FundsforWriters - January 24, 2020 - Six Nice Problems to Have When Publishing a Book

Published: Fri, 01/24/20

FundsForWriters: Tips and Tools for serious writers to advance their careers!
  Volume 20, Issue 4 | january 24, 2020  

Message from the Editor

A young writer called wanting to interview me for the upcoming state awards called the Jays. It was rejuvenating hearing his excited and somewhat nervous voice, and I spent longer than the 15 minutes he'd promised to remain within. 

But when he asked what three bits of advice would I give to new writers, I thought why just tell him. . . why not share with FundsforWriters this weekend?  

1. The best advice I can give upcoming writers is to read successful and quality work in their genre. Read a lot. Take notes while reading. If they have not truly defined their genre, then read quality work that they find entertaining. Don't force-feed what you read, trying to become something you are not. Then once you feel comfortable about a genre, embrace it and dive in and drown yourself in reading the works that's faced the challenges of publishing and made the cut. 

2. The next most important advice I give to writers is to write daily. Many argue the pros and cons of that advice, but after 20 years, I've learned that showing up to work every day makes the writing easier, more natural, and if you are following number 1, your writing improves. Like athletics, like any other profession, when you practice it daily, it can't help but improve. To allow lag times lets you backslide, and you catch yourself playing catch up or trying to remember what you were attempting to do the last time you were writing. I would rather hit the ground running when I sit down to write.

3. Allow criticism. Not all criticism is good and not all is bad. To improve your writing, you must mature in your acceptance of criticism. Accept it as opportunity to glean nuggets of direction for improvement, not that you have to take it all seriously. I've learned over the years how to identify genuine and pertinent criticism, pick out what will help, and not take it all to heart, all of which can only come from being criticized.

Just my two cents, y'all.

C. Hope Clark
Editor, FundsforWriters
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Making sales, whether traditional books, indie books, or freelance writing, takes thought and strategy. The most comfortable method of selling you and your work is thinking that's it's all in your hands. You just have to write well, show that you are qualified, even talented, and explain that you and your work are better than the next guy and his stuff. 

You work your butt off and warrant reward. But that's not how this gig works.

Sales involve presenting to the right people and proving they need you and your work. You only do this by understanding the people, not vice versa. You endear yourself to these potential customers. You fulfill their needs. You are fighting to earn commitment by catering to them. 

Of course, your work has to be stellar in their eyes. Work that is memorable. Half-assed doesn't make for a long-lasting relationship. You give them pleasure or fulfillment or plain old entertainment, but they feel your work. 

They buy your work. Then because they feel a connection to you, because of how well you courted and treated them, they tell others. 

No, it's not instant success. It's not even moderately quick. It's a long, slow, steady, and arduous process. You have to love the journey. If you don't, those people you're seeking approval from can tell. 

So. . .you can play the long term or dare for immediacy. Guess what your odds are? In other words, how many times have you won with a lottery ticket?

Please consider voting in the JAYS competition, where leaders in South Carolina arts will be recognized at a party and awards event on January 31. You must be from SC to vote, but anyone is welcome to come to the final event! In case you missed previous announcements, I am a finalist in the literary arts! 



Due to popular request, you'll find autographed versions of The Edisto Island Mysteries at my website, or through the online store.



Start a practice
that will help you finish something.

Writers. Creatives. Discover the power of the prompt to take story starts, idea inklings, and project possibilities to new places.

Experience a year of unlimited expression in fiction, non-fiction, memoir, spiritual writing, and creative jumpstarts. Who knows where it will lead?

Visit for info or order My Unedited Writing Year .

Mentioned in Jan. issue of
The Writer Magazine




  • March 23, 2020 - 7:15 PM - St. Andrews Women's Club, Irmo, SC
  • April 25, 2020 - 2-5 PM - Palmetto Scribe Event - Irmo Library, Irmo, SC     



"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." 

~Jim Rohn


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Send us your success story, telling us how FundsforWriters made a difference, opened a door, helped you get someplace you wanted to be. 



Featured article


Six Nice Problems to Have When Publishing a Book

By Dan Brotzel 

Meeting sales reps, soliciting blurb quotes, jazzing up your bio – getting published throws up all sorts of unexpected challenges. It’s been an exciting few months for me, with a couple of books coming out in the new year. Naively, I’d thought all the hard work was over – I’d found an agent and publisher, and endlessly polished the MS. But even when the deal is done, the work is only just beginning. All sorts of challenges crop up that you might not have thought of. 

