This is an idea whose time has come: A brick-and-mortar bookstore for self-published authors.

Essentially, it's a coop. Each writer pitches in enough per month to pay for rent and overhead. How cool is that? I'd like to see this model in other parts of the country where tourists gather. (Or where people are still accustomed to reading print.)

Take a look at the Gulf Coast Bookstore's website. It's inspiring.

(And you know what else a few dedicated self-published authors could do? Form a coop publishing company. We really need to stop going it alone.)

First Bookstore Dedicated to Self-Published Authors Opens in Florida

By Judith Rosen, Publishers Weekly

Frustrated by a lack of opportunity to display and sell their work, self-published children’s author and illustrator Patti Brassard Jefferson and history author Timothy Jacobs decided to create a bookstore of their own, Gulf Coast Bookstore, and to only sell books by indie authors.

“It’s just hard to compete with Stephen King or Dan Brown in a mega-bookstore that has tens of thousands of books for sale,” says Jacobs. 

Although Jacobs came up with the idea for a bookstore that would showcase indie authors a few years ago, he and Jefferson didn’t act on it until recently. When a space became available in downtown Fort Myers, Fla., last month, the store came together quickly. On April 1, the pair held a soft opening for Gulf Coast; the grand opening followed on April 10.

Gulf Coast operates very differently from a traditional bookstore chain or independent. Self-published authors rent shelf space for three months for $60, plus a $15 set-up fee, close to what they might spend to exhibit a single title at a day-long book fair. They also handle stocking and restocking. In return, the authors receive 100% of every sale rather than 40% from a bookstore that sells their books on consignment. 

The reason Jefferson and Jacobs can afford to give authors such a high percentage of sales is that they are operating what Jacobs describes as “pretty much a self-sufficiently run bookstore.” Butterfly Estates handles sales and credit-card processing and runs a weekly sales report. “If we had to do this as a standalone on our own,” adds Jefferson, “we’d have to have staff and pay for utilities.”

Jefferson and Jacobs rearrange inventory every two weeks to keep the space fresh. There is no curation of authors. According to Jefferson, the only criteria is “they have to be local.” She and Jacobs also cap the number of titles in any particular genre the store carries at six. Children’s books filled up first for the initial inventory. Other areas represented include education, fantasy, local history, and memoir. 

Each writer—currently there are 37 with another 16 authors to be added on May 1—can display 10 copies of a single title or up to 10 titles with one copy each. Authors can also place bookmarks, business cards, or brochures about their work on shelves.

Read more HERE.

You have much to gain from entering writing contests. If you win, your chances of getting published increase exponentially. And if the contest is free, what have you got to lose?

Crucible: Poetry and Fiction Competition is sponsored by the Barton College Department of English. Genres: Fiction (limited to 8,000 words or less) and poetry (limited to five poems). Restrictions: All work must be original and unpublished. Prizes: $150.00 First Prize. $100.00 Second Prize. Publication in the CrucibleDeadline: May 1, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

The Society for Humanistic Anthropology Fiction CompetitionGenre: Stories that relate to the four fields of anthropology. Restrictions: Stories should not exceed 20 pages typed double-spaced. There is a limit of one story submission per applicant. Prize: The first place story will be published in the Society’s journal, Anthropology and Humanism. The first place winner(s) will receive a certificate and award of $100. Deadline: May 1, 2015. Read guidelines HERE. (Scroll down the page.)

Grant MacEwan Creative Writing Scholarship is sponsored by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Genres: Poetry, Short Fiction & Creative Nonfiction, Drama, or Graphic Novel. Restrictions: Authors must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate creative writing program of study or mentorship. (Max age 25) Alberta residents only. Prize: $5000 (CAN). Deadline: May 1, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Polari First Book PrizeGenres: The prize is for a first book which explores the LGBT experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in English. Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission. Restrictions: Writer must be born in UK or resident in the UK between Feb 2, 2014 and Feb 1, 2015. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: May 1, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

St. Francis College Literary Prize is sponsored by St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY. Genre: 3rd to 5th work of fiction published between June 2013 and May 2015. Self-published books and English translations are considered. Prize: $50,000. Deadline: May 1, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

