Sunday, December 30, 2007
They fall into three categories:
Link for Writers
Freelance Writing Jobs
A great source for freelancers who want to find jobs or about how to make money blogging. Just beware the exclamation points and don't work too cheaply.
Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market Blog
Excellent market listings, of course, but also great advice for contests and what's going on in the publishing world.
Funds for Writers
Lots of contests, grant opportunities, and great articles on how to make money writing.
Agents Who Blog
I have found a new agent blog to love. Nathan Bradsford has lots of great info, sometimes hosts contests for novel pitches or first lines, and is just freaking funny. Beware if you query - he hates the ones that begin with rhetorical questions.
A Teaching Life
A middle school teacher in the trenches discusses her life, classroom, and evil Christmas-light- hating administrators. Rock on.
Alone in the Condom Aisle
Just freaking funny. She works in film and a hive collective of offices. In my favorite recent post, she assigned theme songs to her coworkers.
Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books
Raunchy, romantic reviewing fun. This is a rated R (or X) website for some of you I know. My favorite blogs are when they review the covers of romance novels - current and past. If it says not work safe, don't click. They are not pulling your long raven romance goddess hair. They are serious.
Friday, December 28, 2007
"The Writers’ Group of the Triad, Greensboro, NC, invites your members to participate in the Sixth Biennial Greensboro Awards for Poetry and Short Fiction."
Prize: $500 each genre.
Deadline: April 30, 2008
Entry fee: $20 entry fee.
No children’s or young adult. Final Judges: Poetry – Kathryn Stripling Byer: Short Fiction – Shannon Ravenel.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
If you want to get into the greeting card business, this is the info you need.
P.S. - This had a broken link before. I have fixed it, and it should work now.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I love the Smart Bitches website - they review romance novels and tell you which are worth your time and moolah. I especially love the critiques of old and new romance covers. But be warned, don't go there if you are offended by raw language or man titty. They have both.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
They are looking for any kind of success story - ficiton, non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting - whatever you've had success with, they're looking to hear about it.
The deadline is December 31, 2007. Those New Year's Eve deadlines are really stacking up.
Submit your story to email@example.com with "Freelance Success Stories Contest" as the subject line. They don't say how eactly to submit, but I suggest cutting and pasting into the email so they aren't afraid of opening an attachment.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Lantern Books Essay Contest
No fee. Big Prizes. Essay of 1,500 words or less on one of the following topics:
"How far does personal responsibility extend when it comes to the environment or other issues affecting the planet?
Where do you find peace, and how can that space be extended?
What "bad" experience has turned out to be "good" for you?"
1st Prize $1000
2nd Prize $500
3rd Prize $250
See the Lantern Books Website for more info on where to submit.
River Styx Schlafly Beer Micro Fiction Contest
Two cases of Schlafly Beer
Publication in River Styx and a subscription
500 word or less - up to three stories may be submitted per entry
$20 entry fee
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I will likely still be posting. Hello, my name is Tricia, and I'm addicted to blogging. Hello, Tricia. (Is it a bad sign when I'm talking to myself?) Nah.
I plan to spruce up the blog over break by linking to some of the excellent blogs I've been reading, but haven't had time to add here. Can't you smell that fresh pine scent already? Kinda like a new air freshener in your car.
As it is the end of the year and time to reflect, I'd like to post any writing success you all have had. So leave a comment if you like or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like me to trumpet your accomplishments.
I'll start with blog reader Jerri who had her essay accepted for publication in Sauce Magazine for June 2008. She read about it here! We hate her because it was her first essay ever and she got it published! Congrats Jerri.
All my lovely Coffee and Critiquers better email too. I know you have stuff to post.
Monday, December 17, 2007
They killed Santa on Bones and had a group of Santas sing an evil version of "You Better Watch Out." It was priceless! And let's not forget House's evil game show disguised as a search for a new team of assistants. In other dialogue:
1. Emerson: The truth ain't like puppies, a bunch of them running around, you pick your favorite
2. Ned: No. You let your anger win and you engage the crazy person, then you're no different than they are. People say "Hey! Look at those two crazy people fighting." I will not engage.
Emerson: Yeah. But if you don't engage, pretty soon people will start saying, "Hey, look at that crazy person eating that guy just sitting there doing nothing.
3. Emerson: Oh no, see, this is how it all ends. Some weird guy comes in saying stuff that don't make no sense. And by the time your head realizes "Hey, this weird guy makes no sense," your guts are all over the window.
1. Vicki: Coreen, be still. No one likes a perky goth.
2. Vicki: Henry, I don't know what you want me to tell you. Alright, I checked, but Hallmark doesn't make a "Sorry I stabbed you in the gut, drank your vampire blood, and performed a dark magic ritual" card.
Pleeeeeese. Bring them back. Water them, feed them, do whatever it takes. It fills my pathetic life with nose-squirting-diet-coke laughter. I need that or I might snap and kill us all.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I will not:
1. Explain to my family for the umpteenth time that while I'm at home typing between 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. that yes, I actually am busy working and no, I don't want to update you on my life right now or discuss cousin Horace's knee operation. Besides, I might be taking a nap.
2. Respond to any freelance job ads with exclamation points in the title. Even though I could be making six figures! From home! In my spare time!
3. Help my kids with homework. Seriously. I did mine already when I was their age. And this new mathodology is killing me. You wouldn't put me in charge of a nuclear reactor because I'm not qualified. Don't ask me to multiply fractions.
4. Resolve to lose weight this year. Forget it. I embrace my Jabba-the-Hutness for now. Wave that big ass with pride, people.
5. Make efficient use of my time. All work and no play makes you Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
6. Behave in a morally responsible manner. Because I need to up my debauchery score on this quiz so I can be a more corrupt poet.Like most New Year's resolutions, my anti goals will probably be jettisoned out the air lock about February 1. Then I can get on with the rest of my life.
Entry fee: $10
Length: 32 lines or less, any style or form
Deadline: Pretty fricking soon - December 20, 2007 (so you may want to enter and pay online)
First Place: $500
Second Place: $250
Third Place: $100
Fourth Through Tenth Place: $25
Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate to Writer's Digest Books
All winners recieve a 2008 Poet's Market and their names published in the magazine.
