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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Loving and Hating Rejection Letters


I'm sharing with you an example of the kind of rejection every author wants to get--with a reservation (of course!) 

Still, I’m hugely grateful for it and happy to put myself on the line so you may benefit from it, too.  It is a rarity among the finer and more established literary journals in the world. 

Most journals send canned rejections. But if you watch for clues, you can tell which submissions will reap the most benefit.  As an example, sometimes they offer a subscription to their journal with your entry fee.  Some say you will get input from the judges. And some, like Missouri Review, send you rejections that make you feel good instead of lousy!  Keep reading for info on one of their contests! 

But back to the rejection and my not-so-grateful reaction to it:


From: Missouri Review <submissions@missourireview.org>
Date: February 9, 2016 at 9:37:43 AM PST
To:
hojonews@aol.com
Subject: Your submission to Missouri Review
Dear Carolyn Howard-Johnson,

Thank you for sending us "The True Big Bass Story".

This is a delightful story with a great grasp of narrative movement, plot, and strong insights on the world of journalism.

Unfortunately this particular piece was not a right fit for Missouri Review, but we were very impressed by your writing. We hope that you will feel encouraged by this short note and send us something else.

We look forward to reading more.

Sincerely,

The Editors of Missouri Review

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We’re awarding a $1,000 first prize in Prose, Poetry, Audio Documentary and Humor categories in our 9th Annual Miller Audio Prize audio competition. Send us your entries by March 15, 2016.


The only additional thing I could have asked for (would it be presumptuous of me to ask?) is, why would a story with bigotry as a theme be “not right” for a literary journal in a state that still harbors much bigotry—and don’t all journals (states) fall into that category? 

I guess I am like everyone else. I'd rather get an acceptance in my e-mail box. 


Happy submitting!


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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Thursday, April 14, 2016

F. Scott Fitzgerald Almost Made a Booboo You Can Avoid

This is short and it's a recycled  tip from my SharingwithWriters newsletter, but I couldn't resist sending it to subscribers and visitor to this blog because it's a reminder that even great writers can make dreadful mistakes--but for wives. Ahem!  

After F. Scott Fitzgerald’s editor and his wife Zelda warned him against using an obscure reference to a first century Roman fiction as his title (“Timalchio in West Egg”) he changed it to The Great Gatsby. This bit of information comes with a reminder to take another look at your own title; does it do what you’d like it to? 
PS: You can subscribe to my newsletter at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. There is a subscription box in the upper right corner of most every page! 
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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Friday, April 08, 2016

Prodigious Audio Publisher Shares Audio Books, Tips

My psychological thriller, The Prodigal Son, is now available as an audio book on iTunes and Audible via Amazon.com
The Prodigal Son is a story about a teenager's refusal to attend school which leads to criminal charges against his parents and disastrous consequences for him. His parent's recent divorce, his father's hasty remarriage, his brother's leaving for college leave Andrew Tibbet in a desperate whirlwind of emotions. Using revenge as his weapon of choice Andrew sets out to destroy his family emotionally and financially. Psychologist, Allyson Freemont, comes to understand the boy's anger and frustration when she learns the disturbing truth about what's been happening behind closed doors.
If you enjoy listening to books, contact me for a FREE coupon for The Prodigal Son. I'd like to hear from you. (Limited time.) 
You can find The Prodigal Son here Amazon.com/dp/B01BPGJNQO
In addition to The Prodigal Son, I've now published five other audio books all via ACX. They can be found here:
Suffer the Little Children 
Amazon.com/dp/B01369MDYC

Sins of the Father 
Amazon.com/dp/B016LH0XOI

Amazing Grace
Amazon.com/dp/B01974PXLU

'Tis Herself: Short Story Collection
Amazon.com/dp/B00VU39JSA

Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony 
Amazon.com/dp/B00HYO5X98

I do a 50/50 royalty deal with the narrator. This does not cost me any money up front and it also opens up an entirely new source of contacts. The narrators have their own network and are eager to promote the audio book to earn royalties and to grow their talents with more and more exposure within their theatrical world.
Audio books are my biggest sales revenue. The audience is a smaller but these folks are eager to find new books in audio format. Not too many authors publish audio books, thus, there is less competition for those of those of us who do.
It's an easy process via ACX (Audio Creation Exchange) and it's FREE. 
Find them at http://ACX.com .
Please tell your SWW subscribers to give it a try ~
--

~  Valerie Allen  ~
                                                ValerieAllenWriter.com                                                    VAllenWriter@cs.com

The Prodigal Son
Amazing Grace
Sins of the Father
Suffer The Little Children
'Tis Herself: Short Story Volume One
Summer School for Smarties
Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends
Write, Publish, Sell! 2 ed
Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony

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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Monday, March 28, 2016

