The Writers Network News, April 2014 http://ezezine.com
The Writers Network News, April 2014
In This Issue
One: From the editor's desk: Time for a Change
Two: Ask the Book Doctor about Travel Writing, Sidebars, Clips, and
Three: This Month's Easy Editing Tip from Bobbie Christmas: All
Four: Subjects of Interest to Writers
Five: Contests, Agents, and Markets
Six: Got Muse? Something Borrowed
The Writers Network News
No Rules; Just Write!
Editor: Bobbie Christmas
Contents copyright 2014, Bobbie Christmas
No portion of this newsletter can be used without permission; however,
you may forward the newsletter in its entirety to anyone who may be
interested in subscribing.
Excellent editing for maximum marketability
More than twenty years in the business of editing books (We must be
doing something right.)
As book doctors, we write, edit, and evaluate fiction and nonfiction
manuscripts, book proposals, query letters, and synopses. As book
shepherds, we guide writers through the process of self-publishing. We
are a top-rated Better Business Bureau Accredited Business.
230 Deerchase Drive
Woodstock, GA 30188
Follow my Write In Style creative-writing blog at
Meet Fellow Writers
Do you live in or visit metro Atlanta? Sign up for local meeting
notices today! Send your name and e-mail address to
Hurry, because we have a meeting scheduled for March 29 in Roswell.
Note: I have shortened some links in this newsletter with the help of
www.tinyurl.com, a free service that takes long web addresses and
converts them to short ones.
Writers Quote of the Month
"Almost the whole problem of writing poetry is to bring it back to what
you really feel, and that takes an awful lot of maneuvering. You may
feel the doorknob more strongly than some big personal event, and the
doorknob will open into something you can use as your own." --Poet
One: From the editor's desk: Time for a Change
Dear Fellow Writers:
Change is not easy for me, but change is inevitable. I have been
driving the same car, a 1990 Honda Accord, since it was born.
Twenty-four years later, it was finally aging. Oh, it still looked
great, and it had zebra stripes from head to tail, thanks to a
customizing job performed when it was a month old. My zebra car gave
rise to the name of my company, Zebra Communications, although many
people assume my company preceded the car. No, I drove a zebra-striped
car for two years for no reason other than I did not want a plain white
car. When I formed my company two years later, the name seemed obvious
to me, and ever since, people have thought I'm a wise marketer, rather
than an eccentric.
For twenty-four wonderful years, that car cheered me and entertained
others. I watched kids in the cars ahead of me mouthing, "Look, Mom, a
zebra car!" Countless people pulled up beside me and gave me the
thumbs-up sign. Once a group of kids all stuck their fingers down their
throats. I laughed heartily at all those gestures. It was all in fun.
The neighborhood kids called me The Zebra Lady, and I loved it, but
those kids are now grown and living elsewhere on their own. For years,
strangers asked about my car or commented on it. Everywhere I went,
people honked and waved. That car was a delight.
Ah, but the zebra car grew weary. His speedometer sometimes dropped
from sixty to zero, when I was driving. My brother warned me that when
it happened, not to get out of the car! Sometimes I was stopped dead at
a stoplight, and the speedometer jumped to forty miles an hour. The
Check Engine light went on and off at will, and sometimes the car told
me one, two, or all four doors are open, when I was driving down the
road. It often lied and said my brake lights were out. The mechanic at
the dealership said all those things were connected to a computer
glitch that would cost a fortune to fix, so I learned to live with the
quirks and strange messages my aged zebra car gave me, sort of like
caring for an old dog or a beloved grandparent with Alzheimer's.
In Georgia, the thing I cannot live without, however, is air
conditioning, and the air conditioner aged along with the car. Because
it was Freon based, it had to be replaced, not repaired, a highly
expensive proposition for a car twenty-four years old and on its last
legs--or wheels. Summer is coming fast to Georgia, the car was giving
me all sorts of signs, and I had no doubt it was time to get a new car.
For a full month I looked at cars, test drove cars, performed online
research, talked to salespeople, and talked to other car owners, but
finally, after all my efforts, I settled on my new car, a 2014 Honda
Accord. Yup, after driving the thrifty Kia, the beautiful Hyundai
Sonata, and several other cars and after performing all my in-person
and online research, the car I felt the most comfortable driving was
the same make as my former car. This time, however, it would not have
zebra stripes. I deserve a little anonymity at last. Maybe it will be
good that people will not be able to know every place I go.