The contest is open to anyone interested in entering. Each manuscript is to have a cover page with title, author’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address; also a short paragraph describing the story and genre.
The manuscript can not have been previously published in any manner, won any awards in previous contests or be submitted to a publisher where there would be a chance it could be published before the contest results are announced. No electronic manuscripts will be accepted.
Entry fees are $10.00 for the first manuscript and $5.00 for each one after that. Anyone wanting their manuscript returned needs to include $2.00 for envelope and postage.
Manuscripts are to be 5,000 words or less, standard font (Times New Roman) 12pt. font size and double spacing.
Dates manuscripts will be accepted, will be from October 15, 2007 until February 1, 2008. As long as it is postmarked Feb 1 2008 it will be accepted if it is received after that date.
Winners will be announced March 15, 2008 at the Book Fair at Washington Square Mall in Evansville, Indiana.
Prizes will be $100.00 for 1st Place
$75.00 for 2nd Place
$50.00 for 3rd Place
And all three winners will be published in an anthology MWG of Evansville will be putting together at a later date.
Make checks payable to:
Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville
Mail with the manuscript to:
MWG Writing Contest
13000 Highway 41S
Robards, Ky 42452
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Start by leaving a comment on her blog with your writing goals for 2008. She'll pick her favorite posts and award ten of them a year of Writers Digest.
So what are your writing goals for this year? Mine are modest, of course.
1. Win a Nobel Prize for Literature (for my unpublished works that the Nobel Committee hears about and requests to see)
2. Top the New York Times Bestseller List for the last six months of the year (need to get the book rushed to publication for its brillance in the first six)
3. Chat with Oprah about how much she loves my book
4. Build my custom-designed writing retreat in Colorado overlooking the mountains.
5. Get a law passed that flays alive anyone who thinks it's okay not to pay writers, claiming they should work for free to get "quality clips." Later amend law to pouring lemon juice on them after flaying.
6. Hire someone to talk to all the people introvert me does not deign to speak to now that I have much moolah from #2. I vant to be alone to create art my dahlings.
7. Pull a J.D. Salinger at the end of the year and refuse all interviews. I need no stinkin' publicity.
8. Allow myself to be coaxed out of Salingerhood to do another interview with Oprah.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
And they do mean flash - 100 words or less. Even if you don't win, you'll still receive feedback from the membership on your entry.
Submission guidelines say entries must be postmarked by March 1, 2008.
Entry fee: $8.00
1st Prize $60
2nd Prize $25
Judges Merit Award Prize $15
Friday, December 7, 2007
I couldn't get the Long Weekends website to load, but there is a snail mail adress. Query on.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Whoo hoo! I'm so proud of her. Her short story "Reign of the Wolves" is a fantasy about a wolf colony that rules a world where humans are the minority. She did a fabulous job on it. Maybe some day she'll let me post part of it.
Here are my results:
Your Score: William Wordsworth!
You scored 54 Demeanour, 27 Debauchery, 83 Traditionalism, and 50 Expression!
You are a happy person who looks for the beauty in everything. You play by the rules, but hey, people respect you for it. Don't they? Your masterpiece is "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey."
|Link: The Which Famous Poet Are You Test written by Torontop on OkCupid Free Online Dating|
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
The program’s main menu is divided into three categories: Homework, Projects, and Discover and Learn.
Homework deals with math and basic foreign languages like Spanish, German, French, and Italian with a link section that also discusses Latin and Japanese. The math section has an onscreen calculator and basic math explanations – helpful for me to review when I’m trying to help my children with their math.
As some of you know, they don’t call all math concepts by the same name they did when many of us were in school. They don’t “borrow” any more, they “regroup” in my children’s math classes. Plus my kids aren’t using an official book, so I can’t look over the explanation – they get supplementary handouts without any additional information on how to do the problems. So the math section looked like a godsend to me.
The Project section deals with writing papers and giving presentations. Presentations have become big at my kids’ school, so this section has great tips on how to present – whether my kids actually read the tips, I’m a bit iffy on. This segment shows you how to design PowerPoint Presentations, give speeches, and use Microsoft to create charts and graphs for your papers, including templates that make it really easy to produce spiffy looking graphics. The latter I know they will use.
Discover and Learn has the Encarta Encyclopedia, a section on Colleges and Careers, and a Fun and Games segment. College and Careers has lots of valuable tools to help you find admissions information and even financial aid advice. It has resume and cover letter templates and a place to track the paperwork you submit to different employers.
Fun and Games is organized by subjects like Geography, History, and Animals and Science. My eleven-year-old didn’t like them. The educational games didn’t seem enough like Playstation for him. My fourteen-year-old daughter loved the games, especially the ones about animals. She thought some of the resources were “cool.”
The best part about the Microsoft Student is the use of multimedia – sound clips, videos, virtual tours, as well as pictures and text. I also loved that my kids had a safer place to search for information than the World Wide Web. The sources were vetted, and I didn’t have to worry about checking every site they might run across.
My teenager did think some of the program was overly complicated. She needed to write a group of small essays for class and when she clicked on the “Reports” section it demanded to know what kind of essay she wanted to write before she could proceed. Different books and instructors label essays differently. Since she didn’t see anything that applied to her assignment, she went back to regular Microsoft Word to type the report. She says she “didn’t have time to figure it out” because she had to get her assignment finished. It tries to be a bit too helpful and provide too many templates.
These templates abound in the program – for essays, for PowerPoint presentations, for foreign language homework. If your student likes direction, this would be an excellent program. Mine are a bit more free spirits. We had a limited period of time to try it out, but I think my daughter prefers to design her own PowerPoint – she’s been doing it for years already, and she likes to be creative rather than follow a program’s format.
My favorite part is I can use Microsoft Student to assign my children summer homework instead of buying the expensive supplementary material the school sends home at the end of each year. To keep their brains from leaking info they learned in school, I’ll let them explore whatever interests them in Encarta and use some of the templates to write reports and make some PowerPoints for me. It also has math assignments they can complete. So there’s plenty of age-appropriate material to keep them occupied this summer and many summers to come.
