Who's Listening to You? (AWP Thoughts)

Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

While delivering a session at the Writer's Digest Conference (read this very kind & generous recap from George Davis!), I mentioned a few ways that writers can waste their time:

  • By not submitting your best work to commercial publishers or agents
  • By publishing your work digitally when your audience wants print (or vice versa)
  • By self-publishing when no one is listening

Since that weekend, I've been digging deeper into these ideas, and am developing an article for Writer's Digest on when and how revise your publication strategy.

And now, being at AWP, many other ideas are bubbling to the surface. Here are a few thoughts sticking in my mind that I'll address soon (in one venue or another!):

  • Traditionally, a significant obstacle for literary publishing has been the cost of print publication. Digital tech now changes that dramatically and offers advantages—for emerging writers to get their start, and for established
    writers to experiment with things they haven't done before. Yet even for the literary world, everyone is still trying to figure out where the revenue with digital is. I do wonder if we might be entering an era when we can't expect to find revenue with certain types of work/publications—or at certain stages of authors' careers.

In a recent interview, Francis Ford Coppola said, "You have to remember that
it’s only a few hundred years, if that much, that artists are working
with money. Artists never got money. Artists had a patron … as we
enter into a new age, maybe art will be free. … Who says artists have to make money?"

  • Technology now allows for affordable & amazing multimedia collaborations, and it takes us back to roots of oral storytelling, and literature's relationship with oral storytelling.Many people in publishing are getting very excited about this kind of innovation. And I've been offering exhortations here on this blog (and at events): Experiment. Think beyond the book. Stop seeing the book as the end-all, be-all. It's one facet of a career, not the goal.But I've also realized I have to be more measured in my advice. Maybe it's not OK to jump right in. Maybe it's best to know (at least) what you want to say—as Christina Katz would advise!—and to ask: Who is listening here? Or how will I connect with the people who will listen?It's OK to experiment. But be honest with yourself about what you envision happening once you've finished the experiment. Where do you want, expect, or hope to be? Just because you used a new tool, or thought outside the box, doesn't mean the readers will come.

(Pictured above: Nath Jones & me at AWP!)

From the Practical to the Mystic: 7 Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

From the Practical to the Mystic: 7 Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

Bestselling author Erika Robuck provides her top 7 tips for creating an engaging historical fiction novel.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 559

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a short poem.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 24

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to create a new myth.

Richard_2:23

Crafting Animal Characters like an Expert

Whether your work-in-progress features a witch's familiar, a talking animal sidekick, or a companion pet, WD editor Moriah Richard gives you the basics on how to create an animal character.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti quotes | Time wears down the pencil

8 Lawrence Ferlinghetti Quotes for Writers and About Writing

Here are 8 Lawrence Ferlinghetti quotes for writers and about writing from the author of A Coney Island of the Mind, Poetry as Insurgent Art, and Pictures of the Gone World. In these quotes, Ferlinghetti covers time, craft, passion, and more.

Russ Thomas: The Beginning and Ending of Writing

Russ Thomas: The Beginning and Ending of Writing

Mystery and crime novelist Russ Thomas discusses why he believes character is the beginning and ending of writing and what inspired his latest book, Nighthawking.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 23

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write something based off a random word.

Amara: Market Spotlight

Amara: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Amara, a single-title romance imprint of Entangled Publishing.