Tag Archives: literary journals

Submitting Something Somewhere: Things to Consider

Literary journals (and anthologies) are a way to get your feet wet in the world of publishing (before unleashing your masterpiece), and a way to reach a wider audience even if you already have books of your own in the marketplace. Plus,  they are a way of sharing your writing, period.

To date, in addition to writing my own books, I have been published in:
Akashic Books Mondays are Murder online series (my first attempt at noir)
Anansesem
Artemis
BIM: Arts for the 21st Century
Calabash: a Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters

carnivalmag

Cover artist: Heather Doram

Carnival is All We Know: the Daily Observer’s 50th Anniversary of Carnival’s Literary and Artistic Anthology (which I also edited)
Collective Soul ( a local collection)
The Columbia Review
Ma Comère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars (this very brief poem was my first publication outside of Antigua-it even got me a mention in the paper)
The Missing Slate
Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters
Munyori (an African journal)
Mythium: the Journal of Contemporary Literature
The PEN America Journal
The PEN World Voices Online Anthology (this was to coincide with me participating in the literary safari of the PEN World Voices festival)
Poui (the UWI Cave Hill lit journal)
The Sea Breeze Journal (a Liberian-American journal)
St. Somewhere
The Sunday Observer Literary Arts in Jamaica
Susumba’s Book Bag
SX Salon (this was poetry but I’ve also had two pieces of fiction short listed for the Small Axe Fiction Prize)
Theorizing Homophobias in the Caribbean: Complexities of Place, Desire, and Belonging
Tongues of the Ocean (I was later invited to edit a special Antigua & Barbuda issue of this online journal of Bahamian origin)

The University of the Virgin Island’s Caribbean Writer (which has also awarded me the David Hough Literary Prize for a writer working in the Caribbean and the CW Flash Fiction Prize)
Womanspeak
Women Writers ezine (on the subject of regrets, contributors to this particular issue had the opportunity to present at a conference in New Orleans – I wish I’d found a way to go – though thankfully I’ve since been to the city who knows what other doors may have been opened)
& a story I submitted to the Desi Writers’ Lounge Short Story Contest (a story which earned honourable mention, my first attempt at a faerie tale) was selected for publication as a children’s picture book (coming soon!)
Links to published fiction and published poetry.

I’ve also been published in the following anthologies:
A River Of Stories Flyer 2016-1A River of Stories (Volume 4 – Fire)
For Women: in Tribute to Nina Simone
In the Black coverIn the Black: New African Canadian Literature
Pepperpot1-524x800Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean (after a story I submitted to the Commonwealth Prize, a story that was also short listed for the Small Axe Prize was selected for the collection; most recently I was contacted by a student at La Guardia Community College who is now studying that story as part of her course)
Round My Christmas Tree
She Sex, Prose and Poetry, Sex and the Caribbean Woman
So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: an Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing
Book, including anthology, listings.

N.B. a lot of my journalled and anthologized stories and poems have been collected in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight: 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings.Dancing Nude

N.B. as well while some of these publications are by request, most are a result of submitting and crossing my fingers; some, like the Caribbean Writer, I’ve been published in several times…after several years of rejections; yep, for every accepted poem or story, there are countless more that have been rejected over the years.

N.B. well well well submitting to journals will not make you rich, I repeat it will not make you rich, but for my money, it’s still worth it if you’re a writer looking to not only cop a cheque but be a part of the canon (the literary canon). But don’t get me wrong, writers – all artistes – still need to live (so deserve and should push to be paid) but money (alone) is not what gets us up in the morning. Is it?

Some things to consider (knowledge paid for by hard earned experience):

Ideally, we don’t want give away all our rights, including the right to publish that work in future. When we’ve been trying for a long time, we become so eager when we finally get noticed, we don’t take the time to read the fine print or feel we have no choice but to accept. But we always have a choice. Including the choice to say “no, thanks” and walk away. The onus is on us before submitting to read the submission criteria and terms of use – several journals have these posted online – and decide if what they’re asking for is something we can live with if accepted. Sometimes what they’re asking for isn’t clear up front, however. So, if and when a contract is offered, we need to remember that we can ask questions, make counter proposals, and should pay attention to the tone of the negotiations, their willingness to hear and respond to our concerns.

We want to be paid for our work (I firmly believe we ought to be paid; everybody else is). However, especially in instances where payment is nothing more than a contributor copy (and even that can sometimes be hard to get), we need to consider if the publishing credit is one with some other currency behind its name. Is it respected, does it have a reach into areas you have not been able to get to before, are literary prizes or consideration for literary prizes and critical engagement attached; that sort of thing. Only we can decide if the trade-off is worth it but to do so we need to do our research.

