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Posts tagged ‘publishing’

New literary journal: Wild Apples

wildapplesWild Apples is a new literary/arts magazine being published by a group of amazing women–two of whom (artist Linda Hoffman and poet Susan Edwards Richmond) I interviewed for my book on creativity and motherhood.

Taking its name and inspiration from Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Wild Apples,” this twice-yearly arts and literary publication combines poetry and prose with the work of visual artists and photographers. Wild Apples brings together the work of artists and writers who are connected by the common threads of care for the environment, engagement in social concerns, and commitment to the arts and the ways they shape our world.

If you’re a writer, poet, artist, or photographer, check out the submission guidelines. Collaborative work is encouraged. More information is available at the Wild Apples website.

Miranda: Another perspective on rejection

Those of you who receive the Glimmer Train newsletter may have seen this already, but for everyone else, here’s a reassuring take on rejection from Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay it Forward among other novels. An excerpt from her article:

It might sound like dwelling on the negative if I say I received 122 short story rejections before my first acceptance. But, for writers just starting out, it’s important to hear. If you know I was rejected more than a thousand times while placing 50 stories, it might be hard for you to justify giving up after five printed slips….Just about every one of my rejected stories has gone on to be published. Without further revision. Some were rejected a handful of times. Others garnered over 50 rejections before finding a home.

Hyde offers several reassuring reasons for why submissions may be rejected. Her full article (it’s short) is online at Glimmer Train.

What’s your own personal quota on submitting before you “shelve” a piece? Five, ten, twenty–no limit? Personally, if a short story I wrote isn’t accepted or doesn’t place in a contest, I look at it again, revise, and send it on out. I like the feeling of having stories in the queue somewhere–sure, the chances of publication or winning are usually small, but it’s a numbers game. You certainly can’t sell or win if you’re not submitting. If you believe in what you wrote, keep it out there.

Suzanne: An Introduction

I’m an American living in Japan with my Japanese baseball coach husband and our eight-year-old twins. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. I’ve been writing stories and novels since childhood. This year – after five attempts at writing a novel – I have finally succeeded in publishing one. Losing Kei, my debut, completed in stolen hours at coffee shops and at the kitchen table while my family slept, was published in January.

Another project which I worked on simultaneously – an anthology entitled Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs – will be officially published next month. And coming up, in November, Topka Press will publish my first children’s picture book, Playing for Papa.

So it’s going to be a great year, and yet I still feel like I’m teetering on the edge of a career as a writer. It’s been two years since I finished writing my novel and the short story that will become a picture book. I’d expected to have another novel completed by now, especially since my children are now in elementary school. And the short story collection that was accepted for publication by a press that I admire is no longer accepted. The editor that I was working with died suddenly, and the press’s interest in my work died along with him. And what’s more, the publisher of my novel has sold his company. The new owners seem to have a different vision for the company, one that might not include me.

So this writing business, I’ve found, is a precarious one. There are infinite levels of failure. Yet I persist. I didn’t start writing for money or fame or adulation. I wrote because I love it. And I still do.

Having written five novels already, I know that I can go the distance and write another one. This month, the members of my writer’s group have committed ourselves to writing 10,000 words. As of today, I’ve completed 2,663 words on my novel-in-progress. Onward!

Brittany: Where’s the finish line?

Christa’s post last week left me with a lot to think about. I’m sure I had read it before, that authors are often judged on the basis of their debut novel’s sales, that depending on its success and failure, a career can be born or lost. I probably skimmed over that part in some guide book, thinking that it didn’t apply to me. But after Christa mentioned it, and I responded with a pollyanna-esque comment that now makes me cringe, I started to re-consider my point of view. Her concern is something that bears contemplation… which I have been doing nonstop ever since.

Since that post, I haven’t been able to write. I’ve been happy with my re-writes up to this point, but I wonder now if I’m as far ahead as I thought I was. Is my sparse writing style enough? Can I do better? The other big questions that spring to mind are when will I really be finished? And will I know I’m finished when I get there?

It’s ironic that my book is about home improvement when time and again I have likened the re-writing, re-editing, re-assessing process to the continual construction of the Winchester Mystery House. I think we can safely say that the “additions” to that house didn’t improve it in any way. I wonder about this as I tear apart my novel and try to reconstruct it into something better, something more functional. Am I simply making additions or am I actually making improvements?

I can see this going on indefinetely. The more I learn of the cut-throat behind-the-scenes business of the publishing industry, the more my fear grows that I’m never going to be finished. I was always the student who wanted to turn in my best work, but deadlines always loomed at school. Now there are no deadlines. I can tweak endlessly. And because I lack the experience to know when enough is enough, I might very well end up doing that.

So my question is to those of you who’ve declared your project finished and have gone on to see it published: How do you know when you’ve reached the finish line?

Christa: Confession time

I’m going to admit to something that I haven’t wanted to admit to myself for a long time: the reason for my creative funk, all my questioning and browbeating, is at heart a temper tantrum. Why? Because I didn’t get my way.

By now, I was “supposed to” have landed an agent. I really was convinced that my writing was good enough. Even though I knew it was certainly possible that it wouldn’t happen within six months, I didn’t really think it wouldn’t. I believed at least that I would get requests for fulls and that those would tide me over.

I did get those requests, but early on, and nothing since about Thanksgiving. While I’m aware there are other options in publishing (I’m looking at small presses), I’ve still found myself wondering: what’s really in store for my career? Is this really what’s meant for my life?

I hope not. Because the thought of not being a novelist really, really depresses me.

But here’s the other thing, the other part of this confession. What I was hoping for was to be a wunderkind. I’m turning 33 in a month, and I really just wanted to be “discovered” and published before I turned 40. I wanted this because no one has ever thought much of me (at least until I met my husband). I was “nothing special” for many years. Two teachers loved my writing, but my parents didn’t love it and my peers didn’t get it. I have always wanted to “prove” myself, even though none of those people will ever be satisfied.

An author gave me some advice a few years back that I’ve kept, and now that I’m in this position, her words mean a lot more to me than they did then: “There’s been a lot of discussions of youth/writing recently. But you know what? There’s absolutely no percentage to being a wunderkind because, eventually, they’re going to take the kind away and you’re going to have to be a wunder on your own. And, at the risk of sounding very, very vain, I’m fairly confident that there’s not a 30-something on the planet who can write a wiser book than I can. Better, more beautiful? Sure. But there are things we learn as life goes on that makes writing richer with each decade. So think about the life as part of the writing, and don’t beat yourself up.”

What elicited her advice? My fear, even then, that I wouldn’t get anything done because of my kids.

In many ways I’m in a better position now than I was then. I have a number of short story credits in good, reputable markets; I’m helping to edit a magazine. So I can’t say I’m still stuck in a rut, and that’s good. Meanwhile, like I wrote to Bethany, fiction is an intrinsic part of my sense of balance. For my own sake and that of my family, I need to continue to pursue it. Even if it’s only a few sentences a day. And that “wunderkind” thing? Well, maybe that’s my personal bar that needs to be lowered.

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