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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 12:03          12,981 subscribers         February 2, 2012
MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: The Dither Factor, and Tips on Postage Rates, 
by Moira Allen 
THE INQUIRING WRITER: Posting Fiction Online, by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE: Writers Need Their Holidays, by Joyce Frohn
COLUMN: Free Stuff for Writers: Give, by Aline Lechaye
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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* Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write.
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* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.
DON'T GET SCAMMED!  Choose the right Self Publishing Company for
your book. What you need to know before choosing a self publishing
company and the questions you should ask.



The Dither Factor
Oops, I blinked... What, exactly, happened to January?  If this is
the year when I'm hoping to slow down and recapture my time, this
isn't exactly an auspicious start.  On the other hand, that wasn't
precisely my goal... My goal was to figure out WHERE my time was
going, and I have to admit that my 2012 Writer's Planner really is

I hope it's helping some of you as well.  At last check, more than
1000 readers have downloaded the planner, and several have picked
up the hardcopy from Lulu.com.  (BTW, one person mentioned that her
copy from Lulu ended in mid-December, so if you order the hardcopy,
make certain it is all there.  It goes through the first week of
January 2013 and has a submission tracker at the end; if your copy
doesn't have all that, ask Lulu for a replacement!)

In my ongoing quest to manage my time more effectively, I became
aware of another time-sucking vampire that I suspect affects other
writers as well. It's what I call the "dither factor."

The "dither factor" kicks in when you are in the midst of a project
that you've been working on for a long time -- and you're getting
sick of it.  Just about ANYTHING, including hand-washing the vinyl
siding on your house in January, starts to look more appealing. 
There's another project that you're just itching to get started on,
and you've promised yourself that you can take it on, JUST AS SOON
as you get the first project finished.  But you can't bear to face
another day on Project A.  But you know you shouldn't start a new
project until the old one is finished.  But...  

Before you realize what is happening, you may find that you've
spent days "dithering."  You can't face Project A, but you're
reluctant to start Project B, because that will delay the end of
Project A still further.  The result?  Quite possibly, nothing of
any substance is getting one on EITHER project.

The dither factor has its roots, I believe, in the fact that it's
easy to reach a point where ANY project looks better than the one
you're working on.  And that's how you can turn dithering to your
advantage.  If you find yourself in this situation, simply put
Project A aside and go work on Project B!  

It's not quite as simplistic as it sounds -- and it can help
achieve two goals.  First, it operates on the principle that
getting SOMETHING done is better than getting NOTHING done, even if
it's "something else."  This beats wasting time and energy just
trying to decide what to work on.  Make sure you always have a
"Project B" in the wings, and you'll always be able to devote your
time to something constructive, rather than beating yourself up for
not doing whatever it is you think you "should" be doing.

The second goal is a bit less obvious, but adheres to the
fundamental principle: Any project tends to look better than the
one you're working on.  Spend a few days working on Project B --
and suddenly, Project A doesn't look so bad anymore!  In fact, it
may look a lot less tedious than what you're working on now...  If
nothing else, you'll be able to come back to your primary project
feeling a bit refreshed for the "vacation."

I'm not advocating putting off important projects indefinitely,
taking on one thing after another just to stave off a task that has
become unappealing.  Quite the opposite.  Instead of letting the
"dither factor" interrupt your workflow, use it to your advantage. 
Always make sure you have two or three projects lined up -- and
switch between them when you just can't face another day doing
whatever it is you're doing.  Then, when you've had sufficient
respite, switch back.

It's the "switching back" that's key.  This method won't work if
you simply jump from one project to the next, without returning to
wrap up any of them.  The "dither factor" can work to your
advantage when you take projects on in rotation -- and you may find
that you come back to each project with more energy and creativity
than you'd have been able to muster if you just kept "plugging on."

Tips on the New Postal Rates
This section is for our American readers.  As you all undoubtedly
know, postage rates increased on January 22.  The new first-class
rates are 45 cents for one ounce, 65 cents for two ounces, and 85
cents for three ounces.

Unfortunately, for writers, our postage requirements often don't
stop there.  If you're anything like me, you probably have a
drawer, or folder, or coupon organizer full of stamps of all
denominations, all aimed at adding up to the LAST set of postage
rates.  And if, like me, you sell books on Amazon or send them off
to PaperbackSwap.com, you also deal with media rates. 

