Thursday, July 25, 2013

5 ways a blog helps a writing career

Often at the workshops Writer Abroad has attended, writers ask why they should keep a blog. Below are five good reasons.

One: It builds a readership

Does anyone read your writing? A blog gives you a good way to find and build a readership—just try not to become addicted to Google Analytics in the process.

Two: It builds a platform

A blog can be a great way to build a writing platform. Although it may take several years to create enough content to finally arrive at that ever so significant 15,000+ views a month (the number Writer Abroad has learned most publishers deem worthy), it can be a fun journey getting there if you enjoy blogging.

Three: It gets you writing assignments

Good blogs are usually single minded, meaning that they focus on one topic. This can help prove you’re an expert while also showing off your writing style. If your blog comes up in an editor’s search results when they are looking for someone to write an article on a certain topic, you might just land an assignment—no pitch necessary.

Four: It keeps you writing

Good writers usually treat writing a blog as part of their job. Therefore, they typically post on a certain schedule—once a week, twice a week, etc. Having a blog means always having a writing assignment and a deadline—so if practice makes perfect, you’ll really improve your writing if you take blogging seriously.

Five: It helps you network

You never know who you are going to meet through your blog. Who will find you? And more importantly, who will your blog give you an excuse to contact?

If you’re a writer with a blog, how has it helped your writing career?

Friday, July 19, 2013

4 Great Literary Vacations

The sun has finally made its appearance in Switzerland, so Writer Abroad can’t help but think about vacation even though she isn’t traveling. Instead, she’s reliving several of her great literary vacations through this post, so if you’re looking for an excuse to travel with a book, here are some destinations to consider:

Place: Zurich, Switzerland
Literary hero: James Joyce
What to read: Ulysses, which James Joyce wrote in Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland: James Joyce's home for many years
Where to visit: The Joyce Foundation for a tour of Joyce’s Zurich, the Kronenhalle Restaurant, where Joyce often dined in the 1930s, the Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s main shopping street that Joyce wrote a poem about, James Joyce Pub, which has the original furnishings from the Jury’s Antique Bar in Dublin, and The Fluntern Cemetary, high above the city, where Joyce is buried.

Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Literary hero: Anne Frank
What to read: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Where to visit: Anne Frank Museum, the place where Anne’s family went into hiding.

Place: Prince Edward Island, Canada
What to read: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Where to visit: Green Gables Heritage Place, the setting that inspired the author’s book, Avonlea Village, L.M. Montgomery’s home in Cavendish where she wrote the books, Anne & Gilbert—The Musical, and the L.M. Montgomery Birthplace.

Place: Oak Park, Illinois, USA
What to read: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, an Oak Park resident who researched hometown architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his illicit love affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney in order to write this award-winning novel.

Anyone else have suggestions for a literary vacation?

Friday, July 12, 2013

International Writing Round-Up: Call for Submissions and more

Writers Abroad (ahem, not Writer Abroad) is seeking entries from expat writers for its 2013 Anthology titled: Far-Flung and Foreign: People and Places. Deadline is July 31, 2013. Entries must be previously unpublished. There is no mention of payment but author retains copyright.

The Abroad Writers’ Conference, a summit of international authors and writers at various stages of their literary careers, will be held December 9-16, 2013 at Lismore Castle, Ireland.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Books is looking for stories related to traumatic brain injuries. They pay $200 plus 10 copies of the book. Author retains copyright.

The Fairy Tale Review is looking for poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, scholarship, research, or artwork inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for its Emerald Issue. Submissions are due by August 1, 2013.

Random Penguin, anyone? The Big 6 publishers have become the Big 5. Are they losing what they stand for in the process? Do people even care who the publisher is anyone? Is this another reason to self-publish? Maybe this recent op-ed in the New York Times will help you decide.

Anyone else have something to share in the world of international writing?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

How to Publish?

What is up with publishing these days, fellow writers? It’s changing about as fast as Writer Abroad’s mind.

There are a lot of big dilemmas for writers today because writers have more options than ever. They don’t have to wait around for agents or publishers. Or they can. They can hire editors. Book designers. They can go digital only. They can publish print on demand. They can publish like it’s 1999. Or like it’s 2013. Oh what is a writer to do?

Writer Abroad thought she had decided the fate of one of her projects, but now she finds herself still debating. On one hand she loves to have total control of everything—except for that little pesky thing call print distribution. That she could really do without.

But here’s the issue. Because her particular book is about life in Switzerland, she really wants her book in all the Swiss bookstores. Switzerland is still a very print-focused country (only 1% of Swiss use e-readers). And that’s where traditional publishers have the advantage.


So Writer Abroad has decided she may try—for a limited time—to look for an agent or traditional publisher for her book. But the good news is, even if she debates traditional publishing or not to death—the book itself won’t die because for once, the writer has the freedom to resurrect it.

Happy 4th of July, fellow American writers. Let's enjoy our new found publishing freedoms.


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