From Bookstagram to Launch Parties, What Did and Didn’t Work for YA Author Caroline Schley

Caroline Schley’s debut novel THE WEIGHT OF THE SKY was a #1 best seller in the Amazon store at launch, but it’s a triumph that didn’t come easy. Like most self-published authors, Caroline had to manage promotion on her own. As the young adult title turns two months old, she and I chatted about the difficult work that goes not just into putting your novel in the world, but into helping readers discover it’s there.

Congrats, Caroline, on the May 20th release of THE WEIGHT OF THE SKY. It’s been two months since it debuted in the Amazon store. …


The first time I saw a copy of Writers’ Market, I was 16 years old. For those who weren’t writing before the creation of Submission Grinder, Duotrope, and similar sites, the book basically was a print version of those: a collection of listings with contact names, addresses, and guidelines for thousands of literary journals. In other words, everything you needed for the how of short story submissions.

Where to send stories, though, has always been more complex. At 16, my answer was anywhere they’d take me. That was a long time ago. Today, I consider multiple factors: Is the journal…


In the 1940’s, Ray Bradbury was able to financially support himself and his family by writing one short story a week, selling them to magazines that paid cash for first publication rights. While the science fiction community today generally pays $.08 a word or higher, most non-genre writers are used to giving their work away for free. Literary journals are often underfunded, the editors themselves volunteers.

As online publications have grown in popularity, though, literary journals that do pay are making a comeback. Below, please find a personal list I’ve compiled of lit mags that do pay short story writers…


For One Translation Provider, Brexit and Covid Meant the End of the Physical Office Forever

Before the covid-19 pandemic, 78 to 83 percent of people who worked for language services providers (LSP’s) worldwide reported into a physical office, according to Common Sense Advisory. But last March, everything changed. On Friday the 13th, the United States declared the virus a national emergency. Video meeting platform Zoom became the most downloaded app in the Apple store, collaboration tool Microsoft Teams saw a 500 percent use increase in China, and Google started offering its video Hangouts Meet product for free. Three days later…


Creative writing lessons from Charles Dickens

From foreshadowing to characterization, Charles Dickens was master of many a literary technique — so much so that his Great Expectations is taught as an exemplar in high schools across the country. As writers, though, it isn’t enough to simply understand what these devices are. We have to recognize them when we read — and instinctively apply them to our own work.

The latter may sound hard, but fortunately, there’s a fix: Start reading like a writer. “This means you don’t read just to find out what happens next in the story,” says Gabriela Pereira, author of DIY MFA, “You…


How Jane Austen and Charles Dickens broke the most common writing advice of our times

Photograph: Mayank Austen Soofi

‘Show, don’t tell’ is probably the most over-prescribed advice in fiction writing today: Don’t tell your reader the character’s emotions, show them.

On the whole, it’s a pretty good tip. It’s one thing to write “she’s sad,” yet quite another to show readers a woman alone in the corner of the room, face in her hands, body shaking from the tears. That said, ‘show, don’t tell’ is a guideline, not a rule — no matter how often writing teachers say it. As novelists, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens both knew sometimes telling has its purpose.

In this post, we’ll take…


From crafting fantastic villains to incorporating silence as dialogue, Jane Austen was master of many a literary device. Her Pride and Prejudice is so belovedly well-written that in the more than 200 years since its initial publication, the novel has never once gone out of print. Austen wasn’t just a writer, she was a reader — admiring words by everyone from Walter Scott to Anne Radcliffe.

She also understood the importance of reading with a writer’s eye. As writers, we must do more than understand what literary devices like characterization and foreshadowing mean. …


Want to be a better writer? Start by reading like one.

1. DIY MFA by Gabriela Pereira

Gabriela Pereira writes, “Reading for pleasure is great, but if you want to be a writer, you need to read like a writer…[R]ead in order to figure out what the writer is doing…so that you can recreate something similar in your own writing.” So in DIY MFA, she shows you how to do exactly that. …


When to — and when not to — tell a romantic interest you have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

Every relationship has its questions of timing: How many dates do you go on before sex? When should you allow your date to pick up the check? How early is too early to tell him you have ADHD?

Well, maybe that’s not a question for every new relationship. But it is for mine. And the answer is usually “after I’ve screwed up.”

Don’t get me wrong — I love having Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Just like being smart or having a sense of humor, ADHD is a positive character trait makes me who I am. But I haven’t always dated the most…


Want to be a better writer? Then check out this list of novel and short story craft titles published over the last year.

1. 25 Great Sentences and How They Got That Way by Geraldine Woods

Read this August release from creative writing instructor Geraldine Woods and you’ll never write sentences the same way again. “We all know the basic structure of a sentence,” she notes, “a subject/verb pair expressing a complete thought and ending with proper punctuation. …

Terena Bell

2X entrepreneur; reporter & fiction writer; Kentuckian in NYC; advocate for straight-talk & continued improvement

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