Monday, February 28, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World

Song of the Day: All I Do Is Win (Remix) by DJ Khaled feat. T-Pain,  Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Fabolous, et al.

   Hello all! Only one blog post last week! ***Hangs head*** It was an intense week and something had to give. Fear not, I've returned and with opportunities in hand. Read on. Oh, and by the way, the contest winners of my 100 Follower EXTRAVAGANZA are posted after the opportunities. Enjoy!


1. The Write of Spring Tweet Writing Contest has teamed up with Gotham Writers' Workshop for a tweet contest. They ask that you dazzle them with a piece of writing in 140 characters or less on any subject you choose. The piece can be poetry, fiction, or non-fiction. The winning tweet will be published in the next Gotham catalog and online at The winner will also receive a free 10-week writing workshop and a membership. Some of the leading entries will be posted on Gotham Writers twitter page. Entry is free and the deadline is April 24, 2011. Click the link below for more information.

2. National Grammar Day Short Story Contest

   That's right! The Grammar Girl is hosting a short story contest. The winner will have their short story read on the Grammar Girl podcast on National Grammar Day. The story will also appear on the Grammar Girl website. This is a fiction contest and stories should be 1000 words or less and somehow incorporate National Grammar Day or some other grammar theme. The contest is free and the deadline is February 28, 2011 (today!) I just found out about it but hey, the word count is low. Make it happen! Check out the website for official details.

3. The 33rd Nimrod Literary Awards

    Two contests: The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. The first place winner will receive a prize of $2,000 and publication and second place will receive a prize of $1,000 and publication. Poetry can be 3-10 pages (one long poem or several short) and fiction submissions should be 7,500 words or less. Entry fee is $20 and the deadline is April 30, 2011. All entrants will receive a one year subscription to the magazine. Click the link below for official guidelines.

The Black Fox Fiction Contest is still going on. We are also looking for flash fiction and poetry for weekly segments. Visit out website for more information.

And alas, my 100 Follower EXTRAVAGANZA winners! I just want to let everyone know how much I really appreciate your support. Thank you for reading my blog and entering my contest. I really wish I could give a prize to each of you, but sadly I'm no Oprah Winfrey! If I ever do become as rich as Oprah, you have my word that all of you will receive a prize! ;) The winners....

Amazon Gift Cards
$50 to Erinn from Something Else to Distract Me
$30 to Jolene Perry from Been Writing
$10 to Janet Johnson from Musings of a Children's Writer

Cupcakes in a Jar to be delivered:
Jenna Wallace from Writing in a Dreamstate
Pam Harris and Marquita Hockaday from Y(A)? Cuz We Write! 

I considered how you responded to the question asked, your tweets and your blog posts/sidebar additions. Please email me at with your addresses. Thanks to everyone who entered, and I'll be hosting more giveaways frequently so stay tuned! ;-)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- February 21, 2011

Song of the Day: Sisters Are Doing it for Themselves by Aretha Franklin & Annie Lenox

   Hello all! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I wanted to thank everyone who entered my 100 Follower Extravaganza. I'm really thankful so many of you took the time to enter. Also, thanks to the new followers as well! I'm going to take this week to go through all the entries and I'll announce the winners next Monday, Feb 28, 2011. The opportunities are short today, but you can all keep busy by taking advantage of one of the them.


1. Second Annual Normal Prize in Fiction, Non-Fiction, & Poetry

    The Normal School Literary Magazine is looking for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry submissions. Submissions must be 10,087 words or less (Poetry must not exceed five pages or five poems total). Previously unpublished work only. There is an entry fee of $20 and the contest deadline is March 4, 2011. A prize of $1000 will be given to one winner in each of the three categories mentioned above. For official details click the link below.

2. Florida Review Editor's Award

    Three prizes of $1,000 each is given annually to a work of fiction, a group of poems, or an essay. All entries will be considered for publication. There is an entry fee of $15 and the contest ends on February 28, 2011. With each entry fee comes a subscription to Florida Review. For more information visit the website.

Also, enter The Black Fox Fiction Contest going on now! We are also seeking poetry submissions for out weekly web features! Happy Writing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

AWP Recap #2 The Art of Rejection

Song of the Day: Yes or No by JoJo

    Hello all! As promised, I'm recapping some of the workshops from the 2011 AWP Conference. One of the best workshops was on the topic of rejection. This workshop made me look at rejection in a whole new light! For years I refused to submit my work because I wasn't "ready." It was only late last year that I began sending my work out (and minimally at that). One of my New Year's Resolutions is to be more aggressive in getting my work out there. Rejection is a part of the writer's process and it can actually have significant rewards and here's why.

   A panel (Diana Raab, Wendy Call, Kevin Morgan Watson, Geeta Kothari, Molly Peacock, and Philip F. Deaver) shared their experiences with rejection and how writers can use it to become better writers. Wendy Call's suggestions stuck out the most. She compiled a list of how rejections can help a writer.

Six Reasons Rejections Can Help You:

1. As people reject you, they're getting to know you. The more people that know your name the better off you are.

2. When a door closes somewhere in your writing universe, another can open. Keep putting yourself out there. You never know what will happen. If one person doesn't like your submission, someone else might.

3. Rejection tests your belief in yourself. Can you keep going? Will you keep going until your work is published?

4. Rejection is a sign you're headed in the right direction. Writers who always get accepted could be aiming to low. If you're getting rejections, it means that you're challenging yourself to be a better writer and a series of rejections can mean a shift. You're evolving and an acceptance could soon be on the horizon.

5. Rejection letters can be sign posts. This goes hand in hand with #4. Use it as markers on your journey. Once you begin to get acceptances, know that it's time to up the anty.

6. Rejections letters can help you meet your goal. You can set a goal for the number of submissions you want to send out. That way you're the boss and the goal is within your control.

Miscellaneous advice/comments from the panel:

  • There is a myth that writers have thick skin. The truth is no writer has thick skin. Rejections hurt. The trick is to not let the sun set on your rejections.
  • Persistence is key.
  • Get experience sending out your work as much as you can, it helps to ease the sting of rejection.

Last, I'm going to leave you with a quote that really resonated with me. "In the literary submission world, you just have to find your friend, you only need one."

How do you handle rejection? Has a series of rejections ever led to better opportunities for you?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- February 14, 2011

Song of the Day: Love All Over Me by Monica

    Hello all! It's my FAVORITE holiday today! HAPPY VALENTINE"S DAY! I hope everyone remembers that today is about ALL the love surrounding you, not just romantic love. Be thankful for the ones that love you! Love is in the air, and so are the opportunities. Take a look.


1. Operation Awesome- Agent Query Critique Contest

    I found this contest via twitter. If you haven't entered yet, get over to this blog NOW! There are a ton of prizes and all you have to do is be a follower and comment on the blog post with your genre. Entries should be in before next Monday, when the winners will be announced.
  • Agent Natalie Fischer and Agent Josh Getzler will read one query each.
The contributors of the blog will offer the following prizes:
  • A first chapter critique by Kristal
  • A query critique by Lindsay
  • A query critique by Katrina
  • A query critique by Michelle
  • A query critique by Kelly
  • A query critique by Amparo
What are you waiting for?

2. Back of the Book Contest

    Writers in the Storm Blog has an amazing contest going on. You write a blurb of 150 words or less that you think would entice readers/editor to purchase your book. The blurb must be for a completed manuscript. Four finalists will have the opportunity to have their blurbs posted on the website for everyone to see and the chance at getting in front of an acquiring editor. The final judge is Angela James, Executive Editor at Carina Press. For more information click the link below.

3. Washington Square Review Flash Fiction/Non-Fiction Award

    A prize of $200 and publication in the Washington Square Review will be awarded to a single work of flash fiction or non-fiction. Submissions must be 500 words or less. Contest deadline is Feb. 15, 2011. For official rules or to enter the contest please visit the website.

4. Packingtown Review Flash Fiction for Food Contest

    The Packingtown Review will award two prizes for works of flash fiction totaling no more than 800 words. First prize will be awarded a gift certificate to Fogo de Chao, publication in the Packingtown Review, and a Packingtown Review gift bag. Runner-up will receive publication on the Packingtown Review website and a gourmet gift basket. Entry fee is $5 and the deadline is February 15, 2011. Visit the website below for official rules.

Sorry for #3 and #4 being so last minute, but I just found out about them today, and I thought you all should know. My 100 FOLLOWER EXTRAVAGANZA is still going on! Enter by the end of the week, and you could win a gift card to $50, $30, or $10.

As always, The Black Fox Fiction Contest is going on now. We are also looking for submissions of flash fiction and poetry for a weekly web feature. Visit our site for details! Happy Writing!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

AWP Recap #1- Agents & Editors: Best Practices for Securing Publishing Partners

Song of the Day: Syrup and Honey by Duffy

   Hello all! In a panel led by Poets & Writers' editor, Mary Gannon, a series of questions were asked and editors and agents answered. The following is a recap of the questions asked and the combined responses of the agents and editors on the panel. The panel consisted of Julie Barer, Robert Lasner, Corrina Barsan, and Greg Michalson.

Is there anything an author can do to either help or hurt them before they are published?

  • It helps to know who your market is and have an idea of who you would like to publish your work.
  • Get Your Manuscript into the best possible shape it can be in.
  • Make sure you read what agents accept by visiting their websites and doing your research.
  • Watch what you post online (especially with respect to social media). You should always be putting your professional foot forward.
  • If you get published, remember this is a business.

When evaluating who to represent or what books to acquire, what do you consider?

  • Phenomenal Work. The quality of the work in most important.
  • Platform helps, but for fiction, it's about your work. You don't need to be previously published in a journal for example, in order for us to accept you.
  • What also helps is when an author shows that they want to do the work. Being published in a lit mag shows the agent and or editor that you've taken initiative with your career. It shows that you can push your work on your own. Lit mags also help agents and editors find you, and it's a good way to help get you used to rejections.

In terms of submission process, are there things that stand out to exhibit an author's professionalism?

  • Other than a misspelled editor's name? All fun and games aside, you don't have to use gimmicks if the work is good.
  • Practice with people including friends and family. Engage them and tell them about your book. Doing this will help you practice pitching.

Once a book is accepted what's the editorial process like?

  • Typically, an author will get an email saying congrats. Then we have to discuss when the book is going to come out (distribution is a complicated process). Sometimes we may think the book needs work. So we'll ask an author to do some editing. We'll also sit down and explain the publishing process and then we'll go over marketing.

Other Miscellaneous advice from the panel:

  • If your book needs editing then you must have the stamina to see it through the edits. You have to accept the possibility that you may need to go through four or five rounds of editing.
  • A good agent will help with all of the negotiating (that's why it's important to do your research).
  • The easiest way to change the publishing industry is to put your money where your mouth is. "You" are the target audience. Buy more short story collections if you want to sell your own and have a stronger market for them. Buy debut authors in hardcover. Prove to publishers that the business works. If you want people to buy your book, but you don't support other writers, why should anyone support you?
There it is! Hope there was some useful information in there for everyone!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- February 8, 2011

Song of the Day: Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat

    Hello all! If you know me at all, then you know that Valentines Day is my favorite holiday! I think like it because I'm a hopeless romantic, and I believe that you should celebrate all types of love, not just romantic love. Until the 15th the song of the day will be a love song (my favorite kind).
    I'm still coming down from the high of the 2011 AWP conference, but I'm so excited to be back home and I'm ready to get back to work (writing work that is!) Later this week, and next, I'll be sharing some of the things I learned at the conference. For now, here are the opportunities for this week.


1. Bellingham Review 2011 Short Forms Submissions

    The Bellingham Review seeks electronic submissions of flash fiction, prose poetry, and brief essays. There is no submission fee. I repeat, THERE IS NO SUBMISSION FEE! Writers are asked to submit no more than three pieces. The contest will run from January 1, 2011- April 15, 2011. For more information please click the link below.

 2. Vestal Review's Ten Years in Flash Fiction Contest

    Vestal Review is looking for Flash Fiction pieces for its flash fiction contest. First place will be awarded $100, Second place, $50, and third place will receive a signed copy of My Life At First Try by Mark Budman. All winners will be published in Vestal Review. The contest has an entry fee of $4 and a deadline of February 28, 2011. Visit their website for more information.

3. Diagram Innovative Fiction Contest

    One prize of 1,000 and publication in Diagram is given annually for an innovative short story. All entries are considered for publication. Writers may submit a story of up to 10,000 words with an entry fee of $15. The contest deadline is February 28, 2011. Click the link below for official details.

DON'T FORGET my 100 Follower Extravaganza is going on now! Enter to win 1 of 3 Amazon Gift Cards!

PLUS The Black Fox Fiction Contest is going on. Enter for your chance to win a prize of $100!

Happy Writing!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Checking In from AWP 2011

    Hello followers! I'm just checking in from the AWP conference. I don't have much time to blog. I actually decided to attend very last minute and didn't have time to put together any posts ahead of time. Right now I should be editing my manuscript since I have a submission due tomorrow, but here I am blogging, because I couldn't stay away from all of you!

    I'm having such a great time! I've met Joyce Carol Oates, who is my writer idol (like the picture?). What an inspiration she is. Hearing her today has been a big eye opener, and I've had just about a million revelations. I won't bore you with all of those, but let's just say I can't wait to get home and get to work. I've also met Sapphire and Mary Gaitskill, which was also a huge honor.

     The panels have also been great (well some of them anyway). I attended one this morning called "Race in the Creative Writing Workshop." It blew my mind. An African American student disclosed that her southern MFA program told her that they would not discuss her characters in workshop because of their ethnicity! I can't believe things like that are still going on. I was glad I chose that one because I learned so much in just an hour and fifteen minutes.

       I also attended a workshop where editors and agents shared the best practices for securing publishing partners and another today on the art of rejection. I'll be posting the scoop on both of those next week.

      I feel so lucky to be here, and it's so humbling to be in the presence of such great writers. This conference has rejuvenated me after being rejected quite a bit in the past couple of weeks and has left me hopeful and ready to continue to put in work for my writing. If anything, I have realized that I want to be the best. I won't settle for being mediocre. I'm not trying to sound pompous, but I want to be the best that I can be. I want to be on top and don't we all? Let this serve as my official announcement to the universe. I won't rest until I make it. :)

Also, I just realized I forgot to put a deadline on the contest. It will close on February 18, 2011 11:59 pm. I'll go back and add that to the post.