Well, I can't help you with the drawer full of stamps.  My method
there is to see what I have in inventory, yank out the calculator,
and mutter to myself...  Hmm, if I add two 78's and two 64's... no,
that won't work, what about one 64 and one 45...  

What I CAN give you is a summary of the new rates, with suggested
combinations of NEW rate stamps that will get you there.  The good
news is that in this round of increases, you can actually add
together the three basic first class stamps to get to every
first-class rate for letters and large envelopes.  Small packages
(e.g., light-weight books, CDs and DVDs) aren't quite so simple.  

You can download this information at the following links:

(A list of first class, media mail and international rates.)

(Combinations of stamps that will add up to the new rates.)

A final note: It now costs a bit more to order stamps directly from
the Post Office website.  Instead of a flat $1 per order, it seems
to depend on the order total; I've been charged $1.25 and $1.75. 
But that still beats standing in line at the Post Office!

-- Moira Allen, Editor


YOU WILL NETWORK WITH 30+ EDITORS Over 400 editors contribute their
unique news and views each year. That's news and views to improve
your chances to get published. Monthly newsletter. Get 2 issues
FREE.  http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AK270 


The Inquiring Writer:  Posting Fiction Online  

By Dawn Copeman

Last month we had a question from a new writer, Sarah in Canada,
who was puzzled about the mechanics and ethics of posting fiction
online.  She wrote: "If I were to write my story, but when I
reached the story's end I then decided to rewrite it so much that
it would, in effect, completely change the plot, should I make
these changes? 
Would it be weird if I were to post the first version on my web
site, if I were then to change it in the future?"

I was hoping to get some answers in from short story writers who
had experienced this, but didn't.  This is so unusual for this
column that I can only hope it's because you're all so busy writing!

Okay, so here's my take on this question.

A few years ago I used to run a site called newbie writers. At this
site we had a forum where new writers could post their work:
fiction, nonfiction or poetry for review and critiques by fellow
newbies.  There are lots of critique sites out there, but I wanted
this to be a safe place for absolute beginners to post their work
and gain some confidence in their writing skills.  Sadly, not every
writing site or community is welcoming towards absolute beginners,
which is a real shame as we were all beginners once. 

Anyway, most of the excerpts posted were short and rough and needed
work.  Most of our writers saw this as a learning experience and
never intended to try and sell their work in that current state. 
However, sometimes the work was amazing!  It really should have
gone straight to query or submission stage and in those cases, the
author needed to withdraw their work from the site completely and
also make more changes to it too. 

You see, no-one is going to pay to publish something that has
already been published on the web for free. It is fine to post your
work online for critique and development as a learning process, but
if you then want to sell that story, you're going to have to
rewrite it all anyway.  

So in that case, it really doesn't matter at all if the plot has
changed completely; in fact, it is a bonus!

And now onto this month's question from Bud.  "I started a writing
course a few months ago and I am stuck on one of my assignments. I
need to get either a letter and a filler item published.  I did the
letter - eventually.  But as to the filler, I've tried and tried
but without success. Do any magazines even accept fillers anymore? 
Does anyone actually write them?"

I think I know the course you mean, Bud, and I never got a filler
published either, in fact, I never completed the course!  

But do any of you still write fillers?  Is there still a market for
them? Is it now online?   

Email me your answers with the title "Inquiring Writer" to

BTW, we are also running low on questions again, so if you have a
burning issue to put to our community, e-mail me. 

Copyright 2012 Dawn Copeman


Is the Nook coming to the UK?
This could worry Amazon.  Apparently Barnes and Noble is
considering signing a deal with British Bookstore Group,
Waterstones (they dropped the apostrophe last month!), to enable
them to sell the Nook device in the UK. In fact, Barnes and Noble
is looking at making Nooks available worldwide. For more on this
story visit: http://tinyurl.com/7tpfdb8

Bloomsbury Launches New Imprint
Bloomsbury has announced it is launching a new imprint this year. 
Bloomsbury Circus will "be mostly fiction, unashamedly literary,
always fresh and sometimes surprising. In its first year, we will
publish nine titles and from there the list will grow to up to four
each month," according to Bloomsbury's editor-in-chief, Alexandra
Pringle. She continues: "Bloomsbury Circus books will be published
as unusually-sized trade paperbacks with photographic covers, wide
flaps and colour printing inside the cover. They will have all the
beauty of a hardback with the ease-of-read - and price - of a trade
paperback." For more on this story visit: 

