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 Issue #135

Writers' Newsletter

June 2014  



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How badly do you want to be a writer?

By Marcella Simmons

"You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist, you are learning your craft – then you can add all the genius you like." ~ Phyllis A. Whitney.

During the beginning of my writing career, I thought I had mastered something no one else on the universe could do except me (and maybe Phyllis Whitney, my favourite author of all time). That was a silly notion! There were many great writers in addition to Mrs. Whitney out there doing exactly what it was I longed to do; writing books and making a living at it. For the longest time, I had an old word processor and pecked out endless stories that were rejected faster than they were mailed! Or it seemed like it, anyway...   

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Somewhere along the way, my writing improved and occasionally some of my stories were published. Later, I landed a job at the local newspaper as reporter and wrote feature stories and front page news every day.

Years passed, and my yearning to be a writer stayed with me. My stories became less frequent, but when I did submit one or two along the way, they were usually accepted. Payment for my work was minimal if any, yet I stayed with it.

Getting rejections became second nature to me, and the disappointment made me more determined to succeed as a writer. As rejections poured in, they were divided into two categories: when an editor scribbled on the form letter or took the time to write a letter to me, I filed those separately from the cool unfriendly form letters. Later on, I took out the manuscripts that were rejected with a note from the editor, and I revised and rewrote some of them. They eventually were published, earning me a credible bio that looks good on my writing resume and cover letters. The others still remain in a filing cabinet somewhere in the storage shed.

The key to success is to stay with it: keep on writing and submitting manuscripts even when rejections fill your mailbox as quickly as you send your stories out. Once you've mastered marketing techniques to some degree – marketing your stories, articles, books or poetry – then half the work is done. The other part depends on you, the writer. Like Phyllis Whitney said: "Like any other artist, you are learning your craft – then you can add all the genius you like..."

And the rest depends on just how badly you want to be a writer...

My first novel, Anywhere But There, is available at the following locations:

To search over 700 fiction magazines for places to submit your own stories, click here  



Editor's pick: New literary agent, publisher and magazine listings in June

New Magazine Listing

Publishes: Articles; Features; Fiction; Nonfiction; Reviews;
Areas include: Erotic; Lifestyle; Short Stories;
Markets: Adult 

Literary lifestyle publication about sex and sexuality aimed at sophisticated, intelligent and mature readers. Print version has been retired and is now online only. Publishes features, articles, short stories, and reviews. See website for full submission guidelines.

New Literary Agency Listing

Handles: Fiction; Nonfiction;
Areas: Autobiography; Biography; Culture; Finance; Historical; Humour; Women's Interests;
Markets: Adult; Youth;
Treatments: Literary; Popular

Send query describing your project in a paragraph, with brief author bio and any publishing history. Prefers queries by email with first five pages pasted into the body of the email (no attachments). Also accepts submissions by post with SASE and first five pages. No fantasy, science fiction, romance, poetry, screenplays or children’s books including middle grade fiction. Will consider young adult and graphic novels. See website for full guidelines.

New Magazine Listing

Publishes: Fiction;
Areas include: Fantasy;
Markets: Adult; Youth;
Preferred styles: Commercial; Contemporary; Cynical; Dark; Experimental; Light; Literary; Mainstream; Popular; Progressive; Satirical; Serious; Traditional

A Fantasy Fiction short story anthology, and sister publication to a Sci-Fi anthology. Published bimonthly exclusively through Apple’s Newsstand app and Google’s Play Store, it will be available to billions of iOS and Android users.

The aim of the anthology is to bring cutting-edge fiction to an eager and discerning global Fantasy Fiction audience.

We welcome fiction submissions from around the globe (please refer to our submissions guidelines), and we look forward to publishing brilliant and astounding Fantasy Fiction to a worldwide readership.

New Publisher Listing

Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry;
Markets: Adult

Publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, but shies away from YA novels, vampires or zombies, and poorly written science-fiction and fantasy. Accepts queries by post or via online form. See website for details.

New Magazine Listing

Publishes: Fiction; Interviews; Nonfiction; Poetry; Reviews; Scripts;
Areas include: Autobiography; Culture; Literature; Nature; Politics; Short Stories;
Markets: Adult

Publishes a wide range of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Offers open and ambiguous guidelines: "Don’t send us too much and don’t make it too long". See website for more details. 

New Magazine Listing

Publishes: Fiction;
Areas include: Short Stories;
Markets: Adult;
Preferred styles: Literary

Quarterly e-zine. Submit flash fiction up to 500 words; fiction up to 5,000 words; creative nonfiction up to 5,000 words; or up to five poems. See website for full submission guidelines. 

New Magazine Listing

Publishes: Fiction; Interviews; Poetry; Reviews;
Areas include: Short Stories;
Markets: Adult;
Preferred styles: Literary

Magazine produced by a writers group to help showcase local writing, and to publish commissioned items and competition winners. Publishes fiction, poetry, reviews, and interviews.

