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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Marketing Writing via Twitter

John Kremer, book marketing maven, shares his game plan for getting more traffic on his Web site. It's the kind of thing you can do to market your own Web site, which can either (1) serve as your platform to impress publishers with or (2) promote the book(s) you've written.

Of course, as Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me host Peter Sagal said this morning, since NPR has now done a feature on Twitter, it may be a dying trend already. Ha!

category: resources

Thursday, March 26, 2009

When Your Writing Isn't Going Well

Crummy day? Find something that makes you laugh. It's good for you. After I told a friend about a particularly depressing series of events, he sent me a link to this site, FMyLife. Something in here should get a chuckle from you, however grudgingly.

And then go write.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Stupid Things People Say to Writers

I bet you've heard at least one of the "Stupid Things People Say
to Writers" at Editor Unleashed . . .


Thursday, March 19, 2009

CNF: Revealing the Editing

A Pittsburgh City Paper story highlights an unusual move by the lit mag Creative Nonfiction: posting the editing of three essays on the journal's Web site. Lee Gutkind, editor, decided he wanted to show reader how the journal changed the shape of the essays by deleting the beginnings.

He says it's unusual for literary journals to mess with the structure of pieces they publish. That surprised me: as a magazine editor of commercial magazines, I have no qualms about moving (and changing) anything needed to strengthen the piece (I run it by the writer afterward).

I haven't looked at the three pieces posted other than to see that the deleted copy is highlighted in yellow and added copy in green, but in general I agree with Lee that often the writer starts at the wrong place. Going further, writers often end at the wrong place, too. It's hard to resist the urge to tie things up in a pretty little bow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Narrative Magazine, P.S.

The only category in which I'd submit a piece to Narrative Magazine is Readers' Narrative. No reading fee is charged in that category. Although no payment is made for publication, that's standard for literary magazines anyway.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Narrative Magazine: Let's Rant

Here's a good argument against dealing with Narrative Magazine, which charges people a "consideration fee" (boo, hiss) to submit pieces there. The piece is on , which describes itself as the "Internet literature magazine blog of the future."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Riveting Biography

The Washington Post gave this book, Wedlock, enthusiastic praise for research and a story well told. The subtitle tells the thrust of the story: The True Story of the Disastrous Marriage and Remarkable Divorce of Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

War Memoirs

Featured on Fresh Air 3/5/2009
Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood,
By Donovan Campbell

Blurb: After graduating from Princeton, Donovan Campbell, motivated by his unwavering patriotism and commitment, decided to join the service. In this immediate, thrilling, and inspiring memoir, Campbell recounts a timeless and transcendent tale of brotherhood, courage, and sacrifice. As commander of a forty-man infantry platoon called Joker One, Campbell and his men were assigned to Ramadi, that capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province that was an explosion just waiting to happen. After seven months of day-to-day, house-to-house combat, nearly half of Campbell’s platoon had been wounded, a casualty rate that went beyond that of any Marine or Army unit since Vietnam.

“…an outstanding narrative of the Iraq War.” ~ Publishers Weekly Starred Review

If you buy it from public radio, it gets a percentage.

The book was reviewed by the Washington Post along with two other war-based memoirs:

The Inside Story of the Search for Saddam Hussein -- As Told by the Soldier Who Masterminded His Capture
By Eric Maddox with Davin Seay HarperCollins. 266 pp. $25.99


The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education
By Craig M. Mullaney

The Post reviewer liked The Unforgiving Minute the best; he said the other two ignore some basic questions about the war on terrorism.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Nonfiction Writing Contests

Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest
deadline: July 31, 2009


The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves expressing innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful art of poetry or writing a short story that is worth telling everyone! And to all who have the ability to dream. Write a poem or short story for a chance to win cash prizes. All works must be original.
Write a poem, thirty lines or fewer on any subject, style, or form, typed or neatly hand printed.
And/or write a short story, five pages maximum length, on any subject or theme, creative writing fiction or non-fiction (including essay compositions, diary, journal entries and screenwriting). Also, must be typed or neatly hand printed.
Multiple poetry and short story entries are accepted.
Postmark deadline: July 31, 2009
All contest winners will be announced on August 31, 2009
Writing Contest First Prize is $500. Second Prize: $250. Third Prize: $100.
Poetry Contest First Prize is $250. Second Prize: $125. Third Prize: $50.
Entry fees:
Writing Contest entry fee: $10 per short story.
Poetry Contest entry fee: $5 per poem.

To send entries: Include title(s) with your story (ies) or poem(s), along with your name, address, phone#, email, brief biographical info. (Tell us a little about yourself), on the coversheet. Add a self-addressed stamped envelope for entry confirmation. Fees payable to: “DREAMQUESTONE.COM”

Mail to:
Dream Quest One
Poetry & Writing Contest
P.O. Box 3141
Chicago, IL 60654

Visit http://www.dreamquestone.com for further details or to enter!