Overall this program is best for late middle school to high school/college age students. My eleven-year-old boy didn’t have much patience for it while my 8th grader said she could see it being useful in high school next year. In spite of including too many templates in some sections, it’s a huge resource that would take months to explore. I only had a week, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of it as my kids use it for the rest of the school year.
Monday, December 3, 2007
It's a good opportunity to get some publicity photos for your website or other publicity use. The conference is in April, so I shall begin my pre photo diet now. Goodbye, sweet Christmas cookies. I give you up for my career. (Okay, maybe just one).
Kudos to whoever came up with the idea.
The deadline for both is December 31, 2007. Check out the guidelines at Dark Heart Press.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
That last one it too easy. Who couldn't get poetic about chocolate? Of course, my personal preference for poetry is bread products.
Oh yeasty humidity
Rising from the oven
hiding the grain balloon,
pale and transforming
to brown nuttiness
for melting golden butter
Excuse me. I need a bagel.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
How do I submit thee? Let me count the ways.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Issues premier in the midwest stores this January. They will go on to appear in the Rocky Mountain Region in March. Active Interest Media is producing the mag. The magazine will be customized according the area it's being sold in to appeal to regional interests.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Dad perspectives would be great. I could use more mom's too.
So can you be a parent and still preserve your individual identity and pursuits? What specific things do you do that preserve your identity?
If you leave a comment (I shall kiss your toes in a totally virtual way) please include your state, ages of children, and email me at email@example.com with contact info so I can prove to my editor you aren't a 80 year old guy yanking my chain. Can't guarantee I'll use your info, but sure would appreciate the help. I need all responses by Thursday. You can comment or just email me.
- Deadline: January 15, 2008
- Entry fee: $15
- Word Count: 2,500
Winner take all :$1,000 plus publication on Amazon shorts
Five Finalists: Autographed first editions of Adler's books (The War of the Roses, Random Hearts. . . ) A People's Choice winner will also be available for sale through Amazon shorts.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
1. Sony ebook reader ($250 -300) or Amazon's Kindle ($400.00)
2. Gift basket: paper (minimum 20lbs quality), gift card to an office supply store, pens, small notebooks to carry around and jot ideas, $5.00 gift card to Bread Co/coffee shop with wifi, bookstore gift card, #10 envelopes, 9x12 envelopes, stamps - any combo ($30-?)
3. Subscription to mediabistro.com: They have how to pitch articles with the inside scoop on magazines and a great freelance job board. ($49.00)
4. Subscription to writersmarket.com: Lists writing markets and contact info on countless magazines and book publishers (One year is $29.00, two years is 44.99. Or pay by the month at $3.99 so they can see if they like it.
5. Christina Katz book Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids - an outstanding book for beginning writers plus great tips for those already published. She also has a great list of other writing books on her website. (10.19 plus shipping)
6. Writer's Digest ($19.96) or Poets and Writers Magazine ($14.97)
7. Laptop, if you have the funds for such things (they have some great sales at Dell right now)
8. Glimmer Train subscription - great short story writing to inspire the writer within
9. If your writer is aspiring to magazines, an online course at The Renegade Writer would be a great start for the new year (around $120 for a basic course).
10. My manservant, Manolo
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
They even have a video demonstration on how to use the wireless feature to download books. Pretty cool.
The first one is for St. Louis based food writers for a new foodie magazine. Click on the entry that says freelance food writers - the fourth one down.
In the other notice, Common Ties is looking for holiday stories, so click on that heading for more info. They don't have to be sugar plums dancin' either. They can be nitty gritty holiday.
Gee, maybe I should send one about this Thanksgiving. I'm waiting to see if my father shows up at my house tomorrow since he's arguing with my brother about who is having Christmas. See, I incorporate two holidays into the story. Happy freaking holiday, people.
I do hope your Thanksgiving is peaceful and full of bounty. Not the paper towels.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
It never occurred to me to actually plan ahead to February instead of writing in a frenzy a week before the deadline. It probably still won't occur to me. My mind is a last-minute kind of place.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I must investigate this new development. The article from the Guardian outlines the advantages and disadvantages - including that Kindle is $100 bucks more than the more stylish Sony model. There is no link on Amazon yet, but I'll post one as soon as they put it up. It was supposed to premier today.
Let's get with it Amazon people. We want an ebook reader is because we are an impatient breed. This image not available stuff is simply unacceptable.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The deadline is January 7, 2008, and you'll receive $200 if published. Think inspirational. Duh. It's a chicken soup book, so I guess I don't need to tell you that. My twenties were a blur. No. Stop thinking that. I didn't mean it that way. I had two little kids and no sleep. Seriously.
Friday, November 16, 2007
From reading her site, I've discovered you should avoid job listings with too many exclamation marks! They're often scams! Or they want you to work just for clips! Or pay them for their orientation packet! You know where you can put your offer!
I may write like this all the time now! It's kind of fun! Someone turn me off!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Send them your very short story, - 1,500 words or less. The entry fee is $12.
The deadline is a postmark by Monday, December 03, 2007.
First Place: $3,000
Second Place: $1,500
Third Place: $500
Fourth Through Tenth Place: $100
Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books
P.S. - I promise, I'm going to finish the posts on starting a critique group. Uh, it probably won't be until after Thanksgiving, though. Sorry. Too many projects. Too many papers to grade. It's sad when you look forward to Christmas as slow time.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The big news this year is that different chapters/sponsors are also holding contests open to anyone who has registered and paid for the conference, not just members of the Guild. Entries for these contests can be published or unpublished works.
I'll be doing a series of posts profiling each chapter/sponsor contest, as well as the members-only Guild contest.
There are seventeen different contests open to anyone attending the conference. Entries must be postmarked between January 1 and March 1, 2008, so get them ready but don't send them off until the new year.
The first contest I'll cover is for my chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild, Saturday Writers:
Saturday Writers presents the Flash Fiction Contest: Send us your fiction from 99-500 words. No excessive gore or violence. The entry fee is $5. I will post further details on where to send entry fees later.
