first writer .com fwn
 Issue #134

Writers' Newsletter

May 2014  



Forgot your login details? Click here

Follow us:




Literary Agents
Book Publishers
Writing Contests
Copyright Info
Editorial Services
Writing Tips
About Us
Affiliate Program

"Good stories are not written. They are rewritten."

By Marcella Simmons

Back in 2005, I started several romance suspense novel projects that lay unfinished in file folders until 2012. The rough drafts were anything but good, so drudgingly, I tore the first manuscript apart, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, word by word, until it was a much better read than the first two rewrites. I sent it out via email to ten different publishers, one being Harlequin Romance. "This is the book that will make me famous," I declared that day. Weeks passed, and rejection after rejection poured in until eight publishers had declined. Some weeks later, Harlequin finally rejected it and I gave up hope. "I'm not cut out to be a book writer," I repeatedly reminded myself.

By then I figured it was over, so I shoved the manuscript away in a file somewhere thinking it wasn't fit to be published. A few days later, I received an email from a Itoh Press LLC requesting my permission to publish my novel Anywhere But There. "What do I have to lose?" I asked. "At least someone is willing to take a chance on me." I emailed Carol back and told her to go ahead with it, and let me know what I needed to do on this end.

Soon after (February 2012), I received a contract via email. There would be no upfront royalties, although I would get commission on each book sold. She informed me that the ebook would be available at the following locations:, Barnes & Noble website, Smashwords and through the publisher.

Since the book (at this point) had been rewritten three times, and been turned down nine out of ten times, I never signed the contract and didn't think it was publishable material. The contract lay hidden, unsigned and basically forgotten in a drawer of papers that some months later I would toss in the trash. In April 2013, I was spring cleaning and ran across the contract and emailed Carol (Editor/Publisher) and asked if she was still interested in the book. She emailed me a new contract which I did sign immediately and emailed it back to her.

During this time, I started revising (rewriting the entire book for the fourth time) because I knew eventually she'd request it to be edited for final preparations before publishing it, so once it was done, I emailed it to her. The in-house editor assigned to my manuscript emailed me a compliment saying, "Looks like you hired a professional to edit your manuscript. Nice job. I wish I could get all my manuscripts this clean. There are only a few flaws. Proofing instructions follow."

With the final proofing, there were a few paragraphs that had to be rewritten due to discrepancies that I didn't catch in any of the rewrites, nor did the in-house editor. One of my minor characters was seven years old at one point but ended up being five in different places throughout different chapters in the manuscript. When I made the changes, several whole paragraphs at a time, it really set my editor off because she had the proofs already set for publishing in ebook format but had to change everything because of my recent changes. She explained that I was only to make a few minor changes not whole blocks of text or paragraphs. I explained that my readers would catch the discrepancies and I didn't want any bad reviews because Itoh Press was publishing my next novel, Till Death Do Us Part, tentatively in August 2014, and so on. So the changes were made and my book Anywhere But There is available now. After five complete rewrites, the final version is born and ready for romance readers who like a touch of suspense!

Phyllis Whitney couldn't have said it better when she stated that "Good stories are not written. They are rewritten". I wanted my book to be good and pleasing, and because I am the author of this work of art, I want it to be as error-free as possible. If I cramped someone's style because of that, excuse me. If a company represents me, I, in turn, want to produce a perfect merchandise to put out there for my readers.

No author is perfect. I rewrote this manuscript five times, proofed and revised it at least ten times, and I guarantee there are still a few minor mistakes somewhere in the book.

If you are working on a book, then don't settle for less than perfect.
Revise and rewrite as many times as possible to get the story right. But try not to lose sight of what your novel is about. "Good stories are not written. They are rewritten."

To search over 1,600 other book publishers, click here


International Copyright Registration 
Register your copyright online for instant copyright protection in more than 160 different countries worldwide. Click here for more information.


Inktears Flash Fiction Competition 2014

The Inktears Flash Fiction Competition 2014 is now open for entries. Entrants must be 18 or over, and the closing date is July 31, 2014.

There are six prizes available:

  • Winner: 250

  • Runner Up: 50

  • 4 x Highly Commended: 25

All prize-winners will have their story published to the InkTears Readership and their Bio published on the InkTears website.

Submissions must be 500 words or fewer in length, any theme.

Fees: one entry: 3.00 GBP; two entries: 5.00 GBP; three entries: 6.50 GBP; four entries: 7.50 GBP.

Full results will be posted on the InkTears website by November 10, 2014.