West Virginia Fiction Competition is sponsored by the Shepherd University Department of English in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Genre: Any original, unpublished work of fiction, between 500 and 2,500 words, one submission only. The submission must not have received any other award, recognition, or special honor. Restrictions: Contest open to any resident of West Virginia or student attending school in West Virginia. Prize: $500.00 First Prize Award and possible publication, $100 each Second and Third Prize Awards. Deadline: May 1, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

We Need Diverse Books Short Story Contest. WNDB is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. Genre: Children's short story. (Ages 8-12) Restrictions: Writer must be "diverse." Prize: $1000 and inclusion in WNDB Anthology to be released by Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House Children’s Books in January 2017. Two runner-up winners will receive honorable mentions and awards of $250 each. Deadline: May 8, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

The James Laughlin Award is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Genre: A second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year. Must be under contract with US publisher. Restrictions: Open to US citizens and residents only. Prize: $5,000, an all-expenses-paid week long residency in Florida, and the Academy will purchase approximately 1,000 copies of the book for distribution to its members. Deadline: May 15, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-FictionGenre: Literary non-fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. Prize: $60,000 will be awarded to a literary nonfiction book published between September 18, 2014 and September 17, 2015. Deadline: May 27, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction PrizeGenre: Fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. No self-published works. Prize: $25,000 will be awarded to a novel or short-story collection published between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015. Prizes of $2,500 will be awarded to each of the finalists. Deadline: May 27, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

bpNichol Poetry Chapbook AwardGenre: Published poetry chapbook. Restrictions: Canadian publishers only. Prize: The author receives $4,000 and the publisher receives $500. Deadline: May 29, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

ESMEGenres: Poetry, Fiction, Essay. Submissions will be judged anonymously. The nine award winners will be announced on June 15, 2015/ Restrictions: Open to any current or former Solo Mom. Prizes: $500, $350 & $150 prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place in each category. Deadline: May 30, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Lilith Magazine Fiction CompetitionGenre: Stories with soul & chutzpah that speak to feminist Jewish readers. Preferred length is 2500 words or under. Prize: Winner will receive $250 and publication in LilithDeadline: May 31, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

The Wolfe Pack Black Orchid AwardGenre: Mystery novellas in the style of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novellas. Manuscript length: 15K-20K words. Prize: $1,000, plus recognition and publication in a forthcoming issue of AAMM. Deadline: May 31, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Unicorn Press First Book ContestGenre: Unpublished book-length poetry. Individual poems do not have to be unpublished. Prize: The winner will receive $250 and the winning manuscript will be published by Unicorn Press. Deadline: May 31, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

The Victoria Book PrizeGenres: Published fiction, literary non-fiction, or poetry. (Not open to self-published works.) Book submitted must have been published between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015 and must be a new work, not a re-issue or a revision of a previous work. Restrictions: Author must be a resident of the Capital Region and a Canadian citizen or resident. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: May 31, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Cromwell Article PrizeGenre: Articles published in 2014 in the field of American legal history. Restrictions: Open to early career scholars. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: May 31, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Writing CompetitionGenre: Play. Only full-length works (dramas, comedies, musicals, screenplays) will be considered. One entry per author. Scripts must be original. Must be in English. All must concern LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) life and be based on, or directly inspired by, a historical person, culture, work of art, or event. Prize: First Prize, $3,000. Second Prize, $1,500. Honorable Mentions, $500. Deadline: May 31, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction ContestGenre: Unpublished fiction approximately 1,000 - 5,000 words. Story should pertain to music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America. Prize: $100 and publication in Jerry Jazz MusicianDeadline: May 31, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Save the Earth Poetry PrizeGenre: Poem (1). Poems submitted should, in any way possible, evoke humankind’s awareness of the natural world and nature as such. Restrictions: Open to High school students, grades 11 & 12. Prize: $200 awarded to seven winners. Deadline: May 31, 2015. Read guidelines HERE.

Alexis de Toqueville is famously quoted as saying, "In a democracy, people get the government they deserve." de Toqueville may not have actually said those words, but the sentiment remarkably apt, for it implies a world of manipulation, coercion and downright shenaniganing.

The principle of "one person one vote" underlies all forms of democracy. It is predicated on the faith that power brokers will not game the system. From the first day the system was devised, they have, and they will continue to do so in ever more ingenious ways.