Challenge: The publisher wants you to meet the sales reps and explain your book.
You were recently asked to meet the publishers’ sales team to help them pitch your book to the trade. 

Solution: Practise trying to come up with an elevator pitch for your book. Think about genre and key themes, books, or films in a similar style. Remember, the more ammo you can give the reps, the better your book’s chances of selling!

Challenge: Someone asks you to sign your book! 

For me, it’s still surreal when someone asks me to sign their book. And the pressure of trying to think of something original or witty on the spot is intense! 

Solution: Don’t sweat it. People like something personal, so even a general message topped by their name will do fine. (Pro tip: always check the spelling!) You could have a few general messages tucked up your sleeve, and just listening to the other person will often help. I recently signed one for another budding author: ‘Looking forward to signing yours one day.’ 

Challenge: My life isn’t interesting enough for the bio! 

Authors often need to provide bios when publicising a book, so the pressure is on to present yourself in a more exciting light… 

Solution: Chat to people who know you well for some ideas, memories, anecdotes. No one’s expecting you to be someone you’re not, and funny or quirky will do just fine – a cute childhood anecdote, a quirky achievement, or a dish you cook like no one else. Until I was about 12, for example, I believed that people who wore glasses weren’t allowed to get married. 

Challenge: How do I choose who to dedicate the book to without hurting people’s feelings? 

My spouse or my mum? My best friend or my brother? Choice of dedicatee can be a real anxiety for some first-time authors.

Solution: For most people, when you really think about it, there will be an obvious choice – the person closest to you, perhaps, or the person you were closest to in the actual writing of the book. What’s really hard may be the worry of upsetting another person. If it helps, talk to the people in question. There’s always your next book. Or just dedicate it to both – why not, it’s your book! 

Challenge: I want to ask a well-known author I know (a bit) for a cover quote.

It can feel cheeky to ask. After all, they must get requests all the time.  

Solution: Go for it! The worst that can happen is a polite No. And of course, if you don’t ask…  

Challenge: The PR department wants ideas for newspapers and magazines.

Your publicist may ask for ideas for features they can sell to the press to help promote your book.
Solution: Think about what issues and themes your book raises that might make good copy, and especially any topical angles. 

So, with a bit of gumption and creative thinking, there’s a solution for every challenge. And don’t forget the bigger picture: these are wonderful problems to have!

BIO: Dan Brotzel (@brotzel_fiction) is author of a collection of short stories, Hotel du Jack, and co-author of a new comic novel about an eccentric writers’ group, Kitten on a Fatberg (Unbound). For 10% off your order, quote KITTEN10



$12 ENTRY FEE. Deadline: January 31, 2020. Seeking creative nonfiction essays on any topic (200-1,000 words) and in any style - from personal essay and memoir to lyric essay and hybrid, and more! The mission of this contest is to reward bravery in real-life storytelling and create an understanding of our world through thoughtful, engaging narratives. Open internationally. Limit 300 entries. Ten Honorable mentions receive a gift card good for one item from CreateWriteNow's Store. Seven Runners Up receive $25 Amazon Gift Cards, publication, interview, and gift card good for one item from CreateWriteNow's Store. First Place: $500, publication, interview, and gift card good for one item from CreateWriteNow's Store. Second Place: $300, publication, interview, and gift card good for one item from CreateWriteNow's Store. Third Place: $200, publication, interview, and gift card good for one item from CreateWriteNow's Store. 

$10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline: February 29, 2020. Seeking short fiction of any genre between 250 and 750 words. The mission of this contest is to inspire creativity, communication, and well-rewarded recognition to contestants. Open internationally. Limit 300 entries. Top ten stories are published in the WOW! Women On Writing e-zine, and contestants are interviewed on WOW's blog, The Muffin. Seven Runners Up receive $25 Amazon Gift Cards, publication, and interview. Ten Honorable mentions receive $20 Amazon Gift Card. First Place: $400, publication, interview, and $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. Second Place: $300, publication, interview, and $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. Third Place: $200, publication, interview and $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. 

$7 ENTRY FEE. Deadline February 5, 2020. Given that we specialize in the dark and offbeat, most of our quarterly contests seek flash fiction where something bad happens, where dread runs rampant and doom is unleashed. We’re asking you to ramp that up even more in this latest contest. We want the untethered, the unbridled. We want frenzy. The top three entries will win cold, hard cash. Pays $250 for Flash Frenzy winner, $125 for second place, and $75 for third place. We also give mad props to fourth through tenth place, publishing them in our Flash Frenzy mega-issue and a future print anthology, with contributor copy included. All submissions must absolutely be under 1,000 words, and we tend to look more kindly on 750 or fewer. 

