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THE SEA OF EXPERTS
“Don’t try to be an expert without some workout shoes and a string of places you’ve been.” ~C. Hope Clark
Yeah, I quoted myself. After a particularly tiring day of opening yet another post from someone who had no business being an expert (i.e., “let me show you how to promote your writing” when a Google search shows almost nothing about the person, much less what he wrote), I slung that quote on Twitter and Facebook.
Because we’ve done something once does not make us accomplished. We don’t know if our success was a fluke or a direct result of what we did right. And in our not knowing, how can we counsel others?
We see this a lot at conferences. I feel like such a fraud at conferences where much bigger names exist, and I want to slink to the back of the room and listen to the REAL pros. But then I take measure of what I know and they do not, and I choose those topics to speak about. I consciously note my expertise and lean on it, and I try my darnedest to preach what I have practiced…more than once.
We live in an age where instant information makes us feel wise. We do learn faster than ever before, and what we don’t know, we can look up. But being adept at Googling does not make us experts. Experience does. A network does. Clips in your portfolio do.
I’m not telling you to quit trying to be better or quit trying to earn your stripes to be an expert. But don’t let one moment of success give you the false sense of confidence that you have indeed arrived and earned the right to counsel others.
Focus on your craft, career, and experience. Hone them. Teaching about what you really haven’t experienced does you and others a disservice. You quit following your dreams and they may become misguided seeking theirs.
Write hard. Work hard for your dreams. The expert status will happen if you do. Forcing it can possibly derail all of it if you’re regarded as a fraud early on.
WEBSITE – http://www.chopeclark.com
WORDS OF SUCCESS
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson –
I have great news. I have two stories being published in books coming out in October. One story is in Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas and the other is in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive for Kids! Thanks for your wonderful newsletter. I love searching in it for new markets to submit my stories.
YOU NEED A PLATFORM AS YOU DIVE INTO WRITING
By J. L. Greger
What is a writer’s platform? There are as many definitions as there are experts. In the past, an author’s platform was his reputation (titles, expertise, and past awards). Now Nathan Bransford defines a platform “as the number of eyeballs you can summon as you promote your book” (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/09/what-platform-means-for-writers.html). I suspect he’s right, because “tell-alls” of disgraced, shallow celebrities sell better than well-written memoirs of less famous, heroic individuals. Platforms sell books.
What can you do to build this nebulous entity called a platform? You need a website, blog, and/or a newsletter. Let’s be honest: Most of us electronically reach mainly other authors, who are too busy to read our thoughts as they scramble to build their own platforms.
What can you do to make your written electronic communications more effective? A few points seem obvious but are often overlooked:
1) Sound bites apply to writing. Short, frequent communications are more effective than longer ones.
2) Most readers and search engines only scan articles. Keywords and tag lines are important. The free Google Ad Words Keywords Tool and similar services can help you sharpen your selection of tags.
3) Cooperation pays. Guest blogs expand your audience, i.e. platform.
Public speaking and media appearances are other key elements in building a platform. I know from past experience that drumming up a crowd for a presentation at most libraries takes more than posters plastered around town and a couple event announcements in a local newspaper.
Here are ideas that worked:
==One author mentioned a certain brand of wine repeatedly in his novel, then held a book signing at the winery.
==I speak at libraries on “Science in Your Fiction” not my novels per se. I answer questions like: Could scientists now create a Jurassic Park? Are there real invisibility cloaks? I do this because I was a biology professor and both my novels Coming Flu and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, contain snippets of science.
What do these example demonstrate? Be creative and build on your own strengths. Not surprisingly, the book signing in the winery garnered more sales.
Finally, authors, who cease writing more books and focus all their efforts on publicizing their earlier books, have forgotten that building a platform is a multi-legged stool. It takes written publicity, oral presentations, and several strong books to build a sturdy platform for a novelist.
It’s never too soon to start building your author’s platform. Start on it as you write your first novel. And it’s never too late to strengthen your platform, even if you have been delinquent for weeks or months. Building a platform takes sustained effort. A strong platform will make your dive into writing more successful.
— BIO: J. L. Greger, as a biologist and professor emerita of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, enjoys putting tidbits of science into mystery/suspense novels. You can learn more about JL Greger and her dog Bug at her website: www.jlgreger.com and blog: http://jlgregerblog.blogspot.com.
WRITERS VILLAGE SHORT STORY PRIZE
http://www.writers-village.org/ — ENTRY FEE £15. The first prize is £1,000 ($1,600), with a second prize of £250 ($400) and five runner up prizes of £50 ($80). A further five Highly Commended entrants will receive a free entry in the next round. Every entrant wins because… everyone, winner or not, gets back detailed feedback on how their story was assessed. Deadline November 30, 2013. Any form of short story may be submitted up to 3,000 words and in any genre (e.g. mystery, romance, fantasy, crime, science fiction, children’s).