Being active in online groups dedicated to writing is one way I’ve found to stay informed about new contests and journal submission deadlines (and you can too by for instance following Wadadli Pen where I regularly update re Opportunities). Then there are sites like Poets and Writers that have a handy submission schedule for your convenience. We can also look up where writers we like and/or respect have been published or ask other writers for ideas on places to submit.

Aim beyond the moon. By which I mean, let’s not limit ourselves. We should take advantage of the accessibility of niche publications.  The niche ones may make it possible for us to get our foot wedged in the publishing door due to us/our work fitting the publication’s gender, race, cultural, or geographical niche, but let’s not mistake them for inferior – the best ones have standards just as exacting as our so-called dream publications. But the dream publications are so called because their status (and market reach) is such that they can really open up the world of possibilities. Plus, unlike some of the smaller publications, the prestige they bring may come with a sizable payday. I say try for both, all the time, and let’s submit as many days a week as we can to as many (targeted) publications as we can: dream and find the niches. Besides, given the response time of most publications, it’s best not to limit ourselves or put all our eggs in one basket; we can grow old waiting.

We can’t let rejection (soul crushing as it can be, creating all kinds of doubt and internal crises) slow us down. As much as we can stand to hear it, we need to remind ourselves that rejection does not necessarily mean not good, not worthy, you suck!!! It may mean that the submission needs more work, it may mean that it’s not the right market or maybe the right time for it – we’ve all had instances where just as we’re re-working a rejected piece another publication accepts it just as it was. Serendipity and Murphy like to dance a tango all over our hopes and dreams, hard work and try. So we should try, as much as possible, to use the rejections as incentive to keep trying (do you think that’s enough repetition of try to make it stick in our heads?); the moment when a piece finally gets accepted by that publication we’ve been trying (guess not) to get into forever will feel like orbiting the moon (or some other more accurate simile related to flying…and trying).  In the meantime, we do the best we can with the piece (we will not send our first effort); then let it fly.

Sometimes rejections aren’t particularly kind but where they take the time to give a detailed response – here’s why your story sucked or whatever – we should take the time to read it and maybe learn from it. Anything beyond a form rejection (of the your writing is too bad and/or bland to merit my personal scrutiny variety) is unusual. So when we send you edit notes after you make the Wadadli Pen short list, that’s a good thing. And as writers ourselves, we send it knowing it may be hard to hear. We  may not be able to read the feedback right away, or all at once (reading edit notes isn’t like ripping off a sticking plaster). But read it dammit! Have some bobby treats at our elbow if we need to to reward ourselves for being good writers swallowing bitter medicine (bobby makes everything better).

Getting an informed perspective can be illuminating; we may decide that they’re dead wrong and we may be perfectly right, or we may see something we hadn’t considered in their assessment, something that can only make the writing stronger. But how will we know if we don’t at least read it…as they took the time to do?

That said, if our writing is accepted but they propose changes to what’s written, consider it …with care. It’s never easy to edit (especially when those edit notes are coming from someone other than us), but maybe that last line does need strengthening or maybe that bit of character motivation is too ambiguous. So, while we should be willing to fight for the work if we need to, we shouldn’t enter the review process fighting, but listening. If, in the end, we’re not comfortable, if it feels like the changes are transforming the writing in to something other than it was (this is a tricky one because sometimes transformation is a good thing and sometimes it’s pandering), we may need to walk away to write and submit another day. We just need to make sure we’re doing so in the best interest of the work, and not because we’re all in our feelings about being asked to consider cutting an “and” when our writing is genius (genius!). We’ve all been that diva, if only in our minds, at some point or other – but it’s not about us, it’s about what best serves the story/poem and that can be a hard distinction to make sometimes.

