Saturday, February 21, 2015

February 2014: Be Fearless-Submit Your Work

   Every writer needs to submit his or her work to literary contests, magazines, collections, etc. There are multiple advantages to this exercise. Some submission opportunities send back your work with comments. Most of them, like publishing houses, don't let you know what they thought about your work. This is why you need to submit. It teaches you how to move on.

Before you press the "Submit" key or place the document in the mail. Double and triple check the "Submission Guidelines."
  • Before sending your entry, make sure the submission is free of typos, grammatical errors, and is formatted as instructed.
  • Following the submission guidelines is critical to helping you get your document into the hands of the gatekeeper. If you didn't format the document correctly, you are deducted for your inability to follow directions. Font size, type, line spacing are not your choice, following the guidelines are not negotiable.
  • Formatting a cover sheet and numbering pages is among the most formatting requests.
  • Submitting the entry by email (make sure you check the "url" multiple times)You WANT TO  to send the submission to the correct address. If snail mail is an option, be sure you get the envelope postmarked. This demonstrates you posted your entry on time.
Submissions are needed to start a portfolio of printed material. Publishers and agents are interested in what you have done as a writer. If you are self-publishing, submission are another way to develop potential readers. When you submit writings, look for opportunities that help give you exposure in the genre or demographic you are writing your book.

Writing is a job. It is a business if you intend to publish. Today's writers must build an audience while they scribe the next big "thing." It is a lot of work.

Writers who submit work learn to deal with the joy of recognition and the sorrow of rejection. It toughens one's commitment to his or her craft. It doesn't matter if you write prose or poetry, you must seek venues to try to publish your work.

How do you find these opportunities to let the world know you are writing your heart out? There are several places to start researching. First your local writers' group and organizations offer writing contests. State and local government Art Council newsletters advertise opportunities for submitting original work.

Of course, thousands of websites provide submission opportunities, cu Caution: Make sure the site is legitimate and not a scam. You need to be judicious in choosing sites.

 Below are my some favorite sites that prune out the scams as well as one can in this day and age.

Winning Writers - This site is free, but advises you to subscribe.

WOW-Women on Writing -This site offers quarterly contest with a low entry fee and for an small additional fee you receive a critique about  your submission.

Writer's Digest. com This site is available to all. Some offers are for members only while others are available to the public.

PoetsandWriters This group has an online subscription newsletter. It also has a great magazine for the poet in all of us. Click on the headings to see opportunities for submissions.

The Glimmer Train This site is free, but advise you to subscribe.

The Writers' Life   This site not only post contest it also post all types of news about writing.

Remember: When you release your story or poem it must be your very best effort.

Please add your favorite site to find opportunities for submissions in the comment section.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February 2014: Be Fearless-Form A Critique Groups

      Every writer is in love with his or her ideas, but forming or joining a critique group gives dimension to a writer's work. It also pulls the writer out of solitary mode.
      Analyzing and assessing another writer's work is a privilege. Another creative individual entrusts you to read their work and give them feedback. The information you the writer is dependant on the parameters of the critique group. "Parameters" is the key word.
      Before you enter a critique group, read a document, consent to proofreading a paper or editing a manuscript, you need to draw up boundaries and limits to your review with your group or an individual. This step is important because it creates conversation between the writers who are in this group." This discussion defines the object of the author's writing and clarifies the type of critique being entrusted to you.
      A successful critique group depends on a set of rules established by its members. This is a difficult hurdle. The objectives, schedule, and size of group needs to be established.
  • Step 1 - Introductions: Ask each potential member to not only to state their name. Ask each participant what is their work in progress (WIP).
  • Step 2 - Objective: Ask each attendee what they see as the end product or result of an authors' critique group.
  • Step 3 - Schedule: Establish whether members want to meet weekly, bi-weekly, monthly.  What time of the day? Where to meet?  Will there be food?
  • Step 4 - Size: The commitment, contributions, and the quality of critiques have a correlation to the size of the group. Potential members need to know that they need to show up and be prepared to participate.
  • Step 5  - Processes: How many pages to read and review by each member? Will members submit prior to the meeting in a community drop box or cloud? This interaction also evaluates the groups technology levels. 
  • Step 6 - Legal Form: This is a tricky subject. Some critique groups (particularly online groups) ask participants to sign forms stating they will not plagiarize any one's work.  It may seem harsh, but it depends on who is in your group. It is wise to know your candidates prior to the first meeting.
  • Step 6 - Critique Group Leader: Is it organic? Does the person who calls the first meeting becomes the leader or does the position rotate?
      Yes, it is an agenda. It doesn't have to be your agenda. The first meeting has to set a tone of professionalism, after that your group will take on its own life and personality.
       Be fearless, find like minded writers. CAUTION: Your group may not look like you. Members may not write the same genre as you, but don't think you failed. It is in the diversity of the group that richness blooms and ideas abound.

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