Monday, April 28, 2014

2 Literary Agents Looking for Mystery, Romance, Women's Fiction, YA, MG and more

Updated 3/29/21

These agents are actively building client lists. As always, read the entire agency website before submitting. Submission requirements may change! Check to see what other writers have said about the agency on Absolute Write, and do a google search on the both the agency and the agent. It's always enlightening to see what pops up.

Michelle Richter is primarily seeking fiction, especially book club reads, women’s fiction, contemporary romance, literary fiction, and mystery/suspense/thrillers. Rebecca Podos is interested exclusively in Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction; particularly books about complex female relationships.

If these agents don't suit your needs, you can find a list of dozens of new and established agents seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Michelle Richter of Fuse Literary Agency

About Michelle: Michelle Richter was formerly an editor at St. Martin’s Press. Michelle has a degree in Economics with a minor in Russian from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and left a career in finance for publishing. She joined St. Martin’s Press’ editorial department in 2006 after obtaining a Masters in Publishing from Pace University. Find her on Twitter at @michrichter1.

What she is seeking: Michelle is primarily seeking fiction, especially book club reads, women’s fiction, contemporary romance, literary fiction, and mystery/suspense/thrillers. Her favorite authors include Ann Patchett, Emma Straub, Laura Lippman, Richard Russo, Tom Perrotta, and Gillian Flynn. She’s also open to YA fiction, particularly contemporary YA and YA mystery/thriller. For nonfiction, she’s interested in fashion, pop culture, science/medicine, sociology/social trends, and economics.

How to submit: To query Michelle, please use the form HERE.

Rebecca Podos at Rees Literary Agency

About Rebecca: Rebecca Podos (Rees Literary Agency) is a graduate of the MFA Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College, whose own fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, Glyph, CAJE, Bellows American Review, Paper Darts, and SmokeLong Quarterly. She represents YA books by talented clients such as Rin Chupeco, Jen Anckorn, Ryan Bradford, Sarah Nicolas, Jen Estes, Kenny Logan, and more.

What she is looking for: Rebecca is interested exclusively in Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction; particularly books about complex female relationships, beautifully written contemporary, romance with more at stake than "will they/won't they," genre fiction with a strong focus on character, books featuring marginalized voices and cultures, and LGBTQIA stories across all genres. At the moment, she’d especially love a gender-swapped fairy tale or myth retelling, a STEM oriented MG, stories featuring multi-generational family relationships, a Gothic mystery, or a non-western inspired fantasy.

How to submit: Use her submission form HERE.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dead at 87

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was one of my all-time literary heroes, and I was deeply saddened to hear of his death on April 17. The literary world will be all the poorer for his absence.

Even if you are not a fan of magical realism - which, after spending five years in Latin America, I can assure you is a misnomer; every word of Garcia Marquez' books is true - you should read his memoir, Living to Tell the Tale.

Garcia Marquez published his novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, when he was 40. Prior to writing what would become one of the enduring classics of the 20th century, he worked as a journalist in Bogota. He wrote sporadic short stories, and a novella, but most of his time was absorbed by exposing government corruption.

During his years as a journalist, he spent every lunch hour in a cafe with a group of colleagues where they would pass the afternoon tearing each other's work to shreds. By the time Garcia Marquez was ready to lock himself in a room and write the epic of Macondo, he had been honed to a razor's edge.

That is how you learn to be a great writer.

The magician in his labyrinth

The Economist, April 26, 2014

IN JULY 1965 Gabriel García Márquez—Gabo to all who revered him later—decided to lock himself away in a house on Calle de La Loma in Mexico City. He ordered his wife to sell the car and get credit from the butcher. For 15 months, using only his index fingers, he typed for six hours a day in a room he called “The Cave of the Mafia”. He survived on a diet of good Scotch and constant cigarettes. At five in the afternoon he would emerge into the fading light with his eyes wide, as though he had discoursed with the dead.