Sometimes an editor will make a change without consulting us; I’m not talking minor proofing for punctuation (though where form is a part of the function this can be a big deal too). No, I’m talking dropping aspects of the narrative that they perhaps find offensive in some way (language, language).  As someone who’s had her voice muted (one of those credits above, for which the editor apologized profusely when confronted …but, still, print lives on), That’s a big no, no (oh, hell, no!) in my book. It’s their right to determine that the piece isn’t right for them, but it’s not their right to change it without our consent. To avoid this kind of conflict of the spirit, we should make sure we read the submission criteria carefully before submitting and consider the context – would an academic or religious journal appreciate us using the C word in making a bold point about gender politics? It would be nice if they could be so open-minded but chances are they’re not and we should be guided accordingly.  In the personal instance referenced however where they had requested the work as is but then published it with significant unapproved cuts, the only thing that could have helped is anticipating that and asking to see the proof before it went to print. Not always possible but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Finally, we shouldn’t not try because we’re afraid to. One of the biggest hurdles we’ll have to overcome time and again as writers, apart from the flagging of the spirit and the block, is the fear. A journal asks you to submit a piece for a special issue but you’ve never written about that or this or then (this happened to me with Sea Breeze), consider it a challenge, a prompt if you will, and give it a whirl (Friday Night Fish Fry , which I went on to read at Breadloaf and of which former Stanford Stegner fellow Austin Smith wrote, “it’s an absolutely beautiful piece of prose. The characters are so patiently and vividly and sympathetically wrought”, exists because I said yes, I’ll give it a whirl). We may not like it but we live to be pushed out of our comfort zone. On a related point, we should not let the potential of societal censure or assumptions – and you know people will make them – stop us from writing our truth, our characters’ truth, stop us from submitting. If we change our mind that’s one thing, but if we let someone else change our mind for us then we’re really giving them too much power. Write, let your spirit breathe, be as complex as you are (even if you’re mocked for not fitting the mold), dare – we may need to repeat this to ourselves everyday but that’s okay. Someday, we may not need to, and some day our breakthrough may come. Here’s a simple truth I continue to learn, however, there is no such thing as a single breakthrough. Rather a million opportunities to do what we do,  and if we stay alert to them, keep writing, keep believing, keep trying, stay ready, we will keep moving in the right direction – sometimes with a tired shuffle, sometimes with a flying leap. But moving.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on  WordPress and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books and writing, and/or my writing-and-editing services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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RESOURCES

Over time, Wadadli Pen has added a fair amount of writing and publishing information – from interviews with authors and publishers, to the reading rooms, to the opportunities pages (technically posts not pages). This post-not-page is something slightly different, though there’ll probably be a bit of overlap. Like the reading room, and opportunities and opportunities too page/post with pending deadlines (which you can use the search box to find if the links don’t work), it will be updated from time to time; its purpose is to gather and share information related to publishing that writers need to know – information that too many of us have to learn the hard way. Hope you find it useful on your writing and publishing journey.  Also visit the Writer’s Toolbox. Disclaimer: We don’t take responsibility for the information provided on any of the linked sites. Remember, do your own due diligence and seek the advice of an agent and/or lawyer if you can.

Authors – Getting Paid

11 Frequently Asked Questions about Book Royalties, Advances and Money

The ABCs of School Visits with an Independent Bookstore Some good tips here but worth remembering that we live in the Caribbean where the gumption of an author asking to be paid for school visits (in any form) is often met by a … huh? (and likely some behind-the-back grumbling about the author lacking community spirit). These posts are however a reminder to value what you do (give what time you can and/or choose to, of course, but don’t let anyone shame you for valuing what you do or for not giving what you cannot or can no longer afford to give). Shift the paradigm.

Festival Appearances – Guidance for Authors (UK specific but the principles, especially the breakdown re why authors should be paid, applies to authors everywhere)

How to Set Your Speaking Fees

Rate Guide for Authors

School and Library visits – a Guide

Copyright

10 common—and crucial—copyright questions for communicators

Antigua and Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office

Basic Copyright Concepts for Writers

Carib Export webinar
“Don’t assume, ever…definitely register your copyright, definitely sign a split sheet if you’re collaborating with anyone.”

Copyright Information for Writers

Following Copyright Law while Blogging 

The Fuss about Fair Use

Permission Guidelines for Using Copyrighted Material

Publication Rights for Freelance Article Writers

Two Easy Steps for Using the DMCA Takedown Notice to Battle Copyright Infringement

A Writer’s Guide to Permissions and Fair Use

On the Hustle – Tips for Freelance Writers

“One thing to keep in mind: Once you’ve been published …, it is almost always worth sending them more ideas, even if they don’t ask for them. You’ve already started the relationship with them, and they know you as a writer, so they are more likely to give your queries consideration.” – How to Write and Get Paid: 11 Cases of Freelance Writing Success edited by Jacob Jans (don’t have a link but worth sharing)

7 Contract Stipulations All Freelancers Should Know About

7 Nudges to work in to your query letters

7 Things You Must Do To Survive A Recession As A Freelancer including
1. Prioritize adding income over cutting expenses
Your first reaction to a big drop in income may be to cut back your expenses. That’s not wrong, but it’s more important to focus on bringing in more work. If you already live frugally, as many freelancers do, there’s only so much you can eliminate from your budget. Earn more and you won’t have to cut as much. When you have a good month—and you will, even in a downturn—save as much as you can to improve your cash flow for the next month. We could devote an entire article to getting more work. But a few ways to expand your roster of clients is to ask your current editors to connect you with their colleagues, update your online portfolios and social media pages, scour freelance job boards, and keep an eye on social media for calls for pitches.

