Writers’ Rendezvous October update – Part 2

Welcome back! Here’s part two of the monthly update, with a couple of ideas for those doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), contests, and places to submit, among others.

Kelly Notaras, who runs an agency offering editing and coaching services for writers, is offering a free download of her book, Three Classic Book Outlines. If you’re planning on attempting NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), in November, it will probably help to be prepared, and this might help.

Jane Friedman

Need a virtual writing assistant? Jane Friedman drew my attention to a software program called Shortly. After setting up an account (free), you can input a sentence or two, click a button, and the AI will continue writing your story. Perhaps an alternative to staring at the wall or out the window when you experience writer’s block? Or when you’ve run out of NaNo steam…

Chat And Spin Radio is an Internet Radio Station based in the UK, broadcasting to half a million UK & International Listeners per week 24/7. They are looking for book authors, writers, etc, to carry out 10-minute live interviews for their Evening & Late Show. Email Ian Johnson at chatandspin@gmail.com for more information. Caveat: They may ask you for a donation after the interview, but one is not required.

Christopher Fielden (How to Write a Short Story) maintains a list of writing contests with links to them here. This particular link is for book and novel competitions, but he covers everything from short stories to flash fiction and more. They’re mainly British, which means that if you win, you can be an internationally award-winning writer. 🙂

Members looking for feedback on their writing can get it via Scribophile, where you’ll find thousands of other writers ready to critique work in your genre. You do the same for them.

Feedback is also available at FanStory. This is a paid subscription site, but it does offer helpful critiques for everything you write, and a lot of contests with cash prizes.  Some upcoming ones include Halloween flash fiction and poetry (deadline October 31), and dribble flash fiction (50 words), which closes November 4. You can try their one-week “worry-free” money-back guarantee to see if you like it.

Vellum is a beautiful book-formatting software program recommended by member Libby Waterford. Currently available for Mac only, and it costs around $250. Worth it if you’re planning to self-publish a number of books.

Libby also recommended BookSweeps, which is a particularly useful giveaway site if you’re trying to build your email list. She netted 600 new subscribers last time she did it. There’s a small fee to submit your giveaway, but since you’re giving away eBooks, it doesn’t cost you anything on the production end.

At the meeting, people were asking for places to submit humorous articles. Here are some of the suggestions made by members: Richard Seltzer likes humor print magazine American Bystander (submit to michaelgerber@gmail.com) and the online humor magazine Glossy News Satire. Alison McBain recommended Defenestration – a humorous literary magazine.

Authors Publish recently sent me a list of 27 publishers with good distribution, that accept unagented submissions.

And here’s a similar list of 30 publishing companies from Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur.

Creative Nonfiction is currently seeking submissions of new nonfiction work by older (60+) writers. They’re looking for personal essays/memoir, experimental work, science writing, profiles, historical nonfiction, lyric essays … any kind of lively fact-based writing. Your work need not address issues related to age/aging. Up to 4000 words, with a deadline of February 22. $3 convenience fee for online submissions. Submit your work here.

And finally, do you know the difference between literary fiction, upmarket fiction, and commercial fiction? I thought my novel was commercial fiction, but it might be upmarket. Either way, I found this infographic from literary agent Carly Watters useful.

Until next month, keep writing!

Writers’ Rendezvous: April update – Part 2

Here, as promised, is Part Two of the April update. In addition to all the activities for writers that have specific dates attached, there are several things you can do that require almost no effort at all. (Hooray!)

yellow birdFor example, the Westport Library is offering a whole lot of online programming, from 6-minute yoga sessions with Kerri Gawreluk, to a video series (10 Questions for… which are video interviews with a number of authors with interesting things to say. If you missed any of their great author events recently, this will bring you up to speed. They also have several short author podcasts on their website, featuring local authors. Among them are Jennifer Rosner, author of The Yellow Bird Sings, interviewed by book reviewer Jennifer Blankfein, and a series of three talks on the publishing process by Jane Green. They include: Getting Published, Genres, Editors, and Literary Agents, and most important: Money and Other Insights.