2011 Was Not a Good Year for Freedom of the Press
Reporters Without Borders has published its annual league table of
press freedom around the world and sums up 2011 with one word
-"crackdown." Many countries that were rising up the league have
slipped back many places this year. Top of the league for Press
Freedom again are Finland and Norway.  The top ranking
English-speaking country was Canada, in tenth place.  For more on
this story visit:  


how to negotiate agreements, choose pricing strategies, define
tasks, deal with difficult customers, and much more in the award-
winning "What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and
Consultants" (2nd Edition) by Laurie Lewis. In print and Kindle
from Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/setyourfees


Writing Jobs and Opportunities
Empirical Magazine Open to Submissions
We welcome query letters regarding previously unpublished
non-fiction essays, interviews, and translations. In the case of
translations, you must have obtained the appropriate permissions.
We prefer articles around 500-1500 words in length. Please do not
submit projects longer than 4000 words. Send nonfiction queries
with the scope of the project, estimated word count, and short bio
to editors@empiricalmag.com. Include ATTN:Nonfiction Editor in the
title of the email. Please do not send attachments, but include the
writing in the body of the email.

This publication accepts previously unpublished creative writing.
Submit one short story for consideration, no longer than 3500
words. Send one to five poems, no longer than one page each, and up
to two pieces of flash fiction, up to 500 words. An excerpt of a
novel, no longer than 3500 words, is welcome if it will work as a
self-contained story. Send writing to editors@empiricalmag.com. It
is helpful when submitted work is accompanied by a cover letter
that includes something about your background, previous
publications, and awards. Please send Microsoft Word attachments.


We are looking to build relationships with creative artists and
photographers. Please send artwork and photography to
editors@empiricalmag.com. Submissions must have a high resolution
(at least 300dpi at a print size of approximately 8.625 x 11.125),
because we are a print as well as a digital magazine. To do this,
you will need a program like Photoshop, or Gimp. We recommend the
free program Paint.net. Include a short description of the piece
with artist bio, previous publications, and awards. Please do not
mail originals through the U.S. postal service.


We purchase First North American Serial Rights: $7/page (500 words)
of prose (to max of $21, except for the feature article); $5/poem;
$5/photograph or artwork. In addition, all contributors will
receive two copies of the magazine.


In keeping with our sustainability goals, we prefer all work and
queries to be submitted electronically via email to
editors@empiricalmag.com. However, if you do not have access to the
net, you may mail copies of original works to 142 West 2nd Street,
Suite B, Chico, CA 95928. No original works via mail, please.

Sleepytown Press is looking for a new voice in Fiction
Deadline: February 24
Entry Fee: NONE
Prizes: Publication Contract
Details: Sleepytown Press is looking for a new voice in Fiction. The
Contest will award two grand prizes: one for Fiction and one for
Children's Picture Books. Each winner will receive a publishing
contract with Sleepytown Press at no cost to the winners. Although
Sleepytown Press is a subsidy publisher, the contest winners will
not be asked to pay any fees for publication and will receive
both author copies as a prize and royalties on sales. Give us a
pitch for your book. Imagine that you are on an elevator and the
door just closed. Someone said, "Hey, I heard that your book just
came out! What is it about?" You have about the amount of time that
it takes to get to your floor in that elevator to tell us about
your book. Make it no longer than 250 - 300 words.
Online/electronic entries: Yes, required
E-mail: sleepytownpress@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.sleepytownpress.com/contests.html


FEATURE: Writers Need Their Holidays      
By Joyce Frohn

We've all heard that writers need to keep an eye on holidays. But
what does that mean these days? The traditional advice is to send
to an article on making Christmas decorations in July and an
article on Halloween costumes in March. And that is good advice, as
long as you know what the delay is for the publication you're
querying. But it doesn't go far enough. There's a lot of
competition for the more popular holidays, and we need to stand
out. The solution: the lesser-known, weird and specialized holidays.
These holidays may require a little more research, but the payoff
is worth it. If you are the author that submits articles on Hanukah
or Kwanza to that mass market magazine rather than Christmas, or
Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus Day to that teacher's
magazine, you'll be the one that stands out and are more likely to
get the contract. Ethnic and minority holidays offer great
opportunities for writers. If you can tell your editor when Sizdah
Bedar is, when Ramadan ends, and more importantly, what those
holidays mean for your editor's advertisers, you will have a step
up on the competition. A quick hint: these holidays all involve
feasting and buying new clothes.        

