Mazel tov, Abe; advice, too

Dateline: Tue 29 Jan 2013

Abe Aamidor's latest short story, "John Gardner's Last Ride," has been published in the Spring 2013 edition of The Gettysburg Review. The Gettysburg Review is a prestigious literary journal of long standing, says Aamidor. "The story is speculative fiction about the last day in the life of noted novelist John Gardner, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1982."

If I'm a prostitute for anything, it's people who write fiction; totally in awe of the stories that float around in people's heads (my head, for example) and -- here is the rub -- the discipline required to put these stories into digestible form for greater human consumption and pleasure. 

So I asked Abe, one again, for some advice: what do you say to us wannabes?

He says he gets rejected "a lot" but he keeps plugging away, submitting to literary journals (of which  the Gettysburg Review is a prime example).

His strategy was developed in part thanks to an interview with Ralph McInery, the late Notre Dame professor, film critic and creator of the Fr. Dowling mystery series of novels.

Says Aamidor:

"...he told me ... if I wanted to write fiction I had to start with literary journals, then you just hope some book editor or agent who is serious about reading literary journals sees your work, likes it, and contacts you. He said this is the main way you get published, aside from having a published author of repute personally recommend you to the publisher, also sometimes a renowned writing teacher might recommend his or her best student.

"But other than that, the editors and agents have to find you; you don't find them. So they have to see your work in print first, in a quality literary journal first."

The other method I know that worked for a family member a few years ago was to come up with a "hook" -- several sentences describing your project -- then shopping it to an agent until you find one who bites. That agent will then take the finished product to various editors/publishers.

Anyone else?


farm girl [unverified] said:

Successful novelist and former co-worker James Thom once said that when he started writing fiction, he got so many rejection letters he began to think publishers were sending them unsolicited: "We heard you were sending out manuscripts and wanted to warn you not to send any to us"!
I don't have that kind of persistence. Writing for a newspaper can kind of ruin you; I've rarely written anything for which I wasn't pretty sure I'd be paid. That rules out writing on spec....

2013-01-29 11:40:01

hendy [Member] said:

Get an agent, or self-publish. Ebooks are easy to make these days. I'm going to do one next month, myself-- submit my book to epublishing engines and count the pennies as they roll in.

Oh? St Martin's Press hasn't called? Again?

2013-01-29 18:19:59

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