Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Best Gift You Can Give

As almost everyone is aware, the economy is in serious trouble. We hear daily reports of failing banks, massive layoffs, stock prices dropping, etc. The economic crisis has also hit the publishing industry.

The big publishing houses are laying off staff; indie presses are closing; and bookstores are showing record losses. All of this is grim news for the writer shopping a first-time book to agents and/or publishers. What can you do, as a writer, to help the publishing industry (and provide future markets for your work)?

Buy a book.

One of the reasons publishers are suffering is that book publishing is a returnable industry. Stores are allowed to return unsold books for a full refund. It works this way: Major Bookstore orders 50 books from Happy Publishing. They pay Happy Publishing $50. Three months later, Major Bookstore hasn't sold any of the books. They return the books (usually with covers damaged to mark them as previously purchased) to Happy Publishing for the full refund of $50. Happy Publishing eats the cost of producing and marketing 50 books. This means that Happy Publishing is going to have to cut costs to make up for the loss. What do they do? Publish fewer books.

And that affects you, the writer. Your unpublished book that is making the rounds has just lost a potential market.

Returns affect every level of the book publishing industry. Returns for a romance line can create cuts in the cookbook line.

What can you do to keep the publishing industry alive?

Buy a book this holiday season.

Buy a cookbook, a novel, a self-help book, or a children's book.

Buy your books online or in a store. Every book purchase reduces the rate of returns.

DON'T buy gift cards, address books, blank books, or those beautiful lined notebooks used for personal journals.

DO buy a book that has text and/or pictures.

A book is relatively inexpensive and provides hours of pleasure, entertainment, or education. A book lasts longer than most video games. A book can be inscribed with a personal note to the receiver. A book inspires the imagination and challenges the intellect.

This year, every single person on my gift list will receive at least one book.

The "Buy A Book" campaign is spreading around the Internet. If you are a writer and have a blog or Website, pass it on: Buy A Book!

To read more about how book returns affect the publishing industry, go here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Call for original plays--Desert Foothills Theater (DFT)

The Desert Foothills Theater (DFT) is currently looking for two plays for their “Arizona Series” for our next two seasons. DFT is in the Cave Creek/Carefree/North Scottsdale area and has been producing plays for over 30 years.

Interested playwrights may submit only one play. To qualify for the Arizona Series, a play must either be written by an Arizona playwright or written with the subject of the play being directly related to Arizona.
To be considered for the Arizona Series, you must submit the following to the chairman of DFT’s Artistic Committee (AC) no later than Wednesday, December 3, 2008, noon:

- a 1-page synopsis of the play (No name on the synopsis)
- your bio
- a 10-page writing sample from that play (No name on any page)
- if submitting a musical, one original song with lyrics on CD
- your contact info including mailing address, cell phone and e-mail.
Submissions will be read without the playwright’s name on the script to eliminate bias for known playwrights. The AC will judge submissions and chose the top three. These plays will then be submitted in their entirety to the AC for a final selection. The developmental process may include staged readings to allow writers continued development of their work.

DFT’s Artistic Committee will make their decision and contact all applicants no later than February 5, 2009. Playwrights will be paid royalties for each performance of their play; DFT usually performs a show 10 times. Pay will be in the $50-$75 range per performance.

Submissions can be sent to:
Alexx Stuart
7137 E. Canyon Wren Circle
Scottsdale, AZ 85266
If any questions, please contact:

Alexx Stuart-DFT Artistic Committee Chairman
Darknight Productions
Comedy, Mystery and Music with Dinner
Email: alexduck (at) cox (dot) net
Remove extra spaces and replace (at) with @ and (dot) with a .
You can read more about Dark Night Productions here.

Espy Foundation Residency

The Espy Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing and encouraging the literary and visual arts. Month-long residencies are available three times per year: Spring, Summer, and Fall. Residents will share accommodations in and near the beautiful village of Oysterville, WA, a National Historic District located on the southwest coast of Washington state. In addition to lodging, residents will receive a weekly stipend for food. Residents are responsible for their own transportation to and from Oysterville and are encouraged to have a car available for the duration of the residency.

Deadline for Application
February 1, 2010 for Summer Residency (June 2010)

Applications must include an application form and all other required materials stated in the form. Sponsor letters must be postmarked on or before the deadline. In addition, there is an application fee of $20.00 (to be included with the application).

Mail the completed application form, project description, work samples, and application fee to:
The Espy Foundation
P.O. Box 614
Oysterville, WA 98641

Sponsor letters should be sent directly to the above address by the sponsor.

For more information and an application form, go here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Poetry Contest: Write an Inaugral Ode

Write an Inaugural Ode

Write an inaugural ode, suitable for reading aloud on January 20, 2009. It must consist of sixteen lines broken into four quatrains, rhyme scheme optional. The ode must include one line lifted from a poem in The Best American Poetry 2008 or from the book's foreword or introduction, and it must also include at least three of the following words: honor, integrity, faith, hope, change, power.