Inside the four walls of that room lay the immense delta of the Magdalena river, the grey frothy sea of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, the suffocating swamps of the Ciénaga, the interminable geometries of the banana plantations, and a long railway line that ran into the farthest territories of his heart. It ended at the village of Aracataca, now renamed by him Macondo, where his maternal grandparents had brought him up amid prospectors, fornicators, gypsies, scoundrels and virginal girls bent over their sewing frames. In that room where he had locked himself away he inhaled the sweet milk-candy and oregano of his grandmother and absorbed again the political venting of his grandfather, who had fought on the Liberal side in the War of a Thousand Days and who, at the book’s beginning, took him to discover ice, a great block of infinite internal needles that boiled his hand when he touched it.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude”, the fruit of his self-imprisonment, sold 50m copies in more than 30 languages. Critics observed that its style, magical realism as they called it, was not new: Jorge Luis Borges, a blind Argentine poet, had felt his way through those labyrinths before. But its fame was startling. The world was seduced by a Latin America where the Buendía family feuded internally and externally, with rifles or with silence, for generations; where death gave its female victims instructions to sew their own shrouds; where the blood from a suicide by shotgun flowed all through Macondo, carefully avoiding the carpets; and where Remedios the Beauty was taken up to heaven as she hung out sheets on the washing line.

Read the rest of the article here

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Will Self-Publishing Exist in 10 Years?

Back in the days before the Internet made it possible to publish ebooks, self-publishing meant printing your own book and warehousing thousands of copies in your garage while you shopped them to local bookstores. It was tedious, expensive, and time-consuming.

Times have changed. Now you can self-publish on a number of platforms, advertise your book online, and choose whether you want it to appear in electronic or print-on-demand format - or both. And because of the success of self-published books like Wool, both agents and publishers are now interested in taking advantage of the new ebook-reading market.

Will the success and ease of different platforms - such as Amazon and Smashwords - mean that self-publishing will disappear as an independent entity in ten years? Will it merge seamlessly with traditional publishing until "self" publishing is subsumed within a larger framework?

My guess is probably not. Unlike Jon Fine (see below), I can't see a near future in which the largest publishing houses in the world will give up the ghost. Nor can I see a near future in which every self-published book has a chance to compete with the books backed by Random/Penguin. The problem is not just that the major publishers won't pick up the vast majority of self-published books, it's that the avenues for getting the word out on self-published books, even on Amazon, are becoming increasingly saturated.

No matter what the platform is, or how books are published, there will always be a great divide between those who have self-published and those who have the backing of university presses, well-established niche publishers, or major houses, with their access to national and international media networks. For as long as access to global advertising is restricted to the select few, those who go it alone will have to scramble to get noticed.

Amazon’s Vision for the Future of Self-Publishing

Digital Book World, April 7, 2014

The term “self-publishing” may have outlived its usefulness, according to Jon Fine, director of author and publishing relations at Amazon, speaking at the Publishing for Digital Minds conference this week in London.

When asked at a recent past conference what “self-publishing” looked like in ten years, Fine, who is intimately involved in that business at Amazon, said that it probably won’t be called that anymore. In the future, authors will publish in a number of ways.

“If you’re an author in ten years, you’re going to have an array of options,” said Fine. “What we’ve done is provide the tools that make it possible to take a story and make it available to hundreds of millions of people around the world…and do it in multiple formats.”

Best-selling hybrid author Hugh Howey shared the stage with Fine. Howey could be an author from Fine’s future. He has self-published ebooks and audiobooks, traditionally published print books and translations, and has no definite plans in the future as to how he will publish his next title.

“Do you want to be a small business owner or work for a corporation?” asked Howey, referring to the difference between self-publishing, where authors are also entrepreneurs (the former) and traditional publishing, adding, “and there are advantages and disadvantages for both.”

In a typical example of the flexibility afforded authors today, Orna Ross, a hybrid author and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, who was also on the conference panel mentioned that she is publishing nine short books this year, about one every month, “and that’s not something a publisher would ever do.”

According to Fine, the next challenge facing authors, publishers and distributors like Amazon is how readers will discover the right books for them.

“We’ve created this tsunami of content,” said Fine. “It’s a high class problem to have too many stories. We, as tech companies, publishers, authors, service providers, have to find ways to help stories find the right audience. This discoverability problem is the next big challenge.”

Monday, April 21, 2014

Top 5 Resources for Publishing Poetry

Updated 1/3/23

Poets tend to be solitary creatures. With a few notable exceptions, they are rarely social butterflies. As a consequence, they often have no idea what to do with their poems once they have written them. (I used to tack mine to trees.)

