SPAWN Market Update – November, 2002
By Patricia L. Fry
During the last eleven months, we’ve reported on over 100 defunct magazines and publishing companies. Here are over a dozen more you can cross off your list of potential markets.
Gladfly Performing Arts
Oklahoma Business Monthly
Our Family (Canadian)
Planet IT (Tech Webzine)
Resort Management and Operation
Seed Trade News
Spike Fitness and Sports
Scrivenery Press. In the publisher’s words, “It’s been a long, strange, difficult, financially debilitating, educational and oddly fulfilling trip we’ve had.” If you’ve submitted something to Scrivenery within the last two years, your material was likely discarded as they admit to totally losing control of the huge volume of submissions during their financial struggle.
ANEW According to their Web site, this is “a bi-monthly magazine for women dedicated to revitalizing every aspect of life.” It will cover home, style, career, relationships – all from a woman’s point of view and all designed to enrich a woman’s life. Deb Hayes suggests sending writing samples by email email@example.com or post to this address: Erickson Publishing, PO B 45050, Madison, Wisconsin 53744-5050. http://http://www.anew-magazine.com.
Book Marks Magazine Created as a readers guide to good books. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Bookmarks Magazine, 63 Bovet Road. #108, San Mateo, CA 94402
Living West Magazine. Contact: Editorial Department, Living West, 5444 Westheimer, Ste. 1440, Houston, TX 77056. They do not have Writer’s Guidelines and they do not return submissions after they’ve been reviewed.
Budget Living. According to Editorial Assistant, Caroline Whitbeck, their premiere issue debuted in October 2002. While they haven’t had time to prepare Writers Guidelines, Whitbeck suggests checking back at http://http://www.BudgetLivingMedia.com periodically as they’ll soon be available. Contact Whitbeck at: Editorial@BudgetLivingMedia.com
Modern Maturity is restructuring their magazine. They’re reportedly combining Modern Maturity and My Generation and birthing a whole new magazine tentatively named AARP: The Magazine. Watch for it in the spring of 2003.
Sewing Savvy http://www.sewingsavvy.com
Sports Afield. According to Wooden Horse Publishing, Sports Afield is relaunching.
Ladies Home Journal. Diane Salvatore is the new Editor in Chief.
Word of Warning – None to report this month.
Research/Reference Site of the Month – http://www.newspapers.com is a great research site for authors who want to market their books through press releases. Here, you’ll find email and snail mail addresses for hundreds of newspapers throughout the U.S.
Sites for Writers – The National Novel Writing Month site (NaNoWriMo.com) is a must see for any budding or blocked or wannabe novel writer. For your information and enjoyment, I interviewed Chris at NaNoWriMo.
Q: Chris, your site is way cool. Please describe it for those who haven’t stumbled across it, yet.
A: Well, essentially NaNoWriMo.com is the headquarters for National Novel Writing Month, an organization I started four years ago. Every November about 5,000 of us say goodbye to our friends and families, stock up on immense amounts of chocolate and coffee, and set out to write a short novel (50,000 words) in 30 days. Throughout the month, participants (called Wrimos or Nanos or Nanoids depending who you ask) log onto the web site to update their word counts. Once you’ve written 50,000 words, you submit your novel to the site for verification (we have an email-based program that counts then automatically deletes the manuscripts so no one has to worry about their work being hijacked). And that’s about it. We offer no judging or prizes. The only thing Wrimos get out of it is their name up on the winner’s page, and the satisfaction of having done it. And the first draft of a novel. No one signs up for NaNoWriMo expecting to write great literature. It’s more intended as a creative kick in the pants – a structured excuse to turn off your inner editor and just dive into your own imagination. It’s become a social escapade as well, with NaNoWriMo participant groups meeting regularly in most major US and international cities throughout November. Q: What inspired you to start this unique site? A: NaNoWriMo originally started as a dare I made to a few friends. All of us were voracious readers, but none of us had ever tried to actually write a novel. It seemed too daunting. And way too time consuming – all of us had full-time jobs and couldn’t really imagine coming home at the end of the day and sitting down for yet another punishing couple hours in front of a computer. The idea of squeezing the whole thing into a month was appealing because it made the window of suffering much, much shorter. And it also took the pressure off us. We knew we were going to write crap, because we didn’t really have the time to write anything else. It forced us to lower our expectations, which freed us, paradoxically, to end up doing some really great, spontaneous work. Also, doing it together – hauling our laptops to coffeeshops and bars – gave novel-writing a festive, party feel. No one was distracted by other social plans because novel writing was the evening’s social plan. It was very nerdy, but also very fun to sweep into a place with our powerstrips and computers and just kind of turn the place into a big novel-
writing lab. Q: Tell us a little about what writers can hope to get from your site. A: The biggest thing I hope they get is a sense that novel-writing – and art-making in general – is something that everyone should be doing. I am not a novelist. I don’t have a good sense of plot or characters or dialogue. But there are tremendous rewards to sitting down once a year, typing “Chapter One” and just seeing what comes next. I would have thought it would be terrifying. But we are all so much more creative and inventive than we give ourselves credit for. Humans are born story-tellers and narrators. All we need is a deadline to set it in motion. Q: What is the most popular aspect of your site? A: People love to update their word counts. It’s a very visceral thrill to log in, type in that new, higher number, and hit “submit.” The parties and get-togethers are pretty great as well.
