Archive for the 'Cindy Hudson' Category

Please Mark Your Calendars For TOMORROW!

AMAZON SPIKE DAY FOR KRISTIN BAIR O’KEEFFE & CINDY HUDSON IS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15TH!

Thirsty by Kristin Bair O'KeeffeKristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Thirsty, will be published by Swallow Press on October 1, 2009. A family saga that explores domestic abuse, race, class, and Pittsburgh’s mighty steel industry, Thirsty tells the story of Klara Bozic, a Croatian immigrant who seeks the strength-through love and friendship-to leave an abusive husband.

Can Klara rise above her circumstances and lay claim to her own peaceful spot in the world? To find out, buy Thirsty on September 15th as part of Kristin’s Amazon Spike Day!

Book By Book by Cindy HudsonCINDY HUDSON’S first  book is nonfiction. Book By Book, The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs is coming on October 1st from Seal Press. (Yes, that’s right, Kristin and Cindy’s books share the same publication date.)

I recently interviewed Cindy about her nonfiction book pitching and writing process over at The Writer Mama Riffs blog. You can read the complete interview here.

Even if you don’t have a daughter yourself, Book By Book makes a great gift for a mom who does. I hope you will join me in supporting Kristin and Cindy’s Amazon Spike Day on Tuesday, September 15th!

I’ll send you a reminder just before the date. Thanks in advance for supporting our long-time columnists.

This Newsletter Edited By…

Cindy HudsonCindy Hudson is the author of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs (Seal Press 2009). Her website, and its companion blog, feature reading lists, book reviews, author interviews, book giveaways and other book club resources. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Portland, Oregon, where she writes weekly for The Oregonian. Visit her online at MotherDaughterBookClub.comCindyHudson.com.

The Amazon Spike Day for Kristin Bair O’Keeffe & Cindy Hudson is Tuesday, September 15th

Please Mark Your Calendars!

Thirsty by Kristin Bair O'KeeffeKristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Thirsty, will be published by Swallow Press on October 1, 2009. A family saga that explores domestic abuse, race, class, and Pittsburgh’s mighty steel industry, Thirsty tells the story of Klara Bozic, a Croatian immigrant who seeks the strength-through love and friendship-to leave an abusive husband.

Can Klara rise above her circumstances and lay claim to her own peaceful spot in the world? To find out, buy Thirsty on September 15th as part of Kristin’s Amazon Spike Day!

Book By Book by Cindy HudsonCINDY HUDSON’S first  book is nonfiction. Book By Book, The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs is coming on October 1st from Seal Press. (Yes, that’s right, Kristin and Cindy’s books share the same publication date.)

I recently interviewed Cindy about her nonfiction book pitching and writing process over at The Writer Mama Riffs blog. You can read the complete interview here.

Even if you don’t have a daughter yourself, Book By Book makes a great gift for a mom who does. I hope you will join me in supporting Kristin and Cindy’s Amazon Spike Day on Tuesday, September 15th!

Columnist’s News!

Thirsty by Kristin Bair O'KeeffeKRISTIN BAIR O’KEEFFE has launched a new website and blog. Here’s a sneak peek at her forthcoming novel’s cover.

Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Thirsty, will be published by Swallow Press in 2009. A family saga that explores domestic abuse, race, class, and Pittsburgh’s mighty steel industry, Thirsty tells the story of Klara Bozic, a Croatian immigrant who seeks the strength-through love and friendship-to leave an abusive husband.

Can Klara rise above her circumstances and lay claim to her own peaceful spot in the world? Look for Thirsty in Fall 2009 to find out!

ABIGAIL GREEN’S essay, “Taking Care,” appears in the new anthology A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers: Stories that celebrate the miracle of life  (Adams Media, March 2009). Stay abreast of her success over at Diary of a New Mom.

Book By Book by Cindy HudsonCINDY HUDSON’S Book By Book, The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs is coming this fall from Seal Press.

