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                     W R I T I N G  W O R L D

   A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 5:08         15,400 subscribers              April 14, 2005

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         From the Editor's Desk
         SPRING CLASSES on Writing-World.com
         News from the World of Writing
         FEATURE: Writers' Block: How Writers Cure Their Blocks
            by Leslie What
         The Write Sites -- Online Resources for Writers
         WRITING DESK: Could you tell me some ways to start a
            book? by Moira Allen
         WRITER TO WRITER: Online writing workshops
            by Peggy Tibbetts
         WHAT'S NEW at Writing World
         MARKET ROUNDUP/Writing Contests

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                     FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK

Spring Cleaning, Spring Bugs...
Spring is definitely in the air.  In fact, the air has been so
warm that we've had to turn on the air conditioner.  The
daffodils are already fading (at least, in MY yard -- our
neighbor's daffs are still golden and gorgeous).  The bird feeder
has been removed from the deck and relegated to the garage until
next year, much to the dismay of the squirrels.  The crocuses
never emerged from the planter pots, because (so far as I can
tell) the squirrels dug them all up and gobbled them; it looks
like one or two tulips may have escaped the Attack of the Fluffy

Indoors, the spring cleaning bug has bitten both of us. I've been
pulling boxes of files out of the closet and sorting, scanning,
and tossing, while Pat has actually sorted his stack of boxes
that hasn't been touched for about three moves.

Unfortunately, that isn't the only bug that has bitten us; we've
both come down with the wandering crud that seems to be going
around.  And that is why this week's editorial offers nothing
more exciting than a description of our garden and our filing
system!  Hopefully by next issue, my brain will be fully
functional once again (or as functional as it ever is), but
for now I'm going to pour myself a cup of tea and find a mindless
book to read, and kick back in the comfy reclining chair.

So enjoy the rest of the issue -- and don't forget to check out
our spring classes!

                                          -- Moira Allen, Editor


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New web site wants writers
57 Story Lane is looking for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and
more. Created by writers for writers, 57 Story Lane is a free
service created to help aspiring writers learn more about the
business of writing and improve their craft by having their work
read and reviewed by other readers and writers. They do not pay
for submissions, but claim that writers benefit because all
submissions will be published, earning writers a "publishing
credit". All submissions published on the web site are open to
review by other writers and readers, which can help them gain
valuable insight into which types of stories and writing styles
receive favorable reviews and which do not. The site was
launched March 28, and needs writers to keep the service going.
For more information: http://www.57StoryLane.com

Amazon buys BookSurge
Amazon.com has purchased BookSurge LLC, a book printing and
fulfillment business based in Charleston, SC. BookSurge, which
specializes in print-on-demand (POD) publishing from
self-published authors, small publishers, and organizations, will
continue to cater to its niche audience, according to the
company's head of marketing, Lisa Ryan. Amazon's vice president
of media products Greg Greely said: "BookSurge makes it possible
to print books that appeal to targeted audiences, whether it's
one copy or one thousand. Our new relationship with BookSurge
will provide Amazon customers an ever-expanding selection of
titles that are not available through other channels."

Video ads sell books
New services that produce short, animated Flash films about
books, provide authors with a new way to reach online readers.
VidLit founder Liz Dubelman has created VidLit videos for seven
books and has five more in the works. They range from one to
three minutes and cost approximately $3,500 a minute to produce.
The VidLit for Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman's book, "Yiddish
With Dick and Jane", was seen by a million people in its first two
weeks, leading to sales of more than 150,000 copies. BookShorts
is a Canadian company that produces promotional films that
feature a book's story line within a couple minutes. Others
include TeachingBooks.net, which creates mini-documentaries about
the making of books used in schools, and Bookstream, which
packages author video clips and book excerpts for its promotional
web site, bookwrapcentral, and for viewing on online merchants'
sites. Amazon spokesperson Kristin Schaefer Mariani said that the
company has begun incorporating VidLit videos as part of its
"larger, ongoing effort to provide customers with a range of
content to help them find and discover products that best meet
their needs."

