Every book has a story

Behind the Book traces the life history of eleven debut books from a variety of different authors, genres, and approaches. The end result is a rich tapestry of case studies demonstrating how the modern author can approach their own path to publication. 

Behind the Book is now available.

The Profiled Books

Behind the Book profiles eleven different books and weaves the story behind each of them into a narrative that highlights coming up with the idea, finding a process, developing a support network, dealing with issues of craft, pursuing publication, dealing with setback, selling and marketing the work, and finally moving on to the next project. The profiled books include:

No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love & Wandering by Clara Bensen

Going Somewhere: A Journey Across America by Brian Benson

California by Edan Lepucki

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum

My Blue Skin Lover by Monona Wali

What Others Are Saying


“What a book-lover’s fantasy! To see behind the making and launching of eleven diverse books, to hear stories of first and last drafts, of book tours and artist residencies, of publicity letdowns and bolts out of the blue—in short, tales of struggle, success, hard work, and luck, all told with Jones’s keen eye toward craft—what a generous gift to the aspiring writer! The joy of this book is not to push a single path to publication, but to celebrate the endless variety such paths might take. Showing how we get our stories, real or imagined, into the world is this book’s unique gift—and that’s a proposition that feels particularly urgent in these tumultuous times.”

Edward McPherson, author of The History of the Future: American Essays


“An indispensable tool for writers eager to peek behind the curtain and learn about the realities of writing and publishing. Myths and mysteries about being an ‘author’ abound, and this book shines a bright light on it all. Full of valuable nuggets, Behind the Book draws on real-life stories as well as the wisdom of the very best writing guides to reveal an empowering truth: there’s no one path to publishing success.”

Katrin Schumann, cofounder of GrubStreet’s Launch Lab and author of The Secret Power of Middle Children

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