7 Ways to get paid on time as a Freelancer

5 Red Flags to look for in a Contract

5 Tips for Aspiring Features Writers

31 Ways to Freelance Yourself to Financial Freedom

A Smarter Way to Price Freelance Projects 

Buying Yourself Time

Case Study: How I Get Paid $100 a Week to Write Rants About Video Games

Case Study: Collecting overdue payments and holding clients accountable

Content Syndication

“Find your minimum…and charge no less than that. If someone comes to you and says ‘…can you go lower?’ just say no… If you’re getting a lot of low paying work, you just need to learn to say ‘no’ more…You are worth a certain rate as a writer and when you go below that you are undervaluing yourself and as a result that paints the wrong picture of you to your clients.” Very good webinar on navigating the freelancing life.

“As a writer, you set the bar for acceptable pay. Don’t settle for less than you deserve and look for opportunities to upsell your services.” – Five Ways to Upsell Your Writing Services

Freelance Fees (insights to how freelancers charge)

How not to Pitch Editors

How to become a Professional Ghost Writer

How to Market Yourself without selling Your Soul

‘While coaching me and my almost exclusively female classmates, Brodesser-Akner declared the following: “Always ask for more money!” It was a habit she’d developed after noticing that men did it all the time, without thinking twice about it. People respect you more for knowing what you’re worth, she told us.’ – How to negotiate your rate like a pro

How much should book editors charge (or, if you’re looking to hire a book editor, how much should you expect to pay)

How much should I charge for freelance writing services

How much should I charge for freelance writing services

If the client doesn’t budge, it might be time to walk. Being forced to find new clients is often a blessing in disguise—especially if you take it as an opportunity to level up.”

“If you’re still a little unsure of your abilities, keep telling yourself that you have skills and experience that people are prepared to pay for. You’ve been invited to a meeting for a reason. You’ve won their approval thus far; you now just need to bring home the business by impressing them face-to-face.” – Learning how to sell yourself: how to win over a new client during a pitch by Katy Cowan

Landing Clients

“Most freelancers spend about 30 percent of their time completing non-billable work like pitching, researching, interviewing, responding to emails, marketing, networking, and invoicing…That means an eight-hour workday only leaves you with about five billable hours. So when finding your own rate, be realistic with what you can charge and how many hours in the week you can work.” – Rates

Negotiating tips

Rates (a sample of some freelance publication rates)

“So be bold. Go after the writing you want, keep yourself at the forefront of editors’ minds, ask for fair compensation, and see what happens!” – Reminder to Be Bold when pitching

Should You write a Free Sample to get a Freelance Writing Gig?

Spotting Writing Scams

Tapping in to local business

“The time you spend working for clients who underpay or don’t appreciate you is better spent seeking great clients who love you, understand your value, and pay appropriately.” – Carol Tice

Troubleshooting not getting Paid as a Freelancer

The Ultimate Guide to Recurring Income for Freelancers

What to do about freelance writing when you update your resume

What to do at every stage of a late payment

What to do when asked to give away your work

When they don’t pay

When your publisher goes out of business

When your editor ghosts you

‘While coaching me and my almost exclusively female classmates, Brodesser-Akner declared the following: “Always ask for more money!”’ – from How to negotiate like a Pro.

Why what you write matters more than where you publish

Writing for others – what to charge

Publishing – Books

The 10 Most Common Manuscript Submission Mistakes

An Author’s Guide to Praise and Endorsement Best Practices

The Best Advice I can offer- on getting published

The Best Advice I can offer – Fear of Being Edited

Carly Watters – Literary Agent Blog – I’m sharing this here because I don’t really have an agents’ blog on this site but I find, just perusing her comments section that she’s quite responsive and has some insights about the industry that might be useful, whichever agent you pitch.