IAC InterActive acquires Ask Jeeves
In March, IAC InterActive Corp. acquired the search engine
company, Ask Jeeves in a deal valued at $1.85 billion. IAC
operates more than 40 consumer brands including Ticketmaster,
Expedia.com, Hotels.com, plus other service industries. Ask
Jeeves was ranked 9th most-used search engine in a field
dominated by Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search. IAC Chairman and CEO
Barry Diller said, "Ask Jeeves has the potential to become one of
the great brands on the Internet and beyond, and by beyond we
mean in wireless, in the search for anything on any device."
Shortly before the acquisition, Ask Jeeves bought Trustic, Inc.,
the company that owns and operates Bloglines, an online service
for RSS feeds. Bloglines will continue to operate as an
independent brand in the Ask Jeeves portfolio and retain its name
and URL. Ask Jeeves has plans to develop a blog search engine.

Citizen journalism launches in Colorado
This week two major citizen journalism web sites were announced
in Colorado. The Rocky Mountain News announced the pending launch
of YourHub.com. Editor John Temple described it as "an electronic
town square where people can share their lives and make
connections. If they think something is news, they will be able
to make it news." The Boulder Daily Camera launched
Mytown.dailycamera.com. Editor Susan Deans predicts that "soon
you'll be able to blog or communicate with others --  fans of
local government news may want to expand on news coverage of
their city council or school board meetings. Or they can debate
the finer points of legislation and its effects on
neighborhoods." For more information on citizen journalism:


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                                                   by Leslie What

There are hundreds of suggested treatments for writer's block,
and while some writers swear by one tried and true method, other
writers sample the smorgasbord of cures to find one or more that
works. Here are just a few tips from writers interviewed for this

"The most familiar trick for ensuring a continuing hold on your
material is to end work each day just short of what is in your
mind to write, to leave for the next day a significant
development, a scene you have quite clearly in mind. Many writers
do this, so that they are eager to get started on the next stint,
without the anxiety that may come if they are not sure of their
direction or wonder which step to take first." -- Hallie & Whit

"McHugh's rule of writer's block: Writer's block is not the
inability to write, it is the feeling as you are writing, that
what you are writing is shit. The only way through it is to give
yourself permission to write shit. (You may replace 'shit' with
colorful euphemisms like 'cow dung' or even boring ones like
'crap.')" -- Maureen McHugh

"I rarely get writer's block, but when I do it's because I'm
taking the story in the wrong direction. I may be following the
outline that I've worked hard on and that I've already sold to an
editor, but I've learned that when I can't seem to write, it's
because my subconscious is telling me that I'm making a big
mistake. So I have to spend a little quiet time listening to what
my subconscious is telling me, and then I can make the changes
and get on with the work. It helps that editors never remember
the outline that you sold them anyway." -- Walter Jon Williams

"Don't beat yourself up. It's a waste of energy. Just enjoy the
time off. Maybe your brain is telling you to do other things,
gather material." -- Nina Kiriki Hoffman

"Writer's block is like a bad cold, annoying but surmountable."
-- Julie Torchia

"That's easy for her to say." -- Leslie What

(More tips and quotes are listed in the online version of this
article at http://www.writing-world.com/basics/block.shtml)

The array of suggestions for curing writer's block is confusing.
Gary Glasser, MD, FACP, says a truism in medicine is that "The
more treatments there are for any one condition, the less
effective is any particular treatment." Another generally
understood truth in medicine, Glasser adds, is "All cures for the
common cold are equally effective," meaning that when a condition
is self-limiting, it gets better no matter what you do. Why do
some writers quickly recover from block while others struggle
without relief? Glasser says, "The natural history of any
condition has multiple outcomes. Some people are cured, some
minimally impaired, and some are severely impaired despite
attempts to cure them."

Miracle Cures? Try These!
* Don't try to be good, i.e., dare to be bad.
* Write about someone you hate and send it to a confession
* Do the Elmore Leonard thing and only write the interesting
* Join a writing group to give yourself a deadline.
* Call it writing time when you mail queries, revise, file, make
* Make a date to write at a coffee shop with another writer.
* Switch from computer to pen or pencil.
* Borrow a laptop and write in the backyard.
* Take a walk around the block and use the time to let your
  subconscious mind work while your conscious mind relaxes.
* Try a free-writing brainstorm.
* Listen to music.
* Try exercise or yoga.
* Write in a journal knowing you are not trying to write for
* Look into Feng Shui and full-spectrum lighting.
* Break large writing goals into more manageable tasks.
* Write under another name to reduce expectations you have for

When Self-Help Isn't Enough
But what can one do when self-help isn't enough? Don't despair!
There is ongoing research into cognitive rehabilitation and
cognitive exercises to strengthen or regain lost executive
functions. Researchers hope to develop frontal lobe cognotropic
pharmacology that will specifically target executive functions.

