David Henry Sterry

Author, book doctor, raker of muck

David Henry Sterry

Tag: #‎amwriting‬

Why Publishers Are Stupid

The Book Doctors explain in plain & simple language, just why publishers are so stupidly stupid.


Disreputable author service companies often masquerade as legitimate publishers. Here’s how to publish a book without getting scammed. Ask us questions in the comments.


Open Call for Submission to Anthology: How I Kicked Opioids

Open Call for Submission to Anthology: How I Kicked Opioids

I became addicted to opioids.  It was horrible.  I wrote a story about it for the Daily Beast.  I want to help people who were in the same miserable position as me.  So I’m putting together an anthology.

Are you now, or have you ever been, addicted to opioids? If so, we want your story.

We are putting a face to the epidemic of opioid addiction that is wrecking America.

Whether you’re an athlete or line cook, an artist or a lawyer, a CEO or homeless,  a soccer mom or an anarchist, a Goth teen or a veteran, gay straight or transgendered, religious or atheist, white black or brown, or anything in between, we want your stories of opioid addiction and recovery.  

America’s search engines are jammed with searches like: “how to kick oxy”; “how long will I feel the withdrawal symptoms”; “natural remedies to detox from opioids”.  With stories of desperate compulsion, crushing dependence, personal loss, near-death experiences, and the inspirational personal triumphs over addiction; this anthology will help show how many ways there are to get off these drugs that have ruined so many lives.

We are looking to end the shaming stigmatism applied to opioid addicts.  Addicts aren’t moral defectives, society’s dregs, losers with no self-control, to be tossed onto society’s broken pile.  They are us.

Your story will make a difference. Your sharing will save lives.

Please help us let your light shine! Send your story, brief bio, and if you have a website or blog, send that too! And pass this on if you now someone with a story to tell.  Below is a description of the book.  Thanks!  Send to :sterryhead@gmail.com


How I Kicked Opioids

Soldiers & Rock Stars, Octogenarians & Goth Teens, Working Stiffs & the Chronically Unemployed

Tell True Tales of Addiction & Recovery

Opioids are a plague upon the land, a pestilence of biblical proportion which is laying waste to America, from the heart lands to the hollers, the penthouse to the flophouse, the suburbs to the urban wastelands, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters.  It destroys people from the top of the food chain to the bottom, CEOs to homeless, movie stars to garbage men, bluebloods to rednecks to black sheep. 

The president of the United States and Congress, talking heads on all the major news show, and an online feeding frenzy are proof that America can’t stop talking about the death grip opioids have on our country.  How I Kicked Opioids will take a deep dive into the epidemic, with true stories ranging from 500 to 2,000 words, putting a face to some of the millions and millions of Americans who have wrestled with this insidious addiction that breaks homes, spirits and souls.  Then we’ll witness the triumph of the will, and the inspirational redemption that shows us just how resilient we humans truly are. 

How I Kicked Opioids began with 1200 words published in The Daily Beast. Doctors, recovery specialists, and civilians reached out and passed it along.  Many comments were from the readers who themselves have gone through a similar experience. 

Misery dances with comedy, and raw truth battles denial, as Shakespeare’s mirror is held up to America and we see ourselves at our best and worst, in sickness and in health, in tragedy and triumph.

David Henry Sterry, author of the Daily Beast piece, conceived and put together a similar anthology that landed on the front cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.  Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rentboys: Professionals Writing about Life, Love, Money and Sexcontains a similar mix of accomplished literary writers and people who have never published a word in their lives.