If you would like to see your poetry published, here are some resources that will provide you with all the information you need to locate the most suitable literary journal for your work.

If you want to pursue poetry as a long-term occupation, then do please take a look at the Poetry Society of America's website and consider joining.


Pushcart Prize List

Clifford Garstang is an award-winning author and lawyer. He is also extremely well organized. He keeps yearly lists of Pushcart Prize-winning literary magazines. (The magazines with the highest number of prizes are at the top.) There are 168 magazines listed, with links. For finding the top poetry magazines, you can't do better than this list.

Click HERE to see Garstang's list.

Poets and Writers

The Poets & Writers Database is an indispensable tool for finding literary magazines. It provides such essential information as whether electronic submissions are accepted, if simultaneous submissions are allowed, reading period, if payment is offered, and circulation numbers. You can filter magazines by poetry or fiction. Magazines are not ranked. So, if you want to know a magazine's standing in the literary world, check it against Clifford's list.

Poets & Writers is the nation's largest nonprofit literary organization serving poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Aside from their database of literary magazines, they post contests, conferences, agents, jobs, and many other valuable resources for writers. P&W is worth joining.

New Pages

New Pages keeps a huge list of blogs and websites of poets and writers. Blogs have become a permanent feature of the literary landscape. They serve to keep writers informed of the latest news and information, and to share valuable insights and inspiration. If you are just breaking into publishing, the blogs and websites of successful writers also serve as signposts. New Pages also has a comprehensive lists of literary magazines, calls for submissions (including poetry), writing workshops and MFA programs.

Power Poetry is primarily geared toward young people, particularly high school students. The website offers a list of 50 places to publish poetry, a map and list of local poetry groups, mentors, more than 50 poetry organizations, and other useful resources. Young people can also post their poetry on the site, and receive comments from readers. Some of these talented young poets have posted hundreds of poems.

Poets, hark! The Poetry Society of America is your organization! The PSA website features a comprehensive list of literary organizations, a huge list of poetry journals, poetry publishers, contests, interviews of editors of poetry magazines, and much more. Membership dues start at $25 (student rate).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Valuable Tips for Pitching to an Agent or Editor

Hi! I'm your new client!
The best thing you can do for your career as a writer is go to a conference. Conferences not only give writers a chance to talk to agents and editors, they allow people who are otherwise somewhat isolated - especially during the pandemic - to make connections.

No amount of texting, tweeting, or emailing can substitute for a handshake and a smile, even if they are virtual.

(See Shmooze or You Lose for how to find conferences in your area.)

7 Tips for Pitching to an Agent or Editor at a Conference

By Peggy Eddleman, Writer's Digest, June 1, 2015

I'll admit: I was scared to death to live-pitch my book the first time, and I almost didn't. I figured I was better with words on a page, so I'd just query the agents I met at conferences. I am a huge proponent of pitching your book in person to an agent, though, because it's incredibly beneficial.

Here are seven tips to keep in mind:

Tip #1: If you can get a pitch session with an agent/editor, do it!

Agents get tons of queries every single day, and a good 90% of them come from people who haven't worked very hard to perfect their craft. Agents know that if you go to conferences, you're likely in the 10% who have. If you go to a conference and pitch, you're likely a top 10% writer who has a book close to being worthy of representation. It also gives both of you a chance to meet each other, and that's invaluable.

Tip #2: If you don't register in time to schedule a pitch session, get on a waiting list.

Pitch sessions fill up quickly. People get nervous, though, or don't get their book ready in time, so they cancel often. They shouldn't, but they do, and this is good for anyone who is on the waiting list.

Tip #3: Figure out what you want to cover during your pitch session.

Don't memorize a script, but do memorize the points you want to cover. Then you can talk like a normal person about it. And definitely practice talking like a normal person about it to everyone who will listen. The more comfortable you feel when talking about your book, the better your pitch session will go.

Tip #4: Go with other questions in mind.

