November 16th, 2009 / 11:25 amJustin Taylor
Black Lawrence Press tries to sell me (i.e. you) “tips for getting published by a small press”
I can’t decide where I think this falls on the lameness scale. On the one hand, it’s cheap to join, you get a book for your trouble, and Black Lawrence (a Dzanc imprint) seems reasonably cool. On the other hand, I am instantly and deeply suspicious of anyone claiming to offer advice to “novice, mid-career and seasoned authors alike.” Especially when their leading examples of this “advice” are “what editors look for in cover letters” and “how to choose which conferences to attend.” At the risk of cutting in on BW’s action, let me save you a lot of time- 1) Editors don’t look for anything in cover letters; they don’t read them until after they’ve looked at the manuscript, and if they don’t love that, they’re not reading the letter. Period. So yes, you do need to have one, but as long as it’s less than a page long, and that page isn’t smeared in feces or syrup, you’re probably fine. 2) I’m not sure what the difference between a “mid-career” and a “seasoned” author is, but I can tell you one thing they have in common– neither takes her career advice from a pay-to-play email newsletter, even a cheap one offered up by seemingly decent people. I don’t want to come off like I hate Black Lawrence. I really don’t. But I do hate that whole “secrets of publishing” sales pitch, and the tone that goes along with it. It just grosses me out. After the break, the full commercial from Black Lawrence. Decide for yourself what you think.
Tips for Getting Published by a Small PressSubscribe for the Newsletter
For over two years Diane Goettel, Black Lawrence Press Executive Editor, has been giving lectures on how to get the attention of small and independent presses. One of the problems with lectures, however, is that they are only available to people within commuting distance. We are solving that problem by putting Diane’s advice into a weekly newsletter.You may already get emails from Black Lawrence Press about contests and recent publications. This will be an entirely separate newsletter that will go out only to those of you that subscribe.The newsletter will include tips for novice, mid-career, and seasoned authors alike. It will have information on what editors look for in cover letters, how to choose which writing conferences to attend, and how to choose the right press for your book. The newsletter will also address frequently asked questions that come in from authors like yourself. Furthermore, it will include case studies of authors who have done things like making a name for themselves with a chapbook, changing genres mid-career, using a second language to deepen their understanding of their craft in English. To summarize, we are going to chock each newsletter full of what we think is the freshest, smartest, most exciting insider information about small and indy publishing and how to get published by small and indy presses.Want to sign up? It will just cost you the price of one Black Lawrence Press title. The choice is yours. (And we’ve got some great chapbooks that are only $9.)Here’s how to sign up:1) Go to www.blacklawrencepress.com2) Click on “Books”3) Browse our selection of titles, pick one that sounds interesting, and purchase it through Paypal.4) Forward your Paypal receipt (it should automatically show up in your email box once you make your purchase) to firstname.lastname@example.org with “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject line. You will automatically be subscribed for one year of emails.Our first newsletter will go out this week, so sign up soon!Best,Your Friends and Black Lawrence Press
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