Short story contest –
The deadline for firstwriter.com's
Seventh International Short Story Contest has been delayed by one
month to May 1, 2011 to allow for last minute
The competition is seeking short
stories up to 3,000 words, and is open to stories on any subject
and in any style: literary fiction; genre; romance; horror;
science fiction; experimental – all are acceptable and will be
treated equally – the only criteria on which they will be
judged is the quality of the story and of the writing.
The winner of the competition
will receive a cash prize of £200, or the equivalent in your
currency (that's around $400). Not only that, but there will also
be ten special commendations awarded. All eleven winners will be
published in firstwriter.magazine
and receive firstwriter.com
vouchers worth $30 / £20 / EUR30. These vouchers are enough to cover the cost
of creating an annual subscription to firstwriter.com,
allowing access to our daily updated
databases of over
150 writing competitions, over
850 literary agencies, over
1,300 book publishers, and over
1,300 magazines – as well as the option to receive daily
alerts by email of new and updated listings which match your
Another advantage of the firstwriter.com
competition is that submissions are made online – saving you
the hassle of printing and posting. To enter your story online
in seconds go to https://www.firstwriter.com/competitions/short_story_contest/
writer to published author in 7 simple steps
By Patricia Fry
Do you write for pleasure? Have you ever thought
– even for a fleeting moment
– about publishing your work? How do you know when it is time to shift from writer to published author?
For some writers, this is never going to happen because they just aren’t interested in taking their writing to the next level.
They love writing and they don’t care about publishing their work. They just want to write when they feel like it. They do not relish the idea of writing for someone else
or meeting deadlines. They would rather no one reads their poetry, stories or journal entries. They just want to write what they want to write when they want to write.
But there are many of you who, either secretly or openly, dream of having your writing published someday. However, you’re not
sure how to make the transition from closet pleasure writer to published author. Here are some steps that might help you move more successfully toward your publishing goals:
1: Write something that is wanted/needed by a specific audience.
Avid readers of romance or adventure novels, people who are seeking help with a problem or issue, folks eager to learn something new or those who devour young adult fantasies, for example.
2: Check your competition. Is your book up to
par? Does it have everything it needs to qualify as a good book for preschool children? Is there a need for another book on cooking with herbs? What makes your self-help book for
children of alcoholics different than what’s already on the market?
3: Study the publishing industry. You may not relish the idea of going back to school and learning about something as large and complex as publishing, when all you want to do
is quietly produce your book and be on your way to stardom. In order to succeed as a published author on even a small scale, you need to know something about how the world of publishing
works. What are your publishing options? What are the possible consequences of your choices? What are your responsibilities as a published author? Skip this step and you will be in over your head.
4: Write a book proposal. You may need a book proposal in order to get a foot in the door with the publisher you want. But the main
reason for writing a book proposal is for you. A book proposal will tell you whether you have a book at all
– whether it is a valid project. It will help you to determine if you have an audience for this book, who they are, how many there are and how you will reach them. Without this knowledge, you could become one of the
76 per cent of authors who fail each year.
5: Hire a good book editor. This step could make the difference between you landing a publishing contract or not and whether your book will be read and enjoyed or not.
6: Establish and build on your platform. Publishers want to know that an author has a platform
– a way of attracting potential customers and connections that will help sell books. Whether you choose to go with a traditional royalty publisher or not, you need a platform.
Think about it. If you were to publish a book today, how many people would buy it? If you’ve been hiding away in your writing room for years secretly writing, how would anyone know about you and why
would they buy your book? What an author needs, as much as he needs to write a good book, is a following
– a way of attracting readers.
One way to develop an audience is to submit articles on your topic or stories in your genre to a variety of print and online publications
– lots of them. People who enjoy reading your stories or your articles will surely want to read your book. While you are writing your book, you should find ways to become known to your audience
– get involved in groups and online sites related to your topic/genre. Launch a newsletter for your audience. Use your connections to reach your readers
– ask to be guest blogger at your mentor’s popular
blog, ask your pastor if you can present a workshop related to your book’s topic at the church, perhaps your former boss would announce your book to the company mailing list, for example.
7: Plan your marketing strategy. In today’s highly competitive publishing climate, it is crucial that you think about marketing and promotion even before producing a book. And promotion
is ongoing for as long as you hope to sell copies of your book. Examine your skills and propensity for various promotional activities. This would be a good time to sharpen and add to your
skills. But you also need to know what it takes to promote a book
– most new authors do not. As you study the publishing industry (number 3 on this list), you’ll begin to understand why the author must develop a marketing plan and what book
promotion entails. The time to plan your strategy is before you decide to publish.
Publishing is not an extension of your writing. It is not a natural course that writers can take using the same mindset and skills they use when writing. Publishing is a business
– a fiercely competitive business
– and, when you decide to enter into this world, in order to succeed, you must start thinking like a businessman/woman.
