Wednesday, January 16, 2019

#Author Toolbox Bloghop Jan2019

I'm so excited to read a lot of great posts this week. This is my first time joining the Author Toolbox Bloghop. Much thanks to Raimey Gallant for hosting and organizing it.

I've been published by a small press for almost twelve years now. Much has changed since I first started writing. Back at the beginning, I was lucky enough to find a local chapter of RWA who holds monthly meetings. I learned tons about formatting, query letters, synopsis, and all those other things we have to learn that aren't writing the current WIP but that we need to do.

Eager for information that would help me get published, every year I would buy the latest version of Writer's Digest thick book of agents and publishers. It was also at that time that everything had to submitted by snail mail in hard copy to any of the Big Publishers. I wasn't published and had no budget. I look back at the records I kept then and am horrified at how much I spent on postage. I also remember the hours I spent perusing that Writer's Digest guide. I spent money every month buying writing magazines. Looking for the secret to breaking into the business. I had two shelves in my office filled with writing books.

I'm not sure I'm wiser now, and the industry has really changed. Submissions are digital. The savings in postage, paper, ink as well as avoiding the very slow local post office make me very happy. No reason to buy that thick Writers Digest Guide to Editors and Agents. All that information is online. The information I read all those magazines for is now free online. The Write Life website recently posted their annual list of 100 Best Writing Websites: 2019.

The Writer's Digest magazine still tempts me with special offers and I take them up on it now and then. One of the best issues they put out is their version of 100 best websites for writers. Again, everything we writers need is online and most of it is free.

Looking back, I know I was using reading those writing books and magazines was a form of procrastination for me. I still have a lot to learn and hopefully will continue learning throughout my writing career, but I know the most important thing I can do with my time is write. I've also learned that there is no secret hidden in those books. It's all about hard work and persistence.

"Luck is not chance, it's toil; fortune's expensive smile is earned." Emily Dickinson

Do you remember the days of snail mail submissions? Do you still purchase writing magazines or writing books? Thanks, everyone, for welcoming me to your group.

39 comments:

  1. It's ggod to read tips on writing and publishing especially if you are a novice.
    Interesting post to read Susan.
    Enjoy your day.
    Yvonne.

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  2. I also follow Writer's Digest. I like to attend their workshops too when I have budget for them. They have been quite helpful to me and I've met some great people in the workshops too. :) Happy Hop Day :)

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  3. We still need to read some of that stuff, but it's all online now - so much easier and cheaper.

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  4. I absolutely remember those days of picking up the mail, seeing that SASE, wondering if it would hold an acceptance or a rejection....

    I still buy the occasional writing craft book, but I am much more ruthless about it than I used to be. Or so I like to think. :)

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  5. I do remember the days of snail mail, and I had those Writer's Digest books too. I subscribe to digital ezines, but no more paper ones. Everything I need is online. Though I always check out the magazines when I'm at the library.

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  6. I think my most-referred to physical book is a Writer's Digest one. I found it at Barnes and Noble in their bargain book section when I first started to learn about writing. The internet makes it nice on the pocketbook, though, plus you tend to learn things you wouldn't have considered without the niceties of suggestions or related content!

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  7. It is so true how much has changed over the years with so many things, especially with writing. It is interesting that submissions are now digitally. Takes away a lot of clutter I would imagine.

    betty

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  8. I'm addicted to writing books. The ones I continue to reference are the writing thesauri by Ackerman and Puglisi.

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  9. I had that book and remember sending out manuscripts. No more!

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  10. I remember that book and sending out manuscripts. I do still buy some writing books, but I try to limit myself because they do have a tendency to distract me from real writing.

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  11. I love that everything is digital now. It's so much easier, not to mention cheaper.

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  12. I subscribe to the Writer's Digest and love it. After reading it, I'm so inspired. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  13. Wow what a journey! I follow Writer's Digest online but you're right, there's so much I can find without purchasing their guide. Welcome to the hop! We're glad to have you.

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  14. I follow Writer's Digest and still receive their magazines. Lots of information there. And lots of information online to peruse. Many times I worry that I'm stalling by reading all this material. I should be writing and creating. And then, creating my blog posts take lots of time, too. Yes, Susan! I remember sending out physical pages of story to markets hoping and praying that they would accept my manuscript for publication and then receiving the pages back in those nasty "stamped return envelopes" writers needed to provide. All best to you in 2019!
    http://victoriamarielees.blogspot.com

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  15. I definitely went through a period of intense learning, trying to "finish" that so that I could focus on writing. Eventually I came to the conclusion that since there is no such thing as "done", I would strive to dedicate a portion of each week to study, and another portion to creative writing.
    I read some magazines on writing, though of late I find that I favor blogs, in no small part because there's the opportunity to have a back and forth dialogue with the author, which always enriches the experience.

