Your Writing and How to Take It Further
Hey yeah writers—check out our first guest blog, from indie new publisher Rowanvale Books. If you’re looking to semi-self publish, definitely check them out! In the mean time, these are great tips that they shared with us to help you have a very well-rounded writerly life. Enjoy! -Liv
Join a Writers’ Group or club in your area. Not only will you meet new people, and potentially good friends and contacts, but it never hurts to get a bit of objective advice. You will improve your critiquing skills by discussing others’ work, which you can then apply to your own writing. You also may well gain valuable nuggets of information that extend further than ‘writing’ itself – groups often discuss publishing as an industry, e-books, bookshops, agents, courses, and who knows what else. Writers’ Groups sometimes have speakers, too, which provide excellent networking opportunities with authors, editors, publishers and agents. The same goes for conferences, if you can get to them, and there a fair few webinars out there too.
“Until the mid-nineteenth century, most authors published their books at their own expense—Walt Whitman, for example, self-published (and typeset!) Leaves of Grass.
Self-publishing could change from stigma to bragging point—maybe we could change the term to “artisanal publishing” and foster the image of authors lovingly crafting their books with total control over the process.
What would you rather read: a mass-produced or artisanal book?”
Publishing is a business. Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars.
Your Book In One Sentence Part 2
The recent post I did (HERE) on condensing your story into a line or two received some interesting feedback so this follow-up post will take a deeper look at the techniques involved in summing up the story into something short, easy to understand and yet interesting. And the pitfalls along the way.
Bear in mind the idea isn’t to come up with a beautifully crafted slogan that makes people want to rush out and buy the book on the strength of the logline alone. Your job isn’t to invent bubblegum that tastes like a three course meal. If people want to experience those flavours they should just eat a three course meal.
This will be more about telling somebody what the story’s about, whether they be an agent or your mother.
What The Hell Is A “Hybrid” Author, Anyway?
“Hybrid author.” Sounds like we were made in a lab. A squirmy worm-mote in a test tube. Growing at an alarming rate. Genetics forged from a hundred different authors —… Read The…
This post is not only hilarious (“That poop-eye is deserved”), and not only an interesting take on what a hybrid author actually is (I hadn’t heard that term before), BUT the pros and cons list of traditional publishing versus self publishing are very informative—and *definitely* things that writers need to start considering as they finish their manuscripts and planning how to get their work out into the world (and make mahney!).
If you go to yeahwriters.tumblr.com/tagged/publishing, you’ll see some complimentary posts, too.
Publishing Trendsetter: What is the Long Tail of Publishing?
Here’s a great little lesson for everyone on the current sales model of the publishing industry. It’s really only been that way for less than 10 years!
YA!flash: Serious post for booklovers, dudes
This is a serious post for people who love books.
So, you may not have heard about this, but B&N and Simon & Schuster are currently locked in a dispute over financial stuff. Normally this is all behind-the-scenes publisher/bookseller stuff, but this is directly affecting authors because B&N…
- Be in the know about what’s going on in the publishing world.
- Support your fellow authors!
What jobs can English majors get?
What jobs can you get with an English or communications degree? I’d like these jobs to let me be a bit imaginative/creative. Sorry if this isn’t really writing related. I can’t picture a better job than being a writer, but I know I should have a back up plan.
Did you read our most recent post about being an English Major? I think the last couple of paragraphs might be helpful to you.
I was also thinking it’d be really cool if followers who graduated from college with an English degree could share their current professions. You can either put it in a comment on this post or send us an ask.
I’ll go first! I’m a marketing coordinator for an investment bank, haha.
With regard to English Major jobs — I have arguably an even less useful degree, a BFA (Bachelor of F—- All) in Creative Writing. I’m a writer and narrative designer on two video games, and starting my own company to create interactive/transmedia stories and develop my own story world franchise. (In other words, there’s nothing stopping you from achieving your dreams. I’m 24.)
I graduated in 2010 with a degree in English and I am an Associate Producer for a Documentary Company in Boston, Northern Light Productions.I get to do all my favorite things, read, write, research, learn and work with wonderful people.
In response to the question what English majors have as current professions, I am a TEFL teacher in South Korea at an all girl’s middle school. It’s really great!
I have a BA in Political Science and English (Creative Writing) and am now in law school! We do a lot of writing and a major part of a trial lawyer’s job is getting the narrative across. Similarly, many types of lawyers must tell their client’s stories and act as their legal voices. I’ve also been able to help people already in my first year and met lots of interesting people!
This post will be indexed on our Advice page, under the heading “The Writer’s Life”.
Book Publishers Scramble to Rewrite Their Future | Wired.com
I’m warning you guys, this article is depressing. But it’s a really round picture of the current state of the industry.
To Be or Not To Be an English Major
I don’t know if this has been asked previously and if so, I am sorry! I am in my second year of college and stumped on what to do major/career wise. No one supports me in just going for English but writing is where I feel home. It’s what I do. I’m not decent at anything else. I’m so confused on how to go about my college life. One of my teachers who is also helping me with my schedule basically told me that writing is a waste of time and that I should go for something “real”.
Ahhhh, now this is a question I can answer (sort of). As someone who graduated with an English degree this last May I feel I have some insights to share! Observe above, my degree that just came in the mail!
First and foremost, I hate your teacher who said that writing is a “waste of time”. I cannot tell you how happy it’s made my employers that I know how to write, and what a rare commodity that is these days. That person is an idiot.
However, if your professor had said, “You need to have a backup plan because writing is very, very rarely a profession by which you can support yourself”, then I would have agreed with him/her.
Going through a particularly terrible batch of query letters
(submission from cielrouge, thanks!)
How I Got the Best Publishing/Writing Internship Ever
The only internship I did (besides on in high school) was between my junior and senior years of college, the summer of 2011, but it was the best thing I ever did for my “career” and having worked there is still serving me today. Don’t let people tell you that English majors and other liberal arts majors will have no job prospects after college—that’s bullshit. We just have to make more of an effort to bolster our resumes with extracurriculars and real-world skills and internships.
In March of 2011 I applied for one internship at Penguin. Their internships are paid and I have a good family friend who works there who offered to put in a good word for me, so I thought that’d be a good idea. But because Penguin’s such a huge publisher and they’re one of the rare ones who pay their interns, obviously everyone in the world applies there. So despite my high-up-in-the-ranks family friend, I didn’t even get called for an interview.
So I decided to go at it from a different approach.
I didn’t apply for any more internships until April, when I was finished with my finals. I had people start asking me about internship applications in December (maybe they were applying for Spring?), but you definitely don’t need to apply that early—chances are, a lot of summer internships won’t even be listed that early. If you start now, you’ll be fine.
I’m pretty sure I literally googled “publishing internships”, and it was there that I stumbled across the Mecca website of publishing jobs and internships—bookjobs.com. I still go there to check out the jobs every once in a while, but obviously you fine folks will need the internship tab.
I scrolled through every listing and added the ones that would work for me (time frame and location wise) to a list. Then I drafted up a cover letter for the first one and highlighted the company name in orange, as well as any other fields that I might need to change in subsequent drafts—for example, some companies were more tech-centric, so I referenced skills like knowing basic HTML, InDesign, and Photoshop, and talked about Yeah Write. But some were more lit/reading related, so I talked more about being an English major, my creative writing classes, etc.
Then I sent that cover letter and my resume to all 19 internships on my list, editing the bits an orange to the specific listing as I went (and, of course, turning all the orange type to black before I hit “send”). All in all it took me a couple of hours. (For more on formatting emailed applications, see the link at the bottom of this post.)
Also, a little side note—I decided in the last minute to talk about Yeah Write in my cover letter and list it on my resume. I ended up getting asked to interview for 5 internships, but only went to 2, both of which I was offered based on the fact that I ran a popular writing blog. If you don’t have a writing blog, that’s okay—you can start one now! You know how to use Tumblr, you savvy blogger you. Put up samples of your writing, thoughts on the current publishing market, and anything else that you think can round you out and make you look like a knowledgable candidate.
By the way—don’t forget that there’s that whole business side of publishing that they don’t really teach you as an English major. Anything you can do to beef up your knowledge of current bestsellers and the state of the industry will help you sound much more legit in your interview. Subscribing to website newsletters like Publishing Trendsetter, Shelf Awareness and Publishers Weekly are really helpful.
The interviews were very casual, basically just a meet and greet and an explanation of what the position would be like. I can’t speak for every potential intern employer, but it didn’t feel like there was a very high expectation that I was supposed to be able to answer specific questions about the industry—or any super difficult questions, for that matter. I just talked a little about myself. But again, I can’t speak for every interview you’ll have, just the ones I did!
My internship wasn’t with a publisher; it was actually at a very small publishing consultancy made up of 3 women who had worked everywhere in the industry, and 2 girls a little older than me. It was great because the 3 women had a lot of knowledge to share with us and one would give us “school” when she had free time, and the girls were just a couple of years ahead of me in their careers, so they gave me a sense of what to expect. Being somewhere so small was also great because I was treated like a human and got to create content and share my own ideas. I know that a lot of you probably want to get your foot in the door at one of the Big 6 (or I guess it’s Big 5 now), but trust me, being somewhere where you’re treated well and where you can form relationships with people will serve you better. Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t get that internship at Penguin. One of the 3 women I worked for is friends with my current boss and that’s how I got the interview/job I have now.
A note on New York City: It is, after all, the center of the publishing world. But it is crazy expensive to live there (I graduated and have a full time job there now and I’m still commuting from CT because it’s so expensive to live there!). But I think NYU has cheap dorms that you can live in, and if you have a friend or relative who lives there or in a borough or even in Connecticut or New Jersey, hit them up!
For more information on writing cover letters and resumes, read this post.