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The Writer

The Writer December 2019

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Since 1887 The Writer has provided the motivation, writing techniques, expert tips and compelling author insights that turn good writing into great writing. We’ll help you become a better writer, find markets for your work, understand the business of writing, follow industry news and trends, reach your goals, and more!

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United States
Madavor Media, LLC
R 101,41
R 478,03
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
fall 2019 short story contest

Don’t forget about our fall short story contest! Our 2019 fall short story contest is officially here! Submit your best work in 2,000 words or less for your chance to win $1,000 and publication in a future issue of The Writer. Any genre is fair game so long as your submission is a work of fiction. We’ll also award cash prizes and publication on writermag.com to the second- and third-place winners. Submit now if you haven’t already: The deadline for this contest is Dec. 2. What a bright time, it’s the write time Holiday season is in full swing on writermag.com! Join us every week for festive writing prompts, seasonal round-ups, and other holiday-themed content. And don’t miss our annual Holiday Gift Guide for Writers, which promises something for every wordsmith on your…

3 min.
cashing in

Non-writers often assume authors fall into one of two categories: The Starving Artist, surviving on crumbs of bread and the passion of our prose, or the Celebrity Author, netting Stephen King- or J.K. Rowling-size royalties. Authors live in mansions or hovels. They live on pennies or in penthouses. They earn seven-figure book deals or none at all. And perhaps it is because of these two fantastical extremes that so much confusion exists surrounding the finances of publishing, even in the writing community itself. I often wince when I hear writers talk about landing a book deal like it’s winning the state lottery and not the Shirley Jackson one. Make no mistake: A book deal can and will change your life. It moves you permanently from writer to published author, and no…

6 min.
looking ahead to 2020

The publishing industry traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, in early September for Digital Book World (DBW), a three-day deep dive into the “wide world of publishing” and its future. And the world of publishing at DBW was indeed wide: the Big 5, libraries, indie authors, university presses, tech companies, and more were all in attendance at the event. Here are the five key takeaways that authors need to know as we move forward into a new decade in publishing. 1 Voice is on the rise… Nearly a quarter of Americans own smart speakers, according to voicebot.ai. That’s a reach of 57.8 million people, and content creators are taking note: Simon & Schuster released the “Stephen King Library,” an Alexa skill that personalizes recommendations for King novels based on how the user responds to…

7 min.
the myths of you

For the last few months, I’ve been studying The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias, a book by social psychologist Dolly Chugh. It details how to move from believing you are good to actually building a better world. My urge to build better communities is persistent lately, so I’ve been using this book to examine what I always thought I knew about myself and the systems around me. And, further, how those two go together. Understandably, these observations have played a part in my life as a volunteer in the humanitarian sector, and they’ve also bolstered my resolve to be a better advocate for diversity and accessibility in literature. But one underpinning observation in Chugh’s book has changed the way I write. She suggests that we should adopt a…

5 min.
role reversal

I cannot imagine a career but the one I have now. I work on a variety of different projects in a basement office that holds a couch, floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and an easy chair. My commute from the bedroom is 25 seconds if I amble. I don’t have to squeeze myself into a pair of khakis or plead with a supervisor to get an extra 10 minutes for my lunch break. Why would I want to get a full-time writing job? Why would anyone who has spent more than a year working in slippers? In that basement office, I’m shut off from the world – and reality. I am not the primary earner; my wife is. Thanks to her job, we have terrific health insurance, a cost I can’t fathom paying out of…

5 min.
when to pitch an editor

I put a lot of thought into my story proposals. Not just what they say but when to send them. For example, I never send queries on a Monday morning. I’m not sure it actually matters – after all, does an editor really read my query the same day I send it? – but I know I’m busy on a Monday, and I assume most editors are, too. Which day of the week to send the query is just one element I take into account when pitching a story idea. There are other, more tangible considerations as well. These often determine whether I make a sale, get a rejection, or have to wait another year until the window of opportunity cycles back again. Whatever the nature of the publications you’re targeting –…