Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A selected guide for new writers

As part of my presentation for Pages & Places, I put together a handout designed to help writers ease into the lively world of literary writing culture. I've heard from some folks who wanted a digital copy, which is the reason for this post. Last night I showed this list to my class, and one of my students had a great question for me after--are there similar resources, pathways in other countries? He's particularly interested in Japanese writing culture.

For my regular readers (all two of you), these are no-brainers. You'll also see some glaring omissions, but my point was to offer places to start for writers who don't feel like they have a community. To give a sense of my Pages & Places crowd, more than half of the audience (perhaps 15-20 folks?) were aware of Goodreads, but only one seemed aware of Zoe or Fictionaut. To talk "platform" at these folks seems cruel and distracting. If I can save just one soul from blowing her money on a Writer's Market guide, I've done my job.
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Check the temperature: What’s the buzz in contemporary writing/reading culture?
The Millions
The Nervous Breakdown
Mark Athitakis’ American Fiction Notes
Identity Theory
Galley Cat
The Rumpus

Who are the tastemakers?
Bookslut
Three Guys One Book
The Next Best Book Blog
Goodreads

What’s new in short fiction?
The storySouth Million Writers Award
The Wigleaf Top 50

General Resources
Poets & Writers
AWP

Find a writing conference
Writers Conferences & Centers
Poets & Writers Database

Find readers for your drafts
Fictionaut
Zoetrope’s Virtual Studio

Find and Agent or Publisher
Agent Query
Association of Authors Representatives
Duotrope
Predators & Editors

NOTE: Most writers should avoid: ANY-ANY-ANY Publisher, Agent, Contest, or Publication that charges a fee for reading, editing, etc.
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Of course I'm also reacting to another presenter's not very clear call for writers to make sure they have "platform" built on a strong "internet presence." This advice strikes me as a little sure-fire tips!-y in that it seems to suggest that such a platform can be built to serve the book in formal, well-planned deployment-style. I'm sure that's possible, especially if we are talking about a major release with a team of publicists on deck, but on the indie level, calculated campaigns often smell like what they are. I think it's a bad idea to try to backwards engineer the fact that you care, and there is no reason to wait until you are published or about to be published before entering the conversation. I mean, one hopes that being a reader is more than sufficient credential to weigh in on contemporary writing.

4 comments:

Ethel Rohan said...

LES, Thanks for this. I'm going to share a link to here with my Beginning Writing Workshop group from Cork.

Laura Ellen Scott said...

oh that's great. let me know how they react.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

Thanks for this. It's really helpful to me as I flounder to find resources and guides for my writing.

Laura Ellen Scott said...

Carol, just hopped over to your blog. How gorgeous!