Wednesday, February 17, 2010

An Attempt to Be Helpful (hefty post)

EDIT: Adding another conference!

I'm going to indulge myself and preface this post by complaining. I'm having a bad, BAD spell of luck lately with my car. Yesterday, I had to run off the road to keep some jackhole from hitting me head-on. Scared the crap outta me, and made me wrench Hurt Wrist really badly.

This morning, fresh from a physical therapy session in which the therapist tells me to take it easy on the wrist for a few days, I get about 20 feet out of the parking lot when my car just DIES. Engine cuts off, power steering, brakes, etc. all go out. I had enough momentum to coast into a parking lot, where I then had to put the car in park and pull the emergency brake to actually come to a stop. Thankfully my father-in-law recently retired, so he was home and available to come to my rescue. We ended up having to call a tow-truck, and my car is now at the mechanic... F-I-L seems to think it could be a bad alternator. Who knows? All I can say is the car gods HATE me and Evan. We've had the worst luck with our cars the last year...

Anyway, I just got home about thirty minutes ago and am still trying to shake the chill of standing outside in 20-degree weather with 10mph wind sucking the life out of me.

Whining over now. (Woe is me.)

So for Christmas, Evan got me a subscription to The Writer magazine. I highly recommend it as a "trade" magazine for anyone interested in becoming a better writer, PLUS it has a classifieds/market section in each issue.

Some highlights from the March issue:

-Give your fiction focus (step by step advice)--7 steps to find and develop a theme which unifies all the elements of your tale.

-3 essentials for a successful screenplay

-6 ways to use character goals to draw in your readers

But what I'm going to write about today is this part: 59 U.S and Canadian markets, agents, and writing groups

Here is some advice from Ron Sandvik, the managing editor of the North American Review on submitting:
"Don't rely on blind simultaneous submissions," he says. "It's like setting up a machine gun during hunting season and hosing down the woods with lead. If your objective is to put a rabbit in your pot, then before hunting season begins, find our where the and drink beer."

He advises writer to research a few publications a day and read them! Make a list of 20 publications you'd like to appear in, then craft a personal cover letter for each one.

"The first paragraph should cite a specific piece and pay it a sincere compliment," he notes. "You're engaging with the text and publication. To find that someone's read my work and engaged with it, and wow, paid me a sincere compliment--you couldn't get to my heart quicker."

That may not work for everyone, but still something to consider. Two websites he suggests visiting when making your lists are:


I've just briefly looked at these sites, but they look amazing! I know I'll definitely be using them when I'm ready to start submitting.

Something else:

If you're like me, you vaguely know about associations for writers, but don't know about many other than SCBWI and RWA. The Writer includes a big ol' list of associations, so I thought I'd share! I might leave a couple out, just for the sake of typing all of this out, but I'll try to include the ones I think will have the widest appeal.


  • The Academy of American Poets ($35--2,500/year dues;
  • Association of Writers and Writing Programs (dues vary;
  • The Authors Guild: largest organization of published writers in the US--must have published a book or have published 3 articles in general-circulation periodicals in the prior 18 months. ($90/first year, sliding scale subsequently;
  • Canadian Authors Association ($157.50/year;
  • Electronically Published Internet Connection, EPIC: for published and contracted e-book and print authors, organized to advocate for electronic publishing ($30/year; 
  • International Women's Writing Guild ($45/year;
  • Mystery Writers of America ($95/year;
  • National Association of Women Writers, NAWW ($127/year;
  • The National League of American Pen Women, NLAPW (dues varied;
  • Romance Writers of America, RWA (dues vary by geographic location;
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, INC [SFWA]: open to any writer who has sold a work of sci-fi, fantasy, or horror to qualifying market. See website for details. ($60-100/year;
So maybe you'll find something you like!

Not done yet!
Next: Writer Events!


-AWP Annual Conference and Bookfair: Denver, April 7-10. Details at

-ASJA Writers Conference: New York, April 23-25. Details at

-Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: Ridgecrest, N.C., May 16-20. details at: writers

-Pennwriters Annual Conference: Lancaster, Penn. May 14-16. Keynote speakers James Rollins and Elizabeth Kahn! Details at

-Crossroads Writers Conference: Macon, Ga. Feb. 26-27. Registration $25 for students, $45 for non-students. Details at
    --Thanks Lainey, for this information! I won't be able to go this year, but it sounds awesome, and I see that Judith Ortiz Cofer is going to be there! She's a creative writing professor at UGA, and I've had the opportunity of hearing her speak before--she's amazing!

