Writer's Companion excerpt

The Writer's Companion, helpful for both beginning and experienced writers, covers the writing process from plotting and planning through writing and editing to querying and finding a publisher. I've studied many great books on writing but nothing as comprehensive as this guide.

You will reference these 600 pages of material again and again, manuscript after manuscript, long after you've made millions and topped the best seller lists. I highly recommend this book for every writer and writing hobbyist.

Renée Miller, one of the authors, shares a modified excerpt. Together, Renée and Carlos share some interesting thoughts about the future of publishing.


Thanks for having me, Rita. I always love visiting your blog.

I considered posting an excerpt from the Writer’s Companion that discussed how to do this or that but decided that’s rather uninteresting and not very interactive. Then I recalled the Oracle. As an afterword and closing brooch for the Companion, we wanted to be reckless and play the game of prophesy.

Prophets engage in a risky business, in particular if they survive their prophecies. Most prophets we know of would have had to eat their words if they were still around, though it strikes us as crafty that most weighty prophecies entailed such a long time lapse that the prophet was safe from having to face the hordes of his peeved followers. Others—doomsday prophets in particular—weren’t so lucky and had to swallow a bitter pill (and often run for dear life) when the event didn’t pan out.

In writing the Companion, we researched the publishing industry’s history as well as recent changes. To say the foundations of what used to be are shaky would be an understatement. The question is, how will this pan out for writers? What will the new publishing model be when the dust settles? What’s the future of the publishing industry?

In our opinion, there’s a difference between a forecast that contravenes physics and scientific observation and a prediction founded on logic. Most of the conjectures in Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 stem from logic. Naturally, with so many variables and unknowns, a logical prophecy doesn’t have more weight than an educated guess.

Our oracle, firmly grounded on state-of-the art resources (crystal ball, tealeaves, Ouija, I-ching and a deck of funny-looking cards), predicts that within the next ten years:

1. E-publishing will overtake traditional publishing.

2. E-publishing with reputable publishers will be as hard to access for new writers as

traditional publishing is at present times.

3. E-publishers will only accept submissions through literary agents.

4. E-books will be rated by an agency, as to their literary and editorial merits.

5. POD will shrink down to a tenth of its present size.

6. Two-thirds of traditional book retailers will have disappeared.

7. The number of readers will remain unchanged.

8. A large percentage of successful writers will issue from the East.

9. Most of the Internet free services to writers will be subscription only.

10. Traditional writers will be on the road to extinction.

We suppose that our readers might agree with some of these predictions and disagree with the rest, perhaps all. In our defense, we attempt to justify the logic behind each forecast in the Writer’s Companion. What do you think? Are we way off base? Share your predictions for the industry over the next decade. We should come back here in 2021 (as long as the doomsday prophets are wrong yet again) and see how close we all came.

I’ll be sharing the basis behind each prediction over on The Edge starting on Sunday. Come on over and share your thoughts. Yes, even if they’re negative ones.

And thank you, Rita, for allowing me to post my insanity.


Thank you, Renee!

Later next week, I will post a giveaway for a copy of the Writer's Companion.  So be sure to come back for more goodies.


  1. We're all on the road to extinction, Renee : (

    Seriously, interesting article and an even better book

  2. We are and it's very sad. On that point, I sincerely hope we're wrong, but it looks like traditional publishing the way we know and love it, is fading fast.

  3. The only thing that worries me about the future you predict is no.4:
    "E-books will be rated by an agency,"
    Maybe I'm too pessimistic in this regard, but I doubt there will be an organized quality filter for e-books anytime soon; it seems to me that the waterfall of electronic crap out there will continue to flow endlessly, making it damn hard for the gems that sparkle on the riverbed to be seen.
    Other than that, your predictions are sound and plausible, and I believe that as long as we have stories flowing through our veins, we'll continue to strive for publication even if we have to scratch them in stone with our nails.

  4. We're talking the next ten years, which in the publishing world is a really long time. Things change overnight; in ten years there will be many changes that have either stayed or just passed through long enough to annoy the shit out of us. I think the current situation is one of those annoyances.

    Beginning tomorrow, I explain the logic Carlos and I feel backs these predictions and why we feel they might be good things.

    I think there's a difference between e-books and self-published books though that isn't clear in such a brief prediction.

    I agree with you that quality control over self-published books is an almost impossible feat (notice I say "almost") to manage. Quality control over e-books, not so hard.

  5. The saddest of these predictions is the eradication of traditional bookstores. I don't know of any place I love more.

    I would be ridiculous to not jump on the e-book wagon, since its obviously the direction that the publishing industry is moving, but as a reader, I cannot stand them. A lot of it has to do with my preference to hold a physical book in my hands, but also has to do with what Vero mentioned - there is so much e-crap out there that its a knee jerk reaction to assume that an e-book, especially a self published e-book, is worthless. This will be the biggest challenge writers face in the future, IMO.


I love your comments.