Archive for June, 2009


Last chance for reduced prices if you register for fall classes by June 30th.
New prices effective on July 1st.

Writing and Publishing The Short Stuff
Especially For Moms (But Not Only for Moms!)
With Christina Katz
Class Begins August 12th
Prerequisites: None
Finally, a writing workshop that fits into the busy lives of moms! You will learn how to create short, easy-to-write articles-a skill that will make it easier to move up to longer, more time-consuming articles when you’re ready. Try your pen at tips, fillers, short interviews, list articles, how-tos, and short personal essays-all within six weeks. Now includes markets!
Cost: $199.00.
More/Register at

Platform Building 101: Discover your Specialty
(Formerly “Targeting Your Best Writing Markets”)
With Christina Katz
Class Begins on August 12th
Prerequisites: None
Identifying your writing specialty is one of the trickiest and most necessary steps in launching a writing career today. This class will help you find your best audiences, cultivate your expertise, manage your ideas, develop marketing skills, claim your path, serve editors and become portfolio-minded. You’ll learn how to become the professional you’ve always wanted to be and, most importantly, how to take your writing career more seriously.
Cost: $199.00.
More/Register at

Writing for the Web
With Jennifer Applin
Class Begins August 12th
Prerequisites: None
These days virtually every business and industry needs to have an online presence. With a growing trend in Internet marketing, e-commerce and online publications, the need for creating well-written web content is more important than ever. If you are looking to make a name for yourself, and a living, writing for the web, then this course can help you. Students will learn how to develop a writing style that is suitable for the web; provide a variety of services (online articles, website content, blogging, editing, etc.); establish a fair rate and avoid scams; find paying assignments and secure steady accounts.
Cost: $199.00.
More/Register at

Invest In Your Writing Career Today & Reap Greater Rewards Tomorrow.

Understanding Personal Essays: Memoir Essays

By Abigail Green
Abigail Green“As a child in the late 1940s, I knew it was spring when I smelled newly mown lawns in the neighborhood.”  So begins Ronald J. Barwell’s essay in  AARP Bulletin. The column “What I Really Know” solicits 250-word essays on various topics, such as marriage, letter writing, and spring fever. Most of these essays would fall under the category of memoir. They spring from a childhood memory, an old photograph, or the recollection of a long-gone loved one.

Many people think of books when they hear the word “memoir,” but there’s actually a whole category of essays that falls under that subject. In fact, many book-length memoirs are a series of essays strung together between one cover.
Within memoir, there are vastly different sub-categories as well. An essay about your late grandmother’s famous coconut cake could find a home in a food magazine. A memoir about a childhood summer vacation might be a fit for a travel magazine. There’s even a market for erotica memoirs. (See under “features,” then “personal essays.” Warning: reader discretion is advised.)
On her web site, author Joan Tornow provides sample memoir essays on topics ranging from Thanksgiving turkey to being a new teacher. Check out the one titled “Crayon Magic” for a particularly good example of this type of essay. She advises would-be memoir writers to read as many memoirs as they can, begin writing about their memories in any order they choose, and join a writers’ group specializing in memoirs.
The keys to a good memoir essay are the same as for any essay: show, don’t tell, by using active, descriptive, sensory words and phrases. Paint a picture for the reader with your words. Set the piece in a clear time and place. Introduce us to the characters in your story. Use dialogue if it helps. In terms of technique, the memoir essay probably shares more with fiction than any other type of personal essay.
I once read a beautifully written essay in (the sadly, now-defunct) Hallmark Magazine about the writer’s recollection of her father’s beloved toolbox. It was rich with memories and emotions, and all the more compelling because it was a true story.
So reach back into your memories and old scrapbooks and start putting some of your stories down on the page in your next personal essay. 

Abigail Green has published more than 150 articles and essays in regional and national publications including American Baby, Baltimore Magazine, Bride’s, Cooking Light, and Health. Her work also appears in the new book, “A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers.” (Adams Media, 2009). Abby holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.A. in publishing from the University of Baltimore. She writes the “Crib Notes” column for The Writer Mama e-zine and the “Understanding Personal Essays” column for Writers on the Rise. A mother of two boys, she blogs about parenting, publishing and more at


Check Out the May/June Issue of Writer’s Digest magazine while it’s still on the stands! Going off stand on June 14th!

