I have two questions regarding publishing and platform. I’m hoping you can answer. Is it possible to be a highly successful published author, even best-selling author if the author wishes to remain reclusive, not wishing to do interviews or book tours, and writing under a pseudonym, hoping to keep themselves unknown and private? Is it possible to only have a blog as a platform, answering questions and updating readers through this route, rather than public engagements? Thank you for your time. I sincerely appreciate it. C. S.
Wow, C.S., you’re definitely asking what’s on everybody’s minds these days!
And the most succinct answer anyone could give is: in this world, anything’s possible.
However, in today’s publishing industry, publication depends more and more upon whom you know, not what you write. So those of us who are not best friends with the buyer for Barnes & Noble or the CEO of Bertelsmann or some agent married to the Executive Director of a major fiction publisher—even with the best-written books in the world—have a very steep hill to climb.
This is why everyone in the industry tells us to sell ourselves as incessantly and enthusiastically as humanly possible. Because it’s just so incredibly easy to fall off the radar of the Powers That Be.
And they don’t miss us when we’re gone.
Now, given that anyone can write under a pseudonym, and that’s perfectly fine. . .
If you’re Stephen King—
so that you have a name that will sell books even if you write them backward with your left foot in the dark, which name you made decades ago when the publishing industry was a very different place—
then, yes, you can be a recluse and simply hide away in your multiple mansions living your own personal life.
You will notice, if you experiment (and King did), that writing under a pseudonym instantly demotes you to the realm of the Little People Like Us.
So you probably won’t write a lot under pseudonyms. . .unless perhaps Stephen King is your pseudonym.
Or if you’re Annie Dillard or Anne Lamott—
so that, again, you have a recognizable nonfiction name, which again was made decades ago when the publishing industry was a very different place, and you teach writing for a living, even though your name is not particularly recognizable in the fiction field—
then, again, yes, you can refuse to sell yourself and simply concentrate upon teaching. And your nonfiction will sell, even though your fiction may fall a little flat.
Or if you’re any one of the scores of midlist authors who publish for sheer joy—
while you work a regular job for your living—
then, yes, you can probably be picky about your appearances and book tours, so long as you don’t expect to continue publishing if your lack of exposure eventually results in your sales falling so far that you get bumped right off the Publication Train.
After all, you were never relying on publication to keep you alive anyway.
Or if you’re me, and you don’t care whether or not you publish your fiction—
you just happen to have decades of professional writing experience under your belt, an overwhelming lifelong passion for the art and craft, and enough things to say about it that maybe aren’t being said by others out there (and there are a heck of a lot of others these days, boy, howdy, not all of them hesitant to re-hash your original ideas as their own), as well as a partner with a really good income—
then, yes, it’s true, you can stay home in your rocking chair by the fire all day every day, paying your mortgage through your partner’s income.
If you’re hoping to break into the midlist, and
your name is not already known to tens of thousands of potential readers, and
your online persona is not already a unique, major presence in the online fiction community (I’m afraid I wouldn’t try to sell my fiction through my blog, and I get
around 12,000 between 12,000 and 22,000 views every month), and
you’re one of those talented, committed, experienced, and simply fortunate enough to have both an agent and a publishing contract, and your publisher offers to pay for a book tour. . .
then you should probably count your lucky stars and get yourself out there on the road making your name known to tens of thousands of potential readers.
It would also not be a bad idea to encourage them to remember that name by reading your blog and Twitter and Facebook and Google+, putting you onto StumbleUpon and Reddit and Digg, etc, etc, etc.
Also, you’ll need to have things to say about this work that aren’t already being said by others on their blogs. If it’s not both fascinating and unique, and you’re not a full-bore death-ray-focused take-no-prisoners self-marketer, you’ll be instantly washed away in the raging torrent that is the online fiction community.
There really are that many aspiring writers out there. All those tens of thousands you see online and in the forums and on Amazon, working and struggling desperately with all their hearts to break into the industry?
They’re your competition.
Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, spent six years building her audience, working like a fiend night and day and sometimes even days on end without sleep until she made herself physically ill and wound up in the hospital, running ad-hoc charities through her blog and finding ways to make friends with celebrities, until she had a horde of literally hundreds of thousands willing to follow her anywhere, including off a cliff.