I speed-talked my way through my first pitch session, because when I'm nervous I don't ramble - I leave things out. So my pitch was done in less than 30 seconds. After asking me a few questions, the agent requested my full. Then she said, "Do you have any questions for me?" I hadn't thought about questions for her! I sat there, feeling awkward, said, "Um.... Nope?" then shook her hand and left, with seven minutes of our meeting unused.

Don't do what I did! Use that time to ask about their agenting style. Ask about the industry. Ask about the process. Ask about craft. Ask questions about your plot. Ask about anything writing related. Chat. See how your personalities mesh. Just don't leave seven minutes early. You paid for that time- use it .

Read the rest of these valuable tips here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2 Literary Agents Seeking YA, MG, Romance, Graphic Novels

Updated 3/27/21

Here are two literary agents seeking clients. Taylor Haggerty is interested in YA, MG and Romance. Jennifer Azantian is open to middle grade and young adult graphic novels across genres.

Always check the agency website and agent bio before submitting. Agents can switch agencies or close their lists.

You can find a full list of agents actively seeking new clients here: Agents Seeking Clients

Taylor Haggerty of Root Literary


About Taylor: Taylor is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received a master’s degree from Emerson College’s Publishing and Writing program. Prior to joining Root Literary, she worked at Waxman Leavell and at the Gersh Agency.

What she is seeking: YA, MG and Romance. "In YA, I'm especially eager to find fast-paced, high-stakes fantasy with incredible and unique worldbuilding, magical realism, and accessible, character-driven SF. On the contemporary side of things, I'm looking for a smart, funny, romcom (bring on the banter!) and would love to find a romance that feels larger-than-life."

How to contact her: To submit a project, please send a query letter via email to:  You may include 10 pages of your manuscript in the body of your email. Do not send attachments.


Jennifer Azantian of Jennifer Azantian Literary Agency

About Jennifer: Jennifer founded the Jennifer Azantian Literary Agency on February 1, 2014. Before starting her agency, she worked at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She was the assistant for Elise Capron and Sandy Dijkstra as well as the office and submissions manager for the agency. After her time at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, she worked with the Paul Levine Literary Agency for several months, and it is under his mentorship that she started her own agency.

What she is seeking: Jennifer is open to graphic novels across genres.

How to contact her: Use her submission form HERE.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Valuable Tips for Nonfiction (and Fiction) Submissions

Chuck Sambuchino's blog, Writers in the Storm, is filled with great information on what literary agents do (and do not) like. Here, literary agents talk about what they want to see in a good nonfiction proposal.

Going through their comments, I found these tips were just as appropriate for fiction writers. Fiction writers also have to develop a marketing plan, do a comparative title analysis, and establish a platform. Read these tips before you send your next query.


Chuck Sambuchino, Writers in the Storm

Nonfiction Submission Tips — Agents Speak

Getting a nonfiction book published is a completely different beast than querying for a novel. It involves things like a marketing plan, comparative title analysis, book proposals, professional credentials, and more.

To help with this complicated submission process, I’ve compiled great advice for nonfiction writers from established literary agents who are on the front lines evaluating and selling these books every day.

Here is a roundup of what these smart agents had to say about nonfiction queries, book proposals, the importance of marketing & platform, trends, and much more.

from Kristina Holmes of The Holmes Agency:

“When I receive a nonfiction query, I’m hoping to discover that you: 1) have a deep mastery and understanding of your topic, 2) have a long-burning passion for what you are sharing, 3) have clearly and concisely expressed your book concept, and 4) have developed an authentic and original writing style. I also hope to see that, whatever you’re doing in your career—whether you’re a writer by profession, or you work in another profession, of which this book is an extension and an expression—you’re doing it out of a deep-rooted vision and inspiration. Practically speaking, I appreciate queries that are no longer than 3 to 4 paragraphs and highlight your professional training and platform.”

from Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates:

“It’s more and more important for authors to have a public platform. All authors should seriously consider building a great website and inviting social media to know who they are through Twitter, Facebook, etc. The publishers are all looking for this.”

The three most common problems Laurie Abkemeier of DeFiore and Company sees in a nonfiction book proposal:

“First, not having a good grasp of the competition. An author needs to know the category inside and out and be able to explain how his book fits in. I always get a sinking feeling in my stomach when I find similar books that the author didn’t know about.

