Tracy C. Gold

AUTHOR, EDITOR, TEACHER

Poem in “Erase the Patriarchy!”

Erasure is a wonderfully cathartic literary form. Take an oppressive text, and just cut away the worst parts. Or highlight the worst parts so that all the mitigating fluff is cut away.

I’m thrilled to have a poem in the recently published “Erase the Patriarchy! An Anthology of Erasure Poetry” edited by Isobel O’Hare. My poem cuts away the lyrics of a Justin Timberlake song about a guy cat calling a girl until the girl’s voice shines through instead.

The poems featured in this beautiful book show many artistic and creative approaches to erasure poetry. I was wowed and inspired: feelings that are hard to come by given world events.

You can preorder the book on Amazon, below, or get it now directly from University of Hell Press.

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“Writing Your Novel” Class at Johns Hopkins Odyssey

Finally write that novel you’ve always been dreaming about, with support and guidance. I’m excited to teach “Writing Your Novel” via Johns Hopkins Odyssey on Monday nights starting 10/5. Odyssey is Hopkins’ continuing education program. Everyone can join in the class. We’ll do live discussions on Zoom every week and this will be a small, interactive group. I’m bummed it won’t be in person but the silver lining is you don’t have to be in Baltimore to join! We’ll cover different systems for plotting and outlining, what makes a good novel concept, and processes for drafting. If you keep up with the course schedule you’ll have a rough draft of most of a novel by the end (and you can also do NaNoWriMo alongside the course). Please spread the word if you know anyone who might be interested!

The link to register is here: https://aapnoncredit.jhu.edu/CourseStatus.awp?&course=21F91925301

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How Long it Takes to Traditionally Publish a Book

My editing clients often come to me saying they want to find a traditional publisher for their book and hope it will be published within a few months or a year. Buckle up, I tell them. If you want to publish a book quickly, in the vast majority of cases, self publishing is the way to go. (And most people’s self publishing timelines are far too ambitious, too.)

To educate those who have big dreams of getting a book published, here is a rough sketch of just how long it takes to get a traditional publishing deal (if you’re lucky), and then how long it takes for the book to be published after that. Of course, there are exceptions in both directions. Right now with Covid-19, I am hearing of launch dates getting pushed back left and right. Books can also be rushed, which is called “crashing,” if they are extremely timely (but this would likely not involve a first-time/not-famous author).

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How to Write a Good Edit Letter for a Book (Plus a Template!)

Critiquing an entire book can be daunting. I remember how nervous I was about the first full novel I ever critiqued. I wanted so badly to get to the heart of the novel and help the author figure out how to make it better. Even now that I am a full-time freelance editor who has worked with many published authors, I still look for ways to improve my edit letters so that they are inspiring, kind, honest, and thorough, but not overwhelming. 

Recently, I’ve seen a few people ask on social media about how to write better critiques. I’m not saying I have a magic formula figured out, but I write a lot of edit letters, and I’ve developed a template and system so that I am not reinventing the wheel each time I write a letter. Of course, I customize these as needed, especially when I work on a memoir or non-fiction book instead of fiction.

Why should you trust me? Well, for one, my clients say they love me. You can read testimonials and reviews from them on Reedsy. For another, many of my clients have been traditionally published, I have my Masters of Fine Arts, and I worked for literary agent Carrie Pestritto, who is now my agent. I am always open and learning, though, and would love to see your comments about how you approach edit letters!

So, here is how I approach writing edit letters for my editing clients. 

The Emotional Angle
Before I get into the nitty gritty, a note about the emotion of writing edit letters. My end goal is not to show off how good I am at critiquing someone (see: Guy in Your MFA). My end goal is to inspire an author to improve their work. It’s hard to be inspired when you’re crying, so I always endeavor to make my edit letters positive. I’m not going to go too deeply into the emotional element because this would get even longer, but I loved this post from Michelle Hazen on the topic. In the explanation of my process and template, I’ll briefly touch on the ways that I make sure I am being positive and thoughtful. 

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Live Copyediting Webinar Video + Transcript

Ever wanted to see inside the mind of a professional copyeditor as they improve a piece of writing? Check out the webinar I did last week with my friend and fellow copyeditor Julie Artz! Julie and I walked through viewer-submitted excerpts and explained our copyediting process.

Reedsy, a database of freelance publishing professionals, hosted the webinar, and over 500 people tuned in live.

You can access a written recap of the webinar on Reedsy’s site.

Want to book an edit with me? Simply contact me at tracycgold@gmail.com.