In the case of the sadly "broken" Hugo awards, the system was gamed by some old right-wing dogs, the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies, both of which attempted to stuff the box with nominations of authors they perceived to be conservative. Two of those authors have now pulled their names from the nominations, and the Master of Ceremonies, Connie Willis, has also withdrawn.

George R. R. Martin says the Hugos are "broken." He may well be correct, for as long as literature continues to be the domain of intelligent discourse, there will be people on the other side who insist on bringing it down to their level.

Hugo award nominees withdraw amid 'Puppygate' storm

By Alison Flood: The Guardian, April 17, 2015

Two authors have withdrawn their work from contention for the prestigious Hugo science fiction awards in the wake of what George RR Martin has called “Puppygate”, the controversy that has “plunged all fandom into war”.

Marko Kloos, whose novel Lines of Departure had been picked along with four other authors for the best novel Hugo – an award that counts Dune and Neuromancer among its former winners – announced on Wednesday that he had withdrawn his acceptance of the nomination. Annie Bellet, whose Goodnight Stars was a contender for best short story, also withdrew from the race.

Both writers had been included on a slate of titles pulled together by a group of right-leaning science fiction writers dubbing themselves the Sad Puppies, who had mobilised fans to pay for membership of Worldcon, enabling them to vote and thus flood the categories with their choices. Brad Torgersen, the author behind Sad Puppies, wanted to reverse what he called the Hugos’ favouring of works that were “niche, academic, overtly to the left in ideology and flavour, and ultimately lacking what might best be called visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling fun”.

But they were also on the slate for the so-called Rabid Puppies campaigners, led by the writer Theodore Beale, known online as Vox Day, an inflammatory far-right blogger who was expelled from the Science Fiction Writers of America following racist comments about the award-winning author NK Jemisin.

Read more HERE.

Allen & Unwin is an independent Australian publishing company. It was established in 1976 as a subsidiary of the British firm George Allen & Unwin Ltd., one of the leading publishers of the twentieth century.

After the HarperCollins buyout of George Allen & Unwin Ltd. in 1990, Allen & Unwin became an independent publisher. It currently publishes up to 250 new titles a year, including literary and commercial fiction, a broad range of general non fiction, academic and professional titles and books for children and young adults.

Although Allen & Unwin primarily distributes its titles in Australia and New Zealand, it has international distribution channels in the UK, the US, Asia, and South Africa.

Authors report good experiences with Allen & Unwin. They are responsive to their authors, and have a hands-on, personalized approach.

Writers in the US: Please note that Australia is 14 hours ahead of EST.

From the website:


Allen & Unwin know how difficult it can be for writers to get their work in front of publishers, which is why we’ve been running our innovative and pioneering Friday Pitch service for the last 6 years. Through Friday Pitch we have given new and emerging writers a chance to have their work read by our publishers within a reasonable time.

ALL adult submissions – both fiction, non-fiction, and illustrated – to Allen & Unwin (including Murdoch Books) should now come via Friday Pitch. To do this, email us a short synopsis or outline of your chapters and contents, and the first chapter of your work and related illustrations if relevant. If we like what we read, and want to read more, we will get back to you within a fortnight.

Friday Pitch has discovered several bestselling authors, including Fleur McDonald, the author of Red Dust and Blue Skies; Helen Brown, whose book Cleo has sold throughout the world and is currently being made into a film; and Mary Groves, author of An Outback Life.

PLEASE NOTE: The Friday Pitch service is now open to writers for children and young adults.

Knowing it’s important to authors to have their manuscripts read as quickly as possible, ALL unsolicited adult fiction, non-fiction, illustrated, children's and YA submissions to Allen and Unwin must be sent electronically to The Friday Pitch (fridaypitch@allenandunwin.com).

So what should you send? It’s simple: copy and paste the relevant title information sheet (see below) into the body of your email, and fill in the gaps. Then attach the FIRST chapter or section of your manuscript and a short synopsis (of no more than 300 words) or an outline of your chapters and contents as separate Word documents (please, no PDF documents unless your submission is for an illustrated book).

Our title information sheet is designed to ensure your manuscript is assessed quickly by the appropriate department in-house. You can assist us with this by using the subject line of your email to tell us whether your book is literary fiction, commercial fiction or non-fiction or illustrated, and what genre or subject it deals with in that category.

Click HERE for complete instructions.

