Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Submit, Submit...Oh, did I say Submit?

If you are like me, well, I mean an undiscovered (brilliant) writer, you slave over your computer day after day pouring out your heart and for what! Well, this is what I wanted to speak to you about today. As writers we tend to fall into valleys were we say to ourselves: this is not ready to be seen, it's not good enough, or I can't take another rejection. I'm here to tell you no one is going to show up at your front door and ask to see your little short story about your grandmother or publish that poem that took you three months to write, so SUBMIT IT!

I know it is hard to take that first step, to put yourself out there, but if you don't, no one is going to know your brilliance. No one is going to see all your hard work. Isn't that what we are going through all this for? But I can relate. I still find myself falling into those sink holes that suck me in. I receive refusal after refusal, and I start to think, "I'm just not good enough." But, if we want to be writers someday, we can't give in to these temptations. We have to keep trudging on. We have to get our work out there.

I have found a few sites that I wanted to share with you that help keep me motivated. The first and foremost is www.duotrope.com. This site is amazing. Unfortunately, they do charge a monthly fee, but it is a small one and it is so worth it. Here you will have access to journals that are currently seeking our work. This site will tell you if they are currently open or closed to submissions. Duotrope tells you if it is a paying or non-paying market. It gives you sites that are looking for themed submissions. I have had most of my success with this site. I just go through and review what each different literary journal is looking for, and if I feel that I have a piece that meets their requirements, I submit it. I am not saying that it is easy. You will still be getting those rejection letters, but at least you are putting yourself out there. Wear those rejection letters with pride. Duotrope answers most of the questions you have about each different literary journal, so you'll have to check it out on your own. I could list all their benefits, but we would be here all day.

Other sites that are helpful when looking to submit (and these are just a few), www.writersdigest.com, where you will find various contests, but they are usually all connected to Writers Digest, but they also offer a lot of other good information for writers. There is also
 Poets & Writers, which is also an amazing source when looking for various journals to submit to.  You can find them at www.pw.org. Last, but not least, www.thereviewreview.net is a contest website that lists various contests where you can submit your work. And these are just a few, so remember, "Submit!"

Please let me know if you have any success at any of the above sites. I would love to hear your stories. Do you have other sites that have helped you? Let us know.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Howdy! Heading south to the friendly town of Norman, Oklahoma for the 2013 Oklahoma Writers' Federation Annual Conference!

I couldn't write this blog without sending out a heartfelt prayer for the people of Oklahoma that have been affected by the recent tornadoes. I was in Norman, Oklahoma on May 2nd through the 4th for the Annual Oklahoma Writers' Federation Conference and you couldn't ask for a more friendly community. I was really struck by the beautiful surroundings in Norman and I hope that you all will be spared any further heartbreak.

Well on to the Conference, as I said this years conference was held in the quaint little town of Norman, Oklahoma. I fell in love with the serene surroundings and the small town atmosphere. The conference was held at the Embassy Suites in Norman Oklahoma. The hotel was beautiful and spacious. The Conference area was extremely accessible and offered a wide range of meeting areas. I wanted to give you a small tip for booking a hotel room during these conferences. Although the hotel where the conference is being held is extremely convenient, and if you can afford it by all  means it is probably the best way to go, but I usually am working on a limited budget, so I usually book a hotel that is in the vicinity of the hotel that the conference is being held at.  I did this when I went to New York and I ended up being only a block away, but a saved almost $100.00. In Norman, Oklahoma I was about ten minutes away, but I had my car so it was very easy to drive back and forth from the conference and again I managed to save a substantial amount.

I went to Oklahoma to try to find an agent or publisher interested in taking on my novel. Originally I signed up for the conference because it was being held close to where I live. The Oklahoma Writers' Federation Conference only allowed me to sign up for one pitch session with an agent or publisher of my choice, but stated that if there were open sessions after the conference started that we could sign up for additional sessions. So immediately upon arriving on May 3rd, the first day of the pitch sessions, I went to the sign up table and signed up for extra pitch sessions. All in all I ended up meeting with three agents and three publishers. And I was not the only one that gained additional pitch time. As soon as the word spread that they were allowing additional pitches, other writers were flocking to the sign up table. After all, that is what we were there for. The agents and publishers were also there to meet as many writers as possible in search of new talent.  So we were just giving them what they wanted. The pitch session was extremely organized and allowed me about ten minutes with each representative.

The other sessions the conference offered were all very informative. You can find out information about each session on the conference website before the conference. Be sure to take time to look the sessions over beforehand. You will be glad you did. I attended an agent and publisher panel session which gave me an insight into what each agent and publisher was looking for in a query letter and synopsis, and they gave us tips on what to avoid sending to them. They also let us know what type of genres they were currently looking for. I have submitted my novel to one agent and one publisher thus far. I have one rejection and I am still waiting to hear from the other. I haven't given up hope. But I fear I may have jumped the gun a little to soon and sent off my work before it was perfect. So, I am slowing down a little to do some additional editing before I send it off again.

