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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 9:13            8,309 subscribers            July 2, 2009
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THE EDITOR'S DESK, by Moira Allen
NEW COLUMN: Free Stuff for Writers, by Aline Lechaye 
FEATURE: The Midlisters: Backbone of the Publishing Industry,  
by Sean McLachlan
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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Remember Summer Vacation?

Remember summer vacation?  This was the subject line of a spam-mail
I received recently.  I have no idea what the rest of the message
said, as it ended up in the trash bin -- but the question stuck in
my mind.  DO I remember summer vacation?  Yes, I do.  And it
occurred to me how apt the verb is here, for "summer vacation" is,
indeed, nothing more than a memory.

Do you remember how eager we were for the end of the school year? 
How full of plans for those seemingly endless three months that
stretched ahead? I recall looking ahead to the summer with two
seemingly contradictory thoughts in mind: There were so many things
I planned to do, and at the same time, I looked forward to three
months of doing "nothing."

Of course, those concepts weren't quite as contradictory as they
seemed. By "nothing," I meant -- nothing that I normally "had" to
do.  No getting up much too early each morning, scrambling into
school clothes, gobbling down a not-so-pleasant breakfast, grabbing
my books and making sure I was ready to bolt out the door in time
to catch the bus.  No spending my days in boring classrooms.  No
lessons.  Perhaps best of all, no HOMEWORK.  In short -- "nothing
to do!"

Having "nothing to do" led quite naturally into the second half of
the concept: The idea that with all this free time ahead of me, I
could do ANYTHING!  I had three months to do anything I wanted. 
Well, almost anything... My family tended to take very, very long
summer trips, so my plans for summer usually had to take into
account the fact that I would be spending most of it in a tent in
some remote part of the Idaho wilderness.  But that was no
obstacle, given that what I generally planned to do was "write."  

My essential travel kit included half a dozen of my favorite books,
a couple of indispensible stuffed animals (and, in later years, two
or three essential plastic horses) -- and notebooks, pens and
pencils.  By the time our travels were finished, the books would
have been read and reread, the stuffed animals would be a bit
grubbier -- and the notebooks would be full.  (Horses figured
rather prominently in those stories, as I recall...)

Today, the most common complaint I hear from writers is "I'd write
more if I only had more time!"  I've seen any number of articles on
how to make more time for writing, how to organize one's time more
effectively, how to cut out time-wasters, and so on.  But it occurs
to me that perhaps one of the problems we face as writers is that,
now that we are adults, we no longer have "summer vacations."

There must have been a reason for "summer vacation."  It can't have
just been to allow farm kids time to bring in the harvest (though
I've heard that given as one of the original reasons for the
three-month "holiday.")  No, I think educators realized that
children needed a break -- that it was beneficial to the learning
process.  A summer vacation refreshed us, so that we could actually
look forward to the next school year. It gave us an opportunity, as
well, to exercise creativity unconstrained by "assignments."

Most of us may never again have the luxury of being able to take
three months off from work, let alone from "daily life."  But I
know that as a self-employed freelance writer, I am my own worst
taskmaster.  If I don't have "time," it's because I don't GIVE
myself time.  If I am overscheduled with writing tasks that are
productive (and hopefully lucrative) but not necessarily creative,
the only one filling in that schedule is ME.

So I've decided to try to do more than just "remember" summer
vacation. I'm going to try to have one again.  It's going to take
some planning, and it probably won't happen this year.  It may not
even happen during the summer (there's nothing wrong with a "fall
vacation" or even a "dead of winter vacation").  But I'm going to
set a goal: To set aside a period of time within the next twelve
months when I can honestly say, "I have nothing to do!"  And then,
I'm going to see what I can do with that time -- and, perhaps, what
that time will do for me!

Back in our school days, creativity was something that we had to
pursue "on our own time" -- after school, on weekends, and most of
all, during the summer.  Today, "our own time" is the one thing we
don't seem to have anymore -- and I'm convinced that, as writers,
we suffer for it.  Somehow, we need to find ways to recapture that
sense of having "nothing to do" -- so that we can free ourselves to
spend a few days or weeks or even months pursuing our dreams,
instead of our drudgery.  If you've already found a way to make
this happen, I hope you'll share your tips with the rest of us --
and if you haven't, but wish you could, well... stay tuned!