Valerie Allen Shares Book Cover and Spine Essentials

Book Covers and Spines
by
Valerie Allen

The front cover can sell your book. It must invite the readers’ attention, encourage them to select your book, get them to hold it in their hands, move them to flip through the pages, and help them decide to buy. A daunting task!
Browse in bookstores, and observe patrons as they scan a book cover. How long do they view the cover before placing the book back on the shelf or carrying it to the checkout? Research shows it is about 30 seconds or less.
     The front cover must be clear and convey the theme of your book. A non-fiction book cover is usually straightforward information and often has a sub-title to provide more details.
A fiction title can be misleading; for this reason, the book cover is even more important to convey the story concept.
The two most prominent parts of your book cover are the book title and your name. The title should be easily read from a distance of three feet.
     The cover of your book is the first step in getting a buyer’s attention. Unless you are an expert in graphics or photography, it is well worth your time and money to hire a professional to design your book cover or allow the publisher to do so.
If your book passes the front cover test, the reader will turn the book over to scan the back cover. This is a good sign.
The back cover should continue the color scheme and story theme/summary. It should have the book title, your name, reviews or quotes. Additionally, the back cover displays the ISBN, price, and bar code.
Also, the back cover is the place to add something significant about yourself, your experience and your credentials to boost your credibility as an author. Such phrases as, award- winning, multi-published, or popular speaker, will add credibility.
The back cover is the place for your photo. Unless it's a memoir, use a current picture. The background in the photo can lend itself to further you or your book’s theme. Do not date yourself with clothing, jewelry, or hairstyle.
     Books with the front cover facing out on the display attract more attention, however, most books are shelved spine out toward the prospective buyer. The wider the spine, the easier it is to read. The spine should have the book title, your name, and the publisher’s name.
     When designing the outer parts of your book, remember, white space sells. It’s easier for the reader to find details about you and your book if the information is widely spaced. Use a standard font for easy reading.

~ ~ ~

MORE ABOUT TODAY'S GUEST BLOGGER

Valerie Allen, psychologist, author, playwright, and speaker, writes fiction, non-fiction, plays,  and children's books. She is a popular speaker at writer's conferences, libraries, and community events using her book: Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged 2nd Edition. She is also co-founder of Authors for Authors, which sponsors book fairs, book launches, book displays, and writing seminars for new and experienced writers.
            Valerie Allen can be contacted via FB ValerieAllenWriter, Twitter, VAllenWriter@cs.com or ValerieAllenWriter.com.


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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Young Poets Lauded by Tim Green and Rattle Young Poets Anthology

I am a subscriber to Rattle's frequent poem threads. One of them includes poems from young people and like Tim Green, Editor of the prestigious poetry journal Rattle, I finid I learn as much from the poetry (and techniques!) of the young people as from the accomplished poetry of his adult contributors. Tim agreed to be a SharingwithWriters guest today and I hope you will share the information here with any young poets you know--or sites for children's literature like ReadingTub, http://thereadingtub.com. Find links below to learn more about Tim and his Rattle Young Poets Anthology.   

Young Poets Have Lessons for Us All

By Timothy Green

For our children, summer means trips to the beach, barbecues, and long stretches of glorious boredom. School is out, the days are long, and the possibilities endless. For this poetry editor, summer vacation also serves as a break from publishing adults, focusing instead on children, as I work to compile the annual Rattle Young Poets Anthology. With the help of their parents and teachers, thousands of children age 15 and younger share work with us each year. Listening to their voices is as soothing as ice cream on a hot day.

When most people think of “children’s poetry,” they think of poems written by adults for kids—they think of Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss. They don’t think of children themselves as poets, and it’s very difficult to find any anthologies of poems written in the other direction, by children for adults. That’s unfortunate, because, as I’ve quickly learned, children are absolutely brilliant wordsmiths.

This shouldn’t be so surprising. The early years of language development are magical. No other time In life is full of such wonder, such imagination, and such playfulness. Young poets don’t write out of habit; they haven’t yet learned how to be cliché. They write with a natural spontaneity that adults have to work hard to achieve. “The cents of a penny/ is less than your love,” writes Zoey Sheffield, age 6. Lines like these seem as effortless as they are abundant.  

There’s more to young poets’ work than just the strange and beautiful ways that they construct language, though. Children are writing about most of the things that adults do, with a depth of understanding and attentiveness that deserves more respect than it’s usually given. Eight-year-olds are responding to climate change. Eleven-year-olds are trying to processes the graphic terrorism of ISIS. Four-year-olds are thinking about their parents’ struggles with anxiety and depression.

Until I started reading these poems, I never realized how rich and complex the interior lives of children really are. Consider this short poem by Briar Sprungin, age 8, and the level of emotion it captures:

The Woman

I was racing down the stairs,
a woman of white caught my eye.
She had two braids down to her toes.
She was mumbling something.
I asked if I could help her
but she didn’t say a word.
Then she whispered in my ear,
“Survive,” and disappeared.

It turns out that children are also great teachers of poetry, of what poetry is, and what it can be. In compiling these anthologies, we ask the young poets why they love poetry, and their answers provide some of the best insights I’ve found.

“I think of poetry as an art to transfer our thoughts about the world or imagination that lives around us onto paper,” writes New Zealand’s E. Wen Wong, then age 11, “[O]ur minds are search engines constantly producing ideas to make an impact on the world, whether it is big or small.”

Madeline McEwen, also age 11, says that poetry “gives us beauty even when the world seems ugly.”

Meanwhile, 7-year-old Cody Dane likes “making new rhymes,” and has the profound realization that “you can learn more when you’re rhyming.” His contribution to the 2015 anthology is this three-word poem that would make any concrete minimalist proud, exploring the way perception becomes awareness (through rhyme):

My Cat

Fur

Purr

Her

In a conversation with Rattle many years ago, Pulitzer Prize-winner Sharon Olds remarked that “There isn’t a bad poet in the 1st grade.” The most amazing thing that I’ve learned in editing this anthology is just how true that statement is. The thousands of poems that we receive for the anthology every year are but a tiny fraction of what is produced. Everywhere in the world, from the Inland Empire to Africa to Singapore, children are writing moving and memorable poetry—doodling with words for classes or for fun, but making so much more than refrigerator art.


These are small but powerful voices—we only have to listen and learn. 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE YOUNG POET'S ANTHOLOGY, RATTLE AND TIM GREEN
Timothy Green
Editor / Rattle
12411 Ventura Blvd / Studio City, CA 91604
tim@rattle.com / www.rattle.com

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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .