And the Versatile Blogger Award Goes To…

Me!  And many other lovely people.  First is was bestowed upon Katy and her blog The Storytelling Nomad and now she has shared it with twelve other bloggers,, myself included.  Thanks Katy!  My impression is that it’s like those chain letters we use to tape to our friends doors when we were in elementary school with threats of never-ending bad luck and potential fatality if we did not photocopy and distribute copies to a handful of other friends. Do you remember doing this?  I used to LOVE playing that game.  Anyway, I digress.

There are four simple rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:

  • Post a link to the person who gave you the award.
  • Tell your readers seven random things about yourself.
  • Award 15 newly discovered blogs.
  • Send them a note letting them know you nominated them.

Seven Random Things About Myself:

  1. I’m obsessed with the pattern plaid.  Seriously.  Even if it’s the ugliest object ever, if it’s covered in plaid I will mostly likely buy it unless reasoned with.  I was even given a roll of plaid duck tape for Christmas one year.
  2. On the topic of Christmas, I still write a letter to Santa with my younger sister every year.  We include a postscript to the reindeer, a plate of cookies, and carrots.  I don’t have much excuse–my younger sister is fifteen.
  3. Instead of “crap” I shout out “crumbs” when I am frustrated and am in need of a satisfying exploitative.
  4. I think 6-inch-heels are comfortable.  And I’ve never twisted my ankle wearing them.
  5. My favorite place in the world to visit is Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ.  It’s the only place in the world where you can hunt for Cape May Diamonds.
  6. I can crack my hip joints on command.  Yeah, kinda gross to hear.
  7. I’m obsessed with family history and I make family members repeat stories and spell-out people’s names in old photographs in albums until they’re sick of me.  Ancestry.com is my new best friend and I spend way too much time on the website trying to find clues in the census records.

Nine Newly Discovered Blogs:

  1. After I Quit My Day Job is the blog of a funny Philadelphia-based writer, which makes me happy.  I feel like Philadelphia is a forgotten, empty, an non-creative city sometimes.  The blog was listed on the writing tag page earlier this week and it’s where I learned about skirt.com. Read Kat’s essay, Adventures in (M)anthropology, there.
  2. Publishing Lane is all about Samantha, who just graduated from college, got up and moved to New York City with the expressed intention of breaking into publishing.  Read to find out if she was successful!
  3. Switzy Thoughts is a really lovely writing blog I recently fell in love with.  I’m so happy every time she posts.
  4. Most of the blogs I follow are Tumblrs, so I’m just going to provide the link to the one that is most like a blog in that it is text-heavy rather than picture heavy.  Louisa May Today started in NYC, traveled to Seattle, and is now back home in Sydney, Australia.  Definitely worth backtracking and reading the archives.  If you don’t think it’s funny then you don’t have a soul.
  5. The Book Nook is a book review blog, covering mostly (and awesomely!) chick lit.  I just discovered this friend and this blog and love both :]
  6. Mr. Micawber Enters the Internet is the experiment of an independent bookstore owner who is posting lists of other indie bookstore owner’s favorite books of all time.  There is a new list every few days and it’s a great way to get some recommended reading from the best readers there are.
  7. Wish You Were Here is the beautiful personal blog of a writer talking about writing, mothering, running, cooking, and managing bouts of anxiety/depression.
  8. In their own words, Let the Words Flow “want[s] to get the word out about FictionPress authors who are breaking into the Real World of Publishing, and we want to be a source for new and young writers who don’t know anything about Publishing and need a friend to guide them through it.”
  9. Lily White LeFevre is another writing blog (noticing a theme here?) which I am very fond of.  Mostly writes about the composition process surrounding novels and full-length manuscripts

I know I’m breaking the original rules but I haven’t discovered any other new blogs as of late.  As soon as I fall in love with six more blogs at first sight, you’ll be the first to know.  Promise.  But while you’re waiting, how about you check out the blogs above?

Poor Choices: Posting Your Book on Your Blog

Should you post your book chapters on your blog?  This is a constant point of debate for bloggers and there are two loyal camps who constantly battle over it.  Every time I stumble across another blog pondering the idea, I reiterate my points and I figured that I would announce them once and for all right here:

In my opinion, you’re undermining yourself, your book’s opportunities, and your writing career if you publish your book on your website.  Same goes for short stories and poems–especially for the shorter content.  Why?  Because first publication rights are a Big Deal.

Though blogs are great, unless it’s super popular, it won’t get the writer as much exposure as getting published in an online literary journal or magazine would. That’s the great thing about online publications: it’s still online, but has an already established audience of avid readers, probably has better SEO than your personal blog, and you might even get paid a bit.

I’ve interned for a couple different publications and it’s always so sad when the writer includes a link to their work and you find out that their poem was already previously posted on a blog, website, or facebook. It ultimately disqualifies them from publication. First publication rights are valuable so I believe in being careful and strategic where you use them. Use them wherever their best for your writing career.

Concerning books and chapters though? Never publish them online first, in my opinion, unless you know from the outset that you’re going to self-publish in other venues (kindle, Nook’s PubIt). The publishing houses won’t be interested.

And just so you know: NEVER EVER POST YOUR WORK ON FACEBOOK!  Have you read the fine print?  You post it and they own it.

