Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Giveaway from The Write Place At the Write Time Literary Journal

The Write Place At the Write Time literary journal is having a book giveaway in partnership with Viking Press- here is an excerpt from the featured q&a with author Luke Williams about his debut novel, The Echo Chamber.  Visit the Announcements page of The Write Place At the Write Time
 ( for the full q&a, contest rules and the link to The Echo Chamber page:

Readers' Corkboard

~ In participation with Viking Press, we have featured below a q&a with Luke Williams, author of The Echo Chamber and we are doing a free giveaway of the book before it goes on sale for our readers!!!  To enter to win, simply compose a fiction paragraph with the first sentence using the title of the book in it.  The most creative entry will win!  Send entries to:

with The Echo Chamber in the subject line by July 15th!!! 

Q&A with
Luke Williams, author of

(Viking / On-sale: August 8, 2011)

You started writing THE ECHO CHAMBER as a student at University of East Anglia. How helpful was the course in shaping you as a writer, and would you recommend creative writing courses to others embarking on a novel?

The course was hugely helpful. It gave me confidence (the right kind, in the end—I think I began with entirely the wrong kind and soon had this knocked out of me), as well as the space and time in which to think and research and write intensively. All invaluable to a novice writer and one reason to recommend that aspiring novelists consider developing their projects on such a course. It also threw me into the path of other writers who’ve since become good pals, trusted colleagues and, in one particular case, my first reader and on/off collaborator. But I’d say the course’s most significant impact on me was the term I spent studying with W.G. Sebald, our workshop tutor. I was already a huge fan and drew much inspiration from his books, but his teaching also shaped my work and my approach to it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Part I, Question I of Interview Series on Non-Fiction Markets with Writer Noelle Sterne, Ph.D.

We will be featuring an interview series on non-fiction markets with writer Noelle Sterne, Ph.D. who is a long-time professional contributor to the feature page Writers' Craftbox in The Write Place At the Write Time literary journal.  Here she will share her extensive experience and advice from negotiating contract rights to managing submissions.  Throughout this series, Noelle will be available to answer questions submitted through the blog.

Bio: Noelle Sterne is a writer of nonfiction and fiction, a writing coach, and a spiritual counselor, with over 250 pieces in print and online venues. Holding a Ph.D. from Columbia University, Noelle has conducted an academic coaching and editing practice for over 28 years. In her new book, Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books, Summer 2011), she uses examples from her practice and other aspects of life in applying practical spirituality to help readers let go of regrets, relabel their past, and reach their lifelong yearnings. Visit Noelle’s website at

1.    In terms of your extensive experience with managing submissions to paying non-fiction markets, tell us about some of the most important factors to keep in mind when submitting (either via query or on spec) and negotiating terms post acceptance (rights, payment, contracts).
When submitting, of course follow the advice you read and hear all  the time: read and study the magazines, the articles, the guidelines.  Do so for several issues until you’re imbued with the style and type of pieces that get published. And be alert to changes in the editorial stance and content. With new editors and changing times, magazines alter what they do and don’t feature. For example, more articles on meditation are showing up in a range of magazines.
Pay attention to whether the editors want queries or complete articles. When I have an idea I think would fit with a specific publication, I often do the entire article first—it seems “easier,” if one can use that term in writing—and later, after the necessary several drafts, I extract the query from it. On the other hand, if you do a query, when the editor asks to see the article, and you then write it, make very sure the article follows the query. That is what attracted the editor, and many editors have reported that they looked forward to one thing and saw its possibility for their publication, but they got another.
Another point on submitting: If you’re the type of writer who must write what moves or intrigues her, write your piece, and then look for markets. Remember: When the writer is ready the publications appear. If you’re the type of writer who can and will write anything for any market, study thoroughly the publications you want to publish in and go to it. I’ve done it both ways, especially with writers’ craft publications as I’ve gotten more proficient and familiar with their content and styles.
After acceptance, ask for the contract. Some publications provide one, some don't. If they do, go over it carefully and make sure you understand what is granted you and what is not. If you don't, get help. You don't necessarily have to hire a lawyer. An excellent book for writers--written in understandable English--is Tad Crawford and Kay Murray's The Writer's Legal Guide: An AUthors Guild Desk Reference (Allworth Press).
Today, many publications want unlimited online reprint rights as part of the contract. Some pay for this and others don’t. Think about what you want and do not be afraid to ask. You can pen in your changes on a print copy and/or send an email outlining your changes. Once, for the first contract with major writers’ magazine, on the single page I penned in six changes. Afraid the editor would take one look and tear up the contract and my query, I called her. We went over the contract together, and, to my shock, she easily agreed to four of them. I lived with the other two and went on to have a lovely, fruitful relationship with her.
If the publication does not issue a formal contract, the editor will generally spell out the terms in an accepting letter or email. In reply, you may need to do a version of my experience. But, finally, when you reply, reiterate the terms to show your understanding and, importantly, have a record that you accepted the terms.
Asking for what you want also applies to original payment. As several writing business gurus intone, “Always ask for more.” What can happen? The editor responds, “Yes . . . No . . .  I have to check with my senior editor/boss/mother.” If the editor comes back with a negative, you can decide whether the publication credit and budding relationship you now have are worth it to you. 
Sometimes an invoice is requested; supply one promptly—makes you look professional. You can fashion a decent-looking letterhead from your favorite font, a combination of sizes and bold and regular type, and maybe a nice neat horizontal line under your contact information. At the bottom, above my signature line, I like to add a sentence of warmth: “Glad to contribute.”
As you see, these considerations are very expansive. I’ve found two books excellent, both chock-full of guidelines, details, and examples: Jenna Glatzer’s Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer (Nomad Press) and Moira Allen’s Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer (Allworth Press).
I’ve also found that one always has more to learn about all of these factors. Publications vary greatly in their methods and procedures for dealing with authors. The more you know and are prepared for, the more you can negotiate terms that satisfy you and add to your pride of publication.
© 2011 Noelle Sterne
Do you have questions about the business of writing? Noelle will be glad to respond.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Writers' Journey to El Dorado