Send entries to: Saturday Writers Flash Fiction Contest (Don't start submitting until January 1, 2008)
c/o Tricia Sanders
90 Westwood Trails
Foristell, MO 63348
I’m thirteen days into NaNoWriMo and have to tell you this is the most exhilarating/frustrating challenge I’ve ever accepted. Don’t believe anyone that says you won’t have time to even take a shower. I do have my standards. Cleaning house is another story. That can wait until December. Glad I’m not having Thanksgiving in Casa Sanders.
I’ve written over 20,000 words—21,417 to be exact. What a thrill. I have two novels sitting on my hard drive in various states of disarray. One I started more than four years ago, the other more than six. Without NaNoWriMo, this one wouldn’t even be out of the idea chute. So thank you NaNoWriMo for forcing me to get these ideas out of my head. Now I won’t have to listen to the voices any longer. I’m hoping those are the voices of my characters. That’s what I’ve been telling myself all these years.
I’ve actually embarked on this adventure with three other writing buddies, and we email encouragement to each other often. So it’s helpful to get on the bus with traveling companions. Because when the bus stalls, you need the extra encouragement.
I had such a stall on Saturday. My plot was boring, and I was mad at my main character, so it was difficult for me to write the scene. So instead of slamming down the cover of my laptop, like I normally would have done, I stopped writing the scene and started brainstorming. I actually wrote out future scene possibilities. I even counted them in my word count for that day, so I’d make it. When I went to bed, I was on target with my word count. The next day when I started writing again, the brainstorming actually helped me finish the scene where I was stuck, plus I actually ended my writing day up 800 words—not counting the brainstorming session.
What have I learned from NaNoWriMo so far? Put down those writing books and write your damn novel. Once it’s on paper, then you can use all the books you want to help you edit and polish your prose.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
This is another submission request with a November deadline - November 30th to be exact. Adams Media is looking for stories of mothers (or mother figures) as heroes.
They are also looking for stories with a hero dad (or faux dad) in the starring role. The deadline for this one is February 28, 2007.
Monday, November 12, 2007
There are several article categories. Some readers will even get $100 to spend in a favorite place - provided they write about the weird stuff they buy. Some readers will be assigned stories they pitch, but other writers can create their own according to these subjects.
They keep all rights, so consider carefully. They don't want established journalists, so this could be a clip for a beginning travel writer. I don't see anything about payment, so ask when you pitch.
Your Special Hometown
A Life-changing Trip
Greatest Travel Innovations of Past Ten Years
Lessons Learned Traveling
25 Reasons You Love New York
House Swapping Tales
Pet Travel Tips
Favorite Travel Websites
Friday, November 9, 2007
St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel Competition
Call for Stories Appreciating Black Fathers
Call for Holiday Tradition Stories
Sauce Magazine Seeks Food Essays
Chase the Dream Contest
P.S. - I'll continue the posts on starting a critique group next week.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Believe me, without a format, things can get messy. Egos get bruised, critiques don't happen, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.
So there are a couple ways to go about it. I've done both, so I'll try to outline the advantages/disadvantages.
Option 1. Everyone makes copies of his or her submission before the first meeting and hands them out then for everyone to take home and comment on. Put a page limit - maybe 10-15. Spend the first meeting drinking lattes and getting to know each other.
Everyone brings submissions back the following meeting, and you pick names out of a hat for who goes first. Anyone who gets skipped for lack of time is written down to go first at the next meeting. Seriously - keep track of this. People get pissed if they don't get a turn, and rightly so.
- Advantages: In-depth critiques and you get a lot critiqued at one time.
- Disadvantages: Not everyone has time to take a monstrous stack of handouts home and do them justice. This is probably best for smaller critique groups - maybe around 6 or less.
Option 2. Everyone makes copies of his or her submission (5 page limit), brings them to the critique meeting, and reads work to the group right there for a critique. The group marks on a copy as the author reads. After he or she is finished, members take turns making overall comments. I recommend taking turns, or less talkative people (like moi) don't get heard.
- Advantages: Instant gratification. Plus hearing the work can really highlight bumpy parts. You can make fewer copies (group members can share a copy for marking). People who are really crunched for time don't have to do homework. It all gets done at the meeting.
- Disadvantages: Only a small amount gets critiqued and it may not be as in-depth. Plus, some people read like Bill Clinton at a fundraiser and the writing can seem better than it is, or they sound like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller. Anyone? Anyone? and the writing sounds less compelling. Also, us introverts get nervous about reading.
Those are the formats I've experienced. Modifications to each are certainly not out of the question, according to your group's needs. Some people email their stuff and insert comments in the document.
But whatever format you choose, this is not a democracy. If you are the critique group organizer, seize control like the little dictator you are and don't present any options at first. We all know what discussing things in committee is like. You can always adjust the format as issues come up. But someone needs to be the fearless leader. I nominate you.
Next blog: Tips and Warnings for running Critique Meetings in an orderly fashion, dammit.
Links to this post and all previous posts on starting a critique group can be found on the right under FAQ.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Shameless Self-Promotion: If you like Coffee and Critique, we could use a second nomination to qualify. Or go submit your favorite. I'm partial to The Renegade Writer Blog.
Thanks to everyone who hangs out here. I must now go hide my face - it's hard for us introverts to ask for such things.
It's best to cast a wide net and not restrict your membership too much. If you go for just cozy mystery writers or people who write paranormal chick lit thrillers, all you're likely to get is lonely. All writers improve with practice. The important thing is that they write regularly. Ho Hum writers can turn into the next Stephen King or Flannery O'Conner with enough regular practice of the craft. See - one genre writer, one literary writer. Please don't write me cranky notes about comparing Stephen King to Flannery O'Conner.
Coffee and Critique is open to writers of all levels and interests because we were all starting out at one point. Our much published members give the benefit of their wisdom to beginners, and we all get to read material we may not have picked up on our own at a book store. As far as we're concerned, all of it teaches us about writing - whether it's the kind we do or not. Except we don't do poetry because we don't feel qualified.