The contest will be judged by a former Best American Poetry guest editor whose name will be revealed when the winner is announced.


The winning poet's name will be announced on the Best American Poetry website and The Best American Poetry blog. The winning poem will be posted on the website. The winner of the contest will receive a cloth bound copy of The Best American Poetry 2008, autographed by the series editor and several contributors, as well as other books, courtesy of Scribner. The winner will also receive a broadside of the winning poem created by artist Jenny Grassl.



Your poem must be typed in Times New Roman 12 pt. The line from The Best American Poetry 2008 should appear in the poem as well as at the bottom of the page with its source noted. Send your poem as a Word attachment to an e-mail to (replace (at) with @)

Write "Poetry Contest" in the subject line, and include the title of your poem along with your name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number in the body of the e-mail. The title of your poem should be in the body of the e-mail and on the attachment with your poem. Do not put your name or other identifying information on the attachment. Any submission that reveals the poet's identity on the attachment will be disqualified. The deadline for entry is midnight, eastern standard time, December 5, 2008.


Any U.S. resident age eighteen or over can enter, except employees of Scribner, the Best American Poetry website manager and designer, the contest Judge(s), and faculty of The New School Writing Program, or any member of their immediate family. Entries that are lost, late, misdirected, garbled, or incompletely received, for any reason, including by reason of hardware, software, browser, or network failure, malfunction, congestion, or incompatibility at the website or elsewhere, will not be eligible. The contest sponsor in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process, the operation of the website, or otherwise in violation of the rules. It further reserves the right to cancel, terminate, or modify the contest not capable of completion as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, force majeure, or technical failures of any sort.

The winner will be notified by email or telephone. If the winner cannot be reached or does not respond within three (3) days, an alternate winner may be selected, at the sole discretion of the Judge(s).

Subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void outside the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and where prohibited.

The Prize is not transferable. There will be no substitutions of the prizes except by the Sponsor and at the Sponsor's discretion.

All entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.

Except where prohibited: (i) acceptance of the Prize constitutes consent to use winner's name, likeness, and winning entry for editorial, advertising, and publicity purposes, without further compensation; (ii) winner may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility and copyright transfer/liability/publicity/permission release. Affidavits and releases must be returned within thirty (30) days of attempted notification or an alternate winner may be chosen.

This contest is entirely the work of the Best American Poetry web site and blog management and has no relation to the campaign organization and transition team of President-elect Barack Obama or to any project thereof.

Copyright © 2008 David Lehman

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Call for Submissions: Kaleidoscope Magazine

KALEIDOSCOPE MAGAZINE call for submissions on the theme of "Giving & Receiving Care: A Delicate Balance."

Deadline 3/1/09

Exploring the Experience of Disability through Literature and the Fine Arts

Guidelines for Submission
Kaleidoscope Magazine has a creative focus that examines the experiences of disability through literature and the fine arts. Unique to the field of disability studies, this award-winning publication expresses the experiences of disability from the perspective of individuals, families, healthcare professionals, and society as a whole. The material chosen for Kaleidoscope challenges and overcomes stereotypical, patronizing, and sentimental attitudes about disability. Although content always focuses on a particular aspect of disability, writers with and without disabilities are welcome to submit their work.

The criteria for good writing apply: effective technique, thought-provoking subject matter, and in general, a mature grasp of the art of story-telling. Writers should avoid using offending language and always put the person before the disability.

Kaleidoscope is published twice a year, in January with a submission deadline of August 1, and in July with a submission deadline of March 1.

Gail Willmott, Editor-in-chief
701 South Main Street
Akron, OH 44311-1019
Phone: 330-762-9755
Fax: (330) 762-0912

Kaleidoscope accepts:
Non-fiction – articles relating to the arts, both literary and visual, interviews, or personal accounts—5,000 words maximum/double spaced.

Fiction — Short stories with a well-crafted plot and engaging characters—5,000 words maximum/double spaced.

Poetry – Poems that have strong imagery, evocative language – six poems maximum.

Book reviews – Reviews that are substantive, timely, powerful works about publications in the field of disability and/or the arts. The writer’s opinion of the work being reviewed should be clear. The review should be a literary work in its own right – 5,000 words maximum/double spaced.

Visual arts – Art of all media, from watercolor and charcoals to collage and sculpture; six to twelve works maximum. We accept black and white glossy photos, 35mm slides, or color photos. Any art submitted digitally must be in a high-resolution (minimum of 300dpi) .tif formatconverted to CMYK (we cannot guarantee color accuracy of RGB files) or grayscale to ensure the best print quality. The photos should have minimal background with the art as the main focus. Include captions on the photos stating the size, medium, and title of work.

Publishing information
Considers unsolicited material (always include SASE)
Accepts simultaneously published work
Acknowledges receipt in two weeks
Rejects or accepts within six months
Reserves right to minor editing without author’s approval; substantive editing with approval

Payment information
Payment is made upon publication and varies from $10 to $125.
Contributors receive two complimentary copies of the magazine.
Copyright reverts to author upon publication.