The Journey and the Destination

In coming across an interesting article about making the process of your book an education, I started to think about the symbolic journeys we all travel in the final quest of bringing our books/works to their full potential.  Where this article follows the knowledge gained in terms of learning the marketing/industry side, ( in concise steps, it brings to mind the theoretical, creative aspects and the lessons of perseverance as well.  Some writers contend that the writing of their book is like a pregnancy, first conceived with an idea and eventually born into a full product, that, essentially is a rebirth for the writer as well, on both a personal and professional level.  Others look at the publishing process like a search for the Holy Grail or still another set thinks in terms of the concept inherent in Edgar Allan Poe's poem, El Dorado.  The knight bravely sets forth for the ancient mythic city of gold and journeys so long that by and by he becomes old and weary.  He meets a pilgrim on his way and asks him how to reach the city.  The answer?  "Ride, boldly ride," The shade replied- "If you seek for Eldorado!"

How I view it is that each process associated with the book, whether it is the work of the writing, the process of publishing or the latter task of marketing, they are all part of a journey that you have to learn a great deal of tips, facts, methods, strategies to 'survive' or essentially reach fulfillment; that said, the most important knowledge you'll learn along the way is about yourself.  Process and savor each step of the journey as a writer and an individual.  The poem by Poe seems to be saying that for any object worthy of attaining, any extraordinary quest worth completing, stay on the road and ride boldly on if you truly seek it.  The journey that shapes you might be the key to the ultimate treasure which may or may not match the initially intended destination.  Often times writers that were swept into different paths, even for a time different locations or professions, found the greatness within that would lead them on to their writing; had they not spotted opportunity, given up or tried only the same way to reach the desired end, they might not have realized themselves completely.  Ride, boldly ride! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mirror , Mirror on the wall, tell me the tale most beloved of all...

Be the Brand~ Brand Management for Writers

Often times, because we as writers are typically a one-man outfit, we don't think of the work we produce as part of a brand.  We don't think of ourselves as a "brand".  Yet each one of us, different as we are, has a particular brand and it's utilizing and promoting this fact that establishes us as separate and unique from our colleagues and competitors. 

Danielle Steel has a brand- she has a targeted audience demographic, a certain style, a certain form of content that lets people know this is a 'Danielle Steel' book before even having to look at the author's name; and her brand works for her, doesn't it?  (Diamonds and ball gown skirt included.)  Every author from Fitzgerald to Stephen King has a brand that makes their work uniquely associated with them.  When the authors would switch mediums to do short fiction, journalism or non fiction, these were merely off-shoots of their brand.  It's a certain mix of style, standards and expectations that the audience comes to expect.  Part of an author's brand includes how they conduct themselves in public- interviews, signings, speeches...  Some are extremely private, some cynical, some gregarious, some gracious.  How the author presents themselves physically, the manner in which they dress- (creative personas like the gypsy coutured singer Stevie Nicks or all in black Johny Cash)-  furniture lines emulate Hemingway's style, Issac Denison's safari style is in high fashion this season.  The lifestyle of a writer is another aspect of their brand.  Swinging Manhattan, old English fortress or rugged retreat.

In each aspect of yourself that you present, in how you conduct yourself, the ideas/causes you champion or oppose, all of it makes up who you are as a writer.  The important factor is to, above all, be yourself and let the distinguishing traits show through.  Too many contemporary writers feel the need to self-camouflage and risk being lumped together by genre instead of distinguished by traits as individuals.  For your site, your book covers, your correspondence, your public appearances, pull together a comfortable theme that fits you and will have you standing out in the minds of readers, reviewers, editors and publishers.