And even Jenny has spent most of the past year on book tour, taking her face and name constantly all around the country while her husband stays home with their daughter, in order to get her book on the best-seller list and keep it there.
Now, is this situation fair to writers?
Of course not.
Is this a reasonable way to run an industry—by forcing those whose greatest talents lie in the creative arts to run for miles in the tight shoes of marketers and salespeople?
Of course not.
But is this simply what we have to deal with at this particular time in the history of publishing?
Sadly, it is.
Victoria—A question for your advice column: is it true that opening a story with the character coming out of a dream is a cliche and should be avoided?—Mark Salter
Short answer? Yes. Lewis Carroll really ruined the whole dream thing for everyone.
However. . .Somerset Maugham did say there are only four rules to fiction, and nobody knows what those are. So I ought to add a caveat:
if you could encapsulate the whole point of your story in that dream without saying so, and
if you were able to shape your story as a mystery in which the dream—like a crime—is never really shown, and
if you built your story around the clues to create in the reader’s mind an experience of that dream that you never actually gave them, then. . .
I think you could do it.
As Flannery O’Connor said, “You can do anything in fiction you can get away with. It’s just that nobody’s ever gotten away with much.”
Ms. Mixon, I’ve been reading your Practitioner’s Manuals. They are amazing and have opened my eyes to thinking about writing in ways I haven’t over the past twenty years. So, thank you!
I do have a question. I am writing a series. Your plot explanation is so exact and extremely helpful. Everything seems to be in sync within a novel—everything is a smaller version of the whole. I was wondering if this same thing would apply to a series. Would the plot structure that you have explained in the 2nd Practitioner’s Manual work over the course of a series? Any illumination on this you could offer would be wonderful. Thank you so much!—Brandi Grubbs
Hi, Brandi! You’re very kind.
Yes, the plot structure does hold for a series. You—in your mind and in your notes—can break your overall series down into its parts: Hook, Conflict #1, Conflict #2, Conflict #3, Faux Resolution, and Climax.
Now, the tricky part is dividing those into your books. The length (wordcount) of your entire series determines how many books you break it into, as the publishing industry has pretty hard-&-fast rules about no longer publishing novels of less than about 70,000 words (and there’s a point over 150,000 where you’re dealing with print books whose spines will break pretty darn quickly).
You can divide your series into six books if you’ve got enough complex story, but most publishers these days like a nice, round trilogy, so the simple thing to do is divide the series into three books corresponding to your three acts.
Be warned if you’re hoping to publish:
Publishers are getting harder to please and quicker to pull the plug on authors if their first novels don’t do as well as the publishers think they ought to, so writers are beginning to be told to write each book of a series as a stand-alone just in case the rest of the series never sees the light of day. It’s one of the harsh realities of where the industry is right now.
But of course the best reason to write is for the sheer love of storytelling. . .and in that world, there are no rejection letters.
In my completed novel (currently on query to an agent), I have a scene where two people have flat tires, one the protagonist and one a girl he meets who becomes his girlfriend. I don’t say in the scene that both flats were purposeful. The girl did her own flat to manipulate the protag into being her hero to get a chance to meet him. The protag’s flat was done by an antagonist to disrupt his life. But I never tell the reader both of these were purposeful, hoping they’ll get it. If, in a later scene, after the protag finds out his girlfriend was a fraud, I insert [Ronny thought back to how me met Sarah, to her flat tire, and wondered whether it was a ruse to inject herself into his life.] that would be exposition. Since my beta readers didn’t get it, maybe I need to add that.—David A. Todd in the comments on 6 Things I Learned from Dashiell Hammett
Never apologize, never explain.
In your situation, David, explaining Ronny’s thoughts about Sarah removes the tension from their relationship and ends the reader’s investment in it. That’s the point at which the reader closes the book and walks away. So you’d only use such an explanation on your very last page. However, Ronny’s behavior as he begins to suspect that Sarah machinated their meeting is wonderful, rich material to explore in illuminating what he does about his situation when he finds out he’s gotten involved with someone other than the woman he thought he was getting involved with.
That’s your story.