-- Moira Allen, Editor


CHILDREN'S WRITERS - Improve your competitive edge and publishing
record with this vital monthly newsletter of editors' wants and
needs, market studies, and genre analyses loaded with editors' tips
and insights into subjects and styles they're looking for right
now.  Get a Free issue and see. 



For the first time ever I asked a question that no-one wanted to
answer.  Last month I asked if you'd been inspired by this column
or the newsletter to try something new.  Maybe you are all so busy
actually trying something new that you didn't have time to get back
to me on it. 

Never mind, it had to happen once. 

This month I've been musing over writing rituals.  I just read a
novel by Tom Holt that is in part about an author (it has an
interesting take on the slush pile too), and this author cannot
write without a packet of biscuits and a huge mug of tea on her
desk.  I've read of other writers who have to sit in a certain
chair or drink a prescribed number of cups of coffee before they
can start to write.  Me, I just grab my five minutes when I can and
do what needs to be done.  But is this what is keeping me from
unleashing my fiction writing skills?  Am I not approaching it
correctly with my 'sit down and stay there until it's done'
approach?  Would a ritual help get me more in the mood for writing?

Do you have different routines for different types of writing? A
little ritual that gets you off to a good writing start?  Did you
used to have a ritual but have now abandoned it?  If so, why?

Let me know by sending me an email with the subject "Inquiring
Writer" to editorial"at"writing-world.com

But before I go, do you have any burning issues to put to the rest
of the Writing-World community?  Email me with your question.

Until next time, 

Copyright (c) 2009 Dawn Copeman


TAKE COMMAND OF YOUR NOVEL--Bring a Novelist's Boot Camp to your
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half-day workshops available. Find out more at



Judge Bans Publication of Catcher in the Rye Sequel in US
The sequel, "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye," penned by
Swedish writer Fredrik Colting, has been hit with a temporary
restraining order banning its publication in the US.  The issue is
whether the character Holden Caulfield is protected under copyright
or not. Other authors have had success with characters from
previous novels, such as George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series,
which were based on a character in Tom Brown's Schooldays. However,
according to the New York Times, there won't be much of a market
for the sequel anyway, as apparently Holden is not popular anymore.
For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/lwmqg5

Iran Arrests Staff Of Entire Newspaper 
All 25 employees of the newspaper Kalemeh Sabz, including 20
reporters, were arrested on the 23 June as they prepared to go to
press, the organisation Reporters Without Borders has reported.
According to the organisation, a total of 53 Iranian and foreign
journalists have been arrested in Iran since the 12th June. For
more on this story visit: 

Science Fiction Writer Signs 1 Million Book Deal
Welsh science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds has signed a 1
million ten-book deal with Gollancz.  The author, whose first book
was published in 2000, has already published eight books through
Gollancz.  This is believed to be the largest advance given in the
science fiction genre for at least a decade.  For more on this
story visit: http://tinyurl.com/l85jra

Pot Washer Wins Literary Prize With First Novel
Here's a nice rags-to-riches story to make us all keep plugging
away at our work.  Edward Hogan, who at one time made a living
washing pots, has won the 10,000 Desmond Elliot Prize for his
first novel Blackmoor. For more on this story visit: 

through July 15, 2009. For information and submission guidelines
please go to http://www.PlaywritingContest.cjb.net Join our
Facebook Group: New Works Of Merit Playwriting Contest. In its 7th
year, the contest is a project of Merit Theater and Film Group,



Greeting Card Writers Wanted by Blue Mountain Arts 
Blue Mountain Arts is interested in reviewing writings for
publication on greeting cards. We are looking for highly original
and creative submissions on friendship, family, special occasions,
positive living, and other topics one person might want to share
with another. Submissions may also be considered for inclusion in
book anthologies. We pay $300 per poem for all rights to publish it
on a greeting card and $50 if your poem is used only in an

Request a copy of our writer's guidelines (which include
contact/submission information) by sending a blank e-mail to
writings"at"sps.com with "Send Me Guidelines" in the subject line, or
by writing us at: Blue Mountain Arts, Inc., Editorial Department,
P.O. Box 1007, Boulder, CO 80306. You can also visit our Web site
at http://www.sps.com.