Praise for Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rentboys: Professionals Writing about Life, Love, Money and Sex:

“An eye-opening, occasionally astonishing, brutally honest and frequently funny collection from those who really have lived on the edge in a parallel universe…unpretentious and riveting … This collection is a wonderful reminder that good writing is not about knowing words, grammar or Faulkner, but having that rare ability to tell the truth, an ability that education and sophistication often serve to conceal. While we are all, I suppose, in the business of surviving, some really are surviving more notably than others. The collective cry for identity found in this unsentimental compilation will resonate deeply.” – New York Times

“The selections range from triumphant to harrowing, making up for a lack of style or form with passion. The book is heavy with raw emotions ranging from celebratory to shameful. It’s not all dark and heavy: Sterry’s own account of his experience is touching and sentimental, characteristically blunt, funny and honest. This volume houses some real gems.” – Publishers Weekly


“The prose in this volume is fresh and the tales are both heart-rending and hilarious, sometimes simultaneously. What’s most striking about the volume is how relevant these intimate and detailed chronicles are for any reader.” – New York Press


“Sterry has managed to bring together a rich tapestry… Some of the narratives are polished and savvy, some are as hard and rough as drug addiction that dogs a body and soul. Others reveal a tarnished realism about painful truths. The writing is diverse and eclectic … In its entirety, in its insistence that the gamut of personal histories, it is a reflection of the human condition, and speaks to a broad audience.” –Barnes & Noble.com

Winning Pitchapalooza by Gloria Chao

This is originally from a great website called Novel Pitch

Gloria Chao was the winner of the 2015 Pitchapalooza contest put on by The Book Doctors. She and I connected via twitter. The following is her experience from the event. 0wjqQGQB

I am honored that NovelPitch has invited me to share my experience pitching in The Book Doctor’s 2015 Pitchapalooza contest. I’m a strong supporter of writers helping writers, and am excited to give back (though I wish I could give more!) to the community that has helped in my journey thus far. Thank you, Ralph, for your Novel Pitch efforts, and thank you, fellow writers, for your constant support.

I heard about the Pitchapalooza contest through Twitter and submitted my query. Based on The Book Doctors’ comments, I believe my pitch stood out because of the specifics—namely, the wording and humor. Since my novel is multicultural, I used words that gave a taste of Chinese culture, e.g. “sticking herself with needles” and “fermented tofu.” I also highlighted the wacky characters with phrases such as “expiring ovaries,” “unladylike eating habits,” and “Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer.” I think capturing the manuscript’s voice in the query was why my pitch was chosen.

Winning Pitchapalooza gave me confidence and the courage to keep fighting. It also helped bring my manuscript to the next level. I had struggled with my genre, pitching NA contemporary for the contest. The Book Doctors helped me realize this was the incorrect categorization, pointing me toward adult with suggestions to age up my manuscript by changing from first person to third. This released a flood of ideas, and I spent the next several months rewriting—adding 24K words, changing the POV, and writing with a women’s fiction audience in mind. I ended up with a manuscript that finally felt right.

The journey to publication is infamous for being long and relentless, but enjoying the small accomplishments along the way (and the writing, of course!) is what keeps me motivated. Putting ideas into words, sharing work with others, getting a personalized rejection, receiving a request, winning a contest—these are all achievements that require courage and are worth celebrating. And the writing community, including myself, will always be happy to celebrate with you!

Here are some of my tips for making your query stand out:

  • If you’re new to querying, check out Query Shark, published authors’ blogs, Writer’s Digest, and craft books.
  • Keep the 250 word count in mind, but only at the end. When you first start, just write. You’re more likely to have gems if you’re whittling down.
  • Avoid clichés, generalities, and obvious stakes. Use unique words to convey your voice (and do this in your manuscript as well).
  • Cut out every word that’s not essential. Too much detail bogs the story down.
  • When you think your query is ready, get fresh eyes on it—family (my husband read a thousand versions of my pitch), friends, and other writers you meet through Twitter. Start with those familiar with your book, then end with people who know nothing about it. The latter will help identify confusing elements and will let you know if the pitch as a whole is not grabbing enough. Then, seize every critique opportunity by entering contests.

You can read Gloria’s winning pitch for AMERICAN PANDA here.