$25 ENTRY FEE. Deadline February 2, 2020. The First Pages Prize is an annual prize awarded to three emerging writers. The competition is for writers who are NOT currently represented by a literary agent, whether for previously published or unpublished work. The three winners receive a cash award ($1,000, $750, $500), partial developmental editing to support the completion of their full manuscript, invitation to a public reading of their work and prize presentation events in Paris on June 9-10, 2020 for the first and second place winners, and travel stipend (based on geographic location) to Paris, France and two nights’ lodging for the first and second place winners. Writers from anywhere in the world may enter. Please submit the first 1,250 words (maximum) of a fiction or creative nonfiction manuscript (such as a novella, novel, memoir, etc.). 

NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline February 3, 2020. Open to new and emerging writers living in the UK aged 18 or over. The Prize defines life writing as ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences, and is not fiction. The competition is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or have a literary agent.



Deadline February 15, 2020. Offering four two-week residency sessions to poetry and prose writers, as well as visual artists, providing accepted applicants with space and time to create new work without the interruptions of normal life and with the bonus of healthy meals prepared by culinary volunteers using locally-grown organic food whenever possible. We have a total of ten fellowships this summer so that residents can attend at no cost. During September 2020, we'll offer one one-week residency to four writers or artists who are parents of children under 18, through support from the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Each resident will live in an 800-square foot former classroom that offers peekaboo views of Mineral Lake and Mt. Rainier, and that will double as their writing studio, with desk and chair, lighting, bookcase, and lots of chalkboards. Mineral features a swimmable fishing lake, boat rentals, a bar, a B&B, a general store, churches, a post office, and many deer. 

Deadline February 19, 2020. Grants will be awarded in support of a specific art presentation, exhibit, produced program, or event that is made available to the public. Grants of up to $7,000 will be awarded for projects in the following categories: Artistic Focus — Projects that demonstrate high artistic quality, innovation, creativity in programming and artist selection, and demonstrated ability by the artist or organization; and Arts Equity & Access — Projects that support arts programs and services that involve direct community participation, including communities that are underserved, arts education projects, arts conferences or workshops, and community fairs and festivals.

Deadline March 2, 2020. Project Grants — Awards of $7,500 for specific, short-term projects that have a clear benefit to an individual or group’s artistic growth and development. Artists Fellowships — Awards of $18,000 for individuals or groups at a mid- or mature artistic career stage so that they can focus their energy and attention for a one-year period on developing their creative work. To be eligible, applicants must be full-time Alaska residents living in the state for the past two years (and at the time of the application) and remain a resident for the duration of the grant period. 

The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices offers intensive and sophisticated instruction to selected writers over a carefully designed one-week period. The Retreat provides writers access to industry professionals and the opportunity to advance in their craft and careers. It is one of Lambda’s most dynamic initiatives: it represents the future of LGBTQ literature. Twelve students per workshop are accepted into the competitive program where they spend the week working on their manuscripts, attending guest lectures led by publishing industry professionals, and participating in public readings in venues around Los Angeles. Ability to pay is in no way part of the decision-making process, and scholarships are available.

Deadline February 2, 2020. The Writing Fellowship is at the heart of what we do: helping writers write. Four early-career playwrights receive nine months of resources, readings, and feedback designed to help them reach their professional and artistic goals. The culminating event of the program is our INK'D Festival, which features public readings of each Fellow's play. Location New York City.

Deadline March 13, 2020. The Artist Fellowship Program provides support to artists who demonstrate exceptional creativity and the capacity to contribute to the innovation and elevation of the arts in Iowa. Provides $10,000 and professional development. 

Deadline May 1, 2020. Apply for funding to support home-grown Iowa film and digital media productions that benefit Iowans and small businesses in the state. Eligible projects must be ready for production, contain excellent content that advances Iowa’s brand, and demonstrate public value. The program is administered by the Iowa Arts Council on behalf of Produce Iowa. For filmmakers who are current Iowa residents. Provides $10,000-$50,000 with a required 50 percent match.

Deadline February 14, 2020. As this grant is available to artists working in all disciplines and at any stage in their career, a wide array of opportunities could be considered eligible. Proposed opportunities may be self-generated or by invitation and must have potential for significant impact in one of these three categories: Introduce Your Work to New Audiences, Develop New Skills, and Develop Your Artistic Entrepreneurship. Artists may request between $500 and $1,500 in funding. 



