Educator and Literary Agent Toni Lopopolo
Instructs Ventura South on Book Publishing

On Monday, October 27, members of Rotary Ventura South enjoyed a fascinating lesson in current trends in book publishing from local educator and literary agent Toni Lopopolo. With an extensive background in editing and publishing, including positions as executive editor with MacMillan and St. Martin's Press, Toni heads up her own agency which partners with authors in developing and editing their projects. She has created a unique series of fiction "bootcamps" and writers' groups that she has named "Tea with Toni."

"The world of book publishing has changed radically in the last decade," said Toni. "The explosion of electronic publishing via the Internet has created a huge new marketplace." She noted that, while the quantity of available literature has dramatically increased, the same cannot be said of the quality. Most beginning authors fail to perform a much-needed step in the writing process: self-editing. They get to the end of their first draft and decide it's ready for publishing. "Not true," said Toni, "The greatest writers in history have been relentless editors of their own work." She also noted how valuable a professional editor can be.

While the digital age has brought many innovations to the world of publishing, Toni still prefers the traditional bound book format. She noted that the vast majority of major publishing houses are now owned by European companies.

Summing up, Toni advised the aspiring novelists in attendance to avoid several common pitfalls: submitting a manuscript without thorough editing, failure to master the craft of plot development, setting, point of view, etc., poorly developed or boring characters, and the use of passive rather than active voice.

All in all, the members of Rotary Ventura South left Monday's meeting with a clear idea of the challenges and rewards of book publishing.