No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. “And remember, in whatever you do, it’s okay to dream, for dreams do come true.” –Dream Quest One


for DC Residents
26th Annual Larry Neal Writers Competition
deadline: March 19

26th Annual Larry Neal Writers Competition in poetry, short fiction, essay, and dramatic writing, with separate awards for adults and youth.

New this year: The Big Read Special Recognition Award for Creative Expression, for essays on the theme of courage.

No fee to enter. Deadline: March 19.

Visit website for entry instructions:


Writing It Real No-contest Contest
deadline: March 31

Writing It Real’s (www.writingitreal.com) No-contest Contest is reading poetry (up to three poems) and creative nonfiction (up to six pages double spaced) submissions now.

Every entry receives detailed response from Sheila Bender via e-mail. First-, second-, and third- place winning pieces will be published in Writing It Real with the authors’ permission, and each winning author will receive a half-hour phone or email consultation with Sheila Bender about writing and/or publishing.

The entry fee of $45 entitles the entrant to a year’s subscription to Writing It Real ($30 dollar value, in-depth instructional weekly articles on writing and publishing and discounts on online classes) as well as the emailed detailed response.

Contest entry deadline is March 31 (postmarked or uploaded).

Complete guidelines and information on mailing and/or uploading submissions at: www.writingitreal.com/page.php?p=essay_contest or email


Bellevue Literary Review 2010 Contest
deadline: August 1


The Bellevue Literary Review Prizes recognize exceptional writing about health,
healing, illness, the mind, and the body. First prize is $1000 and publication
in the Spring 2010 issue of the Bellevue Literary Review.

$1000 Bellevue Literary Review Carter V. Cooper Memorial Prize for Nonfiction --
Judged by Phillip Lopate

Deadline: August 1, 2009.

Prose should be limited to 5000 words. Previously published work cannot be considered.
Entry fee is $15 per submission. For an additional $5, you will recieve a
1-year subscription to the BLR. For complete guidelines and to submit your
work, visit www.BLReview.org. (Feel free to contact info@BLReview.org with any


Press 53
deadline: March 31

8 Categories (Poetry, Flash Fiction, Short-Short Story, Short Story, Genre Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Novella, and Young Writers [13-17]).

8 Industry-Professional Judges

8 Personalized Etched-Glass Awards

17 Opportunities for Publication in the Press 53 Open Awards Anthology

Complete guidelines for entry are at www.Press53.com


Tiferet Writing Contest
deadline: April 1

Tiferet: A Journal of Spiritual Literature invites your submission for our 2009 Writing Awards in Poetry and Prose. Prizes are $500 in each genre. TIFERET publishes writing from a variety of religious and spiritual traditions. Our mission is to help reveal spirit through the written word and to promote peace within the individual and in the world.

You may also choose to up your entry fee to $29 and receive a one-year subscription (two print and two digital issues) plus one FREE ISSUE of the magazine (176 pages, $14.95 value)--just $29 for a $58.95 value

Entry fee is $15 for one story or essay or up to six poems. The deadline is April 1, 2009. Visit www.tiferetjournal.com and click Writing Awards for details and to enter.


Gulf Coast Contests
deadline: March 31


The 2009 Gulf Coast Contests, awarding publication and $1,000 each in Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction, will be judged by Brigit Pegeen Kelly (poetry), Antonya Nelson (fiction), and Dinty W. Moore (nonfiction).

Guidelines: Submit one previously unpublished story or essay (25 double-spaced pages max) or up to five previously unpublished poems (10 pages max). Indicate your genre on the outer envelope. Your name and address should appear on the cover letter only. Include a SASE for results. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Your $20 reading fee, payable to "Gulf Coast," will include a one-year subscription.

Postmark deadline: March 31, 2009.

Send Entries to:
Gulf Coast Prize in [Genre]
Department of English
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3013


TallGrass Writers Guild
Literary Anthology/Contest Guidelines
Sponsored by Outrider Press in affiliation with TallGrass Writers Guild
deadline: extended to March 31

E-mail outriderpress@sbcglobal.net or tallgrassguild@sbcglobal.net.

Planned publication date: late summer/early fall 2009. Working title: Fearsome Fascinations. We interpret broadly; can mean fascination wi th the paranormal as well as snakes and spiders, and dangerous/extreme sports, addictions and the allure of Forbidden Fruit: Bad Boys, Vamps, flirty married bosses, vices, etc. Especially interested in poetry.

Previously published material and simultaneous submissions OK. Award of $1000 in cash prizes for First ($500 each for poetry and prose) . Also: 2nd, 3rdplaces, + Hon. Mention. All winners receive Featured Reader status at the Kick-Off Reading at Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest, the nation’s third largest book fair of its kind (depending on CTPRLF scheduling). Each published contributor receives a free copy of the anthology.

