A Writer's Ramblings
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Emails Full of Writerly Fun
Writers—especially those working on their first books—tend to obsess over word count. Maybe that's because a manuscript's word count is one of its only truly objective elements. Character, plot, style, and voice are all difficult to define, and books change with each reader's response. But a manuscript that is 82,749 words is exactly that. So it makes sense that writers want to control this aspect that we can control, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Word count is important, especially for writers planning to pursue traditional publication, and understanding word count goals can make the drafting and editing processes more efficient. But sometimes focusing on word count can be a detriment. Let's discuss why word count is important, how to use your current and projected word count to your advantage, and when word count should be the last thing on your mind.
I'm looking for traditionally published authors to contribute to an advice page.
Published authors have a lot to offer writers still chugging along, hoping to make it to that stage: encouragement, experience, and advice.
I previously published a post compiling advice from published authors, and the response was great. Readers wrote to tell me how helpful the advice was and that it had come at the perfect time in their writing journeys.
The new post will be similar, with one catch: All contributing authors will be traditionally published. This is not because I believe traditional publishing is inherently better than self-publishing, but because traditional publishing presents a specific set of challenges that writers must overcome to become authors.
The same applies to self-publishing, and I would love to do a similar post with self-published authors in the future. Keep an eye out for that call, and drop me a comment if that sounds like something you'd like to see!
If you're a traditionally published author who has something to share about the process—be it your personal experience, advice you wish you had known earlier, or encouragement for those still in the trenches—contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or using the form below. I will contact you by email regarding next steps. Let's make this happen!
The post will include author images, bios, and links to social media, websites, and books.
Writers have to be extremely persistent, ridiculously stubborn, and just a little bit stupid. Writers experience more rejection than most people do—or could handle. Writers either develop thick skin, stop submitting, or take up drinking.
I believe that the toughness it takes to keep putting yourself out there, and being rejected, over and over is a learned skill. We're not born with emotional armor, but we develop it because the writing is more important. We make a conscious decision to prioritize our aspirations above our emotional comfort.
Originally Published at StuffWritersLike
Most of us write with the intention of being read. That’s not always the primary goal. Perhaps we want to simply write the stories burning inside us. Perhaps writing is cathartic or even (dare I say) fun. But in our core, we are storytellers. We want to reach humanity with our words. And to do that, we’ve got to find a way to put our words and stories in front of those who will read them and be moved by them.
Thankfully, we live in an age of constant communication. The Internet provides infinite outlets to reach potential readers. But it’s easy to get lost in the chaos of websites and forums. It’s best to focus our attention on a few effective tools to meet and engage readers, remembering that the goal isn’t to reach as many people as possible, but to get to know people and to earn their trust through honest engagement. No one will take the time to read your writing if they don’t trust that you have something to say. [Click to Tweet]
Here’s the deal. I don’t like placing random ads on my site. I don’t think it’s fair to you, and if you take a glance around, you’ll see I don’t do it.
What I do like is supporting the writing community.
(Without Being an Ass)
We want people to read our writing—our books, our stories, our blog posts. Making that happen involves putting our stuff out there and telling people, “Hey! Look, this is good. You should read this.”
It’s simple and necessary, but we’ve all seen that person—online or in real life—who promotes him/herself and comes off like a complete and total ass.
When the majority of a person’s communication involves self-promotion, we begin asking questions like “What’s so special about that persons’s stuff?” and “Do they ever talk about anyone but themselves?”
That is not the kind of attention you want.
But we have to talk about ourselves and our stuff. We have to brag about it. Why would a stranger want to read your writing if you don’t speak positively about it?
I think the most-asked question I get is, “Where do I submit my stuff?”
In a world where hooking an agent is somewhat akin to chasing down the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, publishing short stories is a great career (and ego) boost for a writer.
Duotrope currently lists more than 7,000 fiction, poetry, and nonfiction markets. And that does not include the plethora of writing contest and anthologies. There are so many opportunities to get published. Not knowing where to submit should never hold you back. [Click to Tweet]
So with that said, here is a list of regularly updated newsletters, lists, and databases to help you find homes for your work.
A few more updates...