Check around. A regional magazine might be eager for articles on
Chinese New Year or the New Moon Festival. Look at the religious
and ethnic mix of the area you are querying. There may be some
surprises. Northern Wisconsin has a large Asian population, and one
of the largest Muslim populations is in Michigan. I use 
http://www.interfaithcalender.org to help locate lesser-known
religious holidays. 
If you want to write for teacher's magazines, you need to know the
school holidays. These are holidays that are officially celebrated
during the school year, but that adults often don't know about. I
get Learning Magazine (learningmagazine.com) for free and read
their monthly calendar. October is national Bullying month and
includes Animal Action week and many more. I order teacher's
catalogs from it to see which holidays are the biggest.  
Teachers need articles on Arbor Day, Grandparent's Day and more.
Schools are one of the last places where May Day is still
celebrated. Hundred's Day, celebrated on the hundredth day of
school, is so big that commercial products are made to celebrate
it. Just to pick a few: National Grammar Day on March 4, National
Punctuation Day on September 24, and Butterfly Day on March 14 all
need materials. There are hundreds of days to pick from, because
any event or thing probably has a special day and kids love special
days. Schools may also have local holidays that are only celebrated
in their state or even in their county. Make friends with local
teachers; they are a great source.
There are also holidays that parent's magazines want to hear about,
such as Walk to School Day on October 6 and Tell a Fairy Tale Day
on February 26. Parents also want to know more about school
holidays that they've never heard of but that their kids are
learning about. So after you've sold an article to a teacher's
magazine, recycle it to a parent's magazine.
Different businesses also have different holidays. And those
businesses have trade magazines that need writers. Here too,
holidays are an easy way to break in. 
I like Wikipedia for holiday research, but local stores' websites
may be your best source. Comic book stores celebrate Free Comic
Book Day on the first Saturday of May, and every store wants new
ideas to get people in.  Medical magazines would be interested in
World Health Organization Day on April 7. 
Many big-name professional science magazines have short back page
pieces that are open to non-scientists. Humor works well here, so
you need to know that Geek Pride Day is on May 25, and Pi Day is on
March 14. Pi Day is often celebrated by reciting Pi to nine
decimals while doing something else, like juggling. Mole Day, which
begins at 6:02 A.M. and ends at precisely 6:02 P.M. on October 23,
is a celebration of Avogadro's number. If you understand why this
number is so important to chemistry or what a mole is, you have leg
up on most writers. If you don't know, remember you're a writer and
you can learn all about these holidays and then pass along that
Learn what holidays are important for other trades and you can have
a steady source of income from trade magazines. Check for
anniversaries of battles, local events and church or building
In my field of science fiction and fantasy writing, I've learned
some holidays that many of my editors would love knowing about. Did
you know that May 4 is Star Wars Day; Hobbit Day is September 22
and Towel Day (in honor of Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's series) is
May 25? 
But holidays for writers aren't just about making money.  World
Press Freedom Day is on May 3 and all writers should celebrate
that, if only with a silent thought toward those that don't have
our freedom.  

Banned Books Week could inspire articles for library magazines, but
is also a stern warning for all writers. And on a lighter note, Bad
Poetry Day is on August 18. We all have bad poetry that we can read
on that day and then burn.
So celebrate, have fun and write about all your holidays.

For more information:

Holiday Smart - http://www.holidaysmart.com/holidaylist.htm

Holiday Insights: 2012 Bizarre , Wacky and Unique Holidays -

Earth Calendar - http://www.earthcalendar.net/index.php

Joyce Frohn has been writing stories down since childhood and began
submitting things after being inspired by a poetry painted dorm
room. She has been published in "ClarkesWorld," "Grit," and
"Writer's Digest" along with over hundred smaller places. She has a
wonderfully supportive husband and an 8-year-old daughter who is
jealous of the time her mother gets to spend with the computer.
Copyright 2012 Joyce Frohn 

For more advice on finding ideas for your articles check out: 


An epublishing revolution is sweeping the industry. We explain what
is happening and show you how to self-publish your own eBooks.

