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Writers' News

Why Aren’t You Selling—Enough?

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Monday March 7, 2022

I went to the bank with a nice big check last week amounting to hundreds of dollars for a short story. That will wake you up. It woke me up. I thought all bank transactions were electronic these days. (A wee joke, but, yes, I received the money.)

I don’t always sell stories for that much, but I’ve been selling steadily over the years—stories if not novels—and I sell to some good publications. I also appreciate glowing rejection letters.

[Read the full article]

Fantasy fans crowdfund record £17m for author Brandon Sanderson’s new novels

theguardian.com – Sunday March 6, 2022

Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson might not be a household name like George RR Martin or JRR Tolkien, despite having a legion of loyal fans.

But that might be about to change. Sanderson, 46, although traditionally published and regularly selling upwards of 2m copies of his sweeping, epic novels, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday to self-publish four novels he had written during lockdown.

When he woke up on Wednesday, it was to, in effect, one of the biggest book deals in history. And less than three days after launching the project on Kickstarter he broke the platform’s record for the highest earnings in its 13-year existence.

[Read the full article]

New Magazine Listing: Sunspot Literary Journal

firstwriter.com – Tuesday March 1, 2022

Since launching in January of 2019, this journal has amplified diverse multinational voices. New works have been published in their original language side-by-side with English translations. Boundaries that exclude meaningful and important works have been broken by accepting extremely long-form pieces, a rarity in publishing today.

[See the full listing]

New Literary Agent Listing: Tim Moore

firstwriter.com – Tuesday March 1, 2022

Represents adult non-fiction and fiction. He is interested in non-fiction which has a clear platform and fiction which has a distinctive voice.

[See the full listing]

TNB hopes to inspire young writers through weekly writing prompts

theaquinian.net – Monday February 28, 2022

Theatre New Brunswick began posting weekly writing prompts on their social media pages on Feb. 14 to entice and inspire young and old writers alike.

Jena Elizabeth McLean, an artist-in-residence at TNB, is the one in charge of the weekly writing prompts which included phrases such as “today is the best day” and “into the impossible.”

“[It’s important to give] a writer time to explore an idea in an unstructured, low-stakes way that keeps their writing muscle active,” she said.

McLean said the idea originated from workshops TNB puts on for young creatives.

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: James Spackman

firstwriter.com – Monday February 28, 2022

Looking for sport, music, culture and smart thinking.

[See the full listing]

Best Australian Yarn: The world’s richest short story competition now open

perthnow.com.au – Sunday February 27, 2022

WA is now home to the world’s richest prize for professional and amateur short story writers, as The West Australian launches an ambitious new competition with a prize pool of $50,000 thanks to help from the Minderoo Foundation.

The Best Australian Yarn gives writers, both professional and aspiring, the opportunity to win a $30,000 major prize and $20,000 in other awards — a financial incentive rarely seen in short story competitions.

The contest, being launched today at Perth Festival’s Writers Weekend, is designed to showcase the value of storytelling and participating in the arts.

[Read the full article]

George Saunders on Overcoming Uncertainty in Writing

lithub.com – Sunday February 27, 2022

A few years ago, in my MFA writers’ workshop at Syracuse University, we were critiquing a story by a truly wonderful writer, and it was a damned good story too. In it, a brother and a sister were living together because the brother, a former star athlete, had suffered a brain injury and wasn’t able to live alone. The story was narrated by a man in love with the sister. In the scene in question, the man drives by on a steamy summer evening, sees the sister on the porch, joins her up there—and the sparks start to fly. It was one of the best depictions of strong mutual desire I’ve ever read. It was clear that the two were about to do it, right there on the porch. Although, the brother was asleep, just on the other side of a screen door.

So, the writer had made a lovely, consequence-rich moment. (“How can they have sex right there on the porch? How can they not? What if he wakes up? Oh God, that would be terrible. Yet it would also be cool. Talk about raising the stakes!”) Then, at the critical moment, as the man reached for the woman—a teapot inside the house came to a boil.

The woman went inside, the sexual energy went poof, the man went home.

At the time, as I recall it, we critiqued this as an oversight on the writer’s part—she hadn’t told us there was a teapot on the stove. After workshop, the writer admitted that she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted to have happen in that scene—and a little light went on in my head.

That teapot wasn’t an oversight, or a mistake, I realized, it was a placeholder—a kind of “To Be Determined” sign, the subconscious’s way of saying, “I know this is important and I don’t want to screw it up. Can I get back to you?” (Like one of those Magic Eight Balls, the story was saying, “Ask again later.”)

[Read the full article]

Outside, looking in: the reality of being a querying writer

thebookseller.com – Sunday February 27, 2022

This is how it feels like to be one of those thousands and thousands of writers still querying, week after week, and getting nowhere.

The book industry begins with writers. 

Sure, its fuel is commercial sales, trends, profit and loss, metadata… But it begins with one person (occasionally two) sitting in a room, staring at a blank screen. Then, eventually, beginning to fill that screen, before finally writing "The End".

I began writing seven years ago and have written three novels and am about to start my fourth. I fell into many of the newbie traps: thinking my books were finished way before they were (apologies to anyone I queried at that point), not being clear enough on essentials like the "singular narrative thrust which propels the story forward and keeps you hanging on to find out what will happen next".

What I didn’t realise, when I started out on this path, was that my screen would, in time, be swapped for a window. One for which–while I can stare in at the friendly world of publishing–I cannot find the accompanying door. 

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Jessica Killingley

firstwriter.com – Friday February 25, 2022

Looking for self help, personal development and business books from tomorrow’s Thought Leaders. A strong personal brand, a great platform and a clear vision for the future a must!

[See the full listing]

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