Ah, but giving up my zebra car was not easy. I had to go through a
grieving and letting-go process. I feel deeply saddened and had to
analyze and accept my loss. That car had been my identity for more than
two decades. Nevertheless, I knew it was time. I cleaned out the car
and even printed instructions on how to install and use the zebra tail
I had made for a Halloween parade in 1990. I left the sign and the tail
in the trunk for the new owners, whoever they may be. That zebra tail
added to people's amusement when I drove in parades or drove away from
gatherings. Once I even used it to lead a funeral procession for a
woman I loved and who loved my zebra car. Life with my zebra car was
delightful, but as of a couple of days ago, I am driving a new car that
does not look like it is wearing pajamas. Change is not easy, but I was
The dealership gave me a surprisingly good trade-in value on a car of
that age and told me the car will be sold overseas, which delights me.
I won't have to see it driving around town, which would make me sad and
confuse my friends.
Enjoy your vacation abroad, zebra car. You ran a good race.
Yours in writing,
Bobbie Christmas (Bobbie@zebraeditor.com or email@example.com )
Author of Write In Style, owner of Zebra Communications, director of
The Writers Network, and coordinator of the Florida Writers Association
Editors Helping Writers service.
If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, please sign up to get your
own copy. Simply go to www.zebraeditor.com, click on Free Newsletter,
and follow the prompts. I never share your address or send out spam.
Two: Ask the Book Doctor about Travel Writing, Sidebars, Clips, and
By Bobbie Christmas
Q: My daughter is a teacher, and she told me I should write about my
travels to places such as Yellowstone National Park, Death Valley, and
the Grand Canyon. She suggested writing of the wonders of this country
for children. I need a book to help me put down all the information in
the right format and wording. Could you recommend one?
A: Learning to write well is a long process and may take many books and
plenty of practice, but I can recommend a few books. Before you start,
though, be sure your manuscript is in correct format for submission to
a publisher. For that information, you do not need a book. Simply go to
my website and download Report #104 -- Standard Manuscript Format, at
As for books to read on writing, it is more important to write first,
in your own voice, the same way you would tell the information if you
were talking. Get your first draft written as best you can with the
knowledge you already have. After you have written the information you
want to relay, you can use any of the following books to help you
revise and refine the writing.
My desk reference book for editors and writers who want to edit
themselves is called Purge Your Prose of Problems. Use it to look up
questions related to grammar, punctuation, creative writing, and
Chicago style while you are revising your manuscript. It is available
at http://tinyurl.com/kkk9jzz. Other good books on writing include The
Elements of Style by Strunk and White; On Writing Well, William
Zinnser; On Writing, Stephen King, and Stein on Writing, by Sol Stein.
Also go to my website (www.zebraeditor.com) and sign up for my free
newsletter for writers, "The Writers Network News," for monthly tips
and information on writing.
Q: I have been writing travel articles for several years but have never
submitted a sidebar, because I do not know exactly what they are. Can
you tell me? Would it be additional information, such as campgrounds
and activities in an area?
A: You are right. A sidebar to a magazine article is usually an
additional short bit of information related to the article. In some
magazines, the sidebar is simply a bulleted list of the high points in
the longer article.
As examples, an in-flight magazine gave me an assignment to write an
article about an upcoming charity golf tournament. In the main article,
I wrote about the tournament, its prior winners, the golf course
itself, and other information pertaining to the event. In a sidebar, I
told about the charity that would benefit from the event.
For a local magazine, I wrote an article about home security systems
and added a sidebar that listed all the local security companies and
their contact information.
For one travel article I wrote, I included a sidebar that listed
contact information for the museums and other places mentioned in the
Not all magazines use sidebars, and most magazine editors do not want
sidebars for every story, but sidebars can endear you to an editor and
add value to your articles. In addition, if you are paid by the word,
sidebars put more pennies in your pocket.
Q: What does the magazine mean when it asks that the query letter
include clips of published articles?
A: It wants to see copies of articles you have written that have
appeared in published form. The magazine wants to know, therefore, that
other sources have published your articles and that you can write a
good article. You can scan and send copies of articles (with your
byline) that have appeared in newsletters, magazines, or newspapers, or
you can even send a Word file for an article that appeared on the
Internet, but if possible, include a link to the article. It is best to
send the type of articles you are proposing. For example, if you are
proposing a magazine article regarding your backpacking trip through
Ireland, you would be wise to send clips of travel articles you have
written that have appeared in other magazines.
If you have never had an article appear in printed form, you may
volunteer to write articles for nonprofit publications, to get clips of
your published work. Yes, getting paid to write can be difficult until
you have already been published--the old Catch 22.