This is a regularly updated blog for fiction writers and would-be
fiction writers.  It contains posts on most aspects of fiction
writing as well as general matters such as grammar.  Subscribers
also get an eBook on developing characters.

This blog is mainly aimed at freelance writers, nonfiction writers
and bloggers, but has articles that are of use to all writers, such
as avoiding stagnation and the intriguing "what bad movies tell us
about good writing" post.  Again an eBook is offered to subscribers.

Google Books NGram Tracker
This is a handy tool if you're stuck for ideas for articles or
nonfiction books. Simply click on the link below to get to the
tracker page, then type in the nonfiction topic you are interested
in and the years you wish to search.  I discovered that egg allergy
peaked in the year 2000 but has since dropped and that austerity
last peaked in the nineties.  


WIN PRIZES AND GET PUBLISHED! Find out how to submit your stories,
poetry, articles and books to hundreds of writing contests in the
US and internationally. WRITING TO WIN by Moira Allen is THE
one-stop resource you need to find contests around the world. 
for at least $6 off the regular price* - order by February 15 by
visiting http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/contests.shtml 

*I say "at least" because the book is turning out longer than
ever this year, and may cost more to print than originally 
anticipated - but the pre-order price remains the same!


Free Stuff for Writers: Give

By Aline Lechaye

Christmas is over, and all the presents that you mailed out late
have (finally!) arrived, and you've gotten thank-you notes from
everyone, and now the excitement of it all is over, and you're
standing over the mess of wrapping paper and Christmas decorations
and realizing that it'll be a whole YEAR before you get to pick out
presents for someone else again...

And if you're like me, you're probably feeling sad. 

But wait! Just because Christmas is over doesn't mean you have to
stop giving (or, ahem, getting) presents! Don't worry; we're not
going to ask you to get out your credit card. Everything here is
free to give (we won't even charge you for the warm fuzzy feeling
you get when someone says thank you!).

If you're a student, or know anyone who happens to be one, give
them some free storage space: Dropbox is offering students (or
anyone with an .edu email) an additional 500MB of free storage
space for every new user they refer to Dropbox. That's twice the
regular 250MB you get for inviting friends. Better yet, it applies
to friends that you've already referred previously! Learn more
about the student account here: http://www.dropbox.com/edu.

Note: For those who haven't heard of Dropbox, it's an online
("cloud") storage service that allows you to easily share
documents, photos, and other files with friends. You can also sync
your files over multiple devices (currently, the service also
supports iPhones, iPads, Android phones and Blackberry phones).
Think of it as your invisible flash drive that goes everywhere with
you. Free accounts start with 2GB of storage, but you get
additional free space for every friend you refer. Learn more at:

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch, but with the
GoodSearch search engine, it's possible to give something for
nothing. How does it work? Simply pick the charity of your choice,
and then start searching as you would with any other search engine.
For every search you make, the site will donate money to your
chosen charity. Search results are powered by Yahoo! search, and
you can check how much you've "donated" at any time on your profile
page. To learn more about how GoodSearch works, go to 
http://www.goodsearch.com/getstarted.aspx?viewType=RV to watch the
"How it works" video, or go directly to http://www.goodsearch.com/
to start searching! 

Send a writer friend (or send yourself) this Learning Space writing
course posted on Open University: 
http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=397173. Read
about how to set up (or improve) characters and settings, and learn
the differences between various genres (and how to make those
differences work for you). The nominal time for taking the course
is 12 hours, but you're free to work at your own pace. You can find
a printable word version of the entire course here on the site too.
(ePub and html print versions are also available--right under the
course contents you'll find a "printable version" link, with a
little arrow underneath saying, "alternative formats".)  

While you're browsing round the Open University site, you might
also want to check out some of their other writing or reading
related courses, such as "Writing What You Know" (8 hours), a
course on descriptive writing, which can be found here: 

Or try "Approaching Prose Fiction" (20 hours): 


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

Copyright 2012 Aline Lechaye

AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

The Legend of Rachel Peterson, by J. T. Baroni

When Youth Fades: Don't Wither on the Vine - How to Celebrate Life
After 60, by Lillian Rhoades

The Magic of the Wolves, by Faye Stine

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 more than 100,000 writers a month with your 
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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 2012 Moira Allen

Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors
and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission,
unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor