7 Things I've Learned So Far, by Erika Dreifus - Writer's Digest

7 Things I've Learned So Far, by Erika Dreifus

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Erika Dreifus. Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories (Last Light Studio, Jan. 2011), largely by the experiences of her paternal grandparents, German Jews who immigrated to the United States in the late 1930s.
Author:
Publish date:

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,”where writers (this installment written by Erika Dreifus, author of QUIET AMERICANS) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent -- by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.

Erika is excited to give away a free book to one random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US48 to receive the print book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you've won before. (Update: Deb won.) 

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title


Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories
(Last Light Studio, Jan. 2011), largely by the

experiences of her paternal grandparents,

German Jews who immigrated to
the United States in the
late 1930s.

Erika is donating portions of the proceeds

from sales to The Blue Card, which
supports US-based survivors of Nazi persecution.
See Erika's website here and her Twitter here.

1. You should stock up on Forever stamps. Yes, it's true that more and more literary journals are taking submissions via e-mail and through online submissions managers. But for those who still request manuscripts via "snail mail," SASEs are still required. And given how much time can elapse between your submitting a story (or essay or batch of poems) and a journal returning a response, it's entirely possible that postal rates will increase in the interim. Stay safe. Use Forever stamps!

2. By itself, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree itself is unlikely to net you a full-time, tenure-track teaching job in creative writing in a college or university. In most cases, you'll still need at least one published (preferably, traditionally-published, and critically-admired) book.

3. Your MFA thesis will not be your first published book—at least, not without some major revisions.

4. Not every story of yours that gets published will necessarily end up in your first collection. And that's OK.

5. Agents do not universally welcome short-story collections—especially if you don't have at least a partially-completed novel to submit to them as well.

6. The above notwithstanding, agents can make major contributions even if they don't take you on as a client. My own first collection, Quiet Americans, owes a great deal of whatever strengths it may possess to the especially generous editorial suggestions of agents Eric Simonoff and Julie Barer.

7. You don't need official permission to quote a line from a Nobel lecture as an epigraph to your book. But you will be charged a per word rate exponentially beyond anything you've ever earned when you seek permission to quote from a Nobel laureate's published fiction.

2014-writers-market

The Writer's Market details thousands of publishing 
opportunities for writers, including listings for book publishers, 
consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards,
literary agents and more. At the WD Shop, you can find
the most recent updated edition for a discount.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Image placeholder title

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more. 
Order the book from WD at a discount.

richard_adams_watership_down_quotes_a_rabbit_has_two_ears_a_rabbit_has_two_eyes_two_nostrils_they_ought_to_be_together_not_fighting

10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.

plot_twist_story_prompts_fight_or_flight_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.

Garfield

Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.

Pennington_10:21

The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.

Grinnell_Literary Techniques

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

In this article, author Dustin Grinnell examines Jon Franklin’s award-winning article Mrs. Kelly’s Monster to help writers master the use of literary techniques in narrative journalism.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 545

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 cleaning poem.

new_agent_alert_amy_collins_talcott_notch_literary_services

New Agent Alert: Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

5_tips_for_writing_scary_stories_simone_st_james_horror_novels_hauntings

5 Tips for Writing Scary Stories and Horror Novels

Bestselling and award-winning author Simone St. James shares five tips for writing scary stories and horror novels that readers will love to fear.