Q: I see that you are getting ready to make some changes at NaNoWriMo. Would you like to talk about some of them? A: Well, we are going to relaunch on October 1 – at NaNoWriMo.org — with a sizable on-site message board. This is new for us – last year we had a central Yahoo Group and then lots of spin-off message boards. Having a central board with 4000 people posting on it made things kind of chaotic, though. So we’re excited to have one message board that can be a roomy home for everyone, whether they live in Canada or Columbia. We’ll also be giving every writer a little profile area, where they can post information about themselves and post a short excerpt of their novel-in-progress. Q: I’m most interested in National Novel Writing Month. What is it, how can folks participate? A: Sign ups begin October 1. We have a $10 suggested donation to help cover expenses. Just come by the site and register. We recommend all participants either trick a friend or family member into doing NaNoWriMo with them, or find a writing buddy (or two or three) through the NaNo message boards. It is much, much easier to stay on track
when you have someone close at hand to keep you inspired. Q: Now it’s your turn to share any other info you’d like to with our audience of writers, artists and small publishers. A: Keep up the great work. And come write with us this November! If you’re reading this early in November, it may not be too late to join in. Or make a note on your 2003 calendar to participate.
Grammar Sitehttp://www.wordsmyth.net is a site for anyone who gets stumped by a word now and then. Here, you’ll find an easy search for definitions, spelling and the correct pronunciation of thousands of words. You can also subscribe to a free newsletter, join in on a discussion forum, find related links and even complete a crossword puzzle. Be sure and tune in each week for the word of the day.
For Fiction Addicts – Flash Fiction Workshop
I’ve arranged a special treat for all of you who are interested in fiction. Have you heard about the new rage in fiction? It’s known as flash or short-short fiction. Here, Pamelyn Casto talks about it.
Q: First, please tell us about yourself, particularly your fiction and poetry-writing endeavors. A: I’m like most writers in that I love words and love to put them together to see what I can discover, or to see how I might create meaning from situations that intrigue me. I began with studying and writing poetry and from there I branched out into other areas. I finally fell most in love with good flash fiction (aka short-short, flash, sudden, micro, postcard fiction). These types of stories are enjoying great popularity right now so my timing on studying them in depth seems just about right. What I love most about good short- shorts is the way brevity also yields the substance I’m looking for in longer good fiction, but without the time investment. We’re all busy people nowadays but still crave what good literature can provide. I’ve run free online workshops for years for poetry and flash literature (a body of literature that includes short-short fiction, flash creative nonfiction, flash memoirs, flash plays, prose poetry, and haibun). I find that I learn more, stay on my toes more, and even write more when working with others striving toward the same goal– to become the best
writers we can be. My “home” is the Flash Fiction Writing Workshop
http://home.att.net/~p.casto This is my free online flash literature critique group created about four years ago. There are around 75 very active and talented members and I keep the membership at no more than that (else it becomes too time-consuming for me to manage, even with my great assistant, Darin LeBrun). I have a waiting list of about 80 – 100 people and it takes about four or five months for new members to get in. Participation is mandatory; no lurkers or browsers welcome. All members are required to be at least eighteen years old and required to use their real names in the workshop. We do the usual workshop submitting and critiquing, and we also try occasional exercises, share markets/contests, and have frequent writing theory discussions. I also created, own, and only sometimes assist with the Flash Memoirs Workshop http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FlashMemoirs which is run by Debi Orton. That workshop came into being about a year ago. Debi Orton, by the way, is the founder and editor of a great online (paying) journal called flashquake, which is devoted to publishing short-short literature. See info and guidelines at http://www.flashquake.org In addition, I created FlashXer: The Flash Fiction Exercise List http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FlashXer and ran it for a long time. Irv Pliskin oversees it now and I only assist if needed. That