May/June 2009 Writer's Digest Magazine

I have a six-page feature, “Build Your Power Platform” appearing in the May/June issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. My article is part of a twenty-page feature section on how to stand out to agents and editors. Other contributors in the feature section include M. J. Rose, the Writer’s Digest Staff, Jeff Yeager, and editor Jessica Strawser. The May/June issue features an interview conversation between Stephen King and Jerry B. Jenkins and the announcement of the annual 101 Best Websites.

Ask Wendy: Your Writing Questions Answered

 By Wendy Burt-Thomas                         
                                                                                     Wendy Burt
Q: I’ve been trying to get a book deal but keep getting ‘near-misses.’ Can you interpret some of these rejections?
Rejection #1:
“We only publish authors with platforms.”
Translation: We’re a small publishing house with no budget to promote you and you didn’t convince us that you’ve got a way to do it yourself.
Rejection #2:
“We only work with experts in their field.”
Translation: We don’t feel you’re qualified to tackle this subject.
Rejection #3: “The book didn’t quite live up to our expectations.”
Translation: We liked your original idea/sample chapters, but the book didn’t hold my interest. 
Rejection #4: “This isn’t right for us, but have you tried…”
Translation: This is a good piece of writing and even though it’s not a match for us, I’m willing to refer you to someone else.
The Writer's Digest Guide to Query LettersWendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her work has appeared in such varied publications as,, Family Circle and American Fitness. She is the author of three books: Oh, Solo Mia! The Hip Chick’s Guide to Fun for One (McGraw-Hill, 2001); Work It, Girl! 101 Tips for the Hip Working Chick (McGraw-Hill, 2003); and The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters (Writer’s Digest, 2008). Visit her at


Dear Fellow Writers (June Issue Begins)

Christina Katz

I’ve just returned from the Writer’s Digest/BEA Conference and Book Expo America back-to-back.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable experience speaking to writers looking to develop platforms in two sessions, selling out copies of Get Known Before the Book Deal that were on hand, listening to thriller author Karin Slaughter and former Publisher’s Weekly editor Sara Nelson, seeing all the folks from the Writer’s Digest Publishing Community including publisher (and my former editor) Jane Friedman, touching base with some agents I know, and having a chance to hang out with a couple of former students.

At Book Expo America, I enjoyed several days of education about the publishing industry. I was able to see where publishing stands today (more or less since the show was smaller this year and some houses were not represented at all) by touring the entire floor of the Jacob K. Javits Center. I bumped into or met lots of booksellers, librarians, editors, agents, writers, and authors and just generally tried to get as much out of the experience as possible so I could pass on what I learned to my readers and students.

I was able to add my several days of immersion at BEA to all that I had already heard and learned at the Tools of Change Conference in February and I’ve drawn several conclusions for writers looking to grow skill sets and expand careers that will survive in the new, complicated future of publishing that is already upon us.

For rising writers, it’s often hard to know how to prioritize our time each day to grow a writing career, especially if that time is already limited. I’ve posted my observations in my Get Known Before the Book Deal blog (here). I hope you will read it and take my hard-won observations to heart when you are planning for 2010.

I always want writers to succeed because writers are my tribe. I have been serving writers for many years but the only writers I can really assist are those who are willing to work hard and consistently and take 100% responsibility for their efforts.
There is no luck in the publishing business. There is only the “luck” that you cultivate through education, effort and action and then leveraging that professional prowess into making informed, strategic decisions that are win-win-win for all parties involved.

In other words, it isn’t about you or me; it’s about us. And the people who understand this are going to stay healthy and vital and the people who don’t are quite likely to leave the playing field. We are watching the walls melt in the publishing industry. But this isn’t the end, really, it’s more like a new beginning for those who can stand navigate shifting ground.

It is my pleasure to help writers make good choices and help you work hard towards goals that are for everyone’s highest good. I feel like all the time, energy and money that I have invested to stay current is a huge advantage for every student I work with and I look forward to updating they way I work to keep up with changing times.

Whenever you feel unsure about which way to go, I hope you will remember the motto…

Make good things happen,

Christina Katz
Publisher and Editor

@thewritermama on Twitter
Please note: June 14th is your last chance to pick up Writer’s Digest with a special platform section. June 30th is your last chance to sign up for August classes at reduced prices. And my June Webinar for Writer’s Digest has been moved to October. Keep reading for more details.

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  • This Blog Moving to 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: And while we’re both thinking of it, […]
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