If you have the money to spare, and are building a marketing plan modeled after what a large publishing house would do, you will have to include paid review and promotional services. As an Indie author, you'll need to do your research first to discover which venues are worth the money. But if you choose wisely, and coordinate a paid campaign with a virtual book tour, you can see an immediate return for your expenditure.

You can use a couple of different strategies to promote your book, depending on whether you've placed it on multiple platforms or are using KDP Select. If you've gone the first route, and have print copies available, it may be worth it to pay for a Kirkus review. Kirkus is expensive, but it is the fastest way to reach a lot of crucial markets at once.

If you have decided to publish with Amazon's KDP Select, and want a good way to reach as many people as possible on your free days, there are several paid options open to you. Almost all of these are more effective than free services, though some are more pricey than others. (For a single book - not part of a series - you should stick to the cheaper options.)

No matter how you advertise, you will have to plan ahead of time to make sure reviewers are lined up before you begin a promotional campaign. It is always a good idea to coordinate your efforts, for example arranging talks at local libraries and bookstores, sending press releases announcing your upcoming release, and hitting every social media outlet and online reviewer so that your release makes a splash.

I've only listed below the services that authors have reported are the most effective for promoting their books. There are many, many more. For a full listing of paid sites see:

7 Strategies and 110 Tools to Help Indie Authors Find Readers and Reviewers

A word of caution: Be selective and research before you spend you money. Not every paid service is worth your hard-earned cash. If you are strapped, avoid paying for reviews altogether. There are plenty of reviewers who do not charge. Click on the link below for a list of nearly 300 reviewers who accept self-published books:

List of Online Reviewers Who Accept Self-Published Books

Related Post:

Free Publicity for Your KDP Select Free Days

Kirkus Indie

Cost: $425

Bottom Line: You can get a lot of bang for your buck with a positive review. But a negative review from Kirkus is the kiss of death, so unless the review is glowing keep it private.

What they offer: Kirkus is the most prestigious book review service in the industry, and one of the oldest. All books are read by professional reviewers, who give an unbiased review of 250–350 words. Reviews for Kirkus Indie can be kept private or published. Because their reviews are distributed to Google, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, and Ingram, they reach librarians and major media reviewers (e.g. New York Times). Your review may also be selected to be featured in the Kirkus email newsletter, which is distributed to more than 50,000 industry professionals and consumers. The Kirkus website gets more than 1.5 million page views monthly

How to submit: You can request a review by clicking the Get Started link on the author services page. Provide as much information as possible about your book, choose whether you want to send Kirkus a printed (mailed) or digital (uploaded) submission, select either standard service (7-9 weeks) or express service (4-6 weeks) and pay for your review (standard service $425, express service $575). 

More information: Read an interview with Karen Schechner, Senior Indie Editor for Kirkus, about how self-publishers can best use their service here.

Net Galley 

Cost: $300 for one-week of availability. There’s also an indie special at $399 to $599 for a six-month listing.

Bottom Line: If you can afford it, Net Galley is worth the money. But make sure you have reviews lined up elsewhere well in advance. Net Galley does not guarantee reviews.

What they offer: Net Galley offers ebook ARCs to reviewers. They work with publishers in Australia, Canada, the UK and USA. The service is widely used by well-trafficked review sites.


Cost: $40 - $1600, depending on the book's category and price.

Bottom Line: BookBub is recommended if you are giving away books, or selling them at 99 cents, but only in their top four categories: Mystery, Romance, Historical Fiction, and Thrillers.

What they offer: BookBub sends a daily email alerting its members to free and discounted titles matching their interests as they become available on retailers like Amazon's Kindle store, Barnes & Noble's Nook store, Apple's iBookstore, and others. The service is free for readers. With more than one million members, BookBub is the largest of the ebook promotion services. BookBub posts all of their pricing and sales statistics on a convenient table.

How to submit: BookBub requires error-free manuscripts and professional covers. They will only feature full-length novels (150 pages minimum). Books must be free or discounted by at least 50% for a limited time only. Read their submission tips here.

More information: Lindsay Buroker describes a positive experience with BookBub here. Michael R. Hicks reports on what a surprise BookBub's feature did for his book sales here.

E-Reader News Today

Cost: $60 for a book priced below $2.99 or $150 for a book priced $2.99 and above. All payments are made through Paypal – no exceptions.