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Editing Client Book Launch: Gary Vikan’s “The Holy Shroud”

Congratulations to Gary Vikan for the launch of his book “The Holy Shroud: A Brilliant Hoax in the Time of the Black Death.” It was a joy to work with Gary on this book. Judging from my email history, I’ve been reading drafts of this book for Gary since 2016. The world of publishing is long and winding and it is just so exciting to finally hold this book in my hands. It’s published by Pegasus Books, and it’s a beauty, with an insert of color photography.

Four years, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg for Gary. He has been working on the research behind this book for decades as he has searched for a way to debunk one of the world’s biggest hoaxes.

If you like a good detective story, you’ll love this book about an art historian who digs into the centuries of corruption and greed that drove an intricate piece of art to become falsely famous for apparently being the Shroud that Jesus was buried in. Even though carbon dating has long proved this impossible, crowds of millions still flock to see the Shroud on display and claim that it is a true relic. The research Gary presents in this book shows not only when the Shroud was made, but how, and by whom. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t Jesus’s true burial shroud.

Gary is going to be doing a virtual launch event on Thursday, June 4th at 7 pm, with WYPR’s Tom Hall. The event will include a brief reading, Q&A with Tom, and audience Q&A. If you’d like to hear from Gary, please register by using the following link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIqde6qqDIsGNH24BW5CfLr2e5Om_lTkZud

Gary is also happy to set up custom virtual events for organizations and book groups. He’s a funny, engaging speaker. You can contact him via his website.

*Book link is an affiliate link to Amazon, which means I’ll get a few cents if you buy it!

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Webinar on Building a Kidlit Career

One of the reasons I was extremely excited about my regional SCBWI conference was because I was going to moderate a panel with Linda Sue Park, Melanie Conklin, and Susan Muaddi Darraj. Sadly, the conference was cancelled due to Covid-19. This was absolutely the right call, but I was bummed not to get to meet these writers and others who were planning to attend.

In happy news, these wonderful authors agreed to hold the panel as a webinar despite new homeschooling responsibilities and Covid-19 chaos.

Join us on Monday, April 13th at 7 pm for a lively conversation about publishing. You’ll have a chance to ask questions if you tune in live, or you can watch the recording later. Susan and I are also offering limited critiques.

Register here: https://mddewv.scbwi.org/events/webinar-building-a-kidlit-career/.

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A Book Deal in the Time of Coronavirus

The evening of Thursday, March 12th, Covid-19 was grabbing hold of the United States. I was sad that my regional SCBWI conference had been cancelled, and fretting about whether we should even see my parents and in-laws for my daughter’s birthday party on Sunday (we didn’t).

I had finally decided to stop checking the news, social media, and my email to hang out with my toddler and dog while we waited for my husband to get home from work.

Then I got a text message from my agent, Carrie Pestritto: “Tracy, check your email :)”

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14 Tips for Working from Home

With many people working from home for the first time due to Covid-19, I thought I would share my tips as a veteran work-from-homer. I love working from home and have been doing it for almost 10 years. I am, perhaps, uniquely suited to it, so what works for me might not work for you. I actually prefer not to have much interaction with other human beings during the day, don’t have a huge problem managing my time or staying on task, and work as a freelance editor, so I don’t have a large team to communicate with. However, I’ve had some challenges over the years and have figured out what works best to keep me happy and on task.

Here are my tips:

1) Have a room in your house with a door that closes to be just your office if you can. I know this isn’t possible for a lot of people, but it’s so nice to be away from the kitchen, tv, and bed to avoid snack/entertainment/nap distractions.

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How I Got My Picture Book Deal (Yes, I Have a Book Deal!)

I’ve been sitting on this secret for a long time: I am so excited to announce that my debut picture book, “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby,” is coming out from Familius in 2021! It’s going to be a board book, illustrated by Adele Dafflon. I am psyched to bring this book into the world for babies and toddlers to chew, and potentially even read. I decided to wait to announce the deal publicly until Familius had chosen an illustrator—and I’ve been waiting since July. I’m so happy I finally get to shout about it, and I could not be more excited that Adele will be illustrating the book. Her style is whimsical, bright, and simple: perfect for babies. Check out her gorgeous Instagram.

There’s a whacky story behind how I got this book deal. I’ll start at the beginning. I’d always thought I’d love writing picture books—I wrote poetry and fiction, after all. But I never tried to write a picture book until I had my daughter and found myself reading multiple picture books every day, or rather, reading one picture book multiple times a day (one week it was Brown Bear, right now it’s Jill Twiss’s Marlon Bundo). Suddenly, picture books were pouring out of me. I wrote them in the notes of my iPhone and periodically emailed them to myself. 

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