G/O Media is the publisher of the web’s most original media brands, including Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, Deadspin, Jezebel, Jalopnik, The Root, The Onion, The A.V. Club, and Clickhole. The Root, the premier online destination for news, politics, and culture from an African American perspective, is looking for freelance weekend and evening writers. We are seeking to fill two freelance positions to cover nights and weekends. Weekend writers should expect to produce three to four stories per day on Saturdays and Sundays, and a weekly writer will produce three to four stories nightly Mondays through Fridays. (Other openings at

Kotaku, our gaming news and tips site, is seeking a Staff Writer. A Kotaku Staff Writer should urgently feel the need to tell the world about video games. He or she should be a curious, well-rounded person who has an insatiable appetite to play games, ask questions about them, report on them, and critique them. Working for Kotaku you'll have access to any video game you can think of and a chance to tell the stories that you think matter about games and gaming culture. This is an entry-level position, preferably based in Kotaku's offices in New York City, but also open to remotes. (Other openings at

Gizmodo, our tech and science site, is seeking a freelance writer to help us cover the most pressing, interesting stories in technology and science during night and weekend shifts. We are looking for a sharp writer with a strong voice, good jokes, and a keen eye for great technology stories. We want you to be able to quickly write clean, accurate news stories, find unique angles on the big narratives of the day, and craft original critiques on the tech world that will speak to Gizmodo’s dedicated audience. This is a remote position. (Other openings at

Articles about examining feminist principles at work, in relationships, in organizations and institutions, and in politics and social justice causes are welcome. Our readers are interested in health issues, social and political issues, environmental issues, equality issues, justice issues, spiritual issues, parenting issues, and all issues informed by diverse racial and cultural experiences. NEWS: 500-700 words. News items of interest to feminist readers that are taking place in communities across Canada. Pays $175-$210. FEATURES: 1,000-3,000-word in-depth articles on feminist debates, current social/ political/legal/environmental/culture emerging issues, or personal stories with a broader social relevance. Can be interview style, essay style, or journalism style. Nonacademic. Pays $275-550. REVIEWS: 325-word book, music and film reviews; preference is given to Canadian authors, filmmakers, musicians. Pays $75.



At The Talbot Fortune Agency, our authors receive full-service literary representation and long-term career management advice delivered with passion and savvy. Agents John Talbot and Gail Fortune are former book editors with over two decades apiece in commercial book publishing. Likewise, our rights director Eileen Laverty licensed audio, first serial, and translation rights for over a decade at top publishing houses before coming to our agency full-time. Our collective advice is based on years of real-world experience with major publishers, and our contacts are excellent. We have taken first-time novelists onto the bestseller lists, and we have coached established authors into some of their most meaningful and successful books. Our clients' works are balanced evenly between fiction and nonfiction and include a wide range of genres. 

We are actively looking for established and new writers in a wide range of genres. We are looking for storytellers of all kinds and remain confident that books, in whatever format they are published, will continue to play a key role in our society to entertain and to instruct. We’re interested in all kinds of commercial fiction, including thrillers, mysteries, children’s, romance, women’s fiction, ethnic, science fiction, fantasy, and general fiction. We are also interested in literary fiction as long as it has a strong narrative. In nonfiction, we are interested in current affairs, history, health, science, psychology, cookbooks, new age, spirituality, pop-culture, adventure, true crime, biography, and memoir. We are also open to reviewing other genres and topics, as long as the material is for a trade or general audience and not scholarly.

We are a strategic agency offering representation and management for new and established writers. Our expertise covers book publishing (traditional and ebooks) and subsidiary rights (foreign translation, audio, TV, and film). We DO NOT handle the representation of screenplays, stage plays, or TV scripts.

What we are looking for in terms of nonfiction is as follows. Narrative nonfiction (music, film, television, sports, pop culture, biography, politics, current affairs, medical, journalism, history, legal history, and travel). Business books (business biography, history, business technology, economics). Cookbooks, food and wine. Parenting. Philosophy. Photography. Psychology. Science and Technology. Social Sciences. Self-help. True Crime. When it comes to fiction, we consider literary fiction, historical fiction, legal thrillers, and picture books. 

The agency represents children’s literature for all ages – picture books and middle-grade and young adult novels – but also represents high-quality adult fiction and nonfiction in a wide range of genres. JDLA is proud to represent illustrators, as well as screenwriters for both television and film, including Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writers and illustrators. 






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C. Hope Clark
140-A Amicks Ferry Road #4
Chapin, SC 29036

Copyright 2000-2020, C. Hope Clark
ISSN: 1533-1326

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