Second, dull chapter summaries. Often the sample material is great, but the summaries are boring or vague. It’s so important that chapter summaries be compelling and convey the energy and depth of unique information that will be in the book. They have to make an editor want to read more.

Third, a marketing section that simply says the book ‘will appeal to everyone!’ That’s never true, and it doesn’t help publishers figure out how to position and sell your book. An author needs to understand who her audience is and how to reach them.”

Russell Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency:

“Here are two turnoffs I encounter in book proposals:

1. Lack of a story arc. Many failed nonfiction proposals are mere surveys of a subject. The books that sell have strong characters who are engaged in some project that eventually is resolved. Don’t do a book about slime mold. Do a book about the Slime Mold Guy who solved the mystery of slime mold.

2. Extrapolation. Many proposals say, in effect, ‘I don’t know all that much about this subject but give me a six-figure contract and I will go and find out everything there is to know.’ I understand the problem writers face: How are they supposed to master a subject until after they’ve done the travels, interviews, and research? Nevertheless, unless you are already an established writer, you can’t simply promise to master your subject. Book contracts go to those who have already mastered a subject. If you haven’t mastered your subject but you really think you deserve a book contract, try to get a magazine assignment so that you can do at least some of the necessary research, funded by the magazine.”

Read more here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

10 UK Children's Book Publishers Accepting Manuscripts Directly from Writers

Updated 12/30/22

Some publishers in the UK still accept children's books directly from writers. Most of these are small, specialty publishers, but some are big names in the industry.

As always, make sure you examine their lists to see if your work would be a good fit, and read all of their submission requirements carefully.

Note: Some of these publishers have submission windows, during which they accept unsolicited manuscripts. 

Related posts: 

Top 5 Resources for Children's Book Writers

22 US Children's Book Publishers Accepting Manuscripts Directly From Writers 

14 Young Adult Publishers Accepting Manuscripts - No agent required

Note: You can find a full list of over 450 publishers accepting manuscripts (broken down by genre) here:

Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts


Candy Jar

Established in 2010 by Shaun Russell and Justin Chaloner, Candy Jar Books publishes both children's and adult titles. Marston Book Services Ltd, one of the leading independent distributors in the UK, is responsible for distributing their titles.

Submissions: They accept non-fiction ideas with a strong market appeal as well as some fiction. Click here for details.

Floris Books  

Floris Books is an independent publishing company based in Edinburgh, Scotland. They publish books in two main areas: non-fiction for adults, and books for children. Within their non-fiction list, they focus on books that cover all aspects of holistic and alternative living.

Submissions: Scottish themed books only for ages 2-15. Printed submissions by regular post only (no emails). Click here for details.

Frances Lincoln

Frances Lincoln is part of Quarto’s UK publishing unit, the Aurum Publishing Group. It publishes over 100 new books a year for both adults and children. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books publishes picture books, multicultural books, picture books and information books. 

Submissions: Click here for submission details.

Hogs Back Books 

Hogs Back is a small publishing house with a short list. They publish picture books and YA novels.

Submissions: For children’s books aged 0-10 years, send a complete manuscript along with a cover letter or email. For young adult novels, include a synopsis and the first three chapters of your manuscript. Click here for details.


Maverick Arts is a picture book publisher in both print and Nook formats. They accept poetry or prose. Preferred style: "quirky." (Their website is suitably whimsical.)

Submissions: Junior and middle grade books will open in January. Click here for details.


Mogzilla and Caboodle books are two independent publishing companies that share a commitment to creating brilliant books for young readers. They've created a new imprint, Mogboodle, for authors and poets.

Submissions: No submissions for the under 6 age group. Email them at and provide details of your proposal and they will send you the submissions address. Click here for details.

Nosy Crow

Nosy Crow is a small, independent company established in 2011. They publish commercial fiction and non-fiction books for children aged from 0 to 14 by well-known authors and illustrators and by new talent. "We’re looking for “parent-friendly books”, and we don’t publish books with explicit sex, drug use or serious violence, so no edgy YA or edgy cross-over. And whatever New Adult is, we don’t do it."  