Follow these seven steps and you will experience a greater level of success.
About the author
Patricia Fry has been writing for publication for over 35 years. She has 33 books to her credit – most of them related to publishing and book promotion. Patricia offers 7 online courses
for writers and authors, including a course on how to build your author’s platform.
www.patriciafry.com. Visit her publishing blog daily:
poetry submissions in support of the people of Japan
A poetry anthology is being
planned, with all proceeds to be donated to the the Salvation Army or the Red Cross in
Japan to help radiation, earthquake, and tsunami victims.
The publishers describe the purpose of the anthology as
"to display to Japan our feelings of love and concern for the hell they have and are currently
enduring", and would also like to send a copy to libraries in Japanese cities and towns that were hit the hardest.
The publishers invite
submissions of any kind of poetry as well as haibun (stating your name, city and country) to
A photo or artwork is also required for the cover. Please send your original work to the same email.
The deadline for
submissions is May 15, 2011.
To donate to the printing
costs of the anthology, a gift to the people of Japan, go
publishing – dispelling the myth
Recently we've noticed a
number of feedback comments from subscribers using our Publishers
Database which warn other users away from certain
publishers because they use POD. The users were perfectly
right to warn other subscribers that these publishers
charged fees, but seemed for some reason to associate
fee-charging with POD, which is quite wrong. POD has got
nothing to do with fee charging, vanity presses, or
Nonetheless, this seems to
be a commonly held misconception. So
– just to set the record straight
– what exactly is "POD"?
POD stands for "print
on demand", and it is a method of printing which has
become possible thanks to advances in digital printing. In
the olden days, setting up a print job was a lengthy and
expensive process – so you had to guess in advance
how many copies you were ever likely to need, and then
print them all at once, then warehouse them all until they
were needed. You could be paying to store them for years,
and if you overestimated the amount you needed you might
ultimately end up having to destroy most of the copies
you'd wasted your money printing. On the other hand, if
you underestimated what you needed you might find you
either couldn't fulfil all your orders (the book would be
"out of print" and you would miss out on
potential sales) or you might have to print a second
edition, incurring all the costs of setting up the print
job for a second time and having to do the same risky
guesswork all over again.
Print on demand technology
allows short runs or even single copies to be printed
without a lengthy set-up process, so publishers can print
books as they are ordered, eliminating warehousing costs
and neutralising the risk of having to guess sales in
advance. It also means that books need never be out of
print, as a new copy can be produced whenever it is
The advantages of such
technology make it very attractive to publishers, and you
will find that major international publishers will be
seeking printers who can provide POD solutions, or
applying pressure on their existing suppliers to adopt
such technology. And again, we're not talking about cheap
backroom operations here – we're talking about
publishers worth billions of dollars placing
multi-million-dollar contracts with large publishers
turning over millions themselves.
This same technology makes
it easier for smaller publishers (including vanity presses
and self publishers, but also niche literary presses and
the like) to operate, but it is in no way unique to them,
and is therefore in no way the mark of a vanity press or
self publisher. You'll find that such companies invariably
use computers for the same reason, but does that make a
computer a sign of being a publisher to avoid?
If you're looking to be a
commercially successful writer then you definitely should not
consider using self publishing or vanity press services –
but the trick to avoiding them is to avoid any publisher
who asks you for money, or refers you to someone else
(like a copyeditor) who asks you for money. If you decide
to avoid any publisher who uses print on demand technology
then you'll not only be excluding many of the world's
biggest publishers, you will probably find before long
that you don't have any publishers to choose from at all!
For the details of over
1,300 publishers, click
of sonnets invites submissions
Submissions are being sought for
The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes: Anthology of sonnets of the early third millennium /
Le Phénix renaissant de ses cendres : Anthologie de sonnets au début du troisième millénaire, an anthology from Aux Éditions Describe Adonis Press,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, who expect it to be the first major anthology of sonnets in the Third Millennium.
The publishers are looking
for 5–10 sonnets from interested poets, in English,
French, and any other language (provided that poets
provide a linear prose translation of sonnets in languages
other than English and French.
The deadline for submissions is July 1,
2011, and guidelines are available on the website at http://vallance22.hpage.com
Inside scoop on
writing for magazines
By Marcella Simmons
I once read that "Professional writers sell before they write: amateur
writers write before they sell". These were the words of Linda
Konner, editor of Woman's World Magazine (1991), and author of the book,
How to Be Successfully Published in Magazines.
It does make a lot of sense to research the magazine first and write to
fit their needs. But how many of us do that? We have
"the perfect story" that every editor will be standing in line to read. NOT! I've earned enough
rejections in my thirty-plus years of writing because I knew nothing about
the magazine or what the editor wanted in the first place.
"The perfect piece" still sits unpublished in my filing cabinet, long forgotten and
turning yellow with age. A waste of my time and postage, not to mention a
waste of good writing.