I do hear this kind of thing a lot about beta readers, that they don’t understand what’s going on and therefore recommend the writer explain it. And there’s a very good reason for that:
Beta readers do not have the same motivation to read that real readers do
Real readers read out of curiosity: What’s happening? Who are these characters? Why are they going where they’re going? What are they going to do about it when they get there? Every single thing a writer puts on the page is intended to make the reader just so darn intrigued they can’t help turning to the next page.
It’s all about the reader’s experience.
Beta readers, on the other hand, read out of a sense of duty. Either they’re reading your manuscript because they’re a friend or loved one and want to do you a kindness—lend you whatever advice they can—or because they’re a critique partner and need to give something for what they hope to get in return.
It’s all about the writer’s experience.
The problem with beta readers is that, unless they’re professional editors, they don’t actually know any more about the difference between a reader’s experience and a writer’s experience than you do. Which means they can’t guide your education in your craft, only share it.
Beware of leaning on your beta readers to tell you where you need explanation. I have never yet seen a situation in which they were right.
Lean on beta readers for companionship, motivation to get the work done, sympathy when the work goes bad on you. They are absolutely terrific people to have around whenever a writer needs a friend.
But lean on professionals for writing advice.
So, a scene with hardly any exposition would consist of dialog and description of people and places? That’s like real life: we look at and listen to and feel the “scene,” where we are, and somebody talks to us and we talk back. There is no running commentary that informs it. I get that, I think, but what makes the whole thing go, if there’s no adrenaline-inducing action? Is it still that our hero wants something, and something else opposes him?
Victoria, you talk about the hero having “wants” and “needs,” and how the two should conflict. But the need and the want aren’t the story situation, I think? I’m a little confused about this.—Susan Kelly in the comments on 6 Things I Learned from Dashiell Hammett
Hey, Susan! Yes, you are exactly right: fiction is creating a real-life experience for the reader. You want them to feel as though they’re right there, living the adventure alongside your characters.
If you look in the Table of Contents of The Art & Craft of Fiction (it’s in the column to the right) you can see the differences between scene and exposition. Yeah, little bits of exposition can be slipped into scenes, but for the most part scene is description, action, and dialog (and, as legendary editor Max Perkins says, dialog is really a form of action). I’ve defined exposition a lot here in the advice column. I you do a search on “exposition” you’ll turn up a whole bunch of stuff.
And, yes, all story comes down to the needs of the protagonist. That’s why writers and mentors keep saying, “plot grows out of character.” The character’s needs are what put them into their situations—otherwise they have no investment in their story. I wrote The Art & Craft of Story specifically to delve into the myriad wonderful aspects of the connection between characters’ needs and their situations.
That connection is a fabulous, rich, and complex world, the very heart of writing.
Hi Victoria. I have a question for you. Hope you don’t mind. A friend who raises service dogs has written a children’s book. Her story is about a service dog & puppy raiser, intended to teach children about disabilities. She’s wondering where to go next. I know it’s hard for you to say, not having seen the book, but what would be her best next step? Submitting to agent or editor? I was wondering if you had any insight into children’s lit publishing, as I don’t, and my friend has finished her book —TamaraNFamily
Hi, Tamara! I know you work for a nonprofit foundation that helps pets, so this sounds like a story close to your heart.
If your friend has never published before, she needs to get an editor before querying. Children’s lit has very special requirements, which is complicated by the fact that kids change so much as they age, so a book about raising service puppies for Young Adults will be quite different from one for Middle Grade, which again will be vastly different from a Beginning Reader, which is very different from a picture book.
Your friends needs an editor who can help her develop and polish her manuscript for that magic click in the mind of the child of the age she wants to reach. And she’ll need some help understanding the market for her audience so she’ll know how to present the book to an agent.
For children’s lit, in particular, she’ll need a good fit with her editor. While it’s true that a professional editor should be able to work effectively in any genre in which they have experience, there are some professionals who choose not to develop their skills in certain genres. (This is even more true of agents.) And, at this point in history, probably 90% of the aspiring editors out there right now hanging out their shingles have no experience in most genres, much less specialized ones like children’s lit. (These aspiring editors are cheap because they’re not professionals. I’m a very cheap gardener, myself. I wouldn’t know a radish from a rutabaga, but I’m willing to let you pay me $35/hour to find out!)
So your friend should be careful. She should research every editor she considers, to make sure they really do have the necessary experience for her special book. She can write to them and ask about their background in her genre. Find out how long they’ve been editing professionally. She can even ask for referrals. Otherwise she runs the risk, at best, of wasting her money and, at worst, of getting exactly the wrong advice—especially in a specialized genre—from someone guessing blindly in the hopes that she won’t be able to tell.
Children’s lit is a hoppin’ genre right now, although that’s mainly YA. Educational books for MG and younger will always have a smaller niche audience. In fact, self-publishing has a long and varied history in those smaller niches.
You may find yourself one day selling her book through the auspices of your nonprofit! A lovely partnership indeed.
How many multiple genres are allowed in a story? Are genres to be paired specifically, i.e. paranormal romance, paranormal suspense, dark fantasy? Or are there other multiples that are acceptable? And how many genres are too many?—Barbara Martin
First, Barbara, thank you for being so very patient. I know you asked me this in the comments on 13 Ways to Add Depth to Your Genre Novel way back in June, and somehow I missed it. I’ve talked about this topic a bit under Wordcount, genre, dumbing down—Indie Editor FAQ
The secret truth is there is no limit. You can use as many genres in whatever combination you can make work, which is how new genres are born and agents and publishers get those ‘fresh and new’ stories they’re always saying they’re looking for.
However, officially they want you to stick to the genres that already exist (although pretty much everyone will go for any genre with a romance angle added).
Before Anne Rice ventured into freaky waters with Interview with the Vampire, nobody took literary vampires seriously. Sure, there were random horror novels that used the vampire motif, but mixing vampirism with literary fiction in a novel of human heartbreak? No, no, no, no, no. No reader would believe vampires had real feelings like human beings!
But she mixed genres. And she started a movement.
I recently saw children’s writers discussing in all seriousness on Twitter whether Judy Blume should be categorized as MG or YA. The thing these children’s writers didn’t know is that Blume is the one who created the distinction. When Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret came out it was children’s fiction. But because it dealt with subject matter that current children’s fiction professionals didn’t know what to do with, they responded by trying to categorize the difference between what you can market to young kids and what you can market to teens. Ergo! Two new ‘genres’ are born.
Genre is not fiction. Genre is marketing. And that’s only taken over the publishing industry in recent decades.
So write what you want to write the way you want to write it. And make it brilliant.
The marketers will probably have a whole other batch of genres cooked up for you by the time you’re ready.
Hi Victoria, I am a young writer, and a total newbie, but not a pantser. I spend months thinking my plot over and getting to know my characters’ inner angels and demons before I ever get to the keyboard.
In one of your posts from 2009 you mention that characters become interesting only when they have to make a difficult, conflicted choice about how to act within the novel. I was later struck by Dwight Swaine’s words that the character’s journey only starts when he stops running from problems and decides to fight them. In my novel, ALL of my main five characters are essentially struggling with a choice of being easy on themselves and running away from problems vs. solving them. Am I missing the real conflict? Are my characters stuck with a resolution that will exhaust itself by the middle of the novel? I am aware that selfishness vs. altruism IS among the essential and basic human dilemmas, but I am quite blind when it comes to seeing how viable it is in a novel plot.
Thank you in advance for reading this. I appreciate your time and I hope to hear your professional opinion that I highly respect.—Nastia Slesareva
Ah, Nastia, struggle is wonderful! And internal conflict—being torn between two fundamental, overwhelming needs—is golden.
What actually happens in a story is that the characters frequently burn up the first half trying to find a way out of their problems: they keep choosing ways to cope, and those ways keep resulting in hotter and hotter water, bigger and bigger problems, even through and past their first Plot Point, which is the climax of their first Conflict. Those are choices. They’re just choices in the wrong direction.
Then, around halfway through the story, the characters must decide to try a new way of handling their problems: instead of trying to get out of them, they must forge through them to the other side. That’s the midway, the Fulcrum, and it’s the climax of the second Conflict, upon which the entire weight of the story swings. That must be what Swaine was referring to—the first half of the story is the set-up for that point.
