Discover more from Eva's Newsletter for Writers
Are all writers awkward, or is it just me?
A cry for Insta-help, the state of publishing, and TONS of writing links and resources
*For writing resources, scroll down.*
How do writers use Instagram?
Oh dear, I hope you didn’t think I was going to ANSWER that question. Because I have no idea.
For writing-related social media, I like Twitter. Did I resist joining it back in 2013? Of course. Because I’m wary of all new technology and social media. (Still terrified of TikTok.) But once I got the hang of Twitter, I loved it. Twitter makes sense to me as a way to find and distribute helpful info, links, and events, and to follow people who dispense good advice and information.
But Twitter has become… problematic, and I fear it’s dying a slow death. I’m trying to use Instagram more.
Except I don’t understand Instagram. What am I supposed to be posting? Photos of books next to steaming cups of coffee? It’s more difficult to include links on Insta, and I find the whole platform confusing. Should I be sharing other people’s posts to my stories? Should I be doing reels (and what even are they)?
Please help! I need to know who from the reading and writing communities I should follow on Instagram. I need to know what I’m doing wrong (and right) on the platform. I need tips on how to use Instagram to find and distribute helpful writing-related info in case Twitter dies. Advice?
The State of the Publishing Industry
Wondering why it’s so freaking hard to get an agent or a book deal? This article by Nathan Bransford is a great summary of what’s going on in publishing these days and why things are harder than ever for writers.
Also, Joseph Arroyo, aka The Tactical Luddite, wrote to me after I sent my newsletter about AI, and he has two very interesting posts about the publishing industry and how Artificial Intelligence might affect writers. Check out Part 1 and Part 2.
But instead of gushing about the great weather and amazing authors, let me tell you how awkward I felt on Friday night at the “VIP Author Reception.”
As a perpetually sleep-deprived mom of two young kids who is still recovering from years of COVID isolation, my social skills are nonexistent these days, so I was pretty nervous about rolling up there by myself in what I wasn’t sure was an appropriate outfit (the invitation said, “come as you are,” which gave very little guidance).
I walked into the crowded room, and sure enough, I knew literally no one except the guy serving the beer, and he was busy serving beer. I got a glass of wine and roamed around. I forced myself to approach a random group of women and awkwardly introduce myself. Then I saw someone else roaming around, looking lonely and nursing a drink. We walked towards each other. We made eye contact. “Will you be my friend?” she asked, laughing.
And that’s how I met the lovely Sarah Adler, debut romance author. She was my reception buddy for the rest of the night and THANK YOU SARAH for saving me from social awkwardness.
For that kindness alone, consider checking out Sarah Adler’s road-trip-romance novel, Mrs. Nash’s Ashes, which just came out a few days ago. I haven’t read it yet, but it must be good because a single week after going on submission, she had multiple editors fighting for the book, and it sold at auction — people really, really, really wanted to publish her book.
P.S. Weren’t able to attend my workshop in person? I have a virtual version for my paid subscribers! Setting the Mood: Use Setting to Enhance Mood and Suspense (No Matter What Genre You’re Writing).
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Writing News & Resources
For All Writers:
From the Good Story Blog: How to market your book (self-published or otherwise) to libraries.
Free submissions to the lovely Black Fox Literary magazine are open until May 31, and they have announced their next contest theme: Secrets Unraveled! The deadline for the contest is June 18, 2023. You can submit via their Submittable page.
Check out these upcoming online seminars with Jane Friedman from Writer’s Digest University:
Tackle any creative writing project with tons of free online support and accountability with Camp NaNoWriMo — starts July 1.
I updated my list of writing and publishing resources — my very favorite books, websites, and podcasts and writing, publishing, and creative life.
Thinking about self-publishing? This detailed guide tells you all the steps you need to take: How to Self-Publish a Book: A Guide for Aspiring Authors.
For KidLit Writers:
WriteMentor is hosting two kidlit story competitions: flash fiction and short story. Any genre, but the main character must be a child or teen, and the theme is “community.” Enter by May 30.
The Voyage Novel Excerpt contest for YA writers is open until June 1. Submit your very best chapters for a chance at a cash prize and a place in the Voyage anthology.
Check out Futurescapes KidLit Writing Workshop July 12-15 for MG and YA writers of speculative fiction. Classes, mentoring, and in-depth feedback with Hugo, Nebula, Edgar, Stoker, and World-Fantasy Award Winners & NYTimes Bestselling Authors, Agents & Editors. Application deadline May 14.
Free online event: How to Hook an Agent with Your Picture Book, happening May 29 - June 2.
The Searchlight Writing for Children Awards submissions are open from now until August 31. Shortlisted winners have their text sent to agents and publishers, and first place wins a sizable cash prize.
The Highlight's Foundation is offering three sessions of the Whole Novel Workshop: a life-changing retreat with amazing faculty members for those with a full novel manuscript they want to workshop:
From Bitsy Kemper’s blog: over 75 publishers accepting unsolicited picture book manuscripts — updated February 2023!
Check out this incredible list of upcoming events for KidLit writers!
For Querying Writers:
From The Good Story: Successful Query Letters: 40+ Real World Query Letters with Literary Agent Feedback.
Every Friday, Operation Awesome offers one free query critique through their #QueryFriday contest.
Live in the DC area? I will be teaching a submission package workshop series on three Saturdays, June 3 - June 17, from 10am to noon at The Writers Center in Bethesda, MD. After learning what makes a great query letter, you’ll write your own to be critiqued by your classmates. We will also workshop opening pages and discuss topics such as researching agents, pitch contests, conferences, and agent red-flags.
Every month I will chose one subscriber for a FREE submission package critique. Send me your query letter and the first two pages of your manuscript, and, if you’re the winner of the month, I will send you back in-depth feedback on both. Interested in receiving a critique? Fill out the form here.
Twitter pitch contests continue to happen, and though they can be frustrating, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try. (After all, I found my agent through a Twitter pitch party. I am now an official success story.) So mark your calendar for these upcoming Twitter pitch parties. And be sure to read my article 13 Things to Know About Twitter Pitch Events.
#JoyPit, June 1, is the newest Twitter pitch contest and is open to all feel-good, lighthearted fiction and non-fiction in all age categories, genres, and authors, regardless of where you are and who you are.
#PitchDis, June 22, for writers who self-identify as disabled, neurodivergent, and/or chronically ill.
Writing Conferences & Events:
Hugo House of Seattle is offering a one-day online conference, Write-O-Rama, on June 4. Over the course of the day, you'll take four workshops of your choice as a way to sample classes, teachers, and genres you might not normally sign up for.
The Writing Day Workshop “How to Get Published” Conferences will held both online and in person this year. I attended one of these conferences in person a few years ago, and I thought it was fantastic. I can’t vouch for the virtual version, but there are some benefits: recorded classes, no travel expenses, attend in your comfy pants. Plus, sign up for pitch sessions with agents for $29 a piece. Check out the upcoming conferences:
Write Hive’s annual FREE online conference will be held June 9-11. You'll come away from the event with the knowledge, resources, and inspiration to further your career as a writer and creator.
The Chesapeake Writers’ Conference will be held from June 18 - 24 in St. Mary’s City, MD. The conference features lectures, craft talks, readings, panel discussions, and daily workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction
The Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy is back! Join educators in Washington, DC this July (7/16-7/18 or 7/20-2/22) for one or both sessions of learning, including a panel with award-winning authors.
For more writing conferences, check out this list or this list of 19 Writing Conferences for Emerging and Established Writers.