News About Some Published Practicing Writers

I love drafting posts with the express purpose of congratulating practicing writers on their publication successes. Today, we’re celebrating Lori Ann Bloomfield and Alison Ashley Formento.

Lori’s novel, The Last River Child, was recently published by Second Story Press. Lori was kind enough to send me an e-mail with this note: “Way back in July 2008 you posted that Second Story…was looking for fiction manuscripts. I had just finished writing my first novel, so sent it off to them. Well, they bought the manuscript! It came out in Canada last fall and is being released in the US this month. I’ve been wanting to share my happy story with you for a while and to thank you for your part in my success story. Please encourage your readers to keep writing and to keep submitting!” Lori, I think you’ve just encouraged them! (By the way, Lori is also the power behind a “First Line” blog, which provides fiction writers with some inspiration. And for those of you on Goodreads, Lori is hosting a book giveaway there this month. Now I may have to join yet another social networking site!)

Alison Formento‘s children’s picture book, This Tree Counts!, was published earlier this month by Albert Whitman & Company. Alison and illustrator Sarah Snow have done an outstanding job with this book. How do I know this? Alison apparently reads Practicing Writing attentively enough to know that I have a young niece and nephew, and she very graciously offered to send a copy to share with them. Some of you may know that my niece is developing into a very picky reader (you can’t begin to know how much this bothers me), but both she and her little brother were fully caught up in Alison’s story when Grandma read it to them for the first time the other day. I can’t come up with a better “review” than that.

I thank both Alison and Lori for sharing the news of their successes so generously with me. Let’s give them a big round of virtual applause, shall we?

J Journal Giveaway

Remember when I told you about J Journal: New Writing on Justice? If you don’t remember, click back to that post. I’ll wait.

So, the editors of this quality print journal have added me to its editorial advisory board. And they’ve nominated my story, “For Services Rendered,” for a Pushcart Prize. I am honored and grateful.

But enough about me! The purpose of this post is to let you know that J Journal will be giving away three copies of its fall 2009 issue. What do you need to do to become eligible for this giveaway? Simple–become a fan of J Journal on Facebook. The three winners will be selected randomly from the fan base as of February 15, 2010 (which also happens to be the deadline for submissions for the spring 2010 issue).

P.S. Selections from the fall 2009 issue may be read online. Visit J Journal‘s main site and click “current issue.”

Friday Find: Free Market Guides!

[UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Thank you all for the comments. I’m always interested in what you’ve been up to and what your future goals may be. I really appreciate the participation here.

Our two winners (per the random number generator) are #2 (Rob) and #9 (Joan Bailey). Rob and Joan, please e-mail me to claim your prize. Please indicate which e-book you would like to receive, and the e-mail address where you’d prefer to receive it. Congratulations!]

So, in case you missed Monday’s announcement, I’ve just completed the latest updates for both of our market directories. One provides information on publications that pay essayists, and the other concentrates on paying venues for book reviewers.

I update these guides twice each year (admittedly, not the most exciting work in the world) to check links, make sure each publication is still in business AND is indicating its guidelines AND pay rates online, and, when we’re lucky, add new finds. You can see what each guide is all about, and peruse sample listings, by clicking here.

Now, here’s the fun part. Since this evening marks the conclusion of Chanukah, I’m going to offer a giveaway. Actually, I’ll offer two giveaways. I’m feeling generous.

Our two lucky winners will each be able to select a free copy of the e-book of his/her choice. To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling us about a) the publication you’re proudest to have added to your credits in 2009 OR b) a publication you’re hoping to crack in 2010. Please be sure to leave your name AND check back at the blog on Monday morning (12/22) when the winners–who will be selected randomly–will be revealed. Please note that any winner who does not contact me by Tuesday midnight (U.S. Eastern time) will forfeit the prize.

Sound clear? Oh, and one more thing–this blog’s comments are moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear right away.

Thanks for playing, and good luck!

Book Release Giveaways from John Griswold

Strange thing about this Internet. Over time, you can make “virtual” friends you care quite a lot about.

For me, one such friend is John Griswold, the eponymous blogger posting on The Education of Oronte Churm. More significant for this post’s purposes, John is also the author of the new novel, A Democracy of Ghosts. I’ve just ordered the book, and I am really hoping it arrives in time for my holiday weekend reading. (Read John’s description of his book here.)

Meantime (and until July 10), John is offering a slew of giveaways. Check out these goodies (and if you have ties to Southern Illinois, I think you’ll be especially pleased).

And congratulations once again to John on his novel’s publication!

Saturday Special: Win A Book!