Sustainability Writers Wanted
YES! Magazine documents how people are creating a more just,
sustainable, and compassionate world. They welcome submissions that
relate directly to this focus. Each issue of YES! includes a series
of articles focused on a theme -- about solutions to a significant
challenge facing our world -- and a number of timely, non-theme
articles. Pay rates for articles vary and are negotiated based on
the circumstances of the writer and the assignment. YES! pays
higher rates for original reporting and deeply researched stories
that break new ground. View website for details. 

Demand Studios is Hiring Freelance Copy Editors

Demand Studios is recruiting experienced freelance line editors and
copy editors to edit our growing library of informative articles. 
Demand Studios publishes thousands of articles a day, and our
content reaches a highly passionate audience that demands accuracy
and quality. 
We are looking for dedicated editors who can deliver quality work
in a timely manner and are comfortable occasionally communicating
with writers.  Some fact checking is also required. 
We are looking for candidates with 5 years of demonstrated editing
or copyediting experience with a newspaper, magazine or book
We are hiring both full-time and part-time editors.  These are
freelance positions and all work is done online.  While your
schedule is flexible, we do require our editors to commit to weekly
hours depending on their position.  
We pay a flat fee of $3.50 per article, with most editors averaging
$20-$25 per hour, paid on a weekly basis via PayPal.
To apply, please upload your resume via our online application:

Vibe Magazine Seeks Youth Culture Articles
Vibe magazine focuses on urban music and the current youth culture.
They welcome feature proposals and you need to submit a query with
clips, resume, and SASE. Features are up to 3000 words. Columns are
up to 740 words, and music reviews up to 800 words. Pay is $1/word.
View website for details. http://www.vibe.com/about/contact/


Stories Without Traveling, by Jack Adler, specialist in consumer
travel reporting. Examples of published articles, sample topics,
how to develop a specialty, write queries, use your background and
area plus much more. 288 pp, $14.95.  


NEW COLUMN - Free Stuff for Writers
By Aline Lechaye

Welcome to the first installment of "Free Stuff For Writers". Stop
by each month for downloads, giveaways, and introductions to cool
websites and software--all for the price of $0.00! (Now if they
could give you a discount on your rent as well...)

This month, download four free books featuring writing guidelines
from the best of the best. Oh, and don't forget that free calendar
that will hopefully keep you organized. 

Nowadays, thanks to websites like lulu.com, anyone can write and
publish an e-book. Spend a few hours in front of the computer
typing up your opinions of the world, and you can be the author of
your very own book. Needless to say, there are hundreds of people
hoping to make income out of these e-books. You've probably seen
the spam e-mails: The Writing Book That Will Change Your Life,
announces the header, followed by pages of random blurbs that
attribute miracle powers to the book in question, which you can buy
for the special discount price of $16.95. If these are the kinds of
books people expect you to pay for, what kind of e-book can you
expect to get for free?

Surprise, surprise. There actually are "good" writers (and by good,
I mean well-established, award-winning writers) who dare to put
their work out there for free: 

Essays in the Art of Writing, by Robert Louis Stevenson
In case you're wondering, the author is the Robert Louis Stevenson,
of Kidnapped and Treasure Island fame. This slim thirty-three page
volume contains seven short essays which give interesting advice,
talk of books that influenced Stevenson, and take you through the
writing of Treasure Island. Even if you don't like his novels that
much, this e-book provides fascinating insights into the writer's
http://www.write4kids.com/ebooks.html (Scroll to the bottom of the
page until you see the free e-book section.)