Entry fees for each category are $16, reduced to $12 each for TWG members. Current annual U.S. TWG membership fee of $45 ($25 for students w/xerox of valid photo ID) includes six 12-page newsletters each year. An entry form for the 2009 Anthology/Contest (available w/SASE, if not attached to these guidelines) must be completed and accompany each entry category. To obtain,20email: outriderpress@sbcglobal.net or tallgrassguild@sbcglobal.net.

Prose: 2500 word limit per entry; sections from longer works accepted. Reading fee for each entry: $16 US/$12US-TWG member. For 2 prose entries per person: $32US/$24US-TWG member; for 3: $48/$36, etc.


NEW INFORMATION: Judge: We delighted to have secured the services of Diane Williams as judge. She is an award-winning writer/educator, and author of Performing Seals. She has studied abroad on a variety of fellowships, currently teaches at Chicago's Kendall College, and has a memoir-in-progress.

Submission Guide (for complete guidelines, email outriderpress@sbcglobal.net. Send two copies of each manuscript (ms.) Plus disk as follows:

§ HARD COPY – Double-spaced manuscript on one side, on 8.5”x11” unlined white paper. Only laserjet, inkjet or letter-quality dot matrix acceptable; plus: Four-sentence bio; plus:

§ ELECTRONIC – Provide ms. and bio (separate files, please) on small capacity flash drive or CD, using Windows Rich-Text-Format (RTF) or Microsoft Word (not Works). Package your CDs safely to prevent damage. Specify word processing program on label + author’s name and e-mail address. No MAC.

§ Include name, address, phone/FAX numbers (w/area code) and e-mail addresses on first sheet of fiction; each sheet of poetry. Your phone number and e-mail address are required on every item.

§ Include a stamped, self-addressed #10 (business size) envelope (SASE) for response. Mss. shredded/recycled, not returned. Include a stamped, self-addressed postcard to have receipt of ms. confirmed.

Postmarked no later than March 31.

FOR COMPLETE GUIDELINES WITH REQUIRED ENTRY FORM: outriderpress@sbcglobal.net or tallgrassguild@sbcglobal.net. Telephone: 219-322-7270 or toll-free 866-510-6735.


Word & Sound Creative Writing Contests 2009
deadline: June 30

Sponsored by the Albert Anthony Foundation for Cultural Arts, Grants, & Scholarships
Post Office Box 5464, Columbus, Mississippi 39704-5464 / 662.240.0232

Word & Sound Creative Writing Contests are open to writers across the globe and judged by prominent writers (TBA) in the area of expertise. Winners selected/notified: September 30. Winnings disbursed: December 30. Prizes: $100, $75, $50, $25 with sponsorship/$50, $40, $30, and $20 without sponsorship for first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention awarded at judges’ discretion. Entries must be original work and neither be a previous contest winner nor previously published. Submit Cover Page, Titled Entry, Short Biography (50-75 words of most interesting aspects of writer’s creativity or most important points of writer’s life), and Self-Addressed-Stamped-Envelope (SASE) with a Check/Money Order in the appropriate amount payable to AAF, c/o Contest Coordinator, Post Office Box 5464, Columbus, MS 39704-5464.

Published writer Willie Williams: part owner of Broadside Press and others TBA.

[section 1 is Poetry; section 3 is Short Short Story; section 4 is Short Story]

Reading Donation: $4 per essay ($10 for up to 3 entries)

GUIDELINES: Submit a Cover Page, Titled Entry, Biography, SASE, and Entry Donation c/o Essay Contest Coordinator.
· Submit up to 3 original Opinionated Essays on any subject (1,200 words maximum), typed/computer generated, double-spaced on 8-1/2 x 11 inch white sheets with one-inch margins and no other markings. Include word count at end.
· Cover Page contains (1.) Name of Contest in the upper left corner; (2.) author’s Full Name, complete Mailing Address with Zip Code, Area Code & Telephone/Cell Number, and Email Address in the upper right corner; and (3.) Essay Title centered (or numbered and flush left, if more than one).

NOTE: Entries in 2 or more contests may be separated by a smaller envelope and packaged in one larger envelope; only one SASE is required.

Short Bio may be included at the bottom of the Cover Sheet. Entries are recycled after judging.


Friday, March 06, 2009

To Twitter about CNF

I'm obviously a total fledgling when it comes to Twitter, but John Kremer--major book marketing guru--has a cache of info on using Twitter to promote your books, products, services, and Web sites. I went to a couple of John's workshops at the Erma Bombeck writers' conference. He knows a ton and is always sharing what he knows--it's a great attitude!