workshop is about three years old and quite active as well. I also created and co-admin a free online poetry workshop with Paul Kloppenborg, Muse-W, which is run quite like my Flash Fiction Writing Workshop. This workshop is about seven years old. I’ve published many short stories, essays, articles, and poetry (and have won several minor awards for my poetry). For those most interested in flash fiction, I have an online article, “Flashes on the Meridian: Dazzled by Flash Fiction,” in Riding The Meridian http://www.heelstone.com/meridian/meansarticle1.html The article’s a general overview of flash fiction works. I’ve co-written several feature-length articles on flash fiction writing with Geoff Fuller for Writer’s Digest. In fact, the current issue of Writer’s Digest, the October 2002
issue, has one of our feature-length articles called “4 Simple Steps to Short Fiction That Shines,” or “Make Your Fiction Flash.” Some of our past articles on writing flash fiction, in case your readers would like to check them out, include these below: Pamelyn Casto and Geoff Fuller. “How To Write Short-Short Stories.” Writers’ Digest. Feb. 2001 issue. Pamelyn Casto and Geoff Fuller. “Put The Flash Into Fiction.” Guide To Writing Fiction Today (A Writer’s Digest Publication). Winter 2002 http://www.writersdigest.com/store/magdisplay.asp?id=WRDGWF01 Pamelyn Casto and Geoff Fuller. “Simple Complexity.” Start Writing Now! Your Introduction to the Writing Life (A Writer’s Digest Publication). Jan. 2002 http://www.writersdigest.com/store/magdisplay.asp?id=WRDSWN01 Another feature-length article we’ve co-written for Writer’s Digest publications is scheduled to appear this fall, probably in Guide To Writing Fiction Today. Q: I discovered you through a site promoting your FlashFiction workshop. Would you tell us something about the workshop. A: I’ll be teaching an online course in flash fiction for WritingWorld and that course begins October 1. The course syllabus can be viewed at http://www.writing-world.com/classes/flash.html It will be a fast-paced, action-packed, four-week online course where I supply participants with plenty of material and give them many activities that can help them become better writers.
I’ll also be teaching a course in flash fiction through Coffeehouse For Writers on November 11. I’ve taught this course through Coffeehouse For Writers for two years now. Information on that course can be viewed at http://www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/flash.html The courses I teach, wherever they’re run, are conducted via email and all participants join in with discussions, activities, exercises, and critiquing. I thrive on group dynamics and prefer large and active courses. However, I do limit enrollment to ten or fifteen, maximum. Unless I’m
team-teaching with my writing partner, Geoff Fuller. Then we admit more students. But I also limit participants in order to maintain a personal touch. The October course, which I’ll be teaching alone, will accept up to fifteen students and there are only five more spots left. The popular course usually fills up quickly. Q: Who’s the ideal candidate for taking this workshop and why? A: The ideal candidate could be a new or experienced writer who wants to be challenged to try things he or she might not have considered trying before, a person eager to learn as much as possible about flash fiction writing in the shortest amount of time. The course can be good for poets, in that flash fiction, like poetry, is a concise and condensed type of writing. It can be good for longer fiction writers who can then learn some writing techniques for shorter stories. It can also be beneficial to novel writers who might want to write and market short-shorts, too, and who might want to do a flash fiction- style novel as several other interesting writers have done (Italo Calvino, Alan Lightman, Richard Currey, et. al.) The course runs every day of the week for four weeks and often there are over 600 messages to the group from participants by the end of the course– but all posts are labeled carefully. It’s active and that’s the way I like it. I gear the course toward those with strong writing backgrounds and toward those with little writing experience. I also gear it toward those with a lot of time to devote to the course, and toward those with more limited time. The course is for the writer who desires to learn as much as possible in the shortest time about short-short fiction and who wants plenty of information and activities to get her/ him to the goal fastest — the goal of actually writing this type of fiction well. I immerse participants in the genre and participants analyze writer techniques, do weekly writing exercises, give and receive feedback, and they receive lots of lessons and information about flash fiction writing. Participants also receive plenty of flash fiction markets (and contests) along with a marketing strategy that can help them increase their chances of seeing their work published. Many of my participants have gone on to get a lot of their