If you're seriously wanting to write for magazines and get paid for
your hard work, do your homework first. Having access to the internet is a
plus – a large majority of the publications on the market today have
websites and their writer's guidelines are accessible from the
site. All you have to do is look in the right place –
over a thousand can be found at www.firstwriter.com/magazines. If you don't have access to a
computer or the internet, your local public library usually has one or two
you can use an hour or so a day for free. You can print the guidelines for a
few cents and have a hard copy on hand once you leave the site.
Writers have it easy these days and can do their research in a lot less time than back in the day when I first started writing. I mailed out endless
letters requesting writer's guidelines and sample copies. By the time I
waited three or four weeks for the magazine to come in, I had already moved
on to another project and the magazine became just another
"must read" piled in the corner of my little home office. Months passed, and they were never
touched. After months of dust collecting, they finally get tossed, forgotten
and never read.
It is so easy researching markets right here on the net as we now know it today. Research while the topic is hot –
while the idea is fresh and you know you have something good that someone wants to read. You just have to
figure out which magazine editor will want it. For all its worth, request an
editorial calendar or theme list and read it line for line. Do that and half
your work is done.
A query letter to an editor is all that is needed in most cases unless the writer's guidelines stipulates otherwise –
some editors request to see a full manuscript along with your query –
you'll just have to follow the
guidelines to be sure. Normally, an editor will respond to a query within
two to four weeks whereas manuscripts usually gets tossed to the slush pile
and may not receive a response for three or four months. Editors are busy people –
writers have the misconception that editors sit behind a desk all day reading –
that's so far from the truth.
The other half depends on you – the writer. What you say in your query
and your story will definitely determine whether it gets published or not.
Once an editor gives you the go ahead to write your piece, there's no time
like now. Deadlines approach quickly and you want to be sure that you have
your story written in time for editing and rewrites, if necessary.
Every good story or article needs simmering time – let it set a few
days and read over it again. Rewrite it if necessary, and edit it
thoroughly. When you are absolutely sure it is ready to go out in the mail,
then drop it in the mail in plenty of time to meet the deadline.
If you're really serious about become a professional writer, find out
exactly what the editor of the magazine you wish to write for wants to
publish, the length, and whatever else you can find out about it, and start
writing. Before submitting the actual manuscript, find out if you need to
query first. Write your best piece and submit it – once you've done your
best, you have a very good chance of getting accepted along with receiving a
cheque from the magazine for your hard work.
Good luck in all your writing endeavors...
About the author
Marcella has been writing for many years and has hundreds of
published credits in several hundred small press publications. She is
working on several romance suspense novels at this time. She is a member of
the Shreveport Wrter's Group and leader of the Ark-La-Tex wrtier's group.She is the editor/publisher of the new magazine Housewives' & Husbands'
Writers Network - http://HousewifesWritersNetwork.homestead.com
ArtsFest are pleased to announce that applications for artists to apply to
ArtsFest 2011 are now open at http://www.artsfest.org.uk.
There are three application forms available: a Performing Artists
application form, a Visual Artists application form and a Film Makers /
Digital Artists application form.
To apply, click on the "Apply" tab at the top of the website homepage
where full advice and guidance on completing each of the application forms
The application closing date is
5pm Monday April 18. ArtsFest will take place on September
10 and 11, 2011.
If you have any questions with regards to completing your application
call +44 (0) 121 464 5678 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books seeks short stories for anthology publication
Brambling Books are looking
for unpublished short stories for publication in one
anthology of mystery and crime thrillers and another of
adult urban fiction. Each anthology is planned to contain
around ten stories. Submissions should be fast paced,
between 3,000 words and 10,000 words in length, and
include believable characters and an intensity of
are limited to one story per author, and can be submitted
by email. However, with the deadline of March 31 fast
approaching, time is running out! For more details, and to
submit, go to http://bramblingbooks.blogspot.com/p/open-submissions.html
of essays on poetry required
Essays (and other
contributions) are solicited for a growing anthology entitled
Poetry and the Real:
"Poetic texts, like other texts are produced and consumed in a
material context, through a network of material relationship in
culture. Like other texts, poetic material mediates ideological
relationships. Yet for the greater part of its history poetry and
its creation have been treated in critical modes often radically
separate from those we use to treat fiction. The language poetry
intervention was based on the notion that language was material/ideological and that radical interventions at the level of
language were thus potentially transformative. Yet these texts are
consumed and criticised in rarified spaces by small elites. We
invite essays that address poetry from Cultural Materialist or other
materially embedded standpoints; essays that look at poetry in the
context of its production and consumption; work which examines poetry
and ideology; work on poetry and the body; work on poetry and popular
culture; and other related interventions."
The deadline for proposals is April
2, 2011. A 200 word abstract should be submitted in the
first instance to RML@stridebooks.co.uk.
writers at firstwriter.com
for the following invaluable resources for writers:
on this newsletter for as little as $30 / £20 click