me. But I did enjoy traveling through the years with her... early rejections, jumping editors and agents and publishers... battles and victories and struggles with novels. It was fascinating.
  • Sarah
    Enjoyable for about 3/4 of the time. The sense of self-worth and privilege are probably necessary, but also tiring. Most of all, this needs an editor, which really only proves Godwin right in the end.
  • Katie Rowe
    It’s not too bad. Interesting read if you want to publish your own book. It was the first book I have read of Gail Godwin’s.
  • Phil Sageser
    A specialist book -- for those who are either very interested in Gail Godwin or in the largely bygone days of the publishing business.
  • Maya Smart
    Gail Godwin’s “Publishing: A Writer’s Memoir” is a graceful meditation on the author’s years aspiring to publication and her subsequent decades navigating an increasingly cutthroat, capricious industry. Wisdom, perseverance and faith lurk amid the lines of her spare, droll writing, making this an understated yet inspiring read.Godwin exemplifies a keep-on-keeping-on ethos in sharp contrast to writers like Harper Lee, whose concerns abou...
  • Connie Kuntz
    Grabbed this off the shelf thinking it was tips about publishing and possibly self-publishing. Honestly, I didn't really want to read a self-help book about either, but figured "I should". Not to worry though because (yaye!) I was wrong. This isn't a book of annoying tips. This is a writer's memoir about a brilliant, experienced, resolute, and hilarious novelist. Not impressed? She's a Ph. D, has won all sorts of awards (and I'm not talking about...
  • Susan Oleksiw
    Gail Godwin managed to live the life of an author that most writers dream about, but she also has lived through a period of momentous, confusing change in the world of publishing. This book is aptly titled "A Writer's Memoir," because it focuses on her publishing history and the people she knew as a writer. There is very little on her personal life, though she includes some charming passages about her mother and, later, her partner, a musician an...
  • Alyssa Pierce
    Gail Godwin would fit the definition of a successful writer. After all, she is the author of 14 bestselling novels, two short story collections, and two nonfiction works. Her newest nonfiction work, Publishing: A Writer’s Memoir, is the story of how Godwin became the writer she is today. Regretfully, it is the only work of hers that I’ve read to-date.Initially I was worried that this memoir, like a few others I’ve read, would be nothing but...
  • Scott Haraburda
    Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Book.------------------------------------Publishing: A Writer's Memoir is a series of anecdotal stories about the author’s long and prestigious career as a writer. It contains stories about several different editors and publishing houses.The author, Gail Godwin, wrote several New York Times Bestseller book, several of them named as finalists for the National Book Award. She obviously used her doctorate in English ...
  • Alice
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was fascinated by the inner workings of the publishing industry and also of the thought process of a successful writer. I've been a reader of Godwin's books for many years, and her Father Melancholy's Daughter is among my favorites. I do not agree with others who comment that Godwin remains neutral in this telling. Perhaps she is tactful for reasons we do not know; I think she did give her opinions. Some of her a...
  • Rob Watts
    A fun and fast-paced read. An interesting memoir about Goodwin's pursuit and pitfalls through the publishing industry. Beginning with her early life, raised by her mother---also a writer, her college days, meeting contacts (John Irving was a classmate and friend), meeting with editors, so on and so forth, until the eventual publication of her debut novel The Perfectionists. Although Goodwin's life story is one of great interest, it's also importa...
  • Julie Ehlers
    I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I was going to. The chapters about her early years as a writer were really interesting and enjoyable, but then she skips ahead several years to the middle part of her career, and it all becomes about how her various book deals were negotiated--which could have been interesting, but the writing just didn't captivate me. Then there were several chapters on individual topics (book tours, a particular editor s...