work published, and that pleases me no end. Q: I read your article about finding online poetry workshops. Can you give us a synopsis here and maybe tell readers how they can obtain a copy of this informative article. A: I’m so pleased that you saw that article. It’s an old one, and some of the links probably no longer work, but the information in the article is still timely. The online article I wrote for Web Del Sol’s Perihelion, “The Fine Art of Finding An Online Poetry Workshop,” discusses ways to find the best poetry workshops on the ‘net. It discusses what to look for and what to avoid. It can be viewed at http://webdelsol.com/Perihelion/ Click to Archives on the right of the screen (second symbol), scroll down the archives page, and my article’s listed under “Practice.” “Practice.” (The article should be useful for considering any type of online workshop.) There’s another article I wrote for Web Del Sol’s Perihelion you might find interesting. It’s called “Land of the Ice Medusa: Writing From Your Fear” See: http://webdelsol.com/Perihelion/ Click to Archives on the right side of the screen (second symbol) and my article’s the next- to- last listing– under “Practice”. Q: Many of our readers write fiction and poetry and I often hear that there are no markets for fiction or poetry. What is your experience and observation with regard to these markets? Is it still possible to get your fiction and poetry published? What suggestions can you offer these writers? A: I would say there are probably more markets for fiction or poetry than most writers can write for. It’s all a matter of finding them. Of course the competition’s stiff, but find there’s a wide selection of markets available. The easiest way to find markets is to pick up a good marketing directory. My favorite is Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market. It is published each year and gives excellent information on what type of work publishers are looking for. (The 2003 issue should be released soon.) For flash fiction, for instance, I’ve located well over 500 markets. There are hundreds of other markets on the ‘net as well (paying and non-paying).
I publish a free online newsletter each month that has plenty of markets/ contests for flash literature writers. The newsletter, Flash Fiction Flash: Newsletter for Flash Literature Writers, contains publishing news, workshop news,
markets/ contests, and more. To subscribe (and it’s free!) send a blank message to FlashFictionFlashSubscribe@yahoogroups.com Markets for poetry, nearly a thousand of them, can be found in a marketing directory like Poet’s Market (also published yearly by the Writer’s Digest publications). Plus, there are many more markets available on the Internet. Q” Please add anything you feel is important to our audience. A: If your readers are interested in haibun, I plan to teach a four-week course on haibun sometimes in the beginning of next year. I have a feature- length article in The Art of Haiku 2000 (an anthology published in England). It’s an overview of haibun and includes some of its history, its characteristics, and includes information on older and contemporary writers who write haibun. The table of contents can be viewed at http://www.nhi.clara.net/hk2000.htm Haibun, too, is enjoying increased popularity. It’s a mix of vivid prose and haiku poetry (and sometimes those simple and elegant drawings or paintings called haiga). Haibun, from the Japanese, can be viewed as an early example of multi-media or mixed-genre productions. Some refer to haibun as a travel journal or travel diary, but it is much more than just that. It’s also a serious literary effort. Haibun can be as short as a paragraph or created as a novella. More and more publications are seeking good haibun so it’s a great type of writing to study. I think writers would do well to explore and learn about various types of writing because each type examined closely does contribute to a writer’s ability as a whole. Contact Pamelyn Casto at
Featured Writers – Fiction writer, Frank Stephenson
Like many serious writers, Frank also has a serious job. Here he tells us about juggling work and your passion for writing.
Q: Please tell us a little about your background as a writer – and/or when and how you realized you were interested in writing.
A: As a professional engineer with far too many credentials, I was forced to write, often at gun point (kidding), such things as technical findings, engineering proposals, and business correspondence. I hated it. Writing was not engineering.