J. Rawlins in The Writer's Way suggests that blocked writers
shouldn't become fixated on trying to determine what is blocking
them. "Sidestep" the block, he says. Create a good environment
for work without stress and interruption.

Robert Boice suggests a five-step treatment program. The first is
scheduled free writing, as taught by P. Elbow in his 1973 book
and later popularized by Natalie Goldberg and others. Free
writing, or brainstorming as it is sometimes called, can help a
stalled writer gain momentum. The second: contingency planning,
which involves setting up schedules and contingencies that force
a writer to write at pre-arranged times. Third is to consciously
abstain from "maladaptive self-talk," such as telling yourself
something will be rejected, while replacing negative statements
more positive ones, such as telling yourself how much you enjoy
writing. Fourth is establishing a social support group, such as a
writing group, that focuses on writing and support. Fifth is to
periodically reorder the above to keep these treatments from
become habits.

Some writers report a decrease in their symptoms after receiving
treatments for physical or psychological maladies that are either
a result of writer's block, or a contributing cause. If not
writing makes you anxious or depressed, or if depression doesn't
allow you to write, pharmacological treatment may prove useful.
Writers report they've been helped by alternative health
treatments, such as herbal therapies, Sam-E, light therapy, and

Gary Glasser says, "Sometimes, the symptoms are all that matters
and you can treat something without ever understanding the
underlying cause."

It's clear that at the moment, we don't really know the cause of
writer's block, and there isn't a one-cure-fits-all approach. The
trick that works for one writer may fail another. That doesn't
mean you shouldn't try another trick. And another trick after
that. Just keep trying, and please let me know when you discover
something new that works for you.


Leslie What has won a Nebula Award for short story and a
bookstore award for creative sitting. Her first novel, "Olympic
Games", was published in 2004. She is married to physician Gary
L. Glasser and is grateful for his assistance with this article.
This article was first published in the SFWA Bulletin.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Leslie What


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Spoiled Ink
About to launch a free advertising service for independently
published authors to upload their book jackets, include small
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Giggle Poetry
Contests, classes, plays, and funny poetry for kids brought to
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Information, news, tips and resources on the speculative fiction
industry, plus free newsletter, The Salient Green Mailer.

Information about contests, agents, markets, and more tips for

Smarter Surfing: Using Web Time on Deadline
Highlights from Sree Sreenivasan's workshop on efficient, cheap,
reliable web resources for journalists.

Biographical Dictionary
More than 28,000 bios of men and women who have shaped our world.


SUNPIPER PRESS is dedicated to giving exposure to new, emerging
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                                                   by Moira Allen

Could You Tell Me Some Ways To Start A Book?

Q: For the past two or three years, I've been trying to write a
book. I would love to be published and my teachers, parents,
etc., all over the years have said I'm very talented. The problem
is, every time I go to write, or start writing, a book, I always
quit because I just don't seem to like it. So, I was wondering if
you could tell me some ways to start a book. What I mean is,
should I sit down and jot out notes on any characters that will
be in the book, or write an outline of what I think should happen
throughout the book?

A: One question that comes to mind here is -- why are you writing
"a book"? You say that you would love to be published. But you
also say that every time you start to write a book, you quit
because you "just dont seem to like it" -- though I'm not sure if
you're referring to the book you're trying to write, or to the
process of writing itself.  In either case, I'm wondering if
you're simply trying to "write a book" just to get published --
NOT because you have a burning desire to actually write a book.

In other words, I don't get the impression from your question
that you have a book inside you that is just aching to get out.
It doesn't sound as if you have a book idea that you've been
longing to write and just haven't been able to "make work." It
sounds more as if you keep trying to figure out what kind of book
to write that could get published, and start one, but find that
you don't like it and don't have the motivation to proceed.