Author Cheryl Strayed is interviewing writers like Margaret Atwood and George Saunders in her New York Times Podcast, Sugar Calling. Listen to them while you’re taking that walk you’ve been planning…

Several people in the group were interested in submitting their work, having realized that they had things they’d written and never submitted. Two places that can help you choose where to send your work are Submittable (free) and Duotrope ($50 a year).

And if you feel you need fresh eyes on your work, you can find critiques at Scribophile

chickensoup_logoAmong the places currently looking for submissions, is the publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. They have several volumes for which they’re currently looking for pieces, including, Age is Just a Number, Christmas is in the Air and Self-Care and Me Time. Check the site for submission guidelines and deadlines.

The Discord App is a forum that allows communication over voice, video, and text. The Screenwriters Network server offers insightful discussions on scripts, writing prompts, technique, script feedback, table reads, and writing groups. It also hosts contests and has a hub of over 15,000 screenplays – and it’s free.images

Hybrid Publisher She Writes Press is offering free webinars focusing on different aspects of publishing and promoting your book. They’re free until May 31st. Teachers include Wendy Walker, Kelly Corrigan, and Abigail Thomas, among others. The classes range from 30 minutes to an hour. You can do this!

If you like the idea of learning something, you might try flash fiction. This course comes recommended: Fast Flash© is a ten-day (two weeks, Monday thru Friday) intensive and generative online flash fiction workshop created and designed by Kathy Fish that focuses on craft with daily exercises and prompts aimed at skill-building while allowing for artistry and innovation. Writers participate on their own schedule in a private WordPress site.

Another source of learning is Masterclass, which I expect you’ve all seen in online ads. They’re currently offering unlimited access to their classes for two people for a year for $180, and their teachers include David Baldacci, Margaret Atwood, Judy Blume, and David Sedaris, among others.

Sandy Beckwith, of BuildBookBuzz.com, has a huge number of book marketing tips available. Here’s a list of useful resources from her site. Sign up for her newsletter to access more suggestions.

For those of you looking for places to pitch your essays and articles, member Lauren Busser recommends https://soniaweiser.wordpress.com/opportunities-of-the-week-newsletter/ and https://wheretopitch.com. And if you have a particular expertise that you’d like to share, you can offer to Help a Reporter Out. Check their website to find out how it works.

If you’re writing memoir, you may find this newsletter interesting, It’s recommended by member Kate Mayer. Memoir Monday is a weekly newsletter and quarterly reading series brought to you by NarrativelyThe RumpusCatapultLongreadsGranta, and Guernica. Each essay in this newsletter has been selected by the editors at the above publications as the best of the week, delivered to you all in one place.

 

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous: March update

We had out first Virtual Writers’ Rendezvous via Zoom yesterday, and I’m so glad we did. Thirteen of us managed to sign in, and it was a wonderful way to connect. And, as you can see, I look much younger on Zoom. (Just kidding – that’s not me…) The reason the Rendezvous exists is as an antidote to the isolation of writers. And nothing will stop us connecting! (Photo below courtesy of Zoom)Zoom picture

Naturally, there were almost no events I could recommend, since everything for the immediate future is canceled. But the internet is a wonderful thing. Here are some of the things you can do to stay in the writing groove.

The Westport Writers Workshop is offering all its courses via Zoom. Those of you who have tried it already will know how simple it is Continue reading

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous: June update – Part 2

Here, as promised, is Part 2 of the June update. Lots of author events, contests, and places to submit your work:

The Norwalk Public Library is offering two creative writing series: An ongoing poetry workshop on the first Monday evening of each month, and creative writing each Monday, from 10:30-12pm, beginning July 8. Free. Details here.

A quick reminder that I’ll be interviewing Amy Oestreicher about her extraordinary memoir, My Beautiful Detour,  on July 11 at Barnes and Noble in Westport at 6:30pm. She’ll be reading, and signing her book. And there’ll be refreshments Continue reading