Submissions: They prefer email submissions, though regular postal submissions are also accepted. For novelty/picture books please email the full text. For longer works, you should submit a short synopsis plus the first chapter (double-spaced). You should also send a cover letter containing all relevant information about you and your work. Temporarily closed to submissions. Visit site for next open submission period. They are currently open to writers and illustrators of color only. Click here for details.

O'brien Press Ltd. 

O'brien Press is an Irish press publishing children's fiction, children's non-fiction and adult non-fiction. They do not publish poetry, academic works or adult fiction.

Submissions: For works of 1000 words or less, submit your entire manuscript. For anything over 1000 words, send a synopsis and 2 or 3 sample chapters. Regular post only. (No email submissions) They prefer local authors. Click here for details. Opens to submissions in the spring.


Robinswood books are aimed at increasing literacy, especially for those who 'don't do books' (e.g. people with learning disabilities).

Submissions: At present only titles with a purely educational content, especially meeting a specific difficulty teachers face in their tasks, are being considered. Click here for details.


Walker is a large company, publishing over 300 books a year in the UK alone. Its sister companies are Walker Australia and Candlewick in the USA. They have a wide-ranging list, but they do not accept submissions in every category.

Submissions: Walker accepts illustrated picture-book stories and/or artwork samples via post or email. They do not accept fiction manuscript submissions. Click here for details.

Monday, April 7, 2014

How Stephen King Wrote Carrie (aka Don't throw out your manuscripts)

The best parts of Stephen King's book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, are when he stops talking about writing in general, and focuses on how he writes. Anybody who writes, in fact, anybody who creates anything - including the theory of gravity - will recognize the process through which King came up with Carrie. Creative works come from the sort of haphazard confluences that King describes.

It also helps to have somebody around who has unswerving faith in you.

Stephen King: How I wrote Carrie

The Guardian, April 4, 2014

While he was going to college my brother Dave worked summers as a janitor at Brunswick High. For part of one summer I worked there, too. One day I was supposed to scrub the rust-stains off the walls in the girls' shower. I noticed that the showers, unlike those in the boys' locker room, had chrome U-rings with pink plastic curtains attached.

This memory came back to me one day while I was working in the laundry, and I started seeing the opening scene of a story: girls showering in a locker room where there were no U-rings, pink plastic curtains or privacy. And this one girl starts to have her period. Only she doesn't know what it is, and the other girls – grossed out, horrified, amused – start pelting her with sanitary napkins … The girl begins to scream. All that blood!

I'd read an article in LIFE magazine some years before, suggesting that at least some reported poltergeist activity might actually be telekinetic phenomena – telekinesis being the ability to move objects just by thinking about them. There was some evidence to suggest that young people might have such powers, the article said, especially girls in early adolescence, right around the time of their first...

POW! Two unrelated ideas, adolescent cruelty and telekinesis, came together, and I had an idea …

Before I had completed two pages, ghosts of my own began to intrude; the ghosts of two girls, both dead, who eventually combined to become Carrie White. I will call one of them Tina White and the other Sandra Irving.

Tina went to Durham Elementary School with me. There is a goat in every class, the kid who is always left without a chair in musical chairs, the one who winds up wearing the KICK ME HARD sign, the one who stands at the end of the pecking order. This was Tina. Not because she was stupid (she wasn't), and not because her family was peculiar (it was) but because she wore the same clothes to school every day.

Sandra Irving lived about a mile-and-a-half from the house where I grew up. Mrs Irving hired me one day to help her move some furniture … I was struck by the crucifix hanging in the living room, over the Irving couch. If such a gigantic icon had fallen when the two of them were watching TV, the person it fell on would almost certainly have been killed.

I did three single-spaced pages of a first draft, then crumpled them up in disgust and threw them away.

The next night, when I came home from school, my wife Tabby had the pages. She'd spied them while emptying my waste-basket, had shaken the cigarette ashes off the crumpled balls of paper smoothed them out and sat down to read them. She wanted me to go on. She wanted to know the rest of the story.

• This piece is taken from Stephen King's book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and his "Introduction to Carrie." It has been abridged by his British editor.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Wattpad Prize - Free Contest!

Wattpad boasts that it is the world's largest community of readers and writers. The company is Canadian, so you know it's not an idle boast. Wattpad has over 23 million readers and 40 million stories.

