Mar 19, 2011

Publishers' Fair

     Whew! Okay, I'm finally posting about some of the events of this past week. It's been very (happily) busy! First off I'll write about Wednesday's Publishers' Fair. It started at noon in the Garden Court of the Wilkinson Student Center on campus. I should have waited until a little later to go but I had a package to drop off at the Pack n' Ship (the mussed up copy of The Limit by Kristen Landon, of which Amazon sent out the replacement before receiving the damaged one -I got it the same day! How cool is that!?) and then a meeting with author & teacher Douglas Thayer (which will be in the next post) just an hour later. So I went right after the fair started, found many empty tables, but also several peopled tables with very helpful, nice individuals.
     First off I strolled (because I had a stroller with Little Bird in it) over to meet Heather Moore, owner of Precision Editing Group, home to freelance editors for distraught writers (pretty much, right?). The staff includes published authors and professional editors with specialties in specific genres. The group accepts fiction and non-fiction manuscripts along with query letters and proposals. They do copy/line & content editing, queries & proposals, research, ghost writing, and press releases. Check out their website for price quotes, but get this -free evaluations (that's apparently a $35-$75 value)! Heather was great at explaining what it's all about. So if you've got some writing that your mom says is good, send it over to Heather and her peoples where you'll get non-biased feedback and input. They'll help you polish and prepare your word baby to be sent off into the wide world of publishers (good bye Word Baby! Don't forget to call your momma!). Hoy! I just went to the Precision Editing Group website and saw a red circle with the words "FREE CRITIQUE. First ten pages of your manuscript edited for free!" Now that's NICE! Thanks, Heather!
     Next up was Cedar Fort Publishing where I met a helpful young lady by the name of I-can't-seem-to-remember (I'm so bad. I only remembered Heather's name because I snagged her business card). Needless to say though, Ms. Cannot-be-named was very encouraging and positive. Cedar Fort's list of looking-for centers mostly around LDS topics like prayer, church history, scripture related stuff, and the like, but is not limited to those topics. I asked about children's books and YA novels. The answer was give it a shot. They read everything that they get. Now THAT is awesome. You don't get that from big old publishing houses, there's just no way they would have the time. But Cedar Fort does and that's very encouraging. The nice young lady asked me if I have a manuscript or something I'm working on and I confessed that I did. She said send it in! BUT. I asked about whether or not I or any other would-be-author would need an agent before sending in a manuscript. She replied, not necessarily. Oohh. I get it. (I thought at that moment, and probably said out loud). "Send it to Heather over there to get all cleaned up, then send it to you." Exactly. Now, I've read about agents on published author blogs. They sound magical, but perhaps if you're just starting out or testing the waters, you could go the freelance editor route, then send directly to a small publisher. I have no idea if this is good advice, but it sounds perfect where Cedar Fort is concerned. Nameless (possibly Jennifer or another Heather) agreed. Oh! And they also handle illustrators (I mean, they'll look at your work and possibly want you to be a part of their publishing organization).
     The BYU Editors' Network was also present. All that grammar and proper punctuation stuff is over my head (and thank GOODNESS for spell check, am I right?!). The representative were kind to me though and said I could still hang out with them if I wanted. They have events on campus that are open to those interested. Along with editorial-ish-ness at the table, there was also a very interesting piece of green paper entitled, Join A Student Journal. Apparently you can volunteer for various campus produced writing journals to improve in writing & editing, learn about publishing, or to even get credit (something having to do with ELang 351R)! The student journals include topics such as American studies, philosophy, neuroscience (okay enough with the boring stuff), creative writing (yeah!), multicultural, science fiction & fantasy, and science fiction & fantasy (what? there are two!), among others. Here's a link to all of the BYU student journals. I was told that anyone can just show up at the meetings and get involved if they so desire.
     Whewee! This is wearing me out. I'm pooped and my Hubs and I are about to watch a movie. There were three more stops that I made. I will briefly touch on each one.
     Deseret Book was represented, their table surrounded by interested people. I simply shoved my stroller through while Little Bird flailed her bottle, sprinkling the crowd like a tiny Catholic priest. Just kidding. I did get tired of waiting though and just reached through to grab a pamphlet. It was a very good pamphlet, chock full o' useful information. But here I can only give you the website. I'm sure that's just as nice.
     Next was the Ensign magazine and its affiliates. I've discovered in my LDS author search that many started out by submitting freelance work to these periodicals. I met Michael Morris, the senior editor of the Ensign. He gave me a list of 14 points to consider before submitting anything. Number one was to Read the Church magazines. Apparently many people neglect this common-sensicle notion and submit anyway. They cannot fool the editors though. They are very keen. I'm not sure if I can find the list online. Here is something official that I did find for you though.
    Lastly was the Segullah Journal. They cater to and are composed of LDS women. They accept literary and visual art submissions. Here are their guidelines. This seems as though it would be a very nice starting point along with trying for the Ensign. But perhaps the Segullah (if you are a woman of course) would be more accessible and a more immediate opportunity to become published.
     There you have it! I hope this has been helpful. I plan on creating a writing/publishing info page in the near future in order to ease the concern/worry/fear those of you who would like to someday make the attempt might have. The more I learn about this stuff, the more I realize that it's doable! Even for me! And even for you. You know who you are (and then you can tell me and we can be buds!).

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