The giveaway is now closed! Thanks to everyone for participating. I’m particularly happy to welcome the blog’s new readers! And I’m delighted to announce that KIMBERLY ZOOK has won a copy of Christina Katz’s Writer Mama. Kimberly, please e-mail me with your mailing address, and I’ll forward the info to Christina.

Saturday posts don’t happen too often around here, but I’ve made an exception to help celebrate the two-year anniversary of the publication of Christina Katz’s Writer Mama book. This post is for all my writing friends, whether they are “writer mamas” or not!

Please welcome our guest blogger, Christina Katz!

The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway!

Post #28: Your Book’s Features

During the book writing process, you’ve made an effort to make your book as unique as possible, right? Well, now that your book is complete, you have your first opportunity to write down the features that makes your book desirable to your book’s targeted audience.

Features are the simple facts that describe your book like size, length, font choice, cover design, etc. Sure, features sound straightforward, but one of the advantages of working with a traditional publisher is that care and consideration are devoted to every aspect of your book’s production. If your publisher has gone to some lengths to make sure your book has unique features to suit your audience, you’ll want to highlight those features as you prepare to market your book.

For example, Writer Mama has some unique features. First of all, the book was intentionally designed in a small, chunky size so it would be easy to stash in a diaper bag or give as a shower gift to a new mom. Over the past couple of years, dozens of moms have commented to me that they appreciate the stash-able, sturdy size. Will your book have a unique size or shape? Or is size not a marketable feature?

How was your book written to particularly suit your readership? For example, the short chapters with lots of condensed information were purposeful to make Writer Mama easy for a mom to read while sitting in a waiting room or car-pooling. I just re-connected with a friend from sixth grade who keeps her copy of Writer Mama stashed in her car so she can read it while ferrying her four kids around town. Mission accomplished! Now describe your book. What’s special about the way it is written or organized? Have you taken the reader into account? Or is format not a feature you’ll highlight?

You’ve probably noticed that book covers vary greatly from the most simple, two-color text only cover all the way to the fully designed, four-color cover extravaganza. Another unique feature of Writer Mama is the colorful, stylish book design. So many how-to writing books are a turnoff because they are gray, businesslike, and boring. In contrast, Writer Mama is sassy, fun, with a starburst of color on the cover. The book designer, Claudean Wheeler, really outdid herself when designing the cheerful cover and bright inside designs. Does your book’s cover design reflect something about the book’s intended reader?

You’ll want to remind readers that care and consideration has gone into the design and production of your book. So be sure to pay attention during the production process so you can communicate the distinct features when you are ready to start promoting your book.

Today’s Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer the following question in this blog’s comments:
What unique features will your book have that will take the reader’s needs into account? Or what book from your bookshelf do you love for the way it suits your unique needs as a reader?
Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.

Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!

Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz (Writer’s Digest Books 2007)
Kids change your life, but they don’t necessarily have to end your career. Stay-at-home moms will love this handy guide to rearing a successful writing career while raising their children. The busy mom’s guide to writing life, this book gives stay-at-moms the encouragement and advice they need including everything from getting started and finding ideas to actually finding time to do the work – something not easy to do with the pitter-patter of little feet. With advice on how to network and form a a business, this nurturing guide covers everything a writer mama needs to succeed at her second job. Christina Katz is also the author of the newly released Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform (Writer’s Digest Books 2008).

Paying Essay Markets E-book Giveaway Results

Congratulations to our giveaway winners:

Delia Lloyd, who wrote: “I have published personal essays in a wide variety of markets but have never managed to crack Slate. I think this is the best e-zine going and it takes loads of personal essays, albeit usually more newsy or culturally relevant than I tend to write. I vow to keep on trying! Meanwhile, thanks for your great website, publishing leads and resources.”

Kate Baggott, who wrote: “The market I am proudest of breaking into is the Home Forum at the Christian Science Monitor because it is such a fair publication./The market I have had the most success with is the Facts & Arguments column at the Globe and Mail. I know the style, the length and it’s raison d’etre like the back of my hand./The two markets I would most like to break into now are the “Meanwhile” column at the International Herald Tribune, but it’s so ecclectic that I am having trouble pinning down it’s essence, and the ‘Your Turn’ column at Maclean’s magazine because almost everyone I know reads it.”


Marian, who wrote: “Sounds like a great book! I will keep my fingers crossed that I win a copy. :)/My favorite genre of personal essay to write is spiritual. I don’t know if that is an officially recognized genre, but I write about my own experiences on my spiritual journey and about the experiences of others whom I interview or just happen to meet./Good luck to everyone in the drawing!”

Congratulations to these lucky winners, and thanks to everyone for participating (and for offering so many kind words about the blog). (Winners, please e-mail me to claim your prizes!)