Do I really need to explain why it's a good idea to enter a Wattpad contest?

The Wattpad Prize closes on April 30. Go here for more details.

The Wattpad Prize (from the website)

Seek the acclaim that comes with winning Wattpad’s new, juried prize. The Wattpad Prize is the first contest to celebrate the achievements of both readers and writers in the community. We’ll be awarding our top readers with a spot on the Prize Jury, made up of Wattpad’s most dedicated, experienced, and engaged members. These distinguished readers will review the story submissions for originality, creativity, structure, and grammar, and decide which of Wattpad’s most talented writers will win the coveted Wattpad Prize.

Prize Jury

The jury will be carefully selected based on their level of dedication, expertise, and positive influence in the community. Jury members will review Wattpad Prize submissions and select the winning stories based on the following themes:
  • Best love story
  • Best escape
  • Best true story
  • Best inspirational story
  • Best comedy
  • Best imaginative story
  • Best epic
  • Best tragedy
  • Best memoir
  • Best suspense story

Eligibility/Entry Requirements

The Wattpad Prize is open to all Wattpadders over the age of 13. Any English-language story of original fiction and non-fiction can be entered. Works must also be rated PG-13 or below and marked as ‘Completed’ by April 30, 2014.

Original Fiction: Original Fiction includes stories, characters, and settings that are entirely of the writer's own creation. These stories can focus on the everyday experiences and conflicts of a protagonist, with detailed characterisation and background.

Non-Fiction: Non-Fiction includes stories that are factually accurate and focus on real events, people, and experiences. These stories can include, but are not limited to, essays, journals, biographies, travelogues, self-help and advice.

How to Enter

To enter, tag your completed work of original fiction or non-fiction with wattpadprize14 by April 30, 2014. Each participant may enter a maximum of three works. For more information, please read the official contest rules.


The winning writers will receive a Wattpad Prize Writer Award, which will include a mailed hardcover copy of their winning story, official congratulatory letter, and be featured on the Wattpad website and mobile apps over the month of June.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Best Method for Handling Rejections (and getting published)

Nobody likes to be rejected. Even the most seasoned, thick-skinned, successful writers hate getting rejections.
Unfortunately, for aspiring authors rejection isn't just a passing disappointment - it's a way of life.

As a writer, you can count on getting hundreds of rejections. And - I hate to say this - your hundredth rejection will sting just as much as the first.

At some point, you will be tempted to throw in the towel.

Don't do it. Try my foolproof method instead.

The method

Before I explain my tried-and-true method for handling rejections, I have to preface it with the admonition that it will take a little organizational work on your part. Ideally, you should do this before you start submitting your work. After all, you want to avoid as much pain as possible. Of course, if you have already started submitting your work and are in the throes of an existential crisis, it still isn't too late.

1) Make a 'top 50 list.' Find 50 places to submit your work and rank them in order of desirability. (For example, if you are submitting a story, the top slot could be the New Yorker.)

If you are submitting a short story, go here, and find 50 literary magazines. 

If you are submitting query letters to agents, go to Agentquery and make a list of 50 agents for your genre. (Be sure to check the Agents Seeking Clients page.)

Find resources for Science Fiction/Fantasy writers here.

Resources for Children's and YA writers are here.

Resources for Romance writers are here.

Resources for Mystery/Thrillers are here.

Resources for Historical Fiction writers are here.

Go HERE for hundreds of short form markets

2) If your top slot says "no simultaneous submissions" then, immediately after getting your rejection, submit to the #2 spot on your list.

3) If your top slots - or your remaining slots - don't say "no simultaneous submissions" submit to all of them at once. One of them will take you, and your waiting time will be considerably reduced.

4) If you are submitting to agents, make sure you revise and hone your query letter as you submit, but keep working your way down your list. Don't stop. You may need to revise your query letter along the way if nobody asks for a partial or a full.

5) When you get close to number 50 (and I have done this more than once), make a new 'top 50 list.'

Do this doggedly - without pausing to contemplate the futility of writing or the pointlessness of existence -  and you will do just fine. And keep writing! Having several of your works making the rounds on your 'top 50' will increase your chances of success.

You may find, as I did, that by using this technique you will not only avoid the rejection blues, you will get published.
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