The literary world can be a little stuffy, so come on in
A Letter from the Editor
Page through any literary magazine, wander the aisles of any bookstore. What do you see? A whole lot of books by authors who appear to have it all: huge readership, major name recognition, plenty of sales. In other words, they check all the boxes of what an author “should” be.
To get to that level, where does a person even start? It’s like applying for a job to build experience, only to be told you need years of experience to get the job. Similarly, you can easily get your book onto the shelves of a national bookstore chain as long as you have an entire sales team behind you, which is easy to get once you’ve proven yourself…by having a large audience. The message writers get is, sure, you can be famous—all you have to do is become famous.
It’s the “experience paradox,” and it can lead even the most gifted writers to throw their hands up in frustration. I am certain that countless truly remarkable manuscripts have never seen the light of day for this very reason, their creators living lives as unknown writers. This is, of course, to our detriment.
That’s the idea behind this magazine and our community of writers and readers: discovery. There’s so much incredible talent out there that deserves to be recognized and placed in front of as many people as possible.
Part of the problem is that we only see the end result: the beautiful book cover, the flawless prose. But where is the process? Where are the imperfect sentences that were ripped apart and rewritten time and time again to get them to flow as they do now? Where are the parts of the story that made no sense until readers pointed them out?
They say getting there is half the fun, and that’s especially true when writing a novel. Our established community of writers and readers makes the journey to becoming a published author enjoyable, starting with the first words you put on paper, continuing as you fine-tune your novel with feedback from readers and other talented writers, and culminating in your first book signing event or blog tour.
Incidentally, a great way to get started is to join us in the 10K Novel Writing Challenge. Your timing is perfect, too: the next Challenge starts October 1st. If you’re not a writer, stay tuned for lots of exciting news once the Challenge gets underway.
The 10K Challenge, in fact, is where I met this month’s featured cover author, Dacia M. Arnold. It was March 2017, and she had just begun writing her first full-length novel, Apparent Power. Let me tell you, readers freaking loved it. She took home the “Most Buzz Award” for the month, and her novel-in-progress shot up to #1 on the ChapterBuzz Charts, where it remained for the better part of the year.
When you read her interview article this month, Dacia gives insight into the process: how feedback helped her while she was writing, how she’s grown as a writer and person over the years, and what she does to make it over the rough patches.
Our first guest contributor is a freelance editor from San Diego who lives on a boat and goes by the nickname “Jenny Redbug.” (Wait, back up…did you say “lives on a boat”? I sure did. Wouldn’t you if you lived in San Diego and had a boat?) Jennifer Silva Redmond is also a popular writing instructor and speaker whose short-form memoir has been published nationally, and her article this month is packed with great tips for writing your own memoir. According to her blog, Jennifer is out sailing quite a bit, so if you hand over your manuscript to her for editing, there’s a good chance it will come back to you with sea legs.
Next, blogger and novelist Allison Maruska shares some wisdom about something that most writers will probably see at one point or another: a negative review. How do you deal with that? What’s the best way to handle it, and for that matter, what shouldn’t you do? All these questions, and more, answered in this article.
Finally, what do a butterfly, guardian angel wing, feather pen, and crown have in common? They are all tattoos that Allison Marie Conway proudly wears. Allison has published two books of gorgeous poetry and prose, Vein and Luminae, and reading them is like discovering a secret passage to parts of your soul you didn’t know existed. Her Instagram page is a work of art in itself. In this issue, Allison explains why we need you to tell your story.
I hope you enjoy the first issue of Books & Buzz Magazine. If you weren’t already a part of our community, you are now.
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz Magazine
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