I opened an email this morning to see a very interesting opportunity for writers presented by an unlikely source, the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science-based environmental organization.
UCS has partnered with Penguin Classics to solicit 200- to 500-word first-person essays about global warming for an online book titled Thoreau's Legacy: American Stories About Global Warming. The essays should tell about some aspect of your life that's affected by global warming. You can also send photographs on the same subject. UCS already has a few sample essays and photographs online for perusal. You can submit online through Nov. 15. This gig doesn't mention pay, but you can inquire about that aspect or any other by emailing the journal's editor firstname.lastname@example.org.
While you might not be excited by the prospect of getting published online, it's time to throw that hesitation out the door and take a look at what UCS has planned. Such journals are getting more gorgeous every day, meaning layouts that are simple, easy to read and incorporate aspects hard copy journals don't, such as animation and music.
Now about John Steinbeck, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Grapes of Wrath published in 1939. He was born and reared in the Salinas Valley of California, where the South Bay branch of the California Writers Club hosts its biyearly writers conference. In honor of his legacy, the conference is called East of Eden, after Steinbeck's 1952 novel of the same name.
While I've taught workshops at the conference in the past, my intent this year is to pitch my novel, Winter Light, to an agent. A pitch session is typically five minutes in which the author tells the agent/publisher about the book and how it came to be with the objective of gaining the agent/publisher's approval to submit the manuscript, either in part or whole.
I've researched five different pitch formulas by other writers and have decided which one works best for me. All told, I've probably spent 10 hours researching the various agents and the books they've sold; writing a pitch unique to each I'd like to approach; and practicing the pitch out loud, first with notes then without. Now we'll see if the preparation was sufficient. Next week I'll let you know the outcome of the session: the timing, how I felt, the response of the agent, etc. Typically such experiences can be harrowing, which is why I plan to bring a good book and work in some relaxation time.
I've had two agents in the past, both of whom were unable to sell my work. While I understand no one is more motivated to sell my stories than I am, an agent would help me reach a wider audience. That and just preparing for a pitch has proven excellent for honing the message of what my book is about, why it deserves to be published and who would read it; all things necessary for an effective query to publishers should I go that route alone.
If you're there, too, look for me. Otherwise, wish me luck.
Tresspassers - caught in the act!
1 week ago