Bottom Line: The price is not cheap, but authors have reported good results, depending on the genre. The demographics of ENT show that the highest percentage of readers are women between 35 and 55. Attractive covers are a must.

What they offer: Your book will get sent out to over 475,000 Facebook fans and 150,000 email subscribers who are avid Kindle readers.

Kindle Nation Daily

Cost: $30 - $160. Accepts Paypal and credit cards.

Bottom Line: KND offers a wide variety of promotional services, which allows authors to customize. Best results are for free books.

What they offer: KND has a list of 170,000 readers. The site provides tracking tools, which is useful for measuring the success of your promotion. KND also posts monthly stats so you can check to see which genres perform the best.

The Fussy Librarian

Cost: $8 - $17, depending on the genre.

Bottom Line: The Fussy Librarian is for discerning readers, which is an advantage for those who have their books professionally edited. The price is reasonable, although the chances of getting a significant number of readers from a single email is remote.

What they offer: The Fussy Librarian sends 115,000 subscribers a daily email, which is where your ebook will be featured once. The number of subscribers in each genre varies - you can find the latest stats on the prices page on the right. Your book will be included in their searchable database for 30 days as part of your fee.

In order to be considered, your ebook must have:
  • 10 reviews and a 4.0 rating on Amazon OR 10 reviews and a 4.0 rating on Barnes and Noble, 11 to 19 reviews and a 4.0 rating, or 20 reviews and a 3.5 rating. If you have 10 reviews split between Amazon's various stores - like US and UK - your book is eligible.
  • A price of $5.99 or less.

More information on paid promotions:

Book Marketing Using Paid Advertising - A Study – Part 1: The Good News

Marketing Your Indie Book – A Rough Nautical Map In A Sea Of Advertising Options

Here are two new agents looking for clients. Jesse Finkelstein of Transatlantic Literary is looking for nonfiction. Kurestin Armada of P.S. Literary is looking for Magic Realism, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternative History, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ (any genre), select Young Adult and Middle Grade, Graphic Novels, Mystery (including mystery with elements of SF/F), and Romance. In nonfiction, she is looking for Design, Cooking, Pop Psychology, Humour, Narrative, Photography, and Pop Science.
Jesse Finkelstein of Transatlantic Literary

About Jesse: Last fall, Jesse joined fellow Page Two principal Trena White in forming an alliance with The Transatlantic Agency (Canada). At Page Two, the two publishing experts consult authors and businesses on both traditional and non-traditional publishing strategy. As associate agents of Transatlantic, Finkelstein and White also secure book deals for authors of adult nonfiction whose books have strong trade potential and can benefit from the backing of an established, respected literary agency. Follow Jesse on Twitter:@j_finkelstein

What she is seeking: Upmarket, accessible nonfiction that challenges current conceptions, whether through a “big ideas” book or narrative. “I am drawn to entrepreneurs and people who are innovators in their fields and writing about current affairs, business, culture, politics, technology, religion, and the environment,” she says. “I am most interested in authors who have an existing platform.”

How to submit: Query jesse [at] transatlanticagency.com with a cover letter in the body of your email and an attachment of your work (maximum 20-page writing sample/excerpt in Microsoft Word document form) along with a publishing history and synopsis. Please note if other agents are also considering the project. Open to representing writers in US / UK / Canada.
Kurestin Armada of P.S. Literary

About Kurestin: Kurestin began her publishing career as an intern with Workman Publishing, and spent time as an assistant at The Lotts Agency before joining P.S. Literary. She holds a B.A. in English from Kenyon College, as well as a publishing certificate from Columbia University. Kurestin is based in New York City, and spends most of her time in the city’s thriving indie bookstores. She reads widely across genres, and has a particular affection for science fiction and fantasy, especially books that recognize and subvert typical tropes of genre fiction. She can be found on Twitter at @kurestinarmada.

What she is seeking: “Kurestin Armada is actively acquiring Upmarket and Commercial Fiction, Magic Realism, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternative History, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ (any genre), select Young Adult and Middle Grade, Graphic Novels, Mystery (including mystery with elements of SF/F), and Romance. In nonfiction, she is looking for Design, Cooking, Pop Psychology, Humour, Narrative, Photography, and Pop Science.”