New Publisher Listing

Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction;
Areas include: Nature; Science;
Markets: Children's

Graphic novel and children’s book publisher, publishing books focussed on science and natural history. For picture books submit complete ms; otherwise send query with one or two sample chapters. Include SASE for reply. No submissions by fax or email. No approaches by phone. See website for full submission guidelines.

New Magazine Listing

Publishes: Fiction;
Areas include: Short Stories;
Markets: Adult; Youth

Magazine publishing short stories and graphic novel storytelling in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. No profanity or graphic scenes. Send submissions as Word documents by email.

New Magazine Listing

Publishes: Fiction;
Areas include: Short Stories;
Markets: Adult;
Preferred styles: Literary

Publishes flash fiction up to 360 words, including the title. Send up to four pieces per issue. Attach submissions to a single email. See website for full submission guidelines.

New Literary Agency Listing

Handles: Fiction; Nonfiction;
Areas: Adventure; Business; Cookery; Current Affairs; Finance; Historical; Lifestyle; Mystery; Photography; Politics; Psychology; Science; Sociology; Thrillers; Travel; Women's Interests;
Markets: Adult; Children's; Youth;
Treatments: Commercial; Literary

Send query by email only with first five pages pasted into the body of hte email (no attachments), or the full ms for picture books. See website for agent interests and individual email addresses, and contact one agent only. No screenplays, romance fiction, science fiction, or religious fiction.

New Publisher Listing

Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction;
Areas include: Arts; Science; Sociology; Technology;
Markets: Academic; Children's

Publishes educational materials for grades K–12, specialising in reading, mathematics, and test preparation materials. Also publishes fiction and nonfiction leveled readers and other materials that support early literacy in kindergarten through to second grade. See website for full submission guidelines. 


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Articles from around the web this month

Literary agency seeks full time assistant

Literary agency seeks full time assistant to work closely with an Executive Vice President and a children’s book agent. Applicant should be interested in commercial fiction, commercial non-fiction, and children’s/YA, as well as other varied genres.

The writing workshop glossary

Most writers, at some point in their lives, join a writers’ workshop, a weekly gathering of a dozen or so scribes who read one another’s work and offer constructive criticism in a group setting. They hope that by sharing their material and receiving feedback they will improve their craft. But take it from me, putting your work out there for critique can be a difficult – and even mysterious – process. Here is a glossary that can help you understand the terms you may hear in a workshop.

The rejection letters: how publishers snubbed 11 great authors

After nine years of rejection from publishers, Eimear McBride's debut, A Girl is a Half Formed Thing, won the 2014 Bailey's Prize on Wednesday. But the Irish writer won't be the last to laugh in the face of those publishing houses who won't take a punt on an experimental or challenging novel.

Male author talks writing female erotica

There's an episode of Family Guy in which portly protagonist, Peter Griffin, decides to write male erotica.

"Oh my God, you shoulda seen this one hot chick," it begins.

"She was totally Italian, or some kind of Spanish."

While it's never wise to try to explain a joke, the invention of "Peterotica" is funny because it spoofs the idea that men are unwaveringly literal about sex.

John Purcell would have to disagree.

Writing contest seeks entries

The Astra Arts Festival is accepting entries to the festival’s first-ever writing contest. Categories include original poetry, short fiction, short memoir, creative nonfiction and flash fiction.

Lleucu Siencyn: real writers can create anywhere

I have a confession. I sometimes find these columns hard to write. I’m staring at a blank screen and wondering how the hell to begin.

What news from the world of writing and books can I weave together in a fresh new way?

I find myself writing these weekly columns in all sorts of places.

How to become a literary agent

Literary agent Juliet Mushens began her publishing career at HarperCollins after reading history at Cambridge. She now works for The Agency Group. Here, she shares her 10 tips for breaking into the publishing industry.

Writing a novel as a college-aged human: a guide

For those of us who aren't Stephen King or Donna Tartt, which should be everyone – unless you are reading this, Stephen or Donna, in which case, hello! – writing a novel is a strange, complicated, and occasionally ridiculous undertaking. Writing time has to be balanced with other obligations. There is no certainty that there will be some kind of payoff in the end. And, when you are between the ages of 18 and 22, there is the added complication of Not Sounding Like a Douchebag when you tell people you are writing a novel.

Creative writing competition launches on the theme of "searching"

To mark International Day of the Disappeared on 30 August, the British Red Cross has launched a creative writing competition on the theme of "searching".

What writers can learn from successful business leaders about marketing their story

Many writers I know including myself are somewhat introverted and shun the idea of marketing at the expense of losing precious writing time. Because I'm both a writer and a business owner, recently I've been noticing how savvy business leaders are marketing their products and services with a "story mindset" that is part of their marketing efforts. Writers are expected to do their own share of marketing, even if they have a traditional book deal, and unfortunately, this demand is not going away anytime soon.



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