But there is nothing wrong with concentrating on fiction or non-fiction, or even a specfic genre like fantasy or mystery. It can be tougher if you live in a rural area that has fewer writers. You may have to open it to any writer. If you live in a large city, it's much easier. You have a bigger pool to draw from.
Draw up your member guidelines and make flyers you can hand to interested parties.
Once you've decided who you want in your new critique group, how do you find them?
- First google for local writers' organizations in your state. They've already herded the writers together for you - now go into the pen and pick the best fillys. Get thee to a local chapter meeting. Ask if anyone is looking to join a critique group, and you should get some interest. If there are no local chapters, you might email the state group and ask them to post a "Writers for Critique Group Wanted" notice on their website and indicate what area of the state you live in.
- You can also post an ad on Craigslist. I recommend you include a specific meeting date in your ad that's about a week or two after your post. This gives your quest momentum and lets writers know you are serious. And us shy introvert people can just show up and not talk ourselves out of responding to your ad because it gives us an angina attack.
- Check the bookstores. Not to beat this one over the head, but writers hang out near books. Barnes and Noble, Borders, and independent bookstores often have writers inside clip clopping away on their keyboards. Strike up a conversation (or if you are a introvert like me, go to the cafe, make up a tent sign for your table saying "Writers Wanted for a Critique Group," buy a latte, and wait for the writers to come to you).
- Post your flyers in local libraries, colleges, and bookstores. If you don't have much time to hang out or can't make a local writers' meeting, this is your best option besides Craigslist. Be sure you get permission so the flier doesn't get trashed for being unauthorized. The student activities office at colleges is usually in charge of postings, or they can tell you who is.
This is how I would go about it. I met my current critique group through a local chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. I met my previous critique group by lamenting my lack of critique partners to the writers I met at a writing conference. A writer who was in an established critique group was kind enough to invite me to check his out.
My next blog will be on developing rules for your writing community a.k.a. Lion Taming for Critique Group Leaders.
Links to this post and all previous posts on starting a critique group can be found on the right under FAQ.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
1. Find a place to meet.
- Talk to your local book store. Both Borders and Barnes and Noble will usually reserve space for writing groups in their cafes at no cost - hey, we buy books and lattes - it's a no brainer for them. Many independent bookstores will too.
- If you don't have a bookstore close, try your local library and see if they have a room you can reserve. Those are your tax dollars at work, so use 'em.
- Check out your church or local community center, if available. They may charge a small fee, but it can't be more expensive than everyone's frappuccino at Barnes and Noble.
- Maybe you're Martha Stewart and meeting at your house would work. For me, I'd be holding my twitching left eye at the prospect of cleaning before each meeting. Also, I'd get too caught up in making refreshments. We're foodies at my house, so I'd spend too much time coming up with Gorgonzola and honey on sliced baguettes to get my writing ready to go. But, hey, Martha gets off on that stuff, so maybe you do too. Some groups rotate among members' houses, but that can get confusing. But do whatever works for your group.
Next post I'll address how to hook up with fellow writers interested in a critique group.
Links to this post and all previous posts on starting a critique group can be found on the right under FAQ.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Authors selected will equally divide seventy percent of the advance money the editors receive, minus agent commission. It sounds like they will be shopping the project, so I don't know if payment is guaranteed - and I'm not sure what a typical anthology advance is or how many stories they will be using. The typical first book advance is 5,000 to 10,000- but I don't know if that applies to anthologies.
Let me try a worst case scenario: Advance = $5,000
15% Agent Commission $750 -
70% of Total = $2975/40 authors =$74
Disclaimer - I am not a math person, and I'm not sure I'm correctly calculating how agent commission is deducted. Bascially, I'm not sure what the hell I'm doing. But if I was submitting a story, I'd go based on my own weird calculations. More authors = less money. More advance = more money. Plus, you get published.
It doesn't sound like you'd get much less than the typical $100 usually paid to anthology authors, and you might get more. But the explanation is vague enough that I don't know. Just FYI.
There are email addresses for more questions: Success@secondwindstories.com and Love@secondwindstories.com. If anyone finds out more, you might want to post it in the comments.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Second, she is freaking hilarious. You have to check out her blog post "Bored Games" about giving everyone working in her office their own theme song which she plays from her cubicle. Personally I think the Imperial Death March applies to a lot of people. Unfortunately, several I know would be flattered by it. Now I have to go assign themes songs to everyone I know.
I really don't have time to do this, so I guess I should be irritated. Not. It's irresistible. So what's your theme song? We probably don't do well at picking our own, but I will think about mine now. I have no choice.
Want to write about beer? There's a magazine for that. Actually there are several. I'm not sure what the women with big boobs is doing on the cover of this new one. I've never seen sex associated with beer advertising. . .
How about Koi? Yeah, I mean the fish. There is a magazine dedicated to Koi. Colorado, Iowa, Oklahoma, Florida and Hawaii are a few states that have new magazines dedicated to them.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
I kept going after November last year, and now I have a 65,000 word manuscript of a paranormal novel I am steadily revising with the keen insight of the coffee and critiquers. My first chapter is posted on my website.
This year, here I am with my face pressed up against the glass, condensation marks and face grease smudging the window, on the outside, looking in the cafe at Barnes and Noble where the writers I know go to flog their keyboard.
No warm camaraderie from my fellow authors. No late night marathons of writing while my children exist on Ramen noodles and whatever they scrape out to the crisper. No novel writing in November.
I'll certainly be writing everyday. But on stuff that pays me a lot quicker than shopping a novel does. Someone has to buy all that Ramen.
If you're doing NanNoWriMo, I'd love to hear about it. My fellow blogger at A Teaching Life is planning on doing it, so I'm going to live vicariously through her. If you're doing NaNoWriMo and blogging about it anywhere, tell me so I can use you shamelessly in the same manner.
So good luck, all you lucky, deranged NaNoWriMoers. May the force be with you. Always.
- 2nd Place in the Prose-Nostalgia Category for Down Home
- 2nd Honorable Mention in the Jim Stone Memorial Non-Fiction Category for Sins of the Season
This is just two in a long line of contest wins for her, so I'm sure we'll be seeing more in the future. The Missouri Writers' Guild contest, perhaps?