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  16. I have some very old Writers Digest books on my shelf, lol. I didn't submit anything to anyone back when I was buying those, but I was aspiring to. :)

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  17. No postage is sure a big win indeed. Especially for the wallet. Just writing and doing the work is the way.

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  18. Everything is available on line, but I still enjoy sitting down with a glass of wine and thumbing through the paper version of WD and The Writer. Inspiration mostly - I learned a long time ago there's no undiscovered secret to becoming a bestselling author.

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  19. I did a lot of what you did and am happy it has changed! No more snail mail. No more expensive books to purchase. I still love the how-to books because they inspire me (although you are right, they're also a way to procrastinate).

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  20. Hi Susan! Great post. Very nostalgic, yet insightful at how far we've come. I'm a writer of the digital age, and I'm intensely grateful everything is free online. Thank you for sharing your perspective!

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  21. Writing is hard work, and i admire greatly those who can do it!

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  22. Welcome to the blog hop! I do still buy writing books, actually. I even decided to purchase the Writers Market 2019 because I just found it easier to have a handy list of agents and their submission preferences. :)

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  23. Hi Susan - there's a lot to learn ... it's not just pen to paper that's for sure. I love the two quotes ... very appropriate - good luck for this year and cheers - Hilary

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  24. Welcome to the group!

    "there is no secret hidden in those books. It's all about hard work and persistence" Love that.

    I have a shelf full of writing books, a shelf full of folklore books and another full of reference books -- and I'm not going to mention the ebooks or bookmarked website pages ;-)

    I remember having to send submissions via the local post office. Grr. I much prefer email -- it's better for the environment and my pocket :-)

    Ronel visiting on Author Toolbox day Things Every #Authorpreneur Should Know for 2019 #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

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  25. It surprises me you still need tips on writing Susan. Snail mail was such a slow system although we still use it for many things.

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  26. I remember those days...and the carbon paper...and Liquid Paper for corrections. The SASE -- I still have a file box of typewritten copies of things I submitted that never had the tiniest bit of hope for publication. For writers, those were not the "good old days" of publishing.

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  27. Welcome to the hop :)
    When I did work experience in publishing a couple of years ago they said they still occasionally got snail mail submissions. Must have been a nightmare to post as postage isn't cheap and paper is surprisingly heavy!
    Thanks for sharing that useful list of resources, it's sure to come in handy :)

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  28. I bought all the WD Mags, Books, and one or two snail mail courses in the day. I still use reading and buying writing craft books as procrastination, and courses, and all the online free reading.

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  29. This seems so interesting, thank you for sharing!

    www.ficklemillennial.blogspot.com

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  30. Welcome to the blog hop!

    I don't buy any magazines, writing or otherwise. But I do buy paperback writing craft books - I know I can highlight and make notes on the Kindle edition, but I think it sticks in my memory more when it's on paper.

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  31. Hi Susan, welcome to the hop! Thanks for sharing your experience, I'm really new to writing, I only started plotting my first novel in 2016, and I found everything I needed to help me write it online. I definitely want to read some real, physical books on writing craft (thank God for libraries!) but I'm really glad submissions are now by email! Hitting send is scary enough, if I had to put my query in an envelope and put it in a post box I'm fairly sure they'd never leave my house!

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  32. Ah, snail mail submissions. I remember doing those back in the day, too. It's amazing how much has changed in what feels like so little time!

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  33. Thank you for sharing
    https://aab-edu.net/

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  34. When I first focused on writing, I did submit stories to magazines by mail. I don't miss that part one little bit!

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  35. I would always check out the Writer's Market books from my local libraries to hunt down agents/editors/publishers because I didn't have the money to buy it.

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  36. yes!
    publishing has changed drastically!
    and with self-publishing so easy and other forms of entertainment keeping many from reading, the number of writers rivals readers!
    12 yrs with one press is great!! keep going!

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  37. Hi Susan,

    What a great quote from Emily Dickinson! How true it is even over a hundred years later!

    Funny how you mention snail mail and the cost. I am hiring a new editor for my recent work, and she requested the FULL manuscript PRINTED and sent to her. WHAT? I can't believe it. But she is so highly credited, of course I'm going to do it. I'm sure this will cost a pretty penny from Florida to NY.

    When I first started writing in 2009, I bought the 2010 edition. LOL. As you said, no need now, everything is online and free. Publishing certainly has changed in a HUGE way.

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