Q: I am putting together a travelogue as a coffee table book, and it
requires me to purchase a few stock photos that are costly. I am
wondering if I need to have a "finished" galley (exact photos and
owned, in place) or just put copies of not-yet-licensed photos in the
galley to be shown to an agent. If the agent sees the merit in my work,
then I would purchase the photos.
My second question is this: where online can I find a travel editor and
a food editor? My search online has been time consuming.
A: First, it is my opinion that the purpose of a coffee table book is
to feature original artwork and photography, so I am not sure why the
book needs stock photos. Perhaps it should not be a coffee table book,
if you do not have the artwork to support it. Nevertheless, when the
author is not an illustrator or photographer, publishers usually
provide the artwork, so you may not have to buy any art to sell your
manuscript. You may suggest artwork, but if the publisher likes a
manuscript, it will usually procure the art you want or provide
something even better.
I am not sure what you mean by a food editor or a travel editor. Do you
mean an acquisitions editor with a publishing house that publishes
travel books and cookbooks, or a manuscript editor who will edit the
manuscript for punctuation, grammar, and style? If you want to find an
acquisitions editor, use www.writersmarket.com to search for agents and
publishers. The site charges a small fee, but it provides a huge
database you can easily search.
If you want to a manuscript editor, I am one, and hundreds more can be
found through any search engine on the Internet. Simply search for
"book editor" or "manuscript editor," or if your book needs editing for
concept, clarity, and/or organization, search under "book doctor." To
learn about my services, credentials, and prices, go to
Bobbie Christmas, book editor and owner of Zebra Communications, will
answer your questions, too. Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read
more "Ask the Book Doctor" questions and answers at
For more questions, answers, and comments, order the book, Ask the Book
Doctor: How to Beat the Competition and Sell Your Writing. Go to
Three: This Month's Easy Editing Tip from Bobbie Christmas: All
Some people imagine that the expression should be "all tolled" as if
items were being ticked off to the tolling of a bell or involved the
paying of a toll, but in fact it goes back to an old meaning of "tell,"
"to count." You could "tell over" your beads if you were counting them
in a rosary. "All told" means "all counted."
This older meaning of "tell" is the reason that people who count money
out behind bank windows are called "tellers."
This tip was found on
For more editing and creative writing tips, order Purge Your Prose of
Problems here: http://tinyurl.com/4ptjnr.
Four: Subjects of interest to writers
The Writers Network member Bill Moore writes, "I would like to express
thanks for the guidance your little gem Write in Style provided during
my especially interesting, sometimes frustrating journey that happily
resulted in the recent release of our book titled Quest for Freedom,
The Presbyterian Rebellions for Political and Religious Freedom. Thank
you, Bobbie, for your tremendous writing encouragement through your
informative newsletters. Throughout my writing, I used you and your
illuminating newsletter as my guiding light."
Quest for Freedom chronicles the struggles of Scots Irishmen from the
time of warrior William Wallace to their triumphant freedom at
Yorktown, resulting in America's political and religious freedom. Moore
notes, "Our book is a must read for all Americans, to provide an
understanding of how the relentless efforts of these freedom-determined
Scots-Irish Presbyterians resulted in today's freedoms that many
Americans take for granted." The Scots-Irish Presbyterians philosophies
and pursuit of higher education provided the basis used for America's
constitutional government and the founding of Americas first four
universities, Harvard, William and Mary, Yale, and Princeton.
Quest for Freedom is available in paperback or Kindle at
Thank you, Bill, for your compliments, and congratulations on the
publication of your book.
Free Trial for All My Friends!
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Few of us do. Carbonite has saved me twice, when one file corrupted and
another entire project disappeared from my computer. In a panic both
times, I went to the Carbonite website and found it had backed up all
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Check it out at http://refer.carbonite.com/a/clk/1b3bxP. Even if you
don't use Carbonite, please do something to ensure your files are
safely backed up at all times. How horrible it would be to lose a book
you have been writing for a year or more!
Free Tools for Writers from Bobbie Christmas and Zebra Communications
New report just added: Chicago style for newbies and for those
switching from AP Style. Look for Report #118.
From the above site you can download many PDF reports on
writing-related subjects, including correct manuscript format, how to
form and run a critique circle, how to identify weak writing and repair
it, self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and much more.
Free Book Reviewer:
I am accepting, and would love to review ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies)
and review books. I would appreciate physical books, but I am also open
to e-books that will work on either Nook or Kindle. If you would like
me to review a book, please contact me at Lhigginsnmiz@gmail.com with
the title, picture, and description for said book, as well as the
release date, if it is an ARC (please read my website for the kinds of
books I will accept).