If this is the case, then my recommendation would be to simply
STOP. Don't waste your time writing a book that doesn't have any
real meaning to you. You'll never like it, you'll feel like it's
drudge work, and it could even end up souring you on the whole
process of writing in the first place.

There are lots of other ways to get published. Books are just a
small part of the publishing world, and they are also the
toughest part to create and to "crack" (in the sense of actually
getting your book published once you write it). At this point,
you need to explore what type of writing you enjoy. Maybe it's
nonfiction articles. Maybe it's short stories. Maybe it's poetry.

You have the luxury of taking the time to find out. You have time
to explore, to dabble. Try different styles, different types of
writing, different subjects, and find out what excites you and
what bores you. You don't have to make a lifetime decision on
what to write at this point! Also, use this time to READ
different types of writing, and figure out what you enjoy.
Chances are, you'll enjoy writing the type of thing that you
enjoy reading.

Get involved in a book club or writing group if you can find one.
This would be a great time to look for a mentor -- someone who
can encourage you and give you constructive feedback on your
work. Consider joining an online writing discussion group and/or
critique group. You don't have to make a lifetime decision on
what to write at this point!

You may find that as you gather ideas and information, suddenly
you realize that you DO have a burning idea for a book, and you
won't be able to rest until you start writing it. When that
happens, you'll know that this is the RIGHT book. That doesn't
mean it will be easy, and there will be times when you absolutely
hate it and want to do something else, but you'll keep coming
back to it, because it's an inner passion, not just something
you're trying to do "to get published."

There are some good books on "how to write a book". One is Donna
Levin's "How to Get That Novel Started -- And Keep Going Until
You Finish." Another is the Writer's Digest "Novel Writing
Handbook".  If you're interested in science fiction and fantasy,
Orson Scott Card's "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy" is
about the best reference in that area. Anne LaMott's "Bird by
Bird" is good -- it's not so much a how-to as an "encourager".

However, I don't recommend relying too much on "how to write
a book" advice. Some people recommend writing extensive
biographies of your characters, others recommend creating
detailed outlines. Some things work for some people and don't
work for others. I've always felt that one can spend too much
time writing "around" one's book (working on character bios etc.)
instead of actually writing ON one's book.

Anyway, have fun with writing. If you focus too much on making it
a business or career, the fun can go away.


Moira Allen has been writing and editing professionally for more
than 20 years. A columnist for The Writer, she is also the author
of "Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer", "The Writer's
Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals" (now available as an
e-book) and "Writing.com: Creative Internet Strategies to
Advance Your Writing Career". For more details, visit:

Copyright (c) 2005 by Moira Allen


                           by Peggy Tibbetts (peggyt"at"siltnet.net)

The topic of online writing workshops didn't generate a big
response. I'm not sure if that's an indication that interest in
online workshops is waning, or if writers just weren't moved to
respond. However, the responses I did receive were thoughtful and
offered some unique perspectives on the question: What did you
find the most useful about the workshop?

For beginners like P. Sitton, online writing workshops represent
an introduction to the writing world: "It was the perfect first
step for me. It was loaded with good information, the basics that
I desperately needed, and gave me the opportunity to have my work
reviewed by a professional. Posting my writing was a bit
unnerving, but [the instructor] was very supportive and gave
great feedback. We all critiqued the work of our classmates,
which was also a positive experience. Nobody was brutal, just
very supportive, and the confidence I gained from the class gave
me the courage to move forward with my writing."

Online workshops give some beginners that extra push they need to
get their careers off the ground, as in J. Gregston's case: "I am
new to freelancing, and [the instructor] answered many of my
questions tirelessly. As a direct result of taking that class, I
did write and submit two queries which I am still waiting to hear

Yet V. Kerrigan emphasizes that online workshops aren't just for
beginners, but are "an invaluable resource for every writer.
They provide critical and honest feedback, and if writers accept
the criticism and use all the advice, a wonderful stepping stone
to a professional career. I have loved being a member of writing
workshops, made life-long friends all over the world and grown in
my writing at the same time."

Most writers juggle busy work and family schedules. Convenience
is a big plus for writers like K. Hines, who said, "Participants
can be wholly involved through doing the lessons and
participating with the online class forum, posting messages for
other participants. Or they can do what I do -- glean what I can
when I have the time."

In addition to flexibility, value is important to T. Downs
because an online workshop usually costs less "than enrolling in
a formal class or an MFA program."

C. Hodgson found the inspiration and the audience to teach her
own class: "The most useful part of the course was truly getting
to know the other participants. Now, I am considering designing
and teaching my own!"

The positives far outweigh the negatives and that was proven
by the few responses to the question: What kind of problems, if
any, did you encounter in your experience?

Some writers simply prefer the up close and personal experience
found in the live classroom setting. The independent study aspect
can make it difficult to focus on the course work, as expressed
by B. Blank: "I found I didn't really make the time to read the
material, execute the directions, etc. Without the visual and
auditory cues one has in a classroom, I got sort of turned off."

While the one-on-one instruction can be a plus, if you're the
only student you might feel like you're missing something. As the
lone participant, J. Gregston said, "I felt that I didn't get as
much from taking the class as I would have had there been other
students. I could have benefited from other's questions, answers,
and input."

However, in a large class where students share their works, there
is the risk of plagiarism, as V. Kerrigan pointed out: "It is
incredibly easy to be inspired by other writers, their turns of
phrase, their unusual concepts, great storyline twists. It is a
simple matter to take this one step further and borrow an idea
from a writer who isn't published, and I feel certain there are
those who justify such behavior by telling themselves the other
writer wasn't ever likely to be published anyway, so what does it
matter? This is another bonus of a private workshop -- it
restricts those original ideas to a small circle of trusted

I received only one response to the question: If you have never
taken an online writing workshop, what might induce you to sign
up? C. Rhodes said, "If I found an online course that interested
me and cost $50 or less, I would consider signing up."

Since I have taught an online writers workshop, I think this is
where an instructor's perspective is helpful. One of the
advantages of an online writing workshop is the small class size.
So let's say 10 students sign up for a 6-week class. At $50 per
student that's $500 gross pay (before deducting administrative
costs) for 6 weeks of one-on-one instruction with a professional.
Yes it's true, if online classes cost only $50, instructors would
have more students than they could possibly accommodate, but they
would still be working for sweatshop wages. Remember the consumer
adage, "you get what you pay for!"

In today's competitive publishing world, editors and agents
expect writers to submit polished manuscripts. Online writing
workshops offer writers access to experienced professionals and
the opportunity to take their writing to that next level.


Peggy Tibbetts answers your questions about writing for children
in her monthly column, Advice from a Caterpillar:
She is the author of "The Road to Weird" and "Rumors of War".
Visit her web site at: http://www.peggytibbetts.net

Copyright (c) 2005 by Peggy Tibbetts


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From Novel to Screenplay: The Challenges of Adaptation,
by Lynne Pembroke and Jim Kalergis

Writer's Block: Is It All In Your Head? by Leslie What
(Includes Part I & Part II, plus sidebars not included in the
newsletter version)


FIND 1700 MARKETS FOR YOUR WRITING! Writing-World.com's market
guides offer DETAILED listings of over 1700 markets, with contact
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see http://www.writing-world.com/bookstore/index.shtml



Bob Bitchin, Editor/Publisher
PO Box 668, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
EMAIL: publisher"at"latsandatts.net
URL: http://www.latsandatts.net

Specific guidelines for the 10 regular departments, feature
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GUIDELINES: http://www.latsandatts.net/Writers_Info.htm


Jill Melton, Editor-in-Chief
Coincide Publishing LLC, 15111 North Hayden Road, #304,
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
EMAIL: editors"at"cookingsmartmagazine.com
URL: http://sheknows.com/cookingsmart/

We are looking for articles written by journalists as well as
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on research and interviews with experts, chefs and "real people"
who love to cook or are dieting -- presented with a friendly,
personal approach. See web site for specific guidelines.

LENGTH: Feature articles: 400-1,200 words
PAYMENT: Web site articles: $35-$50; Magazine articles: $75-$250;
Essays: $75-$100
RIGHTS: First Serial Rights
REPRINTS: Yes, for web site articles only
SUBMISSIONS: Send essays and fillers by email. For articles,
please send queries with published clips, if available, to:


Pat Stone, Editor
PO Box 1355, Fairview, NC 28730
EMAIL: patstone"at"atlantic.net
URL: http://greenprints.com

We want the best, personal (key word, that) garden writing we can
find -- fiction, essays, and poetry. Expressive, thoughtful,
humorous, angry, contrite, flippant, searching, witty, observant,
sad, inviting -- whatever! We focus on the human, not the how-to
side of gardening. On the people as well as the plants. After
all, gardening is a relationship, not a recipe. Green Prints
explores that relationship, not by instructing, preaching, or
lecturing about it. Instead, we celebrate it ... by sharing the
stories and experiences we all have trying (and sometimes
failing) to get along with plants. I can put what we want in one
word: Storytelling. Or maybe story showing. The most common
shortcoming we see is people who forget the old high-school
English-class dictum: Show, don't tell. Take us through the
experiences with trenchant details and tight descriptions. Don't
tell us how profound or funny or beautiful it was: make us
experience the feeling.

LENGTH: 2,000 words or less
PAYMENT: Fiction/essays: Up to $100; Poetry: $25
RIGHTS: FNASR, unless reprint
SUBMISSIONS: Prefers mail submissions
GUIDELINES: http://greenprints.com/wguidelines.html


Please send Market News to: peggyt"at"siltnet.net

"FNASR": First North American Serial Rights, "SASE":
self-addressed, stamped envelope, "GL": guidelines. If you have
questions about rights, please see "Rights: What They Mean and
Why They're Important"


This section lists contests that charge no entry fees. For more
contests, check our online contests section.


          2005 Hendrickson Memorial Prize in Poetry

DEADLINE: May 1, 2005
GENRE: Poetry
OPEN TO: 18 years and older
LENGTH: 5 single-spaced pages or less

THEME: The Prize will be awarded to the best work in poetry
exhibiting the traits of directness in language and authenticity
of spirit. All submissions must be original, previously
unpublished works.

PRIZES: 1st Prize: $300; 2 Editor's Choice Awards: $100 each

ELECTRONIC ENTRY: Yes, subject line: 2005 HMP Poetry

EMAIL: editors"at"dirtpress.com
URL: http://www.dirtpress.com/dirty_main.asp?id=4185


          James Laughlin Award

DEADLINE: May 15, 2005
GENRE: Poetry
OPEN TO: Poet's second book published between 5/1/04 and 4/30/05
LENGTH: 40-75 pages

THEME: The James Laughlin Award is given to recognize and support
a poet's second book. It is the only second-book award for poetry
in the United States. Offered since 1954, the award was endowed
in 1995 by a gift to the Academy from the Drue Heinz Trust. It is
named for the poet and publisher James Laughlin (1914-1997), who
founded New Directions in 1936. Only manuscripts already under
contract with publishers are considered. Please see web site for
detailed guidelines and entry form.

PRIZE: $5000

ELECTRONIC ENTRY: No, entry from must accompany submission

ADDRESS: The James Laughlin Award, The Academy of American Poets,
588 Broadway, Suite 604, New York, NY 10012-3210

EMAIL: rmurphy"at"poets.org
URL: http://www.poets.org/awards/laughlin.cfm


            Cave Canem Poetry Prize

DEADLINE: May 15, 2005
GENRE: Poetry
OPEN TO: African American poets who have not had a book
professionally published
LENGTH: 50-75 manuscript pages

THEME: Established in 1999, the Cave Canem Poetry Prize supports
the work of African American poets with excellent manuscripts who
have not yet found a publisher for their first book. Please see
online guidelines for more information.

PRIZES: $500, publication of manuscript by a national press, and
50 copies of the book


ADDRESS: 2005 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, Cave Canem Foundation,
Inc., 584 Broadway, Suite 508, New York, NY 10012

URL: http://www.cavecanempoets.org/pages/prize.html#guidelines


2000 ONLINE RESOURCES FOR WRITERS -- links for every kind of
writer!  Still only $5.

as an e-book!  Find out how to write the perfect query, book
proposal, novel synopsis, column proposal, or grant application.
Only $8.95 (save $5 from the print edition.)

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