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The writers’ retreat

The writers’ retreat

Last week I posted an article on this blog called “What is a writing residency and how can I get one?

Well, around that same time, the Sunday Book Review published Grant Snider‘s comic illustration of the quintessential writing retreat — showing us the highs, the lows, and the… commercial success fallout shelter.

Check it out below:

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Haven’t heard back on your writing submissions? Here’s what NOT to do

Haven’t heard back on your writing submissions? Here’s what NOT to do

One of my favorite literary journals, Rattle, just posted this picture on their Facebook page of a Better Business Bureau complaint form filed by some writer who’d submitted to Rattle but had not yet gotten a response:

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OK. I get it. It’s frustrating to wait a long time for a response to a submission. But filing a BBB complaint?

Some publications (like Beloit Poetry Journal) have great systems in place…

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Finding the right publicist for your next book

Finding the right publicist for your next book

Book publicists: how to find the right oneEffective book publicity is a team effort. You and your publicist need to work well together. But with so many professional PR people out there, how do you know which one will be the right fit for your goals, budget, genre, personality, and more?

Here’s a list of things to consider when you’re looking for a publicist for your next book

1. Budget — Here’s an obvious place to start: can you pay them the fee they’re asking? Even if you only hire a publicist for 3 months or so, it’s probably going to cost you thousands, so think about your finances first; then find the publicist that fits your budget.

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BookBaby distributing the first Salinger eBook

BookBaby distributing the first Salinger eBook

J.D. Salinger's "Three Early Stories"The Devault-Graves Agency has acquired the rights to three of J.D. Salinger’s early stories published in 1940s, years before he’d written Catcher in the Rye. 

The stories have been collected into a book which is, according to the publisher, the first book by Salinger to be lawfully published in 50 years, as well as the first of Salinger’s writing lawfully available as an eBook.

BookBaby is happy to be handling the digital distribution for J.D. Salinger’s Three Early Stories

To read about the “exhaustive” intellectual property search that took place in order to locate and purchase the rights to these early works by the iconic author, check out THIS ARTICLE from Publishers Weekly.

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Bad advice for writers: how to suck at social media

Bad advice for writers: how to suck at social media

Conan-the-Conquerer-1-247x300[Sarcasm warning!!!!]

When it comes to building your author platform, Social Media is a zero-sum game. Your readers should only like one writer: YOU! There’s simply not enough social media to go around. As an author, you must either conquer social media outright or leave nothing behind but scorched earth.

Luckily for you, I caught a panel discussion at this year’s BEA called “The Worst Social Media Advice Ever” — and I’ve summarized some of their intentionally terrible advice, added a few of my own tips, and offer it all here for your edification.

Some important things to remember if you want to win at social media

1. It’s all about you — Duh. They’re your “followers,” after all. Treat them as such. Your readers’ only social media medicine should be a daily injection of 100% maximum YOU. And make it clear you’d prefer your monologue to run without interruption.

2. Be a brand, not a person — Don’t let your fans forget the reasons why they followed you in the first place: your corporate sponsorships, your clean website fonts, your newest signature perfume. Don’t draw attention to your art or your humanity,… that’s just weakness. Embody the brand and the brand will embody you, making you all-powerful. For extra impact, be sure to use terms like “direct-to-fan” and “value-added” whenever you post on social media.

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Famous writers’ advice to college graduates

Famous writers’ advice to college graduates

Neil Gaiman graduation speechI can’t even remember who gave the commencement address at my college graduation. Must’ve made quite the impression, huh?

If it’d been an author or poet up there — one whose work I really loved — I’d have been all ears, of course.

Now, thanks to this Flavorwire article, I can imagine I’m back there, sitting on an uncomfortable folding chair, baking in the May sun, dressed in cap and gown, and listening to a cavalcade of respected writers dispense their best nuggets of wisdom.

Here’s just a few inspiring excerpts:

“Lots of people, when they first start writing, write about themselves. But I’m going to be blunt: You’re not as interesting as you think you are. And even if you’ve had an unusual life, a difficult life, a shocking life, it’s not easy to write about it well. We seem to have little perspective on ourselves and what will be appealing to others. That’s partly why I moved into writing historical novels — it takes me away from my self, so that you don’t have to read about me. Writing about places and times I know nothing about has gotten me interested in all kinds of strange things. In the name of research I’ve gone fossil hunting, given tours in a Victorian cemetery, learned to quilt. I’ve handled priceless medieval tapestries and held the original notebook William Blake drafted Songs of Innocence and of Experience in.”

Tracy Chevalier, Oberlin College, 2013

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What is a writing residency and how can I get one?

What is a writing residency and how can I get one?

What is a writing residency and how can I get one?Imagine a place where you can write day and night, far from the responsibilities of your work and domestic life. A quiet place. Maybe in a cabin near a river. Maybe on the porch of some historic seaside inn. Maybe a small room in some new, exciting city.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Sure it does.

If you’re feeling like you need to “get away” in order to take your book or poetry project to the next level, a writing residency might be just the thing.

According to THIS ARTICLE from The Review Review, a writing residency is “a retreat experience designed to help writers pursue their creative growth. Residencies provide a place for writers to step out of their regular routine and focus on their work without the disruptions of daily life. Most residencies are hosted by non-profit organizations and are located in quiet spots around the country.”

The article gives some great advice on finding the right residency for you, how to apply, and how to prepare. Check out “Writing Residency 101″ on TheReviewReview.net.

Also, if a traditional writing residency isn’t in the cards, see our tips on how to plan your own stay-at-home writing retreat.

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Weird Al now gives grammar lessons

Legendary musical parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic takes us to school in his newest single “Word Crimes,” a sendup of  last summer’s hit “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.

Need a quick grammar lesson? Check out the video above and listen while Yankovic attacks dangling participles, misused contractions, and more.

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Learn from 35 writers who rule the literary Internet

Learn from 35 writers who rule the literary Internet

35 writers who rule the literary internetSometimes the best way to learn how to do something is to just sit back and watch someone else do it well. Really really well.

If you’re an author wondering how to use social media, blogging, or other online tools to build your readership, why not study up on the Internet’s most influential writers? Watch their moves. See how they keep things interesting for their followers over the long-haul. Listen to their tone.

Jason Diamond, who put this list together for Flavorwire, says:

These aren’t the writers who have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers but only tweet when they have a book come out, or the ones who write a guest blog post every year to get their names back into the conversation.

Some are young authors, others are firmly established. Some of them are publishing industry veterans or new media superstars who want to use their clout (or Klout) to talk up writers they love, while others command small armies via their Tumblrs. Some start hashtag trends, while others have scored book deals with their clever tweets.

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Writing by hand, or typing: when are you most creative?

Writing by hand, or typing: when are you most creative?

writing vs. typingAccording to this story from the New York Times, “research suggests that writing by hand allows [students] to process a lecture’s contents and reframe it — a process of reflection and manipulation that can lead to better understanding and memory encoding.”

The article, entitled “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades,” goes on to say:

The researchers found that the initial duplication process mattered a great deal. When children had drawn a letter freehand, they exhibited increased activity in three areas of the brain that are activated in adults when they read and write: the left fusiform gyrus, the inferior frontal gyrus and the posterior parietal cortex.

By contrast, children who typed or traced the letter or shape showed no such effect. The activation was significantly weaker.

That’s troubling, especially considering how the emphasis in schools has shifted…

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