How to submit: P.S. Literary only accepts queries via e-mail (query [at] psliterary.com). Please limit your query to one page and include the following: an introduction (the title and category of your work and an estimated word count), a brief overview (similar to back-cover copy), and a writer’s bio (a little bit about yourself and your background). Do not send attachments or submit a full-length manuscript/proposal unless requested. In your email subject line, have it read “Query for Kurestin: [Book Title].”
If you are on Twitter and aren't using hashtags, you are wasting a great resource.

Hashtags (#) are a way of grouping posts on similar topics. They can be used to track trends and topical news, such as the hilarious #myozobituary posts that abounded after a national Australian newspaper opened their obituary of famed author and neurophsyiologist Colleen McCullough with the words: "Plain of face and certainly overweight, she was nevertheless of woman of wit and warmth." (If you can't see anything wrong with this description of the person who wrote The Thorn Birds - and 23 other novels - then I suggest you search twitter for #everydaysexism.)

Hashtags can also be used to search for specific information and topics, which brings me to why you need to employ hashtags that are already in use. If you want to reach a broad audience, you really don't want to make up a hashtag. (I confess to having done that. Apparently, #voodoomedicine is some kind of rock group.)

Utilizing hashtags that already have a following means you have a built-in set of people looking for you. And, with the millions of people tweeting day and night, it is better to have people actually seeking your posts, than to hope that they will somehow find you in the din.

That being said, there are some rules you should follow for using hashtags:
  • Don't use more than three hashtags per tweet. 
  • Don't #hashtag #several #words in a row in the body of your tweet. 
  • Do not simply tweet invitations to read your book over and over again. You're a writer! Tweet something that is fun, interesting, informative, controversial, creative, and above all cool. 
Before you use a hashtag, search Twitter to make sure it is appropriate for your tweet. 
Here are some useful articles on hashtags for writers:

44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know

The Ultimate List of Author-Specific Hashtags

The 12 Best Hashtags for Writers


Writing and Connecting With Other Authors

#1K1H or #1K1HR  (write one thousand words in one hour)
#amediting - posts from people who are editing
#amwriting - posts from people who are writing
#AmRevising - posts from people who are revising
#AuthorLife – writers sharing random stuff
#CopyWriting – advice about copywriting
#nanowrimo - national novel writing month
#wip - work in progress
#WriteChat – all sorts of advice and information
#WriterWednesday (or #WW or ##WW) – a way to give a shout-out to writers / suggest authors to follow, or to share writing tips, and anything else to do with writers or writing
#WriteTip - writing advice
#WritingTip - writing advice



#author - good for self-promotion
#authors - also good for self-promotion
#bookmarketing - posts related to marketing books
#bookworm - for reviews
#emerging authors
#fridayflash flash fiction on a Friday
#followfriday or #ff - used on a Friday to suggest people to follow to your followers. (Don’t just tweet handles, tell them why they should follow.)


Publishing Industry

#IAN or #IAN1 (Independent Author Networking)
#IndiePub (or #IndiePublishing)
#tenqueries – agents share the reasons why they do or do not request manuscripts
#VSS (very short story)


Chats (chats can be scheduled or ongoing)

#blacklitchat - Monthly chat featuring books by black authors. Day varies.

#LitChat - LitChat is for book lovers, readers & writers. 1-hour #litchat occurs M & W, 4 pm/EST, established January 2009 by @CarolyBurnsBass. http://litchat.com/

#MGlitchat - Thursdays at 9pm EST. The chat is organized by eight middle grade writers (and avid readers). More info: http://mglitchat.blogspot.com.

#ScreenwritingSaturday. Saturdays (all day) Moderator: @UncompletedWork.

#kidlitchat: Craft & business of writing for young people, board books up through YA. Topic or topics announced at the beginning of the chat. Moderators: @gregpincus, @bonnieadamson
Tuesdays: PST: 6 pm MST: 7 pm CST: 8 pm EST: 9 pm.

#writermoms - Women who write (and have children) can find other like-minded women through this ongoing chat.