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. 
You probably remember this slim volume from college English, but in
case you've lost your copy or were unlucky enough to get the
English teacher that hated it, you can read it by clicking on the
link below. Brief essays explain the mysteries of style and the
rules of usage. (Note: This isn't exactly an e-book, but the
website does contain the full text of the book.)

Mugging the Muse, by Holly Lisle
Written by award-winning, best-selling author Holly Lisle, this
book is a gold mine of information. Subtitled Writing Fiction for
Love and Money, the chapters lead you from starting/finishing your
novel, through methods for creating good characters and dialogue,
and finally onto publishing and money issues. Visit 
http://hollylisle.com/ and click on the "downloads" section.
Besides Mugging the Muse, you can also download Holly's novels Fire
in the Mist (Compton Crook Award, Best First Novel, 1993), and her
personal favorite, Sympathy for the Devil, for free. 

By the way, another e-book from Holly you can download is Create A
Plot Clinic: http://www.fictionfactor.com/dl/plotclinic.pdf (right
click and "save as"). The book is short, only about fifty pages
long, but it's jammed-packed with suggestions for creating that
plot you've always dreamt of. 

2009 Writer's eCalendar, by Julie Hood
Every year, OrganizedWriter.com publishes a free e-calendar in
e-book format for writers to download. The calendar contains
quotes, organizing tips, and lists the various holidays and special
days of every year (write a filler!) You may think June is a bit
late to get a new calendar, but once you see the calendar, you may
just change your mind...

Don't forget to check back next month for more freebies!

Poster/Bookmark Giveaway: A toy castle is what sent fantasy author
Paul Genesse over the edge and into madness. Paul's short stories
have been published in various large press anthologies from DAW
Books. The latest addition to his acclaimed Iron Dragon Series, THE
DRAGON HUNTERS, is out now. The last of an order of dragon hunters
must track down the dragon king's daughter and stop her from
getting the Crystal Eye, an ancient artefact that will cause the
destruction of their world. To watch a video about the IRON DRAGON
SERIES, http://www.paulgenesse.com. To get free autographed posters
or bookmarks featuring cover art from THE DRAGON HUNTERS, send an
email to pgenesse"at"msn.com with your address (subject:
"Writing-World Giveaway"). 


Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who
resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye"at"gmail.com.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Aline Lechaye


WORLDWIDE FREELANCE WRITER - You can download a free list of 
writing markets if you subscribe this week. Discover almost 
2,000 writing markets from USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australasia.


Alien Flower
I'm still in a poetry mood so was delighted when I came across this
site.  It is updated daily, has a variety of poems, and I found a
lot of information on how to write poetry in the Exercises, Essays
and Books section.  The only downside is you have to click by tutor
rather than by topic, but I've always liked Lucky Bags, so I quite
liked the unexpected aspect of it. Check it out for yourself. 

Ink Provoking
I love this site!  Never be stuck for inspiration again.  This site
has a new prompt every day from Monday to Friday and is an
excellent way to warm up those writing muscles. 

Spirit Led Writer
This site is aimed at Christian writers but has a wealth of
information for all writers. It has articles on a wide variety of
fiction genres as well as covering nonfiction and reviews of
writing books. I've bookmarked it. 


CAN'T GET PUBLISHED? Be a Well-Fed Self-Publisher and make a 
living! Control the process and timetable. Keep the rights AND 
most of the profits.  Here's the step-by-step blueprint used to 
create a full-time living from ONE book!  By the award-winning 
author of The Well-Fed Writer. http://www.wellfedsp.com


FEATURE: The Midlisters: Backbone of the Publishing Industry
By Sean McLachlan

They're not rich, they're not famous, but they make their living by
writing and they're responsible for the majority of all published
titles. They're called midlisters, and they keep the publishing
industry running. 

So who are midlisters? They're the serious professionals whom
publishers rely on to produce good, marketable books year after
year, spanning all genres from nonfiction to fantasy to romance to
young adult. They've moved beyond the small press to win regular
paying contracts, but they do not have bestsellers. They often work
a variety of writing jobs in addition to their books, including
mentoring, magazine articles, and copy editing.

