Cosplay = costume + play

If you find yourself in Lexington and wondering what to do this Saturday, April 5, consider joining ECWG member Bob McKinley at the first annual Bluegrass Cosplay Con at the Clarion Hotel on Newtown Pike. For information on workshops, vendors, contests, special guests, and more, visit http://bluegrasscosplaycon.com/.


Calling all Y/A  fiction writers!

Writer’s Digest is sponsoring a free, agent-judged contest for book-length young adult fiction. What could you win? Exposure to an agent and a critique of your work! Visit http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/15th-free-dear-lucky-agent-contest-young-adult-fiction for details. But hurry: the deadline is April 9. (And thanks to ECWG member Robin Baskette for the tip!)


Perhaps it is because of T.S. Eliot’s famous observation (“The Wasteland”) that April has been designated National Poetry Month by the American Academy of Poets. The energy of the very planet is stirred up as the seasons turn from the extremes of one solstice toward that of the other. Whether you write poetry or not, April is full of inspiration in both the natural and online worlds.

Nothing could be more simple than the A to Z Blogging Challenge, even if you don’t blog. Every day except Sundays, you write something inspired by the corresponding letter of alphabet, beginning with A on April 1 (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).

Even if you’re not a poet, you can sign up to receive daily writing prompts from WordXWord’s 30/30 Poetry Challenge (http://3030poetry.com/). If you’d rather not have those pesky prompts popping up in your inbox every day, you can resolve instead to visit the Writer’s Digest’s Poem a Day Challenge (http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2014-april-pad-challenge-guidelines/) for their daily prompts.

Then there’s NaPoWriMo — the poet’s version of NaNoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month and National Novel Writing Month, respectively). Find ideas for taking your writing to the next level at http://www.napowrimo.net/

And for you novelists who were too busy in November to pound out your 50,000 words, the good folks at NaNoWriMo offer a month-long writing experience at Camp NaNoWriMo (https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in). They also run a second camp session during July, so mark your calendars.

No matter what your genre, crack your fingers, get your tools and supplies lined up, and prepare to get some serious writing done in April!

A couple of blog posts on self-publishing really caught my eye during the last week or so.

Traditional publishing as vanity press

In a recent post (Submit. But don’t say “Uncle.”) on his eponymous blog, Hugh Howey reflects on motivation and some of the demons that drive us as writers. He describes the current (and future) publishing landscape as one shaped by writers and readers together, turning received wisdom about traditional and independent publishing on its head.

Be sure to scroll down through the comments to find Massimo Marino’s vision of the future of POD, where every printed book is a sold book, and the end of the query process, in which literary agents operate like pro sports scouts. (The better and smarter agents are already doing this.)

Professionalism in self-publishing

In a guest post (The Professionals’ Effect) on Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog Catherine, Caffienated, Jean Grainger outlines her own journey to publication. She writes with humor and candor about delusions, pitfalls, and the delicate mix of confidence and humility needed for success. Best of all, she shares her surprising discoveries about the communal nature of self-publishing.

Don’t forget to search through the comments for Stephen Tiano’s observations about self-publishing as a business venture rather than a DIY project. (Images of basement mimeo machines and hand staplers spring to mind.)

The bottom line

Self-publishing is a viable and respectable business model, and authors who self-publish should consider themselves legitimate businesspersons: publishers. They owe it to their business to pay attention to the practices that traditional publishers continue to follow and those that have been abandoned. They owe it to themselves to pay attention to the experience of fellow independent publishers and the wider community of writers and readers. Most importantly, they owe it to their work to approach it with professional respect and integrity.

Local author event

stacked booksThere are still a few author spaces available at the Local Kentucky Author Book Bazaar that will be held at Bakery Blessings and Bookstore in Lexington next month. The event runs from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, and features author presentations, readings, and book signings. Bakery and bookstore owner Jan Sullivan has allowed time and space for 35 authors, including ECWG member Chris Kelder,  to participate.

Bakery Blessings and Bookstore is located at the corner of Harrodsburg and Lane Allen Roads in Lexington. The address is 1999 Harrodsburg Road and the telephone number is (859) 554-6044. The BB&B Facebook page has a schedule of events, maps, and other information.

If you’re interested in participating, contact Jan Sullivan for details and information.

Something about April seems to inspire writers — maybe it’s the visibly changing seasons (spring or fall, depending on your hemisphere) or the even thirty days. Whatever the motivation, a number of month-long writing challenges offer daily prompts to inspire you.

To begin with, April is National Poetry Writing Month — NaPoWriMo for short. Even if you are not big on poetry, many of the prompts at the official site would work for any genre, even non-fiction.

April is also when the A to Z Blogging Challenge takes place. Again, the prompts and challenge are great motivation for any kind of writing.

Then there’s the 30/30 Poetry Challenge, which invites participants to contribute a poem a day for the month of April. Daily prompts are provided, and the great thing about this challenge is that you can subscribe by e-mail and get the prompt sent to your inbox each day, whether you contribute or not. Heck, whether you write poetry or not, for that matter.

With all this inspiration in the air, there’s absolutely no excuse for you not to do a whole lot of writing this month. If you know of any other writing challenges or prompt-fests, please let the rest of us know!

(So get writing!)

announcement-smallKY Story is seeking stories for upcoming anthologies in a number of categories, including urban fantasy, humor, military, Christmas, and addiction. For details visit http://kystory.wordpress.com/submissions/.

Narrative Magazine’s open reading period takes place during the first two weeks of April. For more information, visit https://www.narrativemagazine.com/submission-guidelines.


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