#indiechat - every Tuesday at 9PM EST
#MemoirChat (every other Wednesday at 8 pm ET)
#PBLitChat (picture books only)
#WriterWednesday (or #WW or ##WW)
#yalitchat young adult literature chat
#BBchat  - BookBaby chat


Connect By Book Genre

#MGLit (Middle Grade Lit)
#RWA (Romance Writers of America)
#SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators)
#Science #Fiction
#Short #Stories


Promotion and Connecting With Readers

#followfriday or #ff - used on a Friday to suggest people to follow to your followers. (Don’t just tweet handles, tell them why.)
#fRead0 (that’s a zero at the end – not a lower case oh)
#FridayReads - tell people what you’re reading
#MyWANA (Writer’s community created by Kirsten Lamb)
#TeaserTuesday or #TeaserTues

Here are two new agents actively building their client lists. Kerry D’Agostino is at Curtis Brown, Ltd., an stablished agency in NYC. She is interested in a wide range of literary and commercial fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction and memoir. Lydia Blyfield of Carol Mann Agency is seeking adult, young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as nonfiction projects in the areas of self-improvement, lifestyle, relationships and business.
Kerry D’Agostino of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

About Kerry: Kerry started working at Curtis Brown, Ltd. in 2011 as assistant to Tim Knowlton and Holly Frederick in the Film and Television Department. Before Curtis Brown, she received her certificate in publishing from the Columbia Publishing Course, her masters in Art in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her bachelors from Bowdoin College. Follow her on Twitter: @dagostino_kerry

What she is seeking: Kerry is interested in a wide range of literary and commercial fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction and memoir. Above all when evaluating manuscripts, she looks for a strong narrative voice and a protagonist with whom she (and others) can connect. She also has a soft spot for anything to do with Maine, Vermont, skiing, and sisters.

How to submit: E-mail query letters to kd [at] cbltd.com, along with a synopsis and three sample chapters.

Lydia Blyfield of Carol Mann Agency

About Lydia: Lydia Blyfield is originally from London, England. After studying PR and Communications in the UK, she relocated to New York City where she gained a B.A. in English and American Literature at New York University. As well as building her own client list, Lydia manages the Carol Mann Agency’s subsidiary rights. Follow her on Twitter: @lydiablyf and Goodreads.

What she is seeking: adult, young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as nonfiction projects.

Lydia is looking for timely plots inspired by the headlines, effortless magical realism, unreliable narrators, and mysteries/psychological thrillers set in small communities (no CIA/FBI/MI5, please). She is always on the hunt for intriguing female voices and characters. In YA and MG she is looking for strong hooks and modern themes. Most importantly, she wants fiction that is impossible to put down.

She is not looking for high fantasy, political thrillers or romance.

In nonfiction, Lydia is looking for books that are both inspirational and modern in the areas of self-improvement, lifestyle, relationships and business. She is also looking for unique blogs, Tumblrs and Instagram profiles to transform into gift books. She is particularly interested in feminism and women’s issues.

How to submit: Please send a query letter including a brief bio, and the first 25 pages of your manuscript. to querylydia [at] carolmannagency.com — all material should be pasted into the body of the email message.
Neil Gaiman always has good advice for writers, and in this video (see below) he addresses overcoming writers' block with a number of practical suggestions.

While Gaiman is specifically talking about how he approaches writing, all of these observations are applicable to any writer, regardless of their medium.
Here are some of his major points:

1) "Your first draft doesn't count."

This is probably the most important piece of writing advice you will ever get, not only because it will free you to face the terror of a blank page, but because it is the truth.

Aside from you, nobody will ever see your first draft, because you will never show it to anybody.

In the euphoria of having finished your novel, or short story, you may be tempted to submit it to publishers, agents, friends - DON'T DO IT! Instead, let it pumpkinate. Put it away, and come back to it after you are well into another project. Otherwise, you will never see the mistakes you have made - but everyone else will.

2) "Write even when you are not inspired."

Gaiman says to "just put one word after the other" as if you were building a rock wall. If you wait until you are inspired you will not finish your project. I agree with Gaiman completely on this piece of advice. Paradoxically, even if the muse has deserted you, once you start writing she will return. The trick is to write something - every day -  in order to get the juices flowing. (It's called discipline.) Successful writers approach their work as if it were a job.

3) "Read outside your comfort zone."

Ray Bradbury also offered the same advice, and for a good reason. If you only read in your genre, you won't be exposed to different styles, different points of view, and different solutions to age-old problems. (Problem-solving is at the heart of every great novel.) So, read nonfiction, read poetry (especially poetry), read Shakespeare, read essays, read anything that isn't what you are writing. It will stretch your mind.