I will try my best to review all books honestly. If you would like the
book to be reviewed by a certain date, please tell me, and that
information will influence when I get to it.
I will not write a raving review of a book just because I got it for
free. I will write my honest opinion. Readers deserve to hear the
truth, and I will not lie, even if it jeopardizes my receiving future
For this and more book reviewers, go to http://tinyurl.com/ncp3j37
Purge Your Prose of Problems
A Book Doctors Desk Reference, Fifth Edition
Save thousands of dollars and edit your own book! Order my proprietary
book-doctor desk reference book online at http://tinyurl.com/4ptjnr.
In alphabetical order and in easy-to-understand language, Purge Your
Prose of Problems covers all you need to know to revise and edit
fiction and nonfiction books, including grammar, punctuation, word
choices, creative writing, plot, pace, characterization, point of view,
dialogue, Chicago style, format, and much more. The spiral binder lets
the book lie flat in front of your computer, for easy use. Available
printed or as a PDF e-book that allows you to keep all this vital
information on your computer for ready reference.
The e-book is the best deal, because you get it immediately and pay no
shipping, and it then resides on your computer for the speediest
reference, whenever you need it.
To save thousands of dollars by editing your own book, order Purge Your
Prose of Problems today at http://tinyurl.com/4ptjnr.
Terminology Writers Should Know: Round Character
Round characters, also known as main characters, are fictional
characters so important to a story that they are thoroughly rounded
out--described in full, including their motivations, human traits,
flaws, conflicts, and distinctive qualities. When writing a novel, only
round characters deserve to be described in full. Some editors even
claim that only round characters should have both first and last names,
because after being introduced, most minor characters will be called by
only one name, first or last, for the rest of the novel.
Ask the Book Doctor: How to Beat the Competition and Sell Your Writing
answers many of the questions you wish you could ask an editing expert.
Whether you write books, short stories, articles, reports, or anything
else, learn more about how to write, edit, and sell your work.
Paperback: $14.95 plus $4.99 S & H (total: $19.94 US) E-book: $8.95, no
S & H, with almost instant delivery. You will save almost $10 by buying
the e-book! To order either, go to http://tinyurl.com/lexp7n.
Editors are seeing red (ink)! Associated Press, whose stylebook many
journalists follow, has announced that the word "over" is now
acceptable when meaning "greater than" or "more than." The change has
not been embraced by everyone. Chicago style, used by writers of books,
still calls for "over" to mean "above" and "more than" to mean "greater
than." For example, if you write books, you would use "He ate more than
twenty cookies," rather than "He ate over twenty cookies."
Become my friend on Facebook and follow my adventures, opinions, and
Like Zebra Communications on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/7vcxaxu.
Five: Contests, Agents, and Markets
57 Littlefield Street
Avon, MA 02322
Submit printed proposals to address above, or e-mail your book
proposals to: AdamsMediaSubmissions@fwmedia.com
Our romance e-book line is open to romance submissions in five popular
subgenres: romantic suspense, contemporary, paranormal, historical, and
spicy (sexy) romance. See more at http://tinyurl.com/o7rpm5e. For
submissions of romance novels, follow the specific guidelines at
Adams Media is always looking for great book proposals on a wide
variety of topics! We accept submissions directly from authors
(including first time authors) and from literary agents.
Your book proposal should include the following:
A description of the intended market for the book
An explanation of why someone would want to buy the book
A summary of the author's background
A table of contents, as detailed as possible
A sample chapter
Do not send in the whole manuscript.
We will contact you only if we are interested in your proposal.
If you wish to have any material returned, include a self-addressed and
We accept no responsibility for proposals and manuscripts. The volume
of submissions does not allow us to accept phone calls or e-mail or
other inquiries, or to provide comments or feedback on unsolicited
PLEASE NOTE: We cannot consider works that have been previously
published in whole or in part in any media, including self-publishing
(Kindle, CreateSpace, etc.). Your manuscript must be entirely original
This residency will move you!
In an era when grants are rare, Amtrak offers #AmtrakResidency, which
allows creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and
writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment. Round-trip
train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance route. Each
resident will be given a private sleeper car equipped with a desk, a
bed, and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for
inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability. To see
more and to apply for a residency, see
Open to Erotic Romance Submissions
Amira Press is a royalty-paying publisher of erotic romantic fiction.
We are looking for stories that are original, creative, and compelling.
Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, but not before you read
and follow the submission guidelines carefully.