This conference I believed to be well worth the time and money I invested. It was very affordable, mostly because it was close to my hometown. So, don't be afraid to venture on line and find out what is happening around your small neck of the woods. You may be surprised what is going on right under your nose. I was.

Let me know if you were also at this years conference, I would love to hear from you. Are there any conferences you would recommend? Let us know.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bright Lights...Big City...My experience at this years 2013 Screenwriters World Conference in New York City

Just have to say I had never been to New York before, so I took advantage of the opportunity to knock out two birds with one stone, as the expression goes, and I decided to attend this years 2013 Screenwriters World Conference East in New York City. Information about the conference can be found at www.screenwritersworld.com. The conference is an opportunity to pitch your work to agents and production companies. There is also a separate conference and pitch session for novelists. My novel is still in the editing stage so I thought I would pitch my screenplay and television scripts that were just sitting on my computer. Of course, I think they are wonderful (I'm not prejudice or anything) and long over due to be looked at by someone other than my writer's group and family.

I arrived in New York on April 4th, and because of my limited budget, I was scheduled to leave early in the morning on April 9th. The conference was held Friday April 5th through Sunday April 7th. There were several different sessions available to the attendees to acquire knowledge and information about screenwriting or novel writing, as well as to gain information on how to be published or to be picked up by an agent. Now, I am of the frame of mind that this information is readily available to you at such sites as www.writersdigest.com, or through several other writer's magazines that distribute this information out like candy, so I skipped most of the sessions because I wanted to see New York, sad but true. I do think these sessions would have been very beneficial, but I wasn't sure if I would ever get back to New York again, so I only attended the Saturday, all day, pitch session which did include an early class time on how to pitch an agent. (Just a tip if you aren't receiving information via email or otherwise from Writers Digest or other writer magazine sites I would get connected by registering your email address with them. I have found the information they send out to be extremely informative) I found that what is different about the Writer's Digest Conference that some of the other conferences don't offer is your access to a multiple of agents, and in my case production companies, all at your disposal. Well, they're at your disposal after you wait the half hour to an hour in line to give your pitch. Most conferences only offer you one or two agent pitches for your rather large conference fee, where Writers Digest offers over 30 different representatives from various agencies and production companies. You only get about seven minutes with each representative, but that's better then nothing.

As nervous as I was, and taking the tips from my "How to Pitch" session, I got through my first pitch. I did receive a business card, which is usually what they give you if they want to see your material, but it was from an agent who only handled actors. I thought this strange too. Especially after he honestly explained to me that he wasn't sure what he was doing there himself. I believe he was trying to drum up work for his clients, which I guess is logical. This didn't help me, but I understand his dilemma. Well the morning went badly, and I didn't receive any other cards and was sulking during my lunch hour, which offered these really great deli sandwiches by the way, when I was approached by other writers who engaged me in conversation about our chosen heartbreaking careers.  They inspired me to again return for the second half of the pitch session which went much better. All in all, I left with about four cards from various agents and production companies.

I rushed back to Kansas after my tour of New York City ready to take on the world by storm. I sent off my treatments for my scripts. I contacted agents who showed an interest in my work and sat back and waited for the acceptances to poor in.  Well, it has been about two months now and I have gotten one refusal and I have not heard back from the other agents. So I sit here in limbo, waiting to hear if I was rejected, or if I am on my way to achieving my dream of becoming a professional writer. I can't say at this time if it was worth the money and time invested. I guess it may not have been any different then attaching your material to an email and sending it to an agent you have never met before or mailing it to an unknown destination, but in my case, with a full-length feature film script, I believe I would not have come in contact with these individuals any other way, especially in New York. As a novelist, I may have taken my chances through the mail or an email. 

I haven't given up hope that I will still hear back from someone, so I will keep you updated. I met a lot of wonderful people during the conference who shared a commonality with me. I collected cards from other writers who struggle with the same desire that I do. If I had to say if I thought the trip was worth while, I probably would have to say that just going to New York and experiencing it first hand made the trip worth while. As I writer, I will always cherish that long weekend, and the people and lifestyles that I witnessed and learned about which is so different from my own. And these experiences will always make me a better writer. As for the rest, only time will tell...

Do you have any conference stories to share? Or were you in New York this year for the conference? Let me know.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Welcome to Creative Writers Outlet, a blog of writers helping each other succeed. Here, we strive to provide a wealth of knowledge and personal experience that, we hope, will contribute to the growth of the individual writer's journey. Please feel welcome to share your experiences and know-how, too. We want you to leave here inspired, perhaps knowing a little more than before, and feeling good about where you are on your journey.