- grant money to write a book
- a conference within a two-state range
- the name of a publisher for their book
- markets to sell a story
- contests for short stories
I firmly believe that many do not search for answers on their own because of the Internet's grand propensity to provide way more than we ask for. We receive so many responses to our requests that the gadzillion options paralyze us.
Ever gone into a super mall and felt stymied that there were too many stores to know where to start? For instance, I have no desire to go to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. The very things they brag about turn me away.
.57 miles walking distance around one level
8 acres of skylights
4.3 miles of total store front footage
7 Yankee Stadiums can fit inside the Mall
32 Boeing 747s could fit inside the Mall
86 hours to complete a visit to the Mall if you were to spend just 10 minutes in each store
258 Statues of Liberty could lie inside the Mall
520+ stores are located in Mall of America
I guess it's good for people to be thrilled at the bigger-than-life mall, but if I'm seriously shopping, I want to know where to find my item. For instance, I need a mother-of-the-groom dress for October when my youngest gets married. Show me the store, maybe two or three, let me select, and I'll write the check. My time is precious to me. I want to languish and spend my time over novel chapters, not shopping.
I think the same goes for writers, especially new ones. They want to submit to contests, but don't know where to start. Googling shows hundreds and hundreds. After an hour not finding what they want, they quit. Probably do not submit after all. I'll bet I'm a last resort request - "please help me find a contest."
Publishing is the same way. Publishing is one of the most convoluted industries on the planet! If you Google publisher, guess what? You get pages of self-publishing information. Any newcomer with a freshly completed manuscript in hand would think those are the best options. I continually receive requests from new writers asking for grant funds to publish. Upon questioning them, I learn that they don't know that there is a traditional publishing option. Some have actually self-published, rued the experience, and come to me saying they didn't realize until after they'd written their check that there was a traditional arm. They stopped searching before they understood the big picture. That's part of what I call Internet paralysis. It's too much to comprehend sometimes.
But if you do not educate yourself, you fall prey to scams, too-good-to-be-true opportunities, or options that fall short of what you hoped to accomplish. If you do not relish searching the Web, at least take the time to search for experts in the field.
- Sign up for blogs of agents, writers, editors, publishers and publications
- Sign up for email newsletters of agents, writers, editors, publishers and publications
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - again, with agents, writers, editors, publishers and publications
Yes, enjoy. If the search becomes too hair-pulling-frustrating, you tire of writing. It becomes too hard. You want to keep the joy in your work.
When you go to college, you don't sign up for all the majors. You select one. Then you focus on the classes and professors and extracurricular activities that center around that major, confident that the expertise presented is the shortest route to understanding a field in which you want to excel.
Take the time to Google the ones you like. Or ask a few people in your social circles. In the meantime, here are a tiny few suggested connections:
Dystel & Goderich
Janet Reid (of FinePrint)
Writers Resource Center
The Renegade Writer
Men With Pens
Pimp My Novel
Most magazines have blogs - easier to break into than feature articles!
The Book Designer
University of Chicago Press Blog
Beacon Broadside Press
Random House Blogs and Podcasts
Bell Bridge Books Blog