I recently interviewed Cindy about her nonfiction book pitching and writing process over at The Writer Mama Riffs blog.

You can read the complete interview here.

Writers on the Rise is edited by…

Cindy HudsonCindy Hudson is the author of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs (Seal Press 2009). Her website, and its companion blog, feature reading lists, book reviews, author interviews, book giveaways and other book club resources. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Portland, Oregon, where she writes weekly for The Oregonian. Visit her online at MotherDaughterBookClub.com and CindyHudson.com.

Check out my recent interview with Cindy on the nonfiction book-writing process over at The Writer Mama Riffs blog.

THE WRITERS ON THE RISE TEAM

Christina Katz, Publisher, Editor
& Web Slave

Cindy Hudson, Managing Editor
Columnists:

Wendy Burt

Sage Cohen

Kristin Bair O’Keeffe

Lori Russell

Abigail Green

Laura Bridgwater

Columnist Bio Page

Cindy Hudson Lands Book Deal! / Writers on the Rise Celebrates Five Years

Dear Fellow Writers,

I have news.

Don’t I always, though?

Columnist, Cindy Hudson has gotten a book deal! Please join me in sharing our hearty congratulations with Cindy. I’ll let her make it official:

Cindy HudsonCindy Hudson announces that her non-fiction guidebook, Bonding Through Books: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs, has been accepted for publication by Seal Press in 2010. Bonding Through Books will guide readers through the process of starting mother-daughter book clubs, keeping them thriving as the girls grow and solving problems that may crop up along the way. Hudson’ writes about the topic on her website, www.MotherDaughterBookClub.com, and her blog, www.MotherDaughterBookClub.wordpress.com.


Woo-hoo! That was fun. What a talented bunch we are.

Also, this e-zine just celebrated an anniversary. That’s right, we’re FIVE years old!

[Sound of cheers and applause!]

Wow. I can still remember starting things up using just my e-mail program and my list of former students back when I was teaching courses at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington back in 2003.

Look how far we’ve come! I probably had about fifty subscribers to start with. Today we have two thousand. I did everything myself back then, too. Over time I’d invite my students to submit their work and we grew and grew to the point we’re at today. These days we have a managing editor (Sage) and two associate editors (Kristin and Cindy), not to mention a total of ten contributors.

Today I’ve got one of my former students from back in Bellingham taking my Platform Development class. When I saw the list of writing accomplishments she’d accumulated since then I almost fell out of my chair.

A lot can get accomplished in five years…if you stay with it, work hard and don’t let the odd rejection throw you off course.

I hope that you guys feel inspired by all the hard work, love of writing, and commitment the ten of us have poured into this e-zine over the past ten issues.

I’d like to thank the entire crew: Sage, Kristin, Cindy, Wendy, Lori, Hope, Gregory, Sue and Gigi. And wish everyone a very happy holiday season!

We’ll be back again next year with a fresh crew and a new line up of exciting content that will help you stay on course come what may. I’ll be announcing all the details around the first of December.

In the writing-for-publication spirit,

Christina Katz
Editor and Publisher

Agent and Editor Spotlight: Cassie Murdoch, Assistant Editor at Workman Publishing

By Cindy Hudson

Workman Publishing is a mid-sized publisher, turning out about 40 books a year from its office in New York City. Cassie Murdoch, assistant editor at Workman, says while that’s not a lot of books by some standards, the company puts a lot of energy into each title. And Peter Workman is still very much involved in what makes it to bookstore shelves with the Workman imprint. Here’s Murdoch’s advice to writers who would like to pitch their non-fiction book ideas to her company as well as to other publishers.

As an assistant editor, do you have titles you acquire on your own?
The assistants at Workman are more involved than at other houses, and we are very much hands on. We also come up with a lot of ideas in-house.

Do you accept proposals from authors directly or do you only work with agents?
We definitely take unsolicited submissions. Occasionally something comes along that we really like and we go for it. We also work directly with authors we’ve published successfully in the past as well as agents.

