Monday, January 12, 2009

discussion question #1

I recently responded with enthusiasm to a friend on FaceBook who said he was about to teach a course in creative non-fiction. I asked him if he would be talking about creative non-fiction markets, which can be hard to find.

A friend of his, who is also a widely published writer of creative non-fiction, responded to my comment by saying, "Serious writing is not about markets."

What do you think? Can you be a serious writer and still concern yourself with who is going to be buying, selling or reading your stories, essays, novels or poems? Does an eye on audience affect your writing--either negatively or positively?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Use competitons as deadlines

Find short-story, flash fiction or even novel competitions and commit to entering them. They provide invaluable deadlines and offer the additional advantage of keeping the manuscript you have submitted off your desk for weeks or even months.

By the time you learn that you didn't win the competition, you will be ready to revisit your submission with a fresh eye. Your edits will improve it, and you will have a piece of fiction ready for submission elsewhere.

And if you do win... well, that is always a nice thing, too.

Note: Many writing competitions now include entry fees. If these fees seem to be appropriate -- a reasonable sum to cover administration costs and an honorarium for judges--don't let them discourage you from entering. More and more literary journals are using such contests to help defray operating costs, which makes good sense. In most cases the fee will cover a copy of the journal or a one-year subscription in addition to the opportunity to enter. The key word here is "appropriate." Some competitions charge excessively and their only purpose is to make money for the organizers. Caveat emptor.