That started to slowly change during the summer of 1983 when my supervisor, a brilliant man, younger and quite eloquent, told me he needed help editing the technical reports that were piling up on his desk and would I please help him. I said I would, but also said that I was not a particularly good editor. He offered to teach me how to edit, no doubt an act of self-preservation on his part. Nine months later, he said he was more than satisfied that I had mastered the art and science of editing the technical writings of others, therefore his tutoring would now cease. By now, I enjoyed technical writing and editing, a complete reversal in attitude.
I went on from there to be a tour de force in the technical writing/editing field wherever I worked but I never pictured myself as wanting to write anything other than technical materials, papers and reports. Writing fiction was the furthest thing from my mind.
That all changed one weekend in 1998. Two weeks prior, I’d had one of those extraordinary dreams that seem as though you are participating in a full-length, color movie complete with special effects. I couldn’t shake it from my thoughts. On Labor Day weekend, I decided to put the dream to paper and thus, in some way, memorialize it. I sat down at the computer at three o’clock in the afternoon only to discover that suddenly it was eight o’clock and time for dinner. Where could that much time have gone?
The next day was a repeat of the day before, and so it has been ever since. Every time I sit down to write fiction, the time vaporizes into thin air; it is so enjoyable for me. I still do quite a lot of technical writing, but it is not now as enjoyable as fiction.
Q: When did you start writing for publication. What are some of your titles/credits?
A: Using that dream as the seed of a story, I decided to write my first work of fiction. I naively thought that I could make the transition from technical writing to fiction seamlessly, almost effortless. I was dead wrong. The two are worlds apart.
After investing hundreds of dollars in self-help books, I came to the realization that many of these publications only helped the publisher earn more money. The best way to learn is by reading novels by authors you would like to ‘sound’ like, or novels in the genre you are determined to pursue.
“An Unlikely Journey” is the novel based upon the aforementioned dream. I have also written a dozen or so short stories targeted at various magazine markets and I am two-thirds finished with my second novel, a sequel to the first.
Q: How do you manage to write while holding down a full-time job and raising a family? What is your schedule?
A: When a person works full-time, finding time to write is difficult. Add to that mix a spouse and children and you have precious little ‘spare’ time left. One mistake I used to make was waiting for the ‘right time’ to write. I had convinced myself that I had to have at least one hour of uninterrupted time for concentration, preferably in my office at home; otherwise, it would not be worth the effort. That was wrong. For most people, finding such a window of opportunity is rare. Then I decided, if I would only try, I could write anywhere, anytime the chance came up. That’s what I do now. I write at work during lunch hour, in the evening for fifteen to twenty minutes and on the weekends. No matter how much time is available, even five to ten minutes, it is worth the effort. Although it is nice to be alone when I write, I can now do so regardless of the number of interruptions, I’m just not as efficient.
Q: You call writing a hobby, but you seem to be doing more marketing of your work and publishing than many full-time writers. What motivates you?
A: People tend to excel at what they like to do. I love writing, and I have learned to enjoy editing and marketing because it goes with the territory. The more you do something you like, the better you become and the more you enjoy it. It becomes a ‘Catch 22.’ It’s as addicting as any drug.
Q: Do you have plans to write full-time? Tell us how you are preparing for that day.
A: Every writer wants to write full-time. When I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t discover my love for writing fiction earlier in life, my first fiction editor told me to chill out; I wasn’t ready to write fiction until I sat down to do exactly that. If I would have started earlier, the chances are I would have been frustrated and probably given up. Most people will know intuitively when the time is right to quit their day job and write full-time. To prepare myself for that day, I read the kind of fiction I’m interested in, everything I can get my hands on, and I write whenever I can. I want to be good enough to make it full-time and this is the best way I can think of to prepare myself.
Q: Do you find there are more or less markets for fiction writing today?
A: There are more markets for fiction writing today primarily because there are so many more types of fiction to write about. There is so much more going on in the world today than there was twenty years ago and that seems to multiply the number of niche markets that become viable as a result.
Q: What is your proudest writing moment?
A: My proudest moment was sitting down at my computer one day, logging on to Amazon dot com, entering my name to do a search on, and up pops a color picture of the cover of my book, a brief description of same, and the sale prices for the hardback, paperback, and ebook format.
Q: Your Web site is quite a good showcase for your work. Would you describe your Web site and what you are accomplishing with it?
A: Never one to turn down a challenge, several years ago I took it upon myself to create the website for the engineering company I work for. It wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined, so when my first book came out I decided to create a separate website for myself. Websites are excellent vehicles for getting exposure, but only if that site is managed properly. There’s the rub. Somehow, a person has to find the time to keep the website updated and submitted to search engines on a regular basis in order to stay as near the top of the list of key words as possible.
Q: What advice do you have for writers who would like to reach your level of success as a part time writer?
A: a) Never give up. No matter how depressed you get, or how many rejections you receive, keep writing.
b) Don’t spend all your hard-earned money on too many self-help books, as many of them contradict what you will find written in best selling novels. Not only that, several of these books contain advice that is just plain wrong. For example, one self-help book I have tells the reader to never begin a sentence with a word that ends in ‘ing’ e.g. running, walking, etc. To do so, is to supposedly earmark the author as an amateur.
We’ve all seen the twenty-two ‘Rules of Writing’ that are out there. These are the ‘rules’ that tell us, for example, that we should never to end a sentence with a preposition; that we can’t start a sentence with a conjunction; that sentence fragments are taboo; that contractions are not necessary and shouldn’t be used. Sorry, but many of these grammar ‘rules,’ and related advice, are as old and outmoded as steam locomotives. Pick up any of dozens of best-sellers. Those authors do not follow the ancient, self-imposed restrictions contained in the ‘rules,’ particularly if they interfere with the dialog or context of the story.
My favorite self-help fiction books are: “The Truth About Fiction” by Steven Schoen, Mt. Hood Community College; Prentice Hall Publishers, 110 pages. “How Fiction Works” by Oakley Hall, Story Press Publishers, 208 pages. “Lapsing Into a Coma” by
Bill Walsh, Copy Desk Chief, the Washington Post; Contemporary Books, Publisher.
There are other fine self-help books out there, too, but beware; they are not all relevant, accurate, or germane to assisting you in your career as a writer.
c) Engage and appeal to the senses; do not deal in the abstract. Common sense is the ‘rule’ here.
Q: Please add anything you would like to share with this audience.
A: There are so many different things I would like to share with this audience. First of all, a sincere thank you to Patricia Fry for inviting me to participate in your fine website news. It’s an honor and a privilege.
Secondly, some more advice; for example, do not be afraid to delete. I know you wrote it; those are your very own words and like your children you cannot just toss them out in the trash, can you? Yes, you can. After a while, you will get used to it and you will not even think about having a funeral for the departed prose.
Editing can be fun. Editing your manuscript is yet one more chance to change your mind about something, anything. You can insert whole paragraphs, new characters, a new sub plot, or you can get rid of the dead wood. I have actually tossed out entire chapters because, although at the time I thought they added to the overall story, I later realized they were excess baggage only adding to the page count. The best way to do a thorough editing job is to print out a draft copy. It is possible to do limited editing ‘on screen’ but effective editing is done with a hard copy in front of you and a red pencil in your hand. “An Unlikely Journey” went through twenty-five draft copies of editing. Only then was it was read by a third party, experienced proofreader. She found over fifty errors. They were minor, but they were still errors.
Learn to enjoy marketing your work, because if you don’t do it no one else that cares about it will do it for you. Besides, you know what you’ve written better than anyone else. Marketing includes: book signings; websites; postcards; newspapers; advertising in magazines and just about anything imaginable that gets your name and the title of your story in front of an audience.
