Archive for December, 2006

trepidation and excitement…

The new site is not quite finished, but the impatient five year old in me just wants to get it out there and see how things go. I’m not going to apron-wring for long – make a few excuses etc. about how busy its been, how there is no first chapter yet and how I’m still working out the finer details of plot/characters etc.

It is in a sense an online version of my note book, so some of the pages will seem a little garbled – it will make perfect sense to me though, so let me know if I start to lose a readable format. Or if I stop using english altogether…

There is one important thing to note though… the change of blog address! 

Re-adjust RSS readers/bookmarks accordingly – I’m moving the blog over to the domain. The aim is to tie it all together to make one community based (collaborative) writing/creative project. The blog will continue, but there will be much more posts related to the project.

As I said, not much more on yet – but it will grow, I hope, with as much help as I can find:

www.poetbloggs.net

full disclosure.

I was told a joke in September about writers procrastinating over their work. That every time they sit down to write they will remember something else that is ‘more important’ and leave the desk for a few hours.

At the outset of a project, especially a novel, you laugh this stuff off. But then it happens without you noticing. Once, is okay. Twice, forgivable. But what about three whole months?

The leaky tap in my bath is not important – but I spent three hours devising methods of fixing it. The way the steam from the kettle keeps making the bread go soggy, how is that worth forty-five minutes of my time?

But it was the two series of the West Wing in less than a fortnight that I watched that has me really worried. That’s a huge chunk of time lost to the Bartlett administration.

As a result I am developing a new method to get this project off the ground.
Continue reading ‘full disclosure.’

Problematic publishing

So you have decided your stance on how artistic influence can change the world (or not) and you have finished writing a poem (or twenty). Not just poems to be worked on, but pieces that you consider to be finished. What next? What do you do with them? Some of it is common sense, but it is frightening how often common sense is ignored.

I have been having increasing conversations with young writers (Poetbloggs included) about submitting work for publication. The primary fact about being published is that the work really does need to be finished. It needs to be the best that you can produce before you send it in to a magazine, newspaper or journal. ¬¬Don’t just dash off the first (or second, and rarely the third) draft of your piece in the mail with a cover letter to every editor you can think of.

Research the places that you are sending to. Do they stop accepting submissions over a certain period? Do they have a maximum word count? Or a maximum number of submissions?

If you can, read a previous edition of a publication and see what the editor likes. Do you fit into that category? Maybe make a list of the places you are most likely to fit into and send there first, but don’t stick too rigidly to the list either.

Most publications will have a limit of how much you can submit at any one time. 5 poems or 2 short stories for example. Don’t send an editor your entire first collection. They won’t read it. Best to send a select few that are most likely to suit an editors taste. (Personally speaking, don’t print your name and address on every page. It is messy to read, and I have always found it annoying. Your name is more than enough on each page)

Write a short cover letter to go with the submissions. Don’t ramble for 5 pages, be brief and to the point. Publishing is a business like any other and when you reach this stage of writing the creative side must take a back seat for a while. Give relevant information – i.e. where you have been published previously. An editor doesn’t want to read your midterm English results. Or your SAT scores. Or what you scored in an Oxford matriculation.

If you want, include a brief biographical note at the bottom of the page. This is not essential, if you are accepted the publication will contact you and request this before it goes to print. Do include your contact details on the cover note, see earlier comments on this.

Be patient after you have submitted. Some journals take over a year to respond. It doesn’t mean you are being ignored, it just means that they are understaffed.

Be prepared to get rejected. Repeatedly. It happens to everyone. Repeatedly. It is not a personal attack on your writing, it is rarely even a criticism of your work, it is simply an editorial decision. Editors are people, and people have specific tastes.

For each rejection letter, send out two new submissions. Send one to the publication that rejected you (preferably with new work) and send the rejected work to a different publication.

If your writing is good it will be published.
GF

Continue reading ‘Problematic publishing’