RHINO FOUNDER’S PRIZE
http://rhinopoetry.org/contests/founders-prize/ — $10 ENTRY FEE. Open to all poets with a voice. Deadline October 31, 2013. All contest submissions will also be considered for regular publication in the 2014 edition of RHINO Poetry. The winner will receive $300, publication in the next issue, and will be featured on our website, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Two runners up will receive $50, publication in the next issue, and will be featured on our website. We occasionally nominate a runner-up for a Pushcart Prize. Submit up to five poems per entry fee.
BROAD RIVER REVIEW CONTEST
http://broadriverreview.org/official-contest-rules/ — $15 ENTRY FEE. Poetry entries limited to five poems, no more than ten pages. Fiction limited to 5,000 words. Deadline November 15, 2013. We will award $500 to the winner of each contest, as well as publication in the next volume of the Broad River Review, which will appear in Spring 2014. Finalists will also be considered for publication.
GEMINI MAGAZINE POETRY OPEN
http://www.gemini-magazine.com/poetryopen.html — $5 ENTRY FEE (UP TO THREE POEMS). Grand prize $1,000. Second place $100. Four honorable mentions at $25. Deadline January 2, 2014. Prose poem, rhyme, rondeau, free verse, haiku, lyric, narrative, sestina, sonnet….doesn’t matter what it’s called as long as it moves us! We welcome work from widely published poets as well as newcomers.
CREATIVE NONFICTION ESSAY CONTEST ON MISTAKES
www.creativenonfiction.org/submissions/mistakes — $20 ENTRY FEE. For an upcoming issue, Creative Nonfiction is seeking new essays about mistakes, major or minor, tragic or serendipitous, funny or painful. We’re looking for stories about poor decisions, missteps, or miscalculations; we want to read about embarrassing boo-boos, dangerous misjudgments, or fortuitous faux pas in well-crafted stories that explore the nature and outcomes of human fallibility. $1,000 for Best Essay & $500 for runner-up. Essays must be previously unpublished and no longer than 4,000 words. All essays will be considered for publication in a special “Mistakes” issue. Deadline: November 1, 2013.
INSIDE ZONE TRANSYLVANIA RESIDENCY
www.insidezone.eu — The Transylvania’s artist residency InSide Zone will start on 4th of May. It will last two weeks but artists may decide to stay longer. The residency is in the area of Carpathian mountains, in Borsec town, Romania. The upper town, once a famous spa in Austro-Hungarian empire is now “beautiful in its own ruins” and still seems to be an ideal place for inspiration and art.It strongly remembers the landscape of Andrei Tarkovsky’s movie, The Stalker, and the mysterious Zone. Interested writers and artists may apply by email sending their bio and samples of work. At the end of residency between 15 to 17 of May the yearly poetry and arts festival will be organized in the town. The residency’s participants may be involved in it if the work they produced during their stay is related with Zone, Borsec town, the area etc. Email email@example.com for details.
LEDIG HOUSE RESIDENCY
http://www.artomi.org/program.php?Writers-OMI-4 — Deadline October 20, 2013. Guests may select a residency of one week to two months; about ten at a time gather to live and work in a rural setting overlooking the Catskill Mountains. Ledig House provides all meals, and each night a local chef prepares dinner. Daytime is reserved for writing and quiet activities, while evenings are more communal. A program of weekly visits bring guests from the New York publishing community. Noted editors, agents and book scouts are invited to share dinner and conversation on both creative and practical subjects, offering insight into the workings of the publishing industry, and introductions to some of its key professionals.
HAWTHORNDEN CASTLE FELLOWSHIP
http://www.writersservices.com/reference/hawthornden-castle-fellowship — Established 1982 to provide a peaceful setting where published writers can work without disturbance. The Retreat houses five writers at a time, who are known as Hawthornden Fellows. Writers from any part of the world may apply for the fellowships. No monetary assistance is given, nor any contribution to travelling expenses, but once arrived at Hawthornden, the writer is the guest of the Retreat. Applications on forms provided must be made by the end of June for the following calendar year.
BREAKOUT NOVELIST SCHOLARSHPIPS (AUSTRALIA)
http://www.novelwritingretreatsaustralia.com/p/breakout-novelist-scholarships-australia.html — Novel Writing Retreats Australia has up to six scholarship places available for a 9 day/8 night Breakout Novelist Retreat in 2014. The Breakout Novelist Retreat takes place on Feb 15-23, 2014 at the retreat property located in Taroona, Tasmania. Applications close at midnight on November 30, 2013. There is no application fee. Successful applicants will be notified on December 5, 2013.