What catches your attention when a proposal lands on your desk?
I look for a great idea I haven’t seen before, or a new spin on an old topic. I have to think, “I want to read that, and I know five other people who would want to read it.” Workman’s books depend on authors who are authoritative in their field, or someone who has a great, unique voice. If I’m reading and I feel like anybody could have written the book, it doesn’t appeal to me as much as something more authentic.

What else do you look for?
Does the author have some kind of platform? They don’t have to be the pre-eminent expert in their field, but if they have expertise we couldn’t find in anyone else or if they have developed something no one else has thought of, that works too. They also have to be willing to work hard for their book. I think some people have the perception that they worked really hard to write it, and then they’re done. A commitment to the idea they’re working on and a strong interest in the subject are important.

Also an online presence is a plus. The author doesn’t necessarily have to have a blog with a million readers, but if this person is part of a community the idea feels more tested. The flip side of that is there may be nothing new for the book. Ideally, an author will still have a lot more content to give.

What turns you off immediately in a proposal?
When it’s clear the person hasn’t done their research. We don’t publish fiction for instance, so if I get a fiction proposal I know this person is just throwing it at everyone and hoping somebody takes it. I like to know someone has taken the time to find out not only what house is good for a project, but in some cases what editor may have worked on projects similar to their book. Also, I won’t publish something that’s going to compete directly with what we’ve already put out there.

What’s a good place for authors to do this research?
I always recommend that you find books that connect or relate to your book and see who publishes them. You can often find out who edited a book by reading the acknowledgments page. Keep in mind I’m talking about complementary titles, not competing ones.

How far in advance do you acquire titles, and what happens with a proposal you like?
Right now (September 2008) I’m mostly looking at Fall 2009 and beyond. When we get a proposal, we often will go back and forth with the author to clarify what they’re going to write. Once we’ve bought the book, we like to agree on where we’re heading and what the time frame is. When we get the manuscript, it’s a very collaborative process that goes on sometimes for a couple of weeks, sometimes for a couple of months. It depends on the length of the book. We work hard to make things happen quickly, but it is really important to us that we don’t rush so much that we lose the standards we have for ourselves.

How long does an author spend writing after you agree?
On average maybe six to nine months.

How does your publicity department work with the author?
We have a very involved publicity department. Depending on the project, the publicists may decide to put together a regular tour, or a radio/satellite tour, or sometimes a blog tour. They are really good at finding non-traditional ways to promote our books and making sure we reach the right audience. We also highly value an author who works to promote their book.

Murdoch encourages anyone wishing to submit a proposal to Workman to read the company’s submission guidelines before sending something in.

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Cindy HudsonCindy Hudson writes for national trade magazines, regional magazines, online publications and daily newspapers. Her website and its companion blog, publishes reading lists, book reviews, author interviews and other book club resources. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Portland, Oregon, where she writes weekly for The Oregonian. Visit her online at www.cindyhudson.com.

In the Spotlight: An Interview with Jenna Glatzer, Author & Founder of Absolute Write

Jenna GlatzerBy Cindy Hudson

In her 11 years as a freelance writer, Jenna Glatzer has achieved the kind of success that most writers dream of. In addition to the seventeen books and hundreds of magazine articles she’s authored, Glatzer has also ghost written books, as well as penned greeting cards and slogans for bumper stickers and magnets. She founded and is former editor-in-chief of Absolute Write a popular, free online magazine for writers. Glatzer has written three books for writers: Outwitting Writer’s Block and Other Problems of the Pen (The Lyons Press, 2003), Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer (Nomad Press, 2004), and The Street-Smart Writer (Nomad Press, 2006).

Here Glatzer talks about some of the secrets of her success and shares ideas for writers of all types.

How did you get started freelance writing?