4) "In the beginning you will imitate other writers, but only you can tell your story."

The process of imitation is important. Those writers are your models, so choose them well. But, as you get your writing legs, you will naturally develop your own style, If you have a story to tell, your voice will shine through.

Related posts:

"If you don't know what's impossible, it's easier to do it ..." ~ Neil Gaiman

Ray Bradbury's Words of Wisdom - Write Like Hell!

Writing Advice from Frank Herbert: Concentrate on story

Here are 10 great contests with deadlines in the month of April. (Some of these are annual events, so if you miss your perfect contest this year, you'll have another chance.) 

If I had to pick a favorite contest, I think it would be Wergle Flomp. I don't write humorous, or any other kind of poetry. But you gotta love that name!


Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Now in its 14th year, this contest seeks today's best humor poems, published and unpublished. Please enter one poem only. Prize: $2000, Honorable Mentions: 10 awards of $100 each, and publication on Winning Writers. Deadline: April 1, 2015. Submission form HERE.

Descant: Fort Worth's Journal of Poetry & Fiction is published by the English Department of Texas Christian University. The Journal accepts submissions from Sept 1 - April 1. Prize: $500 in each category (poetry and short fiction) for the best poem or short story published in Descant. Deadline: April 1. How to enter: Submit to Descant.

The Great American Think-OffGenre: Essay on the theme: Does Technology Free Us or Trap Us? Writers should ground their essays in personal experience rather than philosophical abstraction. Essay should be no more than 750 words. Prize: One of four $500 cash prizes.Deadline: April 1, 2015. Submission details are HERE.

Stony Brook Short Fiction PrizeRestrictions: Only undergraduates enrolled full time in United States and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2014-15 are eligible. Genre: Fiction of no more than 7,500 words Prize: $1,000. Deadline: April 1, 2015. See submission details  HERE.

‘Dear You’: The Third Annual Common Good Books Poetry Contest is sponsored by Common Good Books, proprietor Garrison Keillor. Genre: Single poem entries to “Dear You” should be in the form of a letter to a specific real person--but love is not required. Prizes: Three poets will receive grand prizes of $1000 each, and four poets will receive $500 for poems of particular merit. Deadline: April 4, 2015. Submission details are HERE.

Chautauqua Editors Prize. Awards will recognize the writing that best captures both the issue’s theme and the spirit of Chautauqua Institution. Prizes: $500, $250, and $100 for each issue. Deadline: April 15, 2015. Submission form HERE.

The Waterman Fund Essay ContestGenre: "The 2015 essay contest invites emerging writers to explore the question of who the stewards of wilderness are. Statistically, more men than women explore professional careers in the stewardship of wilderness and public land management. What, if any, bearing does the gender of stewards have on our shared and individual perceptions of, and relationship to, wilderness?" Prizes: The winning essayist will be awarded $1500 and published in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $500. Deadline: April 15, 2015. Submission details are HERE.

University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award 2015Genres: Book-length translation of Arabic literature from any of the following genres: poetry, novel, short story collection, drama, or literary non-fiction such as autobiography or memoir. Submitted translations must be previously unpublished in book form. All translation rights must be cleared for publication. Prize: $5,000. Publication by Syracuse University Press. Deadline: April 30, 2015. Submission guidelines are HERE.

Toronto Book AwardsGenres: All genres accepted. Restrictions: Submission "must evoke the city itself, that is, contain some clear Toronto content (this may be reflected in the themes, settings, subjects, etc.). Authors do not necessarily have to reside in Toronto. Ebooks, textbooks and self-published works are not eligible. Prize: A total of $15,000 CD will be awarded. Each shortlisted author (usually 4-6) receives C$1,000 and the winning author is awarded the remainder. Deadline: April 30, 2015. Submission guidelines are HERE.

The Jan Garton Prairie Heritage Book Award will be given to the best book of the year that illuminates the heritage of America’s mid-continental prairies, whether of the tall-grass, mid-grass, or short-grass regions. Authors’ first books receive extra consideration. Books published in 2014 may be nominated by publishers, authors, or readers. Genre: Books may be in any genre, and topics may include but are not limited to social or natural history; prairie culture of the past or in-the-making; and interactions between society and ecology.Prize: $1000 and a sponsored book-signing. Deadline: April 30, 2015. Submission guidelines are HERE.