NB: stories may have been previously published (in a magazine or online providing the author still owns the copyright and there is no exclusivity with the prior publication) or unpublished. Full details can be found at:

For the details of over 50 other fiction contests, click here



New magazine seeks poetry and critical writing

A new monthly poetry magazine, Lunar Poetry, will begin publication in paper and electronic formats on August 1, 2014. The magazine will carry reviews of pamphlets, anthologies, full collections and live events. Depending on demand, additional reviews may also be published on the website:

In addition, Lunar Poetry aims to provide an inexpensive and regular diet of poetry and criticism for both regular poetry readers and those who find the contemporary poetry world difficult to enter, due to financial or other considerations (e.g. the difficulty of keeping track of a multitude of little magazines with widely spaced or irregular publication schedules).

The magazine also aims to emphasise the value of poetry; as such, any profit made by the magazine will be divided between its contributors. The magazine is looking for submissions of poetry and critical writing. 

For more information, go to

To search over 1,800 other magazines, click here


Click here for great value writing classes!


Competition for stories for children

In 2012, Inclusive Works organised an international children's stories competition. The theme was "New gender roles in the multicultural society". With over 350 submitted stories from 33 countries and the publication of three illustrated children's books the competition was a success.

In 2014, Inclusive Works is organising a new edition of this competition. This year's theme is "Grandpa, grandma and I in our multicultural society". Until August 31, 2014, everyone can send in their stories for children aged 1–3 years or 46 years in either Dutch or English. For each age category, the jury will select one winner. The winning stories will be published as illustrated children's books in both Dutch and English by Clavis.

The aim is to get as many writers from different countries all over the world to enter in the competition. For more information, go to

For the details of over 100 other competitions, click here



New website for sharing and retelling stories

We at love the idea of sharing stories with friends and peers. With our non-profit website we invite those to share their take on classic favourites, or any story at all. This creates conversation and allows intellectual freedom for story tellers to tell their twist on different stories.

Tell it my Way is e-storytelling on steroids. The bard at the tree gone viral. Click "tell it my way" to the right of any story title to retell the tale.

Watch story chains grow!

Vote. Vote on any story! One story, one vote.

Publish. As the first contributor of a tale, your name will always be shown with your story.

For more information, or to participate, go to


Write a teaser to win a screenwriting holiday

This is an opportunity for young writers aged 1418 to win a screenwriting holiday by writing a teaser for a 5 minute film.

You don't need masses of experience, just a love of writing and a great idea for a story.

It's free to enter, simple to write and easy to upload; and you could win a place on an amazing screenwriting holiday this summer, where you will get to turn your ideas into a screenplay for our next new film.

We're looking for writers age 1418, no experience necessary.

Just follow the simple steps below and enter your teaser to show us how good you are.


Look at these examples of teaser pitches:

Europe, 1912. Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater enjoy a secret and passionate romance after they meet on a ship chartered toward New York. That ships happens to be the Titanic.

Jessica Stein has met and refused virtually every man in New York City.
Maybe it's time she looked for a woman. (Kissing Jessica Stein)

Northern England, 1984. Young Billy Elliot, the son of a poor local miner, decides to start training for a career. In ballet. (Billy Elliot)


Write your own teaser for your new, original, 5 minute film. Your pitch should be no more than 3 sentences long.


Enter the text and your email on the website.


Write as many teasers as you like! 

For more information go to


Resources for writers at

Go to for the following invaluable resources for writers:

To advertise on this newsletter for as little as $30 / 20 click here

Bookmark and Share

About fwn

fwn is a no-cost newsletter from, providing articles, news, interviews and other items of interest to writers.

Spelling conventions
uses English spelling conventions. Spellings such as "realise" "colour", "centre", "cancelled", etc. differ from other spelling conventions but are nonetheless correct. 


Writing Contests

Enter our Poetry Contest and Short Story Contest for kudos and awards! 

Click here


Editorial Services

Put an end to rejections!

Get your work ready for presentation to publishers, agents, and magazines, with editing, advice, and feedback from professionals in the publishing industry!

Click here


Gift for a WRITER

Give a writer the perfect gift – a Gift Subscription to!

Click here


This email has been compiled by and is protected by copyright. It may not be copied, forwarded, or otherwise distributed in whole or in part without's written consent.

While every effort is made to ensure that all information contained within this newsletter is accurate, readers are reminded that this information is provided only as a list of potential leads that the reader should follow up with his or her own investigations. Unless otherwise stated, is not associated with and does not endorse, recommend, or provide any assurances relating to any of the organisations, events, persons or promotions contained within this newsletter, and cannot be held responsible for any loss incurred due to actions taken in relation to information provided. Inclusion does not constitute recommendation.

Please do not reply to this email. The address from which this has been sent is not capable of receiving emails and sending an email to it may cause your subscription to stop. If you have any queries or require any assistance please contact us by going to 2014