I became a freelance writer because I was agoraphobic, and I had to figure out something I could do from home. I was fresh out of college, so I decided to go with what I knew and I queried college-focused magazines, like College Bound and Link (which no longer publishes). For my first real credit I profiled some friends who had started up a web hosting company. From there I built up slowly and started writing for more and more magazines and websites.

How long was it before you made a living as a freelance writer?
For me it took two years but it varies a lot depending on how much work you put into it.

What’s a good way to get clips when you’re just starting out?
Getting those initial clips was more important than anything for me, and as long as it was a respectable publication I didn’t really care about the pay. You just never know where something is going to lead. I’d write this article for some low-paying magazine and some larger editor would find it and hire me to write something better down the line. I also recommend looking at local freebie magazines, like the ones you’ll find at delis and grocery stores. They are often looking for writers who can do local stories.

What other venues do you recommend?

I’ve written greeting cards and slogans for bumper stickers and magnets. And of course there are newspapers, websites, books and screenplays, and copywriting for businesses.

Is it easier to break into writing greeting cards and slogans?
It probably is easier, because there’s a lot of it and not a lot of people who know about those markets.

How do you find out about those markets?

I did a ton of research on my own. Some of the companies are listed in Writer’s Market every year. I wrote to every company I could find to ask if they use freelance material and I put together an ebook about it that has all the markets I could find. It’s a little bit out of date now, but it is available on absolutewrite.com. It’s called, Sell the Fun Stuff.

How important is it for writers to market themselves?

Very important, especially in the beginning. For the first couple of years I wrote more query letters than actual articles. I also wrote lots of articles for low-paying magazines. Once I broke into the national, grocery-store-type magazines, things began to snowball. Now editors come to me with assignments, so for the last six or seven years I’ve had to send out very few query letters. In the early years I also sent out general letters saying, “Hi, here’s who I am and I’m interested in assignments if you have anything available.” Sometimes I got calls years after I sent in samples and wound up with assignments.

Can you make much money selling reprints of articles?

Definitely. There’s one article that was rejected by Family Circle, which is where I wanted to place it. So I decided to try some of the local parenting magazines. Then I realized I didn’t have to stick to my own local parenting magazine, so I queried parenting magazines in other states. I wound up reselling it 18 times to different parenting magazines all across the country, making more in the end than I would have if I had just sold it to Family Circle in the first place. There’s also a market for re-slants. If you think about different angles for the same topic that you’ve already learned about, you can re-slant the article and you’re not starting from ground zero each time. You can use the same interviews and the same research you started with.

Tell me about your books for writers.

When I started absolutewrite.com in 1999, I would hear from writers all the time wanting to know how I became a freelance writer. To give them a step-by-step on what made me successful I had to write a book. Maybe the most important book I’ve ever written is The Street Smart Writer. I got scammed a couple of times at the beginning of my writing career by literary agents who weren’t real literary agents. They took my money and didn’t do anything with my work and didn’t have the ability to sell it. So I wrote this book because I don’t want to see other writers taken like that. It’s now free online at wowio.com. Search for it, and you can read it for free.

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Cindy HudsonCindy Hudson writes for national trade magazines, regional magazines, online publications and daily newspapers. Her website and its companion blog, publishes reading lists, book reviews, author interviews and other book club resources. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Portland, Oregon, where she writes weekly for The Oregonian. Visit her online at www.cindyhudson.com.
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In the Spotlight: Colleen Sell, Editor of A Cup of Comfort Series from Adams Media

Interview By Cindy Hudson

When Colleen Sell is not editing one of the many books in the popular A Cup of Comfort book series (published by Adams Media), this freelance editor spends her time writing for magazines as well as editing and ghost writing for other clients. Plus, she always has an idea for a project or two she would love to develop if she had more time. With over 25 books under her belt in the A Cup of Comfort series and more on the way, there’s precious little free time in Sell’s life these days. She took a moment out of her busy schedule recently to talk about what she strives to create with A Cup of Comfort and to give readers of Writers on the Rise tips for submitting their personal essays.

When you first started as editor of A Cup of Comfort, what did you want to bring to the series?