I've seen a lot of contests in the blogosphere lately, so here are a couple outside of the nets:

-The Nimrod Literary Awards: submit an unpublished short story up to 7,500 words and 3-10 pages of poetry. Deadline: April 30. Entry fee: $20. Prizes: $2,000/ $1,000 and publication in each category. 
Contact: Nimrod Journal, Literary Contest (Fiction or Poetry), The University of Tulsa, 800 S. Tucker Dr., Tulsa, OK 74104., 

-Wabash Prizes for Fiction: submit one story or a series of related short-shorts up to 10k words. Deadline: March 1. Entry fee: $15. Prizes: $1,000; publication in Sycamore Review. 
Contact: 2010 Wabash Prize for Fiction, Sycamore Review, Dept. of English, 500 Oval Drive, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907;; 

-Writers-Editors Network Writing Competition: features contests in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children's literature. See for details. 

-Glimmer Train: accepting short-story submissions now through end of month (March). See writing guidelines and make submissions online: Payment for stories accepted for print publication. $700-2,000. 

Well, hope that wasn't too boring. 

Let me know if this was helpful, and if you'd be interested in posts like this every once in a while (I get the magazine every month.) And if any of you end up doing anything from these opportunities, let me know!!  


Kimberly Franklin said...

First of all, I hope you wrist gets to feeling better and your car does too. Car problems suck!

Second, thanks for sharing all of this wonderful info. I'm going to check it out right now! : )

I hope you day gets better!!!

DL Hammons said...

I can feel your pain regarding car problems. I have a dead truck sitting in my driveway awaiting an appointment with the car doctor.

That is a lot of great info. I'll definitely make use of the association links (I was debating joining the Mystery Writers one) and the writing contests.


Shelley Sly said...

Ouch. I hope everything gets better for you!

Thank you for the useful resources, I appreciate it!

Tiffany Neal said...

Wow! You are like my little gold mine of information! Thanks for the great post today...I loved it. and I are on the same cosmic path to destruction. Bad luck seems to run in our veins. Maybe we should write a book about it...

Unknown said...

Yikes about your wrist how awful!!! And the car trouble I can relate, Trevor and I a year ago put well over $4,000 in our 2001 focus because we didn't have the money to buy a new car, and we thought it would only cost a few hundred dollars! Hang in there, one of these days it has to look up!

Love the info... I can't wait to check it out, and also figure out how to get my hands on this magazine!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thanks so much for the treasure trove of great info! I hope the wrist and the car problems both improve soon. :-)

Guinevere said...

That's a lot of great info! Thanks so much for this post (and yes, I'd love it if you did this every month).

Good luck with the car. My car died in a blizzard once, in the middle of a busy intersection (literally). And don't even get me started on how expensive the damn things are... I wish we had decent public transportation in America. *grumble grumble* /end tangent. Hope it all gets better ASAP!

Summer Frey said...

Cars blow! General consensus met. And yeah, Tiffany--we are both totally on the wrong cosmic path. Where's the off-ramp??

Glad that everyone liked this! I don't know how different the Marketplace will be each month, but I'll do my best to glean the useful tidbits!

Also, if you're ready to start querying and don't have a flippin' clue where to start, let me know! There's a bit ol' list of agents interested in acquisitions, too...

Ayleen from Pennwriters said...

Hi Summer,

Ayleen from Pennwriters here. Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning the conference. We're excited to have James Rollins kicking things off! While you can get info at the .org site, will have all the up-to-date stuff on classes and pitch sessions. Thanks again!

Dread Pirate Lainey said...

I am glad you are alright! Sorry to hear about the car.

I found this post very helpful and scurried for my notebook so I could write some of this down for future perusal!

I am especially going to check out some of those short story contests!

I am going to a writers conference next weekend in Macon the Crossroads Writer's Conference to be precise to be part of a steampunk in literature panel. You should check it out if you and Evan feel up to a road trip!

Sarah Ahiers said...

ugh i hear that about car issues. Both my sister and i got in very large car damaging accidents in the last year, after over a decade of never once having one before. Sigh.
Have you ever read Writer's Digest? I used to subscribe for a few years but then stopped when it seemed to get repeptetive. I'd like a new writing mag so i'd be interested to hear more about this one.