- Unpublished manuscripts
- minimum 60,000 words
- Story Centers on a Murder or Serious Crime
- Deadline to request an entry form is November 30, 2007
- Deadline for manuscript submission is December 31, 2007
- Prize: Contract and $10,000 advance
Come on, Paul. You know I'm talking to you.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
You'll need to join Gather to read it and vote. Voting starts November 15, 2007 and ends on December 9th.
The top 25 chapters will move on to be whittled down to a final five, and then to one grand prize winner. Contest judges for the last stage include Davis Baldacci, Harlan Coben, and Sandra Brown, plus additional people from Borders Corp.
- Deadline May 15, 2008
- Pays: 5 cents per word
- Story length: 1,000-7,500 words
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Anyhoo, literary agent Kristin of the invaluable Pubrants blog is doing an enlightening Blog Pitch Workshop on how to write an enticing pitch for your novel. Check it out.
Blog Pitch (Part I--young adult)
Blog Pitch (Part II--young adult)
Blog Pitch (Part III--young adult)
Blog Pitch (Part IV--literary fiction)
Monday, October 29, 2007
Sonora Review Short-Short Contest
Prize: $250 and publication. Ten finalists will also be considered for publication.
Judge: David Means
Quoted from their Guidelines:
"For our purposes, "short-short" means 1,000 words or less. Stories over 1,000 words will not be considered. No previously published works, or works forthcoming elsewhere. A $10 fee is required; entrants may submit up to three stories (each 1,000 words max.) with each $10 fee, payable by check or money order made out to Sonora Review. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but fees are non-refundable. Cover letter must include name, address, phone number, and title(s) of stories submitted."
Postmark deadline: December 1, 2007.
Send entries to:
Sonora Review Contest
Department of English
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
American Short Fiction Contest
The Literary Magazine American Short Fiction invites submissions for its Short Story Contest.
Length: Stories up to 6,000 words
Entry Fee: $20
First Prize: $1,000 and publication
Second Prize: $500
Deadline: December 1, 2007
New Magazine Looking for Writers, Stories
NOW ME! A Magazine for Women is looking for inspiring stories from women who've overcome "impossible odds."
They are also seeking writers for this soon to debut magazine. Submit your resume and published writing samples for consideration.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
It costs $89 dollars, which is not a pittance, but if you consider the price of going to two conferences to hear these, it's reasonable. The special that includes the 2006 recordings expires on April 2, 2008 and the price increases to $99 and you only receive the 2008 workshops starting April 3rd.
Writing Topics include:
HUMAN INTEREST WRITING
MARKETING & PROMOTION
Friday, October 26, 2007
From the Saturday Writers' Website:
Saturday Writers Annual Workshop Presents
Gail Galloway Adams
Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award
Saturday, October 27, 2007
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Spend the day at the St. Peters Community & Arts Center with Gail Galloway Adams. An exciting combination of lecture and “pen to paper” on-site writing that will send you home with knowledge, inspiration, and the beginning of your next masterpiece.
“I’ve heard Gail, and she’s a real hoot. Great energy, great teacher, with a great story—from hippie commune to University professor and winner of the prestigious Flannery O’Connor Award. Don’t miss this great workshop!”~~Saturday Writers Treasurer, David Kirkland
“It’s been my pleasure to know Gail for over a decade, and each time I hear her read or attend her workshop, I’m newly amazed at her talent, wealth of literary knowledge, and her unmatched ability to light a fire for writing in everyone around her.”
~~Saturday Writers President, Amy Burle
Saturday Writers Member: $50
Full-time student or full-time teacher: $50
Missouri Writers’ Guild Chapter Member (not Saturday Writers): $60
General Public: $75
St. Peters Community & Arts Center is located at 1035 St. Peters Howell Road (just off of Mid Rivers Mall Drive) St. Peters, MO. Phone 636-397-6903 for directions.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
With so many genres combining elements, it's getting a little crazy out there folks. Trying to identify your book in a cover letter is like Russian roulette with all the chambers loaded. Most agents say we always get it wrong anyway.
So here are some definitions I've found in various locations. Opinions vary, but hopefully these can give you a general idea.
- Check out these general genre definitions from the editor's blog at the Novel and Short Story Market.
- Look at the Romance Writers of America website for a breakdown of the different romance genres.
- Check out Writing-World.com for a list of science fiction sub-genres.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Stories must be true and between 350-1,500 words. They prefer new stories but will consider previously published material.
Deadline: November 15, 2007
Selected stories will be published in a book, and authors will receive a $25 honorarium.
A future call for stories on black mothers is in the works.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
And Earthtimes.org reports that APG Media is starting two new magazines. Lodges is for those who like granite counter tops with their roughing it. The magazine has luxury outdoors information and travel features.
The other magazine, Lofts, is aimed at loft living urban dwellers, their lifestyle and design sensibilities.
These publications join Romantic Homes, Victorian Homes, and Cottages and Bungalows (premier issue this month, no website yet) in APG Media's stable of niche shelter magazines.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Guideposts has writers' guidelines posted for their children's book division, Candy Cane Press, which publishes picture and board books on a variety of biblical themes.
As they expand, them may post more guidelines at their Ideal Books website. Check out the site listings for the types of books they currently publish.
Stories should be between 700-1,200 words and the deadline is November 15, 2007.
They pay $75 upon publication and a contributor's copy.
Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by January 2, 2008 and arrive by January 7.
According to Meg Cabot's website, the prize is $2,500, possible publication in Seventeen, and your name used for a character in her next book.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Fifteen poems will be selected, paired with images, and displayed on Metrolink's trains and buses for one year.
Winning poets receive $50 and a year's subscription to Poets and Writers Magazine - and get their poetry read by all those zombie bored commuters.
The submission deadline is January 15, 2008. A postmark won't do for this one guys - it must be there by that date. The poem must come from an address within 50 miles of St. Louis, MO.
Submit unpublished novellas between 15,000 and 40,000 words by January 31, 2008. Payment is 1 1/2 cents per word and contributor's copy.