One of the things that was important to me is that the stories we included were not homogenized to have the same tone and the same voice. I wanted variety and I wanted to allow as much literary influence as possible. I wanted the stories to read like fiction; but I wanted them to be absolutely true. I wanted the stories to capture readers and pull them in.

How many submissions do you usually get for each book?

It varies on the topic but between 1,500 and 3,000. I select about 50 for each book, but I will not take a lesser story over a better story just to get that number. For me, the quality of the book is always the most important thing.

Does each A Cup of Comfort volume have its own personality?

Yes, definitely. There’s commonality with each volume, but each of the books I’ve worked on has a very distinctive personality as well.

What do you look for when you’re selecting stories to include in a particular A Cup of Comfort volume?

Authenticity is really important to me. It’s been said that there are no new stories. But your perception of what happened in your life and how it affected you is unique. And there’s always something that’s unusual, that’s specific to your life and your situation that’s different from everybody else’s and that’s what I want to see in stories. I also think the best stories have a universal truth. Something in that story needs to resonate with just about everyone who reads it. And it needs to have a nugget of truth, that thing that makes us human coming through in the story without actually saying it. When a story lets readers come to that conclusion themselves, that is an excellent essay.

If you choose an essay from a writer for one volume will you consider something else they’ve written for another?

I consider the essays individually every time. And we have published more than one essay from a writer in the same volume. People can submit as many stories as they want for as many volumes as they want. Our policy says that I cannot publish more than three stories from any author in any single book. It’s usually better for the reader if there’s variety. But sometimes the very best stories that provide the most variety and flavor and different points of view are by the same author.

Do you choose essays from people who haven’t been published before?

About 25 percent of the essays in each book are by people who have not been published before. If I see a good story, even if it needs a little work, I’m going to grab it.

Do the authors participate in the promotion of the books?

They do, but it’s not required. Many of the contributors set up signings at bookstores. We also have authors who participate in local art fairs that feature local authors, library events and charitable events.

When submitting to A Cup of Comfort, what can authors do to make their writing stand out?

I’m a firm believer that you’re going to write the best story if you write what you know and write from your gut and not think too much about what we want. A lot of the stories deal with challenging and painful events in life. Write honestly about that, but for our purposes it’s about comfort, hope and inspiration. So keep that in mind. No matter what you write about it has to resonate with a large audience, it has to have some kind of insight or redemption quality or something that’s uplifting.

What kinds of stylistic and submission no-no’s should people avoid?

One of the common tendencies in writers is to overwrite, to say too much. Make sure every word counts. Also, preachiness doesn’t work for A Cup of Comfort. And, believe it or not, I get submissions with no contact information, no name. So if I want to publish the story I don’t know how to contact the author.

It’s not a good idea to submit something, revise it and submit it again. Sometimes people submit something because they’re excited and then after a couple of days they think, “Oh shoot, I have a mistake in there so I’m going to resubmit it.” It happens a lot with new writers. Sit on it a couple of days and make sure you want to submit what you submit. And if you find something you’d like to change after you submit, don’t worry. Editors don’t expect every submission to be perfect. We can tell if a story is close to what we need, and we’re accustomed to fixing things later.
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Cindy HudsonCindy Hudson writes for national trade magazines, regional magazines, online publications and daily newspapers. Her website and its companion blog, publishes reading lists, book reviews, author interviews and other book club resources. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Portland, Oregon, where she writes weekly for The Oregonian. Visit her online at http://www.cindyhudson.com.
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In the Spotlight: Andrea Hurst, Andrea Hurst & Associates Literary Agency

Interview By Cindy HudsonAndrea HurstLiterary agent Andrea Hurst has been around all sides of the publishing industry. She’s a published author, has worked as a freelance consultant for writers, and has spent some time in acquisitions and development for a publishing company before deciding to open an agency of her own six years ago. Located in Sacramento near the thriving publishing community of the San Francisco Bay Area, Andrea Hurst Literary Management represents authors in both fiction and nonfiction on a variety of subjects. Here’s her advice for writers seeking agent representation.


