Quick! Picture a writer in your mind. No second guessing–just do it. While you do that, I’ll write a picture with my mind, since I am–in fact–a writer. Author, jotter, freelancer, and scribbler, I might not sport a tweed jacket with elbow patches, but I’m every bit as attached to my keyboard as that pipe-smoking prototype. The QWERTY’s electrical cord is my umbilical cord and has been for over a decade, so it won’t be surprising to learn I’ve written a couple of books in the course of all that bonding time. My urban-fantasy novel is under consideration, while my chapbook of poetry was released by an independent press earlier this year, and though the glossy pages and eye-catching graphics of: Word Mosaics gratify, the alchemy of writer to author has turned my thin skin quite calloused.
A collection of formalist and free verse, Word Mosaics embodies what it is I do best: redefining words and idioms through wordplay, riddles, and pop culture trends, and thereby redefining the reader’s concept of what those things represent, but it hasn’t been all redefine and roses. Just finding a likely publishing house to submit was fairly daunting in early days, rendering the discovery of newswires such as: Duotrope, CRWROPPES, and Poets & Writers Database for Small Presses all the more valuable. All three of these online resources provide specific information about dynamic presses and active submission calls, and in the case of the latter two, they do so for free. No more of my valuable time wasted surfing the wooly web! I signed up for these weekly newsletters, and let the markets come to me.
“On the Road” to authorship, I was no “Dharma Bum,” yet. I had still to craft an intelligent cover letter to accompany my submissions, and the best way to do that was to research a given company’s titles and website, editor preferences and credentials. As much as they needed to fall in love with my work, it was important their terms and background were acceptable to me. Would there be royalties? Contributor copies? Publicity? What kind of rights would I retain? The abundance of questions arising from the writing of a book, to the query stage, to its acceptance is intricate enough to warrant the purchase of a plethora of DIY books, and in this instance, the type you peruse instead of picture.