About Gloria:

I earned a bachelor’s degree from MIT and graduated magna cum laude from Tufts Dental—the perfect Taiwanese-American daughter. Except I wasn’t happy. To get through practicing dentistry, I wrote. It took years to gather the strength to push my dental career aside, against my parent’s wishes, to pursue writing full-time. Our relationship suffered, but my most recent novel, AMERICAN PANDA, strengthened our bond by forcing me to ask questions I never dared before. Now, my mother and I laugh about fermented tofu and setups with the perfect Taiwanese boy (though I think she still worries about my expiring ovaries).

You can find out more about Gloria at her website and on twitter.

Website: https://gloriachao.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriacchao




WHAT: Pitchapalooza is American Idol for books (only kinder & gentler). Twenty writers will be selected at random to pitch their book. Each writer gets one minute—and only one minute! Dozens of writers have gone from talented amateurs to professionally published authors as a result of participating in Pitchapalooza, including Genn Albin, our KC winner who got a 3-book mid-six figure deal with Farrar Straus & Giroux.

WHO: Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are co-founders of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping authors get their books published. They are also co-authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How To Write It, Sell It, and Market It… Successfully (Workman, 2010). Arielle Eckstut has been a literary agent for over 20 years at The Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. She is also the author of nine books and the co-founder of the iconic brand, LittleMissMatched. David Henry Sterry is the best-selling author of 16 books, on a wide variety of subject including memoir, sports, YA fiction and reference. His first book has been translated into 10 languages and optioned by HBO, his latest book was featured on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review. They’ve taught their workshop on how to get published everywhere from Stanford University to Smith College. They have appeared everywhere from The New York Times to NPR’s Morning Edition to USA Today. .

HOW: At Pitchapalooza, judges will help you improve your pitch, not tell you how bad it is. Judges critique everything from idea to style to potential in the marketplace and much, much more. Authors come away with concrete advice as well as a greater understanding of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Whether potential authors pitch themselves, or simply listen to trained professionals critique each presentation, Pitchapalooza is educational and entertaining for one and all. From Miami to Portland, from LA to NYC, and many stops along the way, Pitchapaloozas have consistently drawn standing-room-only crowds, press and blog coverage, and the kind of bookstore buzz reserved for celebrity authors.

PRIZE: At the end of Pitchapalooza, the judges will pick a winner. The winner receives an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for his/her book.

PRICE OF ADMISSION: To sign up to pitch, you must purchase a copy of The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published. Anyone who buys a copy of receives a FREE 20 minute consultation, a $100 value. If you don’t want to pitch, the event is FREE.

WHEN: September 16, 7:30pm

WHERE: Brooklyn Public Library 10 Grand Army Plaza http://www.bklynlibrary.org/locations/central
Brooklyn Book Festival http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org/BBF/Home

Washington Post: http://www.thebookdoctors.com/the-book-doctors-pitchapalooza-in-washington-post

New York Times article: http://tinyurl.com/3tkp4gl.

Pitchapalooza mini movie: http://bit.ly/vm9YSu

Pitchapalooza on NBC: http://www.thebookdoctors.com/the-book-doctors-pitchapalooza-on-nbc-television

Here’s what people are saying about Pitchapalooza:

“We came to Pitchapalooza with an idea and six months later we got a book deal with a prominent publisher. We simply couldn’t have done this without this opportunity and without David and Arielle. We had been working on this project for several years, on our own, and struggling without any guidance. We were really discouraged by the entire process. Winning Pitchapalooza, and working with these two, really helped us focus and renew our enthusiasm in the project. And now we’re going to be published authors!”—Nura Maznavi and Ayesha Mattu, Pitchapalooza winners Litquke, San Francisco, Oct. 2010

Here’s what people are saying about The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published:

“I started with nothing but an idea, and then I bought this book. Soon I had an A-list agent, a near six-figure advance, and multiple TV deals in the works. Buy it and memorize it. This little tome is the quiet secret of rockstar authors.”—New York Times best-selling author Timothy Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich,

NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza Pitches Are Up: Vote til 3-31

Online Pitchapalooza pitches with ‪‎NaNoWriMo‬ & The Book Doctors are up now. Vote 4 Yr Fave til 3/31! ‪http://ow.ly/Kt0U2



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