What do you look for in a writer when you’re deciding which projects you’d like to represent?

When I sign an author, I want a wonderful writer, a great manuscript, and if they’re writing nonfiction, a really good platform. But I also want someone I can work with, because we become a team. I love working with people who are motivated, open, flexible and who meet deadlines. I love giving authors ideas for changes to their proposals and having them come back with more. I love the brainstorming, the creativity and working with someone who will respect my opinion because agents are the bridge, and through experience we know what publishers are looking for.

What do you find the most challenging about working with authors?

Lack of professionalism. It’s so frustrating to get query letters and know that the writer didn’t even take the time to learn how to write a query letter. And it’s so easy to pick up The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published, which is the best book I recommend for anyone getting started. It’s a crash course that can bring writers up to speed and put them above the slush pile immediately.

What challenges do you face once you sign a writer?

I would say 99 percent of the authors I’ve signed and worked with are wonderful. One of the biggest challenges comes when they realize I was telling the truth when I said publishers don’t market the book. Authors realize just how much they have to be involved and how hard it is.

You mentioned platform earlier. How important do you think platform is to helping you decide whether or not to represent an author?

For nonfiction, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most important, it’s 11. That’s mostly because I can sell a book to an editor, but the editor has to sell it to the marketing and sales people. That’s where platform comes in.

You also act as an agent for the Complete Idiot’s Guides is that correct?

I act as a packager agent for the Complete Idiot’s Guides and Everything Guides, which means I package a writer with an expert and then act as the agent. It’s a great way for writers to break in, and I’m always looking for both experts who can write and writers who don’t mind working with an expert.

How does a writer know if her idea might be good for a Complete Idiot’s Guide?

One of the first things is to go to the website, alphabooks.com, and make sure the subject or anything close to it hasn’t been done. The other thing is to think about whether it’s a large enough market for Idiot’s Guides to be interested. You also have to be able to follow a template very well. I have some writers who do one after the other after the other of these because they take to it.

What else should writers know about these guides?

They don’t give you a lot of lead-time; a writer usually has anywhere from three to six months to write the guide. The Idiot’s Guides pay a royalty as well as an advance. The Everything Guides just pay an advance. Again, it’s a great way for writers to break in, and it can be a good way to build a platform or a business.

Are there any specific topics in nonfiction you’re looking for now?

As long as someone has a good platform and a unique idea, I am interested in just about any area of nonfiction. One of the areas publishing seems to like right now is science meeting spirituality. I haven’t found anything I love in that yet, but I’d like to. Someone who has expertise in parenting along with a platform and a different slant would be great. Advice, relationships and health are very strong. I would love to find the next killer diet book.

Any other advice?

Go to conferences, meet agents and editors, learn your craft, go to the agents’ and publishers’ websites and study them. Christina Katz’s book Writer Mama talks about the importance of marketing and I can’t emphasize enough how important that is. That’s what sells books. I have a tips section on writing a proposal on my agency website (andreahurst.com). I already mentioned The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published, which is invaluable for finding agents. Serious writers should also join publishersmarketplace.com. Finally, don’t give up. Agents can’t work unless we sign good books.
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Cindy HudsonCindy Hudson writes for national trade magazines, regional magazines, online publications and daily newspapers. Her website and its companion blog, publishes reading lists, book reviews, author interviews and other book club resources. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Portland, Oregon, where she writes weekly for The Oregonian. Visit her online at www.cindyhudson.com.


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  • This Blog Moving to ChristinaKatz.com as of December 30, 2009… December 27, 2009
    We’re moving! Writers on the Rise archives have been here for years. I hope that WordPress will let the archive live on for a good long time. However, it’s time to move on, bittersweet as change may be. Please come and find me at my new digs: http://christinakatz.com. And while we’re both thinking of it, […]
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