WRITERS ADVANCE BOOT CAMP SCHOLARSHIPS
http://writersadvancebootcamp.com/scholarships — The Suzie Benforado Missionary Scholarships are available to writers who have a need and also who have a love to write “outside the box” and their comfort zone to reach those in need of Christ. Scholarship deadline will be December 26, 2013 and winners will be notified by December 28, 2013.
CHICKEN SOUP: REBOOTING YOUR LIFE
http://www.chickensoup.com — We are looking for first-person true stories and poems up to 1,200 words about how you changed the direction your life was taking or how you got out of your rut. Was it a major change or was it an attitude adjustment? Did you change your life overnight or did it take you a while? Stories can be serious or humorous, or both. Your stories should inspire our readers to take a chance and give them the courage to reboot their own lives. Pays $200 and 10 copies of the book. Deadline January 30, 2014.
http://www.shape.com/media-kit/shape-2012-2013-media-kit — Strives to give readers practical ways to improve health, fitness and nutrition in their lives. The editors consider it a whole lifestyle magazine. They are open to pitches in almost all sections of the magazine, to include features. Not particular about word count. Avoid pitching the front-of-the-book news sections. Feel free to pitch the online market, as well. Lifestyle is a particularly good place to break in. Study the masthead and pitch the correct editor, sending the pitch with a photo. Pays $1.50 to $2.00/word. Pays $100 for short blog posts and $400 for longer pieces. Has a kill fee of 1/3 the story fee.
http://about.afar.com/about/guidelines-and-terms/writers-guidelines/ — Celebrates experiential travel all over the globe, covering destinations abroad and in the U.S., with an in-depth perspective. Pitch the smaller sections, not features, for best odds. AFAR.com is a rapidly growing guide for experiential travelers. The site is currently looking for writers and bloggers who can create local guides to their own cities. For more information on how to become a local expert, visit afar.com/local_experts. Pays $1/word and up.
http://www.viamagazine.com/ — VIA boasts one of the larger circulations in magazine publishing. It’s the magazine of the American Automobile Association for 4.2 million AAA members in Northern California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, southern Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. VIA’s coverage is primarily focused in the West, which encompasses the states its readers live in as well as Arizona, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Hawaii — even Vancouver, B.C., and some spots south of the border. Avoid pitching the features. Consider the front-of-the-book section called On the Road as well as sections entitled Souvenir, Treasure, Detour, Tastes, and Neighborhood. Pays $1/word and up.
http://www.aaajourney.com/magazine/contact/wguidelines.asp — Journey’s editorial mission is to reflect the lifestyles and tastes of Washington state residents and provide travel coverage from a uniquely Northwestern perspective. As one of AAA’s 40 regional magazines across the country, content focuses on subjects one would expect from an auto club membership publication — safety, technology, insurance and disaster preparedness — but it’s also one of the few mags in the Northwest that covers not only statewide and regional travel, but national and international wanderlust, too. Local writers have a better chance. Columns to pitch include Departures, and other small sections. Pays 50 cents to $1/word. Articles range from 500 to 1,800 words. We assign stories based on writers’ proposals, and rarely accept completed manuscripts.
HEALTH ECONOMICS WRITER
http://henerypress.com/submissions-humorous-mystery-series/ — Mystery (all subgenres including traditional, humorous, paranormal, and cozy). Thriller/Suspense. Chick Lit (yeah, we said it). No YA or Middle Grade submissions unless they are mysteries, please.
BOOKS & SUCH LITERARY AGENCY: JANET KOBOBEL GRANT
http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/seeking-inspirational-romance-writers/ — I’d like to represent more authors who want to write pure romanc: contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance.
http://www.swoonreads.com/submit-a-manuscript — Do you have an unpublished teen romance novel? Great! We’re so excited to read it! Uploading your novel to Swoon Reads is simple. They accept both teen romance and new adult novels, but the work must be “original, completed novels that are not, and have never been under contract with another publisher.” (NOTE: An article was written recently on the ins and outs of the contract at Swoon Reads. See more at: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2013/10/swoon-reads-new-crowdsourced-teen.html)
http://www.aberdeenbay.com/submission.aspx — We publish mostly memoirs and mainstream fiction. We only publish manuscripts that are of high professional quality. It is not necessary for prospective authors to have an agent or any publishing history in order to submit their manuscripts to us.
BITTER LEMON PRESS
http://www.bitterlemonpress.com/ — Our books are entertaining and gripping crime fiction that expose the darker side of foreign places. They explore what lies just beneath the surface of the bustling life of cities such as Paris, Havana, Munich and Mexico City. These are books for your travels, whether imaginary or real.
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