The significance of the Fulcrum is that, when you’re dealing with internal conflict (and all conflict, really, can be traced to internal needs, otherwise it’s meaningless), that’s the point at which the characters must stop flailing wildly toward meeting first one driving need and then the other and begin the complex task of coping with the fact that their solution, at some point, is going to be about the irreconcilable abyss between the two. This is a really hard pill to swallow. It hurts. And so the third Conflict, which eventually climaxes in the second Plot Point, is a humdinger.
That means the Faux Resolution, which comes after that second Plot Point, dupes the characters into believing they’re not going to have to choose between those two driving needs after all. Psyche! Just kidding! They think they’re going to get away with some kind of compromise that doesn’t, honestly, turn out to solve things. In fact, the effort to avoid their nightmare is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and it brings the final nightmare on.
So that your Climax is the point at which those characters face their ultimate hell: choosing between two mutually-exclusive needs, neither of which they believe they can live without. This is very often the need to hide from their problems in some way—even after they believe they’ve stopped hiding—and the need to face their demons in all honesty, their shadow sides, and grapple with the one thing in the world they most do not want to grapple with.
It is the monumental effort of that grappling that explodes your story off the end into your reader’s own epiphany.
Hi Ms. Mixon,
I’m 15 years old and I’ve loved to write ever since I can remember, but for the last two months or so, I’ve been stuck staring at a blank page. Whatever I try to begin seems stale and tacky, and my narrative voice has become awkward and grating. I’ve tried stream-of-consciousness writing, writing in different genres and styles, going outside to hunt for ideas, and even simply describing whatever happens to be going on around me, but nothing seems to work. I’ve had dry spells before, but nothing like this, and I hate that it’s sucking the joy out of something I love so much. Please, can you help me?—Heba
Ah, Heba, perhaps you’re not clear on exactly what you expect to produce. You’ve tried a lot of great writing experiments, and yet. . .what went wrong? Surely you produced some words? That counts!
It’s possible you’ve picked up an Internal Critic recently, and their constant commentary on your writing—in the process of getting it down—is the problem. Were you in a class about two months ago in which someone inadvertently taught you to self-edit as you write? Or did somebody give you negative feedback on your work? To excess? When you weren’t expecting it? Is there someone now in your life trying to ‘assist’ you to become better without actually knowing how such ‘assistance’ works? Have you met someone recently you would like very much to impress?
When I was 15, my dad was extremely ambitious for me. He gave me oil paints and an easel and then tried to critique my amateur, untutored attempts at painting (based on watching an afternoon TV show he called “The Happy Little Painter” in which a fairly competent guy demonstrated painting with lots of asides about ‘happy little strokes’). The problem was that my dad isn’t a particularly happy little person and was even less so back then when he had a house full of angsty teenagers. So you can imagine how very helpful his criticism of my painting was. “Why can’t you do it like that guy on the show?”
Not enough little happiness in the world to answer that question.
Eventually the process degenerated into him asking me why I wasn’t Nadia Comăneci, the Romanian 14-year-old who won three Olympic Gold Medal in 1976. Which was perhaps the least helpful critique I’ve ever gotten in my life.
I did not become a painter (much less a gymnast). However, he left me alone about writing, so I did become a writer.
The best way to begin your cure is to disassociate yourself from whatever is causing you to read your work as “stale and tacky,” “awkward and grating” as you write it. I mean, maybe it is. Who knows? But who cares?
Write for the love of the writing. You can write standing on your head backward with the wrong hand, if you like, and so long as you’re enjoying it, nobody gets to say you’re doing it wrong.
In Dodie Smith’s lovely 1930s novel I Capture the Castle the brilliant-author father has been suffering a dry spell for ten years when his children finally lock him in the castle tower with a cot, some food, and a typewriter and refuse to let him out until he types something. He types pages and pages of, “The cat sat on the mat.” Weeks on end: “The cat sat on the mat. The cat sat on the mat. That cat sat on the mat.” Eventually this evolves into a novel exploring the acquisition of language by a young child. From that simple beginning.
Keep writing whatever you feel like writing. Let it be terrible and don’t worry about judging it. Just write it if it feels like being written.
Avoid trying to ’say something.’ Focus on recording tangible details. Flannery O’Connor described writing as recording whatever stimulus you receive through your five senses. Go ahead and record that—in long, excruciating detail. Everything. Unedited. The more stuff you write that you know you’ll never use in a publishable piece, the greater your freedom will grow. You can write anything! Garbage! Tripe! Vomitous spew! You betcha! And all great writing grows out of that freedom.