Visit Frank Stephenson’s site at http://http://www.fiction-writer.net
Featured Editor/Publisher Interview – You say you want to know more about markets for your fiction work? This month I’ve interviewed two publishers of fiction: Joe Taylor, Director of Livingston Press and Kate Gale, Acquisitions Editor at Red Hen Press
Meet Joe Taylor of Livingston Press
Q: Please tell us a little about Livingston Press — when established, publishing focus, your targeted audience, etc. A: Livingston Press was established in 1984, with the idea of offering poetry and fiction chapbooks. Charles Henley left before publishing any fiction, and Joe Musso took over. Joe emphasized book length works in Alabama poetry. In 1992, I took over the press and increased the number of books to four and then 10 and now likely finding a medium at eight per year. We no longer publish poetry. Also, we no longer emphasize Alabama writers; in fact, only one in six is from the area. I write “we” because four years ago Tina N. Jones became a co-editor. Our stated focus is on “offbeat and or Southern literature.” In fact, we emphasize the offbeat, usually meaning some oddity in the form, such as Corey Mesler’s novel, which is completely (as in 100%) written in dialogue, or in L. A. Heberlein’s Sixteen Reasons Why I Killed Richard M. Nixon, which is a collection of sixteen “confessions” of killing Richard M. Nixon. Plenty of our
books have other oddities: we will soon be publishing a novel set in Vietnam where a squad goes in search of a rare orchid (I should emphasize that the author was a combat veteran in Vietnam); we will soon be publishing a collection of stories set in the Mediterranean–the stories being told to a “bird woman.” The latter stories are tightly concerned with aspects of love. So, offbeat in style, form, or theme. Targeted audience? Well, I suppose anyone interested in contemporary literature.
Q: What are some of your previously published titles? A: I’ll just put down some titles that had big reviews. You can look at our website
http://www.http//livingstonpress.uwa.edu Detecting Metal, Fred Bonnie. Stories set in the South and in Maine. This collection won Booklist’s Best of Editors’ Choice award, sharing with Barbara Kingsolver, among others. Horror and Other Stories, Wendell Mayo. This collection had a nice boxed review in NY Times Sunday Book Review.
Q: I see that you publish 8 – 10 titles each year. What type of books are you currently looking for? Do you have a desire for anything in particular?
A: Literary fiction only. Story collections, novels, or what I call storynovels, that is tightly woven stories sharing character and plot.
Q: Would you talk about your submission requirements and guidelines.
A: We read only during December through January, and prefer a 30-page partial, along with a brief bio and publication list. Though we have published plenty of first time authors, we aren’t a particularly easy market. If we like the partial, we’ll ask for a complete text.
Q: A number of our members write fiction but find it difficult to get it published. Can you give us some idea of current trends in the fiction market? Do you see a wider audience for literary works now, for example?
A: I suppose there is a wider market for literary works, but this means lower printings. I think that most authors hope that a small press like Livingston will be a stepping stone. For some that works. For others, small press literary will be their mainstay.
Q: What would you advise writers of fiction and literary pieces who want to see their work in print?
A: Well, my advice is like everyone’s. I suppose: read a lot, write a lot, and be a lot more patient than Lot’s wife.
Q: How do you suggest writers contact you?
A: We prefer mail contact, with a query, during the months of December and January.
Joe Taylor, Director
University of West Alabama
Livingston, AL 35470
Meet Kate Gale, Red Hen Press
Q: Please tell us a little about your Press — when established, why and who your audience is.
A: Established 1994. Our audience is made up of people who read poetry and literature. We got started to make a difference in terms of social awareness and spreading literature… Q: What are some of your titles?
A: The Other Hand by Deena Metzger, Guerrillas of Peace on Air by Blase Bonpane Cold Angel of Mercy by Amy Randolph Q: Are there any topics you’re particularly eager to receive?
A: I would say literary fiction. Q: Would you talk a little about trends in the literary/poetry/fiction market? What has changed and how can writers adapt to find publishers in this market?
A: Poetry doesn’t sell…never has since we’ve been publishing… There’s more market for short stories it seems. I’d say what doesn’t change is that authors have to get out there and hustle their books. Do readings, signings, otherwise it sits on the shelf. Q: Please describe your submission process.
A: Submissions are only snail mail. No email. They go through the first reader. Only the outstanding ones reach
the Acquisition Editor’s desk. Q: Add your contact information.
Kate Gale, Acquisitions Editor Red Hen Press P.O. Box 3537 Granada Hills, CA 91394 Q: Feel free to add anything else you’d like to share with an audience of writers, artists and small (self) publishers.
A: I applaud all self publishers who are getting their work in print and then getting out there and marketing it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not cool. Independent film makers do it all the time. For all writers and readers, support small presses, support local writers, otherwise you will be living in Oceana and they will be telling you what to think. Dream in poetry,
Bonus Items – Writing opportunity. Laurie Boettcher at Goddess Gossip seeks writers to add content to her site, http://www.goddessgossip.com. Topics include health and fitness, spirituality, food, movie reviews, travel, parenting, careers, relationships, Greek mythology and product reviews