D.L. Snell's Market Scoops publishes interviews with anthology editors for insights that help authors create stories to submit. Looks like a great website for researching anthologies.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Sauce Magazine , the St. Louis Metro Area's Restaurant Guide, is seeking food essay submissions for a new column. So if you can carry on about cheese, wax rhapsodic about rutabagas, or write drool-worthy prose about your favorite food experiences/memories, write an essay and submit it to Sauce.
Essays should be around 900 words and 12 will be featured in a monthly column published over the next year in the magazine. The deadline for essay submissions is November 15, 2007.
If they get enough gastronomic essays, they may continue the column after 2008. See the editor's letter below for details.
Letter from the Editor of St. Louis's Sauce Magazine:
Hello wordsmiths and friends of Sauce!
I'm really excited to tell you about a new column we'll be starting in Sauce in January: a column made up of personal essays (aka narrative nonfiction or creative nonfiction), featuring an essay written by a different author each month. Having food in the mix somewhere is the reason such essays will fit in Sauce, but the real goal here is to spotlight great stories, exceptional storytelling and beautiful writing. This is one of my favorite writing forms, and I'm convinced that you'd all be great for this.
The essays can be about *anything* (really!), as long as food factors in somewhere -- either directly, as a main character or the main focus of the story -- a description of the first time the author ate an exotic ingredient, for example, or perhaps a story about experiencing the food in Italy -- or indirectly, as a component of the story or as a background element. A look at a family's kooky dynamic as told through a typical family dinner hour is an example; so is the chapter in Ruth Reichl's "Tender at the Bone" where she hints at her mother's mental illness by describing her mother's "quirk" of serving dangerously old food to guests. Absolutely any story is fair game here, as long as it's personal, real and original.
As great writers with diverse and interesting experiences, I'm hopeful that you'll want to contribute an essay to the column. But I'll have to ask you to bear with me a bit. Since this is a new column for us, and a kind of writing that we don't typically publish, I've been working out the best way to collect enough essays (12) to be sure we'll be able to publish a year's worth of columns. I'm casting a wide net, with the hope that enough of you will be interested in sharing your food memories, thoughts and insights that this new column will be a go. I hate to call this a contest, but I guess it sort of is...
So I'd like to invite all of you to contribute a personal essay that has something to do with food to Sauce by November 15, 2007. We'll publish the best 12, one per month throughout 2007 (and beyond, if we get enough responses!). We'll choose those 12 blindly; authors will be paid for published essays (and this column will be an exception to our normal practice of paying upon publication -- since we'll be collecting column content so far in advance, the selected writers will be paid in advance). Word count is 900 words. Please email (or mail) submissions to me, with "essay" in the subject line.
I hope you're as excited about this new project as I am. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail me. Now, go dig up your favorite food memory/story and get writing!!
PS-- feel free to extend this invite to other great writers you know!
1820 Chouteau Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I hadn't seen some on her list, so I'm linking back for all my fellow writers who are also writing freelance. My original fiction writing acronyms post is below. FYI - NaNoWriMo is fast approaching! Start your finger physical therapy so you don't strain anything, and sign up for the craziness of writing a novel in a month.
When I first started participating in online writing activities, I noticed a strange secret code in effect. I knew many of the acronyms used in chat - like LOL and such. But novel writing has its own special acronyms, so I thought I'd share some I've learned. I know I've forgotten some, so if you notice any I missed, remind me in the comments and I'll add them to the list.
- WIP - Work in Progress (Your current writing project, usually a novel)
- MC - Main Character
- POV - Point of View
- ARC - Advanced Reader Copy (The copies authors and reviewers receive before the book is actually available to the public)
- HEA - Happily Ever After (Used by romance genre to indicate a happy ending)
- HFN - Happy For Now (The characters end up together, but no indication it's a forever relationship)
- H/H - Hero/Heroine (A couple in a romance novel)
- M/F - Male/Female (Romance between a male and female character)
- GLB - Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual
- het - Heterosexual
- YA - Young Adult
- SF - Science Fiction
- NanNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month (Participants who join this website complete a 50,000 word novel in a month, toiling along with their fellow writers: November 1 - November 30th).
Monday, October 15, 2007
Normal School, a new literary magazine, is seeking submissions of creative nonfiction, stories. poem, critique, experiential recipes (works arising from life experiences) for its debut issue and beyond. Their website is www.thenormalschool.com, but it's still under construction.
From the announcement:
Quirky. Boundary-challenging. Energetic. Innovative in both form and focus.
We're the equivalent of the kid who always has bottle caps, cat's eye
marbles, dead animal skulls and other treasures in his pockets.
Trust us. We're Normal.
Contributing Editors include Steve Almond, Tom Bissell, Beth Ann
Fennelly, Duncan Murrell, Laura Pritchett, Steve Yarbrough, and MORE.
Are you Normal School material?
Send us your work:
The Normal School
5245 N. Backer Ave.
M/S PB 98
California State University, Fresno
Fresno, CA 93740-8001
OR as an attachment in .doc or .rtf format only to
Please include an email address in your contact information and
indicate genre to the best of your ability.
- December - Platform Building
- January - reading groups, literary guilds, libraries
- February- Romance Writing
- March - Small Press Publishing
Check their submission guidelines and the announcement on Online Writing Jobs for details.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Sponsored by The Write Helper
Every poem receives a free critique!
1) Any style, any subject, any form allowed. Poem should fit on one page.
2) No identification should appear on the entry. Attach a separate coversheet with title, name, address, e-mail, and phone number.
3) Entry fee: $5 per poem, maximum of three entries.
4) Poems must be unpublished at time of submission, original work of contestant.
5) Deadline: October 31, 2007, postmarked.
6) Prizes: 1st place - $100, 2nd place - $50, 3rd place - $25.
7) For free critique, include a business size, self-addressed envelope or provide email address. Optional: For a thorough line edit, include $2 per poem.
8) Winners will be posted on the website by November 30, 2007. Cash prizes will be mailed the following week.
9) Mail entries flat, not folded, to:
Burning the Midnight Oil Poetry Contest
c/o Amy Harke-Moore
104 Harke Lane
Old Monroe, MO 63369.
Do NOT send by certified mail!
10) Checks payable to: The Write Helper
11) Now accepting online entries on our website: www.thewritehelper.com.
Contest is open to all poets. Prize-winners will be given the opportunity to have their poems published on our website: www.thewritehelper.com.
For a list of winners, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Or check out our website for the top 25.
Decision of judges is final. Not responsible for lost or misdirected entries. Poems will not be returned.
We are a critique group comprised of both fiction and non-fiction writers. We have reviewed novel excerpts, essays, query letters, contest entries and book synopses. We don't do poetry because we don't feel qualified to critique it. Many of our members have been published, and some are still working toward publication.
Our members have published in: Babble.com, Cuivre River Anthology I, II and III, Cup of Comfort, Fiery Foods & BBQ, Great American Outhouses Stories: The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt, Missouri Life, Ozark Mystery Antholgy, Sweetgum Notes and The StoryTeller Magazine.
We meet every Tuesday at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in St. Peters, MO from 10 a.m. to around noon.
We critique a maximum of five typed, double-spaced pages to the meeting, including at least 6 extra copies for members to read (7 copies total).
We chat for the first twenty minutes or so, and then each author reads his or her work while the rest of the group follows along and edits/writes comments on the copies. Each group member presents comments as we proceed around the table. There is a lot of "ditto," so we don't beat you over the head with it if we all spot the same grammar error. We mention if we agree with previous content criticisms, so the author can get an idea how many readers share the opinion. The copies are returned to you at the conclusion of the critique.
We are honest but diplomatic when we comment. We do not eviscerate, rip, or maim in any way. Some of us have had negative experiences with critique groups tearing authors apart and making them feel as if they can never be writers. We want to build you up while giving honest commentary that helps improve your writing. Persistent authors who continue to build their skills will get published in some form.
We aren't always able to critique everyone's writing in a meeting, but if you don't get to read at one meeting, your name goes to the top of the list for the next meeting. Everyone signs up to read on our official notebook paper :) upon arriving.
"Features will include current events, education, business, health and fitness, college news, and teen lifestyles. The Magazine was created to uplift and motivate the young African American community."
You can see their first issue at MahoganyVisions.com. They are looking for writers to contribute to the magazine.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
A Mother's Love
Insight and Lessons
On Sharing and Giving
Through the Eyes of a Child
Time for Me
They don't want the kind of mom stories I write - they involve children with milk-filled shot glasses and keeping one eye open at night so the kids can't get me. That's what the voices tell me to do anyway. . .
It falls into three major categories:
- Publishing Credentials
- Professional Career
- Personal Details
Of course, agent tastes differ. Some agents tell you not to put anything if you don't have any good credits. But all the advice I've read says you should put things relevant to your book. So if you're an astronaut writing books about astronauts, it might be good to include that.
For example, Patricia Wood, author of Lottery, writes about a mentally challenged character who wins the lottery. She is a P.h.D candidate studying education and disability, and her father won the Washington State Lottery, so I'm sure those experiences helped her write the book and might have helped sell her query on the novel. My book review of Lottery appears earlier on the blog.
Don't include all regional contest wins - focus on awards with national reputations unless you won the award at a conference the agent/editor attended.
But most of all - you must send out your query. After you've done your homework and refined it, set it free. It doesn't matter what credits you have if no one ever sees your letter.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
You can download these to an MP3 player and listen to books wherever, whenever. Audible.com is even offer a nice quality MP3 player for just $29.99 for those who sign up for Harlequin's subscription. If you already have one, you're golden.
My hubby had a subscription to Audible when he was logging a lot of hours in the car for work, and he loved it. It's great for long commutes, too. I do still prefer to read actual pages in a book, but this isn't a bad alternative. Though I'm still lusting after the Sony ebook reader.
Technology marches on.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
I actually started hearing about this book before it came out from an announcement on Agent Miss Snark's blog (sadly she has retired her site). Ms. Wood was a former devotee of the Snarkmeister. I thought about reading it then, but recent book reviews on other blogs reminded me, so I bought it a few weeks ago. I read it straight through.
Perry Crandall, I.Q. 76, (which means he is one point above legally retarded, as he frequently reminds us) wins the lottery and deals with how his family and friends change - as well as how he changes - as a result.
I have a few nits to pick. There doesn't seem to be one redeemable human being among Perry's maternal relatives - you'd think at least one might be somewhat decent. But no.
The other is part of the ending - how Perry and Cherry's relationship ends up and why. It went down like peanut butter and dry crackers - not well.
But aside from that, I loved hearing about the world from Perry's point of view and especially his use of his dictionary words to process what's happening in his world. Grams has had him studying the dictionary since he was little, and his words of the day are often ironic in the context of the story. (Grams is a great character too, and though she dies early in the novel, she's very much present throughout the rest of the book).
The decision Perry makes at the end about his money could have been sugar and spice sweet, but because we've followed him through the book and hear how he changes, it makes a cliche into something authentic. I believe in Perry and his decision at the end.
It's a great read, and I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened to Perry. I think you'll feel the same way.
This review is not sponsored by anyone - just sharing a great read.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
There is a new announcement calling for submissions from mental health workers - basically anyone who works with emotional or mental health issues. The deadline for the anthology called, Tales from the Couch, is August 1, 2008.
Friday, October 5, 2007
A panel of Amazon editors and reviewers will select the semi-finalists, who each get a Publisher's Weekly Review and a page on Amazon with an excerpt of their novel.
Based on customer feedback, Penguin will look at some semi-finalists for possible publication. The winner gets a publishing contract with Penguin, lots of electronics goodies, and help publicizing his or her book. Those who place 2nd through 10th also get some great prizes, including the opportunity to self-publish. This whole contest is to advertise Amazon's new self-publishing division.
You'll need a blurb of your book to enter. If you have a query letter, you can probably adapt it for your book description. If I can get my manuscript polished in time, I may go for it. I'm not sure, however, if they're looking for genre or literary fiction.