We are primarily an e-book publisher. We also publish books in print
that are over 50,000 words. We pay monthly royalties on sales from our
own website and quarterly (or when we receive payment) from third-party
sources. Amira Press charges no fees to the author. We pay 40% of cover
price on e-book sales from our site, 30% of cover price from
third-party sites (with a couple exceptions) and 8.5% of cover price on
print book sales.
Amira Press provides the author with editorial services, an ISBN
number, and exclusive cover art. These services are free to the author.
Amira Press e-books will be listed on our website and on various
We do accept simultaneous submissions; however, we ask that you kindly
inform us that you have submitted to other publishers. We respond to
queries within two weeks and full submissions within 30 days. (Please
do not send us anything you have submitted to an agent!) For full
guidelines, see http://tinyurl.com/nf7uujw.
A speculative fiction magazine
We are looking for diverse young adult stories for each theme--science
fiction, fantasy, paranormal, horror, dystopian, steampunk, cyberpunk,
alternate history etc. Take the theme and do something unique and
unexpected with it.
Volume 5: October 2014
Submissions due by: August 15 2014
Prompt: When you were younger, did you make your parents check under
the bed and in the closet before you fell asleep? What were they
checking for? What kind of creatures haunt your nightmares or make you
scared of the dark? Your monster(s) can be paranormal in
nature--werewolves, ogres, vampires--or based in reality--clowns, giant
squids, spiders-- or something in between. What is it exactly that
makes you scared of them? Are those things that go bump in the night
what you think they are, or is there another explanation? Alternatively
tell the story from the monsters perspective. How do they feel about
their reputation? What do they really want? Do they have a secret
dream? Should we fear them or pity them?
For full submission information, see
Bronze Man Books
1184 W. Main Street
Decatur, Illinois 62522
Bronze Man Books is a student owned and operated press located in
Decatur, Illinois. We are committed to the integration of high-quality
design and meaningful content. Bronze Man Books is always open to
proposals for book publications and possible lines of books. In all
publications we strive to integrate high-quality design and meaningful
Current lines of publication include:
(1) Art exhibition catalogs published in conjunction with Millikin
University or Central Illinois area art exhibits.
(2) Children's books featuring original illustration and an engaging
story for age-appropriate audiences.
(3) Trade paperbacks.
(4) Literary chapbooks featuring a unified collection of poetry,
fiction, drama by a single author.
We are always open to new ideas or possible lines of publications. The
process begins by contacting Bronze Man Books with a proposal for your
publication. Please describe your book, your motivation to create the
book, the potential readership, marketing possibilities, comparisons of
other books in that market, and the current state of the manuscript.
Snail mail submissions must include an SASE (self-addressed stamped
E-mail questions or book proposals to email@example.com
Chicken Soup for the Soul Seeks Submissions to Angels in Our Midst
Deadline is May 15, 2014. The book was originally titled My Guardian
Angel, and if you have already submitted to that anthology, you do not
have to re-submit. Send your personal story about how you experienced
the presence of an angel, although not necessarily a guardian angel.
How did your angel reveal himself or herself to you? In what ways has
your angel guided you or a loved one? Has your angel ever protected you
from danger? Submit original, unpublished, nonfiction only, maximum
1,200 words. Payment is $200 per accepted story. For guidelines see
http://tinyurl.com/ofkkuno. For submissions, see
Collections and anthologies are a great way to sell your personal
stories. For a massive list of current collections seeking submissions,
Six: Got Muse? Something Borrowed
We have all heard stories about neighbors who borrow tools and other
things and never return them. We were told that brides must wear
something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue,
for good luck. We borrow things all the time, be it tangible tools or
clever sayings. For this exercise, think of something that someone
borrowed and how it affected everyone's life. For example, a neighbor
might borrow a hatchet, use it to kill someone, clean it off, and
return it to its rightful owner. What happens when the police find the
murder weapon in the garage of the innocent neighbor? You can probably
imagine many scenarios about borrowed items and how they affected the
people involved. Write a scene or an entire story about something
Do YOU have news for The Writers Network News? Please send it in the
body copy, not an attachment, to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Deadline: The
15th of each month.
Send a copy of this newsletter to all your writing friends. Tell them
to join The Writers Network F-R-E-E by visiting www.zebraeditor.com and
clicking on Free Newsletter.
With the exception of Zebra Communications, information in this
newsletter is not to be construed as an endorsement. Be sure to
research all information and study every stipulation before you accept
assignments, spend money, or sell your work.
The Writers Network News: a newsletter for writers everywhere. No fees.
No officers. No Rules; Just Write!