The reality that every aspiring author must face is that, chances
are, they will not hit the bestseller lists. No matter how
talented, hardworking, and prolific a writer may be, the market
simply cannot sustain more than a few Stephen Kings and J.K.
Rowlings. But making a living as an author is possible. Midlisters
are proof of that.
In-depth interviews with half a dozen midlisters reveal certain
similarities in their approach to work, and provide hints at how
aspiring authors can make careers that will span decades.

First off, midlisters are prolific, often to an intimidating
degree. They work day in and day out for years, and it adds up.
Jane Toombs has published more than eighty novels, the majority of
them romance, with big names such as Silhouette and Avon. Lawrence
Schimel has published more than ninety books and almost two hundred
short stories. Sally Odgers beats them all with about three hundred
titles in virtually all genres.

Once they have a bunch of titles under their belt, midlisters
resell their old work. Published articles and stories can be sold
as reprints, and while books that have gone out of print generally
do not get bought by another major publishing house, they can find
a new life with ebook and print-on-demand publishers. Lawrence
Schimel is a master at recycling old short stories, often
republishing them several times in magazines and anthologies. One
of his short stories has been reprinted a dozen times. Reprinted
articles and short stories generally earn $25-75, and electronic
and POD books usually earn only in the low hundreds, but that's
better than the nothing those works were earning after they had
gone out of print, and often the only extra work involved is
sending a few emails.

Writing reams of prose isn't enough. These writers send out their
work constantly and, like all professionals, midlisters deal well
with rejection. Fantasy and science fiction author Judith Tarr
says, "I think it helps to understand from day one that it's not
personal. Rejection still hurts -- having your series dumped in
midstream by a publisher that decided, quite abruptly, to change
course completely can make you feel pretty awful. But it's not
about you. It's business. The best thing you can do is pull up your
socks, pull out the toolbox, and start putting together a new
project." Sally Odgers says, "I always think thin-skinned people
should NOT become writers. It's like constantly applying for jobs.
Most people do that only now and again, but midlist authors do it
for life."

Sometimes they glean a bit of ironic humor from their rejections.
Odgers had a teen novel rejected by a publisher who complained that
"the author knows nothing about teenagers" even though Odgers was a
teenager at the time!

To secure a reasonably stable living, midlisters usually write in
several different genres. Lawrence Schimel got started writing
science fiction stories, making his first sale when he was still in
high school. He used his connections with editors and writers to
become an anthology editor, and then broke into the children's book
market while not turning his back on writing short stories or
editing anthologies. Other writers do the same. Odgers and Toombs
have both published romance, fantasy, suspense, and nonfiction. One
children's writer, who asked not to be named in this article,
moonlights as a writer of gay erotica and, just to prove that a
real writer can write anything, writes lesbian erotica under a
different name!

Having numerous titles across several genres means midlisters often
write under a variety of pseudonyms. Sally Odgers, who writes
primarily for children, says, "I've been asked to use pen names
quite often, for various reasons. One editor wanted me to sound
younger and prettier than I was. One wanted me to appear to be
male. One wanted me to seem ethnically different from what I am.
Occasionally I choose to use one, if I'm writing in a genre that is
unsuitable for my main audience." Judith Tarr adds, "If the writer
is very prolific in a wide range of genres and subjects, she may
want to avoid saturating the market by publishing different
projects under different bylines. Another common reason (and this
has become more common in recent years) is that if sales are low or
declining under one name, a new name allows the writer to start
over with higher sales. Robin Hobb (aka Megan Lindholm) is a
well-known example of this. At the moment a 'first novelist' has a
better chance of getting decent sales, and improving them in
subsequent books, than a known name on a downward spiral."

Also, midlisters know how to change with the market. Sally Odgers
says, "the fashion keeps changing, so I reinvent what I write every
few years." Writing in several different genres keeps up her
interest, adding variety and spice to what could easily become a
creativity-killing grind. Judith Tarr is similarly flexible,
starting out with science fiction and moving into historical epics
and fantasy. She notes, "Classic fantasy, except for a few
bestsellers, is in free fall. All the interest at the moment seems
to be in urban and paranormal, and in books for younger readers.
I've been aiming in the latter direction, have a middle-grade book
coming out from Tor, and the current roster of projects is mostly
YA and middle-grade."

