Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bestselling author earns $200

So last week, Writer Abroad got an e-mail with the subject: Exciting news from Chicken Soup for the Soul

The announcement was that three of Chicken Soup’s best-selling anthologies, including the one Writer Abroad has a story in, will now be available at Wal-Mart. Yipee! I mean, Wal-Mart is Writer Abroad’s favorite store…Not. Anyone read The New York Time’s recent investigation about Wal-Mart's corruption in Mexico?

Admittedly, Writer Abroad’s first reaction to the news of her story being sold in Wal-Mart was like, hey, cool! Millions of people will read it!

Then an hour later she realized: Way. Not. Cool.

Can you hate all things Wal-Mart and in good conscious have a story you wrote being sold in a book there?

And the other killer for Writer Abroad: Even if millions buy the book containing her story, she won’t get a dime.

Happy holidays, writers. This is what happens when we get paid one flat $200 fee for a story in an anthology and that anthology becomes a bestseller.

But what choices do writers have with their little stories and articles against the few big publishers that are actually buying them these days?

Writer Abroad isn’t sure yet.

Which brings her to TIPE, an independent publishing event that will be held in Zurich, Switzerland on January 25th. At this event, we can learn from successful self-published writers like Joanna Penn about how to keep control over your manuscripts…and your profits. 

Have any other writers out there triumphed over the current publishing industry? How can we demand better treatment and still get published?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

International Writing Workshops 2013

Greetings, International Writers (or those writers just looking for a reason to travel next year). In honor of the upcoming New Year, it’s time to save the date for these 2013 writing workshops:

Geneva, Switzerland
Amsterdam, Netherlands
March 1-3, 2013
Topics: Fiction & Poetry
Tutors: Amal Chatterjee & Jane Draycott
Cost EUR 250

San Francisco, USA
April 4-7, 2013
This is a juried conference featuring representatives from the city’s top literary pubs: McSweeney’s, The Believer, ZYZZYVA, & The Rumpus
Must send application by December 31, 2012
Cost $795 (includes accommodations and meals)

Want a nice writing tour of Europe? Try these three workshops in a row…

Zurich, Switzerland
April 12-14, 2013
Program includes a workshop for beginning writers and an advanced workshop focusing on revision. Details to come in January.

Rome, Italy
April 15-19, 2013
Cost $500
Led by Eric Maisel, author of A Writer’s Paris

Geneva, Switzerland
April 20-21, 2013
Fiction Workshop with Bret Lott
Cost CHF 100

Any other upcoming workshops you want to share? Please leave a comment.

Friday, December 7, 2012

What children’s books teach us about writing

Writer Abroad was up at 4 a.m. this morning reading Goodnight, Moon, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, and Corduroy to Baby M. Some of these books were read at least five times in a row. (Note: Writer Abroad usually reads on demand.) 
Children's books can teach us a lot about good writing

Most writers don't study books for very young children in order to improve their writing. But, as Writer Abroad discovered, studying the short story (the 200-word version) is possibly the best way to learn about good writing.

Writing should have rhythm.
Great example: ABC by Dr. Seuss

The story should have a forward momentum.
(The words should beg you to finish them, even after the tenth reading in a row...)

There should be a lesson.

Parallel construction is nice. Especially when it's done with humor too.

Ok fellow writers, Writer Abroad needs a nap! Anyone else have examples of what a great children's book can teach us?


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