Friday, April 18, 2014

Submit your ficion to "Reading Out Loud"

Ready to try new avenues to publication of your book excerpt or short stories?

Here's the link to the announcement:

Subject: Reading Out Loud, Dramatized Short Fiction Podcast, Looking for Submissions of Flash or Full-Length Short Fiction

Reading Out Loud wants to read your story... out loud.
Ideally, we’re looking for character-driven stories with a sense of place and a strong narrative voice. Remember that these are to be performed as fully produced, dramatized audio pieces, and the aforementioned characteristics make it a little easier for us to produce. However, don't let that stop you from sending us that weird, stream-of-consciousness piece you've got. We'd like to read that, too.


Flash Fiction submissions should be up to 1000 words.
Full length short fiction submissions should be 2000 to 4000 words in length.
Please send your work in .doc format to submissionsATreadingoutloudDOTorg. Indicate in the subject of your e-mail whether it is flash or full length.
Please include a brief bio in the body of your email.
Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere.
"Reading Out Loud" requires “one-time rights” to your piece. We’ll record it, put it on the podcast, and release it back into the wild.
If your work has been previously published, it is up to you to confirm you have retained the rights to republish the work.
"Reading Out Loud" is a labor of love. There is no monetary compensation for anyone involved or associated with its production.

Find our more at our website, or listen to us on iTunes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fiction writers: Lots to learn from this article.

Read the article "A Novel Like a Rocket" by Akhil Sharma in the current New Yorker, about his struggles writing "Family Life."
Powerful lessons....

Find this in the New Yorker here

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Can you be your own editor?

On, Heather Jacks has a useful post on editing:  Among her six tips for independent/self-published authors, she has this explanation of various editing functions, and why you need an appropriate editor for your book.
Here is a brief excerpt:

"There are a few types of editors. There are copyeditors, who will fix typos, misspellings, grammar, clean up your prose, and correct a fact; there are line editors, who will help you arrange your paragraphs; and then there is a most important type of editor, which I call a ‘planning editor’—that person who will partner with you on the project and tell you things you don’t want to hear, like you need to get rid of half of what you wrote or this isn’t a topic that warrants an entire book or this should be a screenplay, not a novel."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gadget graph grabs my attention

Have e-book readers, tablets, and portable devices really taken over the world? I thought so until I saw this graphic.
Sure cell phones have reached a 91 percent level among those over 18, and I knew desktop computers were decreasing in popularity, due to the portability and ease of laptop use, which is still increasing.

But for all we hear about ebooks taking over the book market, look at the low usage of e-readers and tablets... below that of MP3 players! So don't give up on traditional or independent publishing. People are still reading books, although their sales may have peaked in 2008, according to Pew Internet. But publishers aren't going away, and neither are readers!

(Click on image to enlarge)
Thanks to Jane Friedman and her blog for linking to this Pew Internet research graphic.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Introvert vs. Extrovert Writers

Introvert vs. Extrovert Writers

In a travel piece on World Hum, Sophia Dembling states:

"Introversion and extroversion are inborn traits, and the difference between them is not that one is gregarious and at ease in the world and the other shy and awkward. Rather, extroverts are outwardly motivated and gain energy from interaction with the outside world while introverts are more inwardly directed and drained by interaction with others. Introverts’ thinking tends to be deep and slow, we require copious time alone, we prefer probing conversation to shallow chitchat, and our social lives are geared more towards intimate one-on-one interactions than “more the merrier” free-for-alls."

Most writers and bloggers share the extremes of introvert or extrovert tendencies in writing as well as in social interaction. If you love the quiet, prefer to write alone, shun the questions about your writing, and run fast when the conversation turns to critique groups, you're a darn good introvert.

If you're an extroverted writer you probably prefer to hear people tell you their stories, and you write in public, enjoy sharing your work-in-progress, and trading stories with other writers about the craft.

Either way, you're doing what's right for you, of course, but its nice to recognize your tendencies and take comfort in silence or among friends, as long as it feeds your hunger to write and helps you write well.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Still Writing"

Read Still Writing: The Perils of a Creative Life, by Dani Shapiro, (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013)

Shapiro is a contributing editor at Travel & Leisure. Her one-page essays exemplify good solid writing in each issue. She is the author of two memoirs and five novels, as well as numerous stories and essays that appear in Granta, The New Yorker, and Vogue, among other prestigious publications. Now, in Still Writing, she writes for you. Every writer can admire Shapiro's swift skill stringing thoughts into words, but she also empowers us. She transports readers who hear her views on the privilege of being a writer, and the relentless need to put in the time! Still Writing refers not only to keeping at our craft, but also still writing... being still, getting out of your own way, to become open and aware.

“Everything I know about life,
I learned from the daily practice of sitting down to write.”
-- Dani Shapiro

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The web is 25 years old this year!

It was a quarter century ago that a fellow named Tim Berners-Lee created the web as we know it. three cheers for Tim!!!

Here's his story
Twenty-five years ago today, I filed the proposal for what was to become the World Wide Web. My boss dubbed it ‘vague but exciting’. Luckily, he thought enough of the idea to allow me to quietly work on it on the side. 

In the following quarter-century, the Web has changed the world in ways that I never could have imagined. There have been many exciting advances.  It has generated billions of dollars in economic growth, turned data into the gold of the 21st century, unleashed innovation in education and healthcare, whittled away geographic and social boundaries, revolutionised the media, and forced a reinvention of politics in many countries by enabling constant two-way dialogue between the rulers and the ruled.

It has made the work of a writer more powerful, efficient, and far-reaching. We are the first generation to enjoy this benefit. Lets continue to use it well.

Helen Gallagher

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Feeling stuck?

If the winter weather has your writing in a rut, consider these wise words from a former US President, and keep writing!

"Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction."
                                                                                                                                  Harry Truman

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ready to slow down...?

Working in the online work has a downside for most of us. For Tsh Oxenreider, author of Notes on a Blue Bike, The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World,running a successful blog as her family's primary income, the downside was that work is always a click away.  If you often feel like your cycling uphill trying to put in quality time at the computer but falling further behind, you will identify with her, As she says: “There is no “The End” to the Internet."

"Never before in history have we been given the keys to be able to work and earn money doing what we love. And yet never before have we been so eagerly invited to work 24/7, without ever a chance to feel done. It’s hard to slow down when the race has no finish line.”  

Notes on a Blue Bike is about much more, of course, as Oxenreider shares her path to a sane family life, endorsing a lifestyle rich with quality and meaning, offering a better pace of life for her famiily and appreciation for what they have, not what they desire.

Read the full review here:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Why good blogs succeed

Perhaps you enjoy maintaining your blog with a post only when you come across an item worth sharing, or a personal essay too good to let slip away. That's what I do here at Release Your Writing; share items I think will be of interest to you. And with over 34,000 visits to this blog, I feel gratified by the attention.

What if you want your blog to really sustain your big ideas? That requires more than posting a movie review, which is soon to be old news, or ranting about a topc of only marginal interest to your readers.

To bring a lasting value to your blog, [aka Joel Friedlander], offers the concept of a "backlist," similar to a publishers reprinting books that keep selling well, and magazine editors seeking evergreen content - those stories that everyone wants.

Below is a brief excerpt and here is a link back to the full article.

Although blog articles don’t have to prove themselves in the market the same way a book does, they have some of the same characteristics of great backlist books. Some kinds of articles that fall into this category include:
  • Foundation content—articles that explain basic concepts will be in demand as long as those concepts are relevant to your readers
  • Evergreen articles—software changes constantly, but general principles rarely change, and people always want to understand them
  • Process overviews—quick-reference summaries of basic processes in your field are great to orient new readers to your topic
  • Resource directories—readers will always need tips on where to find tools, vendors, and other necessities
  • Best practices—whittling down the number of choices beginners face to just a few appropriate options will be helpful to many people
Let these five categories inspire you to write posts that help readers and keep them coming back for more.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Writer's Clock

It's 2014 and the clock is ticking.  Let's hold ourselves accountable but not resist the levity of this terrific clock:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Writers Wanted: Move to Detroit, Get a Free House

In a contemporary, literary twist on old homesteading incentives, a new nonprofit organization called Write a House is refurbishing three two-bedroom houses in Detroit and accepting applications this spring for writers to move in, rent free. Poets, journalists, novelists, and anyone who falls somewhere in between are encouraged to apply. If the writers stay for the required two years and fulfill other obligations, such as engaging with the city’s literary community and contributing to the program’s blog, they’ll even get the deed to the place. As the group’s mission puts it, “It’s like a writer-in-residence program, only in this case we’re actually giving the writer the residence, forever.”

Read the full article here, and of course, let us all know your new address...

Friday, December 20, 2013

How to judge a book's covers

Beyond writing a good book, and creating the perfect title, the next critical element for a book's success is your book cover.

The 12-15-13 New York Times book review section has a disappointing photo piece titled The Best Book Covers of 2013.  It's hard to judge but I see better covers every day. How are these the best?  Of the twelve shown, I honestly only like the final one "The Art of Sleeping Alone."

As the columnist Nicholas Blechman (the Book Review's art director) quotes book designer George Salter, regarding a good jacket ... "must be in perfect accord with the literary quality of the book."  I agree but can't see why the covers chosen fit the bill. It sure does prove how difficult and how subjective the world of cover design is. It is becoming more difficult to settle on a cover that pleases the publisher's sales team, marketing department, and of course, the author. But again, it is of critical importance, whether your book in on store shelves, display racks at airports, or a one-inch image among thousands of other books sold online every day.

I realize it's no easy task to convey the book's tone along with an eye-catching cover, but it is a crucial element of your next book.

To see the slideshow of all twelve, visit

Monday, December 9, 2013

Journalism by robots? Whoa....

This comes from Meg Weaver, publisher at
Copyright (c) 2013 Wooden Horse Publishing.
The Long Good Read is a very special project from The Guardian, the British newspaper, and The Newspaper Club, a company that prints small-run DIY newspapers. The Long Good Read is produced by robots.
Before writers of all kinds get worried about the future of their careers, maybe we should call it “repurposing” rather than “producing.”
The Long Good Read is a collection of articles from The Guardian selected by algorithms for their lengths and their interesting content. A human then selects the articles appropriate for the issue. These are then laid out by another software tool and printed by The Newspaper Club. 500 copies are then distributed for free to another Guardian experiment, a coffee shop in East London.
You can read the whole interesting story in an article by Nieman Journalism Lab. It ends with a quote by The Guardian’s head of technology, Jemima Kiss, speaking about print: “It’s not the medium that’s in trouble; it’s the business model.”