In the chaotic world of publishing, it isn't just the genres that
keep changing, so midlisters keep track of editors as they move
between publishers. Lawrence Schimel seems to know every editor and
agent's CV, partially because he's been working with some of them
on and off for years, even decades. When someone he worked with in
one publishing house moves to another, he suddenly has an inside
contact at a new potential market. Midlisters keep a close eye on
market news with industry publications such as Publishers Lunch and
Publishers Weekly. Schimel takes advantage of living in Madrid to
hop over to the Frankfurt Book Fair every year, helping maintain
his contacts and keeping up on current trends.

Always on the lookout for other income possibilities, midlisters
often have other writing-related jobs. Like many writers, Judith
Tarr offers editing services, but other work comes her way too. "I
happened across a job writing passages for a national standardized
testing project, which has been beyond valuable for teaching me how
to write for younger readers. I know writers who do tech writing,
editing of various sorts, newspaper work, lectures and workshops,
blogging, web design, and so on and on. The more skills a writer
has, the better a chance she has of weathering storms in the

Some writers, however, focus on their books alone. Dennis
Mckiernan's widely successful fantasy books have put him on the
high end of the midlist and free from other work obligations.
Romance author Robin D. Owens' investments from her previous job
give her the financial confidence to go it with books alone.
The common denominator here is that midlisters are professionals.
They work hard, maintain professional contacts, and keep a finger
on the pulse of the industry. Perhaps most importantly, they threw
away their rose-tinted glasses years ago. Dennis McKiernan says
that after a few years, "I believe the writer gets to know the
business better. The writer gets to know other writers, editors,
agents, etc., and learns how to help others in this network of
friends as well as be helped by them.  I think that writers perhaps
have different expectations as they get more experience.  Beginning
writers tend to think that there will be significant advertising
and pushing of their books on the part of the publisher, but that
doesn't happen unless one becomes a Stephen King or other writer in
the upper stratosphere of 'bestsellingdom.' Experienced writers
have come to know the business better, and their expectations more
closely conform to the reality of the business."

But is it worth it? After ten, fifty, a hundred books, is writing
still fun?

According to these battle-hardened veterans, yes.

Lawrence Schimel says, "I'm able to make ends meet doing the books
I'm doing and that I want to do, so I am very lucky."  Sally Odgers
says, "I survived the dreaded let-down that often hits people when
they've been 'in' for about seven or eight years and realize
they'll never be anything but a midlister. I decided long ago that
a midlister was a good thing to be." Robin D. Owens turns the
question around. "I always have three bottom line questions: 1) Do
you feel better on a day that you've written than a day that you
haven't? 2) If you knew you would never be published (or published
again) would you continue to write? 3) If someone offered you $10
million to stop writing, including journaling, could you take the
money and keep your word?"

The right answers to these questions are obvious, and if you
answered correctly, have a good work ethic and a realistic view of
the publishing industry, you can join the professional, and
satisfied, ranks of the midlisters.


Sean McLachlan is a midlister specializing in history and travel
and is the author of several guidebooks and history books,
including Byzantium: An Illustrated History (Hippocrene, 2004). He
is currently working on his seventh nonfiction title and is trying
to place three different novels with publishers. He runs a blog on
life in the midlists called Midlist Writer at

Copyright (c) 2009 by Sean McLachlan


AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

Einstein's Question, by Steve and Deja Whitehouse

Ginger High, by Melissa Burmester

No Teachers Left Behind, by HBF Teacher

Find these and more great books at

Have you just had a book published?  If so, let our readers know:
just click on the link below to list your book.


on how to reach 60,000 writers a month with your product, service 
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Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors"at"writing-world.com) 

Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial"at"writing-world.com) 

Copyright 2009 Moira Allen
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.
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All materials on this site are the property of their authors
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unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor