Welcome to Paducah Prose Writers!

We are looking for writers who need a little constructive critisizm and can dish it out as well as take it. If I'm talking about you, bring a few pages of anything (the good, the bad, and the really rough drafts) and read for us. And don't worry, we're all as shy, nervous, and scared as you are!
All gramatical geniuses, professional editors, and english majors are also welcome, no reading submissions required.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

June's meeting

To do:

Must schedule June's meeting...

I think I have developed a phobia of scheduling meeting after last months fiasco where I scheduled during the Arts Festival.

Okay, no room for cowards here. (HA!) I will check ilist for major Paducah events, and then schedule. This Week!

So check back (FYI: if you follow on blogger, there will be a place at the bottom of your dashboard that will show new posts automatically).

Friday, May 22, 2009


I can't believe I got out of the house two Friday's in a row! Paducah Writer's Group at Etcetera was wonderful tonight. I love the mix of music and poetry. There was definitely a few of those people who make you realize what talent actually is. I am torn between inspiration and giving up (I think I'll go with being inspired).

I wish the best of luck (or break a leg) to anyone who is performing tomorrow at the Arts and Music Festival.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Meeting Saturday!

Meeting Saturday! Meeting Saturday! Meeting Saturday!

Oh, and did I mention there is a meeting Saturday?

So, if you needed to know, there is a meeting Saturday at 3pm at McCracken County Library in the conference room.

Come if you can.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Elements of Publishing: 2. Agents vs Publishers

Editors are those mysterious people behind the curtain at the publishing houses who acquire and fixes books for publishing.

Why would you want to go through the extra step of getting an agent. You're a writer, not a movie star.

The world of publishing has changed a lot from what most of us knew (if we ever noticed it at all). A writer no longer sends off a freshly typed or neatly and written manuscript to a publisher with enough stamps to get it back. If you send a manuscript to a publisher a very under - underling will throw it away. They will not look at it, they will probably not even read the name on the package.

Some publishing houses will except a query letter. To send them a query, you must look them up on the Internet, find out their submission guidelines and follow them to the letter. Most publishers and agents now prefer e-mail to US Mail, now-a-days.

There are very few of these publishers left. So how does a writer get their books before publishers?


A literary agent is a go between. They work very hard for their contracted writers for no money until they sell the book. Then they receive a percentage of the writer's income. An agent earns this money by using their reputation and contacts with editors to sell your book. Because their income is based on your income, they will get you as much money as possible.

Also, agents deal with the business side of publishing every day. They understand and can help with the contracts you will sign. They will check the math when the publishing house sends out papers saying you will get virtually no money for (fill in the reason). Your best interest is their best interest.

That is why an author would want an agent. The reason publishing houses want to work with agents is because they have found a person, not on their payroll, who will weed through all the crap (and some of the gems in the rough); who will walk the writer though first edits, and again weed out the authors who can not be worked with because of personality malfunctions. Why wouldn't a publishing house refuse to work with authors if they can help it.

Here is your biggest reason to find an agent. Lets say you send your query letter to every publisher who will take it, and every last one rejects it. So you think fine, I need an agent. Whatever networking your agent can do is undermined by you because publishers will not accept resubmissions. So that good editor friend that your new agent is having lunch with has already rejected you. (This is probably not the end of your career, or anything that drastic, because of the number of publishers that do not except public submissions.)

For me, and many other authors, this process is very difficult. They query process is extremely impersonal. You send in the best query you can and get back form letter rejections. Despite my best efforts, I do have trouble not taking it personally (like that teacher who doesn't like you kid).

Also, you are left wondering is it my query letter, is it the premise of my book, or is it just a busy agent who might like my book, but is rejecting most things because they are already selling several books at a time. Some agents my only sign a dozen books a year, and sometimes they express (via blog) their regret at passing up some probably great books.

As an unpublished author, this is all new, and it is hard to know if you're good enough. Then you hear about some b*** who got offers from the first two agents she sent queries to and then had a publisher in a week (you know who you are, and selling your soul to the devil is cheating...how did you contact the devil anyway, e-mail me at...)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Elements of Publishing: 1. Query Letters

Recently, I was approached by someone asking for a list of publishers to send a manuscript for publishing. I both can, and will help if you want.

However, I will very much stress to you that before attempting to publish you must have a strong idea of what is going on in the minds of agents and editors.
Before you approach anyone -AT ALL - you must have a query letter.

A query letter is a one page description of your books plots and protagonist. What this needs to include is: WHO the book is about; WHAT happens to them; the CHOICES they have to make; and, the CONSEQUENCES of the decision.

It should also include the books working title (what you call it-the name will get changed) and the word count for the complete work.

This sounds really simple, but it isn't. This is the most blogged about topic in publishing. This is your sell for your book and the only thing that most agents or editors will ever see. They do not want your manuscript. They are already drowning in what they call "slush piles". Stacks of manuscripts that they actually wanted to read. If you send them an unsolicited book, they through it away (or delete it if by e-mail).

It is harsh, but it is true. They don't want to hurt you, it isn't personal. This is the heart and soul of business.

Here are some great links about query letters. Read them, learn from them, don't get discouraged. You are not alone, Paducah Prose Writers will work through this together.

Query Shark -the snarliest, but most helpful agent on the net. You have to exchange niceties for real feedback, which she gives.

Pub Rants Kristin Nelson will always have the honor of being the first agent to reject me. I'd like to think its because I haven't perfected my query letter. She is the agent of Lisa Shearin, a writer I really enjoy. Ms. Nelson is a good agent who has sold a lot of best sellers. At current date she has 88 posts just on query letters.

BookEnds, LLC is a literary agency, they are nice, and they are honest about the industry. The link here is for queries; but please, use them as a resource for all your writing needs.
Toasted Cheese (contributed by Niaz K. - Thank you) A comprehensive query article, covering not only novels, but also articles. I am not familiar with this site, but from this article I know they will be thoroughly perused.

If you google query, you get a lot of scary crap that doesn't really translate to what a writer can do. start with these sites. As intimidating as these sites can be, they are better than agents and editors out there claiming they only way you'll ever get published is if you've been published. Starting out is hard, but you can do it.

Getting Published: Elements of Publishing

I did not expect to address this issue so soon. I believe that was naive on my part. When a writer completes a book (by complete, I mean a story that has a beginning, middle, and end) seeing that book in print is a burning desire.

If I haven't seen your book, I don't know if its ready for publication, you may be brilliant and your book may be perfect. If that is true for you, congratulations.

Most books aren't finished just because they are complete; and many of us believe that if we have a good story and run spell check we are ready for an editor. I myself once believed that editors were happy to take a diamond in the rough and polish it up. That's their job, right?

Not really.

If you have made any kind of foray into the publishing world, you know that they eat their young...and many of them enjoy it. Most, however, can destroy you before lunch, without a second thought-because using their power to welcome you into their world or bar the door is what they do, all day long, every single day.

Okay, If I have you a little intimidated, I mean to. There are thousands of new books on the shelves every year, so obviously someone is breaking through. And I personally have read many books that amount to nothing more than a polished turd, so the crap I am writing should have a chance, right?

Right, It is just best to enter this world armed with what you need to face the professionals. I am going to start a series of posts about publishing and what you really need to know before you jump into it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Paducah Writers Group at Etcetera

I had a great time at Etcetera tonight! My mind is blown by all the talented people our area can boast. Thank you for letting me borrow your mike for 30 seconds to premote PPW.

I look forward to hearing from the novelists in the group.

Are you writing?

I wonder if anyone is writing? I know it's only the 8th, but the 23rd will be upon us in no time.

Also, I would remind you that you can post your work on our work site. If you do not have access to it and would like to post, please e-mail me at notrightfighting@gmail.com. I will be happy to get you on the list.

Keep on working!