Do you agree?  Disagree?  Is there a particular benefit that you feel outweighs the potential harms?

4 Things You Should Do While Waiting for Your Million Dollar Book Deal

It is NOT procrastinating.  Cross my heart and swear.  All of the following steps are acts of harvesting material to inspire your brain.  You can’t circle the same ideas in your head all the time.  Your writing will start looking like dirty dish water.  Or laundry water.   So go experience something different to help your writing!

1.  Read:

There was an excellent article over at Let the Words Flow about macro showing, micro showing, and telling in your writing.

The Intern posted a really beautiful metaphor about whoopie-pies and elephants and becoming the whoopie-pie queen while leaving other fun opportunities behind (I want to be the Queen of Whoopie pies, officially!)  Would you rather be the Royal of Delicious Baked Goods or the Royal of Nothing in particular?  It kind of reminds me of a Would You Rather question I got asked earlier this week:  would you rather be a published author who everyone in the world hated (except your blood-relatives) or would you rather be unsuccessful, not a very talented writer, and loved by everyone?  What’s your personal choice?

2.  Follow New Blogs (or Tumblrs):

If you’re 20 something and not following the new and hilarious “FUCK! i’m in my twenties” tumblr, you should be ashamed of yourself and trot over there immediately.  As my friend says, (check out her hilarious tumblr “Snark Attack” too!) the blog is a constant doodle of our lives.  Also, I recommend distracting yourself from writing by reading Louisa May Today because it kind of makes my life.  Fair warning, she’s not currently accepting interns.

3.  Watch TV:

I am really enjoying the new Franklin & Bash television show.  I don’t have a TV in the dorm so I’m watching all the episodes online.  Lemmy just tell you, I must really like the show because every 25 minutes or so NYU kicks me off the wireless, I have to re-sign-in, and then wait through all the commercials again.  It takes commitment to deal with that pain in the butt process.

4.  Research New Places to Submit Your Writing To:

Being my silly self, I completely forgot about New Pages the other day, the one-stop-shop for discovering new literary journals.  Go discover!

The Plan

Welcome to The (Writer’s) Waiting Room!  As anyone who’s ever gotten stuck in a real life doctor’s waiting room with nothing good to read knows, the wait can turn into a vortex of wasted, unproductive time.  It’s boring.  And, unless you want to make friends with that guy in the corner who might–definitely, probably–have swine flu, it’s lonely too.

One of the main activities for writers is waiting:  waiting to hear back from that magazine, journal, literary agent, publisher.  As soon as we send out a submission or query letter, we set up camp in a new, torturous waiting room.  If you’re really serious about writing, you’ve sent out materials to multiple places, constructing multiple waiting rooms.

Sometimes you know it’s going to 6-8 weeks.  But, more often than not, you don’t even know how long the wait is going to be.  It gets to the point that you don’t even care if there’s a slew of rejection letters waiting for you in the mailbox (or email), you just want to hear back from somebody–anybody–who has read your work.

The question becomes how do you distract yourself in the meantime.  And the answer is…

Wait for it.

[…]

This blog!

I’m designing the (Writer’s) Waiting Room to keep you company while you wait.  I’ll provide as much information as I can about how long the wait is for specific publications, offer information about other journals and contests you should simultaneously submit to (stay productive!), and post links to other blogs, articles, and publishing trends that can help improve your craft, your submission tactics, and encourage you to keep writing while you wait!

What to Expect:

Slow Sundays: on the one day of the week with no mail delivery (and the highly unlikely chance of a journal sending out an email) I’ll tally up how long I’ve been waiting for certain journals to get back to me.  And I’ll encourage you to chime in if you’ve submitted to the same journals and contribute to the statistics for how long the average wait-time is.

New Magazine Mondays:  starting out the week fresh, I’ll give a little bio on a small journal accepting submissions.  If you have a short story that fits the bill, submit there!  I’ll also try to stick to journals I’ve personally submitted to so I can provide the expected wait time.

Writer’s Wednesdays:  discussions on and links to articles and blog posts that writers should read.  Hopefully some inspire you and it’ll be a good kick-off to give you some things to do the rest of your week.

Why Should Anybody Listen to Me?

I’m a writer.  For those of you who need to know my credentials to trust me, I have work published or forthcoming in Inside Pennsylvania, The Stillwater Review, The Honors Review (available for viewing at http://honorsreview.wordpress.com/current/), and I recently won 2nd place in The Baltimore Review Creative Non-Fiction Contest.  By no stretch of the imagination am I claiming to be an awesome guru or a well-published role model, but I love writing and I’m serious about submitting my work.  With my excessive amount of submissions to various journals, I believe that I’ve scouted out a portion of the publishing market pretty well and I want to share what I’ve learned.  At the very least, you can find out how long you might have to wait based upon my personal experience.  Maybe it’s because we’re embarrassed about rejections, but I don’t think writers share this sort of information enough and I want to change that.  So I encourage you to comment on my posts and share how long you’ve had to wait for responses (you don’t have to admit if it was acceptance or rejection, don’t worry!)

So, my main campaign is to keep busy while you wait.

Tune in if you want to join The (Writer’s) Waiting Room and stop waiting alone.