Bobbie’s Bill of Writes

by Bobbie Christmas

When I speak to writers, at times I sense their angst. Some feel embarrassed to admit they are writers, as if being a writer were a disease best left undisclosed.

We writers must believe in ourselves, or who will believe in us? We must take pride in our work. We must demand the respect that is rightfully ours. No longer should we be reluctant to admit we are writers. An old Talmudic saying goes, “If I’m not for me, who will be?”

Some folks think they can’t call themselves writers until they sell or publish something. How can they sell or publish their work, though, until they first write it? How can they write it, without being writers? You do not need to be published or paid before you receive validation. To be a writer, you need only to write.

In my book on creative writing, titled Write In Style: How to Use Your Computer to Improve Your Writing, I devote one chapter to what I call my Bill of Writes for writers. If you don’t feel worthy to call yourself a writer or to demand what you need to become an accomplished writer, my Bill of Writes is for you. Continue reading

I Don’t Know Art but I Know I Like Vintage Purses How This Writer Became a Museum Curator

by Wendy Dager

The imaginary handwriting was on the virtual wall. Or more precisely, the end of days for traditional newspapers began as soon as social media became the preferred form of receiving information.

This has resulted in round after round of staff layoffs nationwide at newspapers large and small. Some freelancers, like myself, survived for a while because our services were still needed as the newsrooms emptied. We’re inexpensive labor. Corporate doesn’t have to provide us with benefits such as 401(k)s and health care. And we’re dependable. At least, I was dependable, getting steady assignments to write crime blotters, real estate stories, entertainment pieces, and “advertorials” for special sections. Continue reading

How to Pick the Right Editor

by Bobbi Christmas

Every book should be edited, but well-qualified book editors don’t come cheap, the process takes weeks, and many editors require payment in advance. We’ve probably all heard horror stories from authors who chose the wrong editor. Some failed to finish the project and others did a poor job. Each sad account represents lost time, wasted money, and a less-than-marketable book. How then can you be sure beforehand that you’ve picked the right editor?

When I ask disgruntled authors why they chose a particular editor, they give me one of two answers: “He had the lowest price” or “She had the fastest turnaround time.” Price and turnaround are uppermost in the minds of many authors, yet they are the last things authors should consider. Continue reading

You May Not Need an Agent

by Barbara Florio Graham

Most authors dream about having an agent who will find a top publisher, negotiate a terrific contract, and provide guidance through a successful career.

Agents, unfortunately, can be as difficult to find as publishers, and the process of querying agents can be time-consuming and frustrating.

As with anyone you hire, if you think you need an agent, check out potential agents thoroughly. They should have an excellent website detailing a solid track record, belong to The Association of Authors’ Representatives (which prohibits charging reading fees), and specialize in the genre of your book. Continue reading

Starting From Scratch as a Writer

by Ruth Hill

There are several growth stages in being a writer. Secretly, writers can write anything they want, but then, what to do with it? If the writing is good, no sense hiding your creation in a drawer!

Finding publication for any work can be daunting. It is important to find which publications are compatible with your work. Read their guidelines to see if your work is eligible. In your browser, you can research many publications. Use Duotrope, Winning Writers, or SPAWN, or type “call for submissions” into Google, and filter these down to the ones you want. Continue reading

Email Efficiency and Safety

by Barbara Florio Graham

A friend and I were reminiscing recently about the early days of email. We were members of a writing group who joined one of the earliest email providers in Canada in order to keep in touch with members across the country.

Our organization had just arranged for a bulk purchase of the Kaypro II computer, so many of us were early users of this new technology, which contained programs on 5-inch floppies that were inserted into one slot and a blank floppy was inserted into the second slot, enabling the user to store a mind-boggling 191k of data. Continue reading

Six Truths About Anthologies

by Barbara Florio Graham

I’m using the term “anthology” to cover all kinds of books you may contribute to, but you aren’t the primary writer or co-writer.

There are a couple of main categories these books fall into:

1. Contributions are solicited from the general public. The publisher pays a small amount (often just twenty cents a word), buys all rights, and then uses your contribution any way it likes, often in other books, magazines, and websites. You lose all control over where your work appears, and have no recourse if you’re not happy with the way your piece was edited or where it ends up years later. I call this the Chicken Soup model. Continue reading