You’ll never run out of material to describe in your immediate daily experience. You’ll never run out of dialog to record that you and your friends and family say all day long every day. Keep a detailed journal. It counts!
Read books you love. Don’t try to mimic them. Just read them, enjoy them, use as they are meant to be used—for the sheer pleasure of reading. When you don’t feel like writing, don’t. Go out in the world and have adventures. You’ll write about those whenever you’re in the mood.
You’re very young still—you’ll go through a lot of ups & downs as you work your way through life with this craft at your side. So don’t worry about it, just claim it in your own unique, individual, quirky-&-boring, tacky-&-refreshing, cliche-ridden-&-special way. Sometimes more quirky—sometimes more boring. It’s okay! Let it be that part of your life where you get to screw up as badly as you darn well please, and nobody can stop you.
Your skills will improve. By osmosis, if necessary. And then when you’re an old, crusty, opinionated professional like me. . .they will still be there for you.
Your writing belongs to you. Nobody else.
Also see: 2 Tricks for Breaking Writer’s Block in One Day.
I would like to write in Historical, Fantasy, and general Fiction genre. I am currently researching about the Tudor period for a novel I would someday like to write. Also I am considering graduate schools. Do you have any advice on good programs for my interested genres?—Melanie Lambrecht
Ask your BA professors first. They know more about who’s working in academia and where than anyone outside that sphere.
Grad school is a place to hone your understanding of your chosen field. So who do you want supervising you? The people in your field you admire! Lots (and lots and lots) of publishing authors these days teach grad school. Research your favorite authors and find out if and where they teach.
Personally I’d love to take classes from Elizabeth Tallent, who is now teaching at Stanford—I’ve been reading her since the 1980s.
Grad school is also where lots (and lots and lots) of aspiring writers make useful contacts with professional authors who can help them break into the field. So once you get there be aware: you’re there for the sake of your career, not as an extension of dorm life. Work really hard. Do whatever you have to do to become really good at this craft. Successful authors who teach can’t possibly give a leg up to every single student they see in their classes, so they watch only for the ones who look like they’re going to make it even without help. Those are the students with the commitment and skills to make an inch of assistance go a mile. And being able to give each one of them an inch gets a lot of talent a whole lot of miles without burning out the teacher.
Don’t get caught up in the competition to be Teacher’s Pet, just do your work and prove it: you’re worth paying attention to.
Can you succeed as a writer without grad school? Absolutely. I don’t have an advanced degree. Hasn’t stopped me from teaching myself more about the craft of fiction than almost anyone I know and developing a thriving business as a high-level indie editor based on that knowledge. All it means is that I can’t teach at an accredited college, so some of the smaller, less visible writers conferences won’t invite me to teach workshops. Bummer for them—those folks won’t even invite critically-acclaimed authors who’ve been nominated for PEN awards and the Pulitzer Prize. (Seriously. Then they complain about the trouble they have attracting enough writers to make their bills every year.)
Proving your commitment and skills, being respectful of others’ gifts of their time and attention, taking the limitations of certain aspects of the industry in stride—this is how you’re going to have to behave to succeed in the world of publishing, anyway.
You might as well get started now.
MILLLICENT G. DILLON, the world's expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles, has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb.
SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Scott regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway.
STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited his second novel, Memory of Water and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water.
BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s debut novel, Radha’s Song.
LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth.
ANIA VESENNY is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny's debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights.
TERISA GREEN is widely considered the foremost American authority on tattooing through her tattoo books published by Simon & Schuster, which have sold over 45,000 copies. Under the name M. TERRY GREEN, she writes her techno-shaman sci-fi/fantasy series. I am working with her to develop a new speculative fiction series.
CHRIS RYAN drew acclaim from the New Yorker for the hook to his novel Heliophobia. He is the author of poetry collection The Bible of Animal Feet from Farfalla Press. I edited Ryan’s debut novel The Ishmael Blade and worked with him to develop Heliophobia and his WIP Pogue.
JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with her to develop and edit her memoir of reconciling her liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland.
In addition, I work with dozens of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this literary art and craft.
ip to this literary art and craft.