Caribbean Writers Discuss Publishing – Lessons, Breakthroughs, and Rights

Don’t Fall Prey to Publishing Scams: 7 New Writer Mistakes to Avoid

Everything You ever wanted to know about Book Sales

GATE opens a window to the world of e-publishing

Guidelines for formatting your manuscript before submission and more guidelines BUT remember to check the publisher website for any guidelines specific to her.

How I got my literary agent – part 1, part 2, and part 3 by Barbadian author Shakirah Bourne,

How to get published

“I highly recommend a professional editor such as Joanne Hillhouse (jhohadli.wordpress.com/writing-editing-coaching-services/) or Virginia Hampton (hampton.virginia19@gmail.com) who have provided excellent service to me and other writers in Belize and abroad.” – Belizean writer Ivory Kelly in an article providing publishing tips for authors in Belize which authors in the wider Caribbean and beyond may find a useful resource

Negotiating an e-book contract

Nine Ways to a Faster Book Deal

The Pros and Cons of Book Awards

The Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing

Publishing 101 with Eugenia O’Neal

Publishing an Ebook

Publishing Contracts 101 (Protect Your Work)

Publishing-related

Query letter – tips 

Self-Publishing Conference 2019 Materials

Ten Principles of Fair Contracts

Vetting an Independent Editor

What to do When Your Book goes Out of Print

Why You need an Author Platform – and How to get One

Why your blog is your best promotional source

Publishing – Journals, Anthologies

Formatting manuscripts for submission

The Legal Side of Writing for Anthologies

Submitting Something Somewhere: Things to Consider

Publishing – Promotion

10 Ways to blog Your Books to increase Sales without being Pushy or Annoying

The Art of Publicity: How Indie Publicists Work With Writers

The Best Advice I can offer – Increasing Exposure

Book Marketing Mistakes

Connecting with Readers

“Don’t make the mistake of just replicating your content across platforms.” – Tips for Better Social Media Marketing

How to Tame the Social Media Beast (a primer for writers on the use of social media as a promotional tool)

“Consider the topic being more than about the book’s release, and instead more about the impact of the book, a strange intriguing fact about how the book came about, how the book meets an urgent need, how a famous/semi-famous person reviewed your book and what they thought. In other words, the book isn’t the news…something else amazing related to the book is.” – Press Releases: a Blast from the Past by Greta Burroughs

Reaching Readers – Blog Tour Magic

Social Media Playbook for Authors!

What Facebook’s 2018 Change Means for Authors

You and Your Wiki – Caribbean Writers Edition

Writing

Bad Habits

It’s not about how fast you write but how well

On Writing Dialogue

Three Plot Structures

Classes, Services (Writing and Publishing) – short sample limited to people who have had some connection with Antigua and Barbuda and especially Wadadli Pen

Joanne C. Hillhouse

Marita Golden

Professional Writing/Writing-related Services (Antigua and Barbuda)

Xtras

10 Things Every Blogger Should Know About Working With Brands

About your e-signature and how to utilize it as a marketing tool

Caribbean Literary Resources

Design Tips for Non Designers: 8 Dos and Donts

Dis ‘n Dat

Dominican writer Lisa Latouche talks about the road to the MFA programme in one, two parts (inspiration)

Grants and Artists-in-Residences are Awesome Opportunities

Guidance Sheet re Recording and Sharing Author Archives – Guidance sheet recordkeeping and transferring archives – “Authors should take time to ensure that they make the right choice of archive service for donation or deposit, and this may require a period of negotiation and discussion. It is important that there is sympathy and synergy between the author’s collection and the archival institution which will be responsible for its care and promotion. Seeking to change archive service once the process is underway can be a difficult process.”

How to Hire a Skilled Editor and What You’ll Pay (because some writers really do need to consider what’s involved before pushing back on the rates – negotiating is fine, disrespect and derision is not) – rates and reasons vary but this isn’t a bad guide

How to lose a third of a million dollars without really trying – a lot of this may feel like another world (every author isn’t getting advances of this size, for one) but posting just as a cautionary tale for any writer trying to navigate the publishing world (because it can be very confusing)

How YouTubers get paid

Joanne C. Hillhouse’s musings on Writing and Publishing

The Literary Diaspora

On merchandising fictional characters – a legal primer

Presentation tips from a puppet

This writer says, be professional and do your own research before asking (i.e. respect another writer or editor’s time – which is not to say, don’t ask, but do your leg work)

Writing and Writing-and-Publishing related services (including illustrations, editing, formatting, and more) in Antigua and Barbuda

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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