The Un-Editorial Notepad #7

Posted by Rita Lorraine

Be social. Join a writing listserv.

Hi Everyone,
Hope you’ve had an enjoyable week. Today I’m being even more un-editorial than usual. Instead of discussing the types of un-editorial issues that come across my desk, I want to talk about writing listservs and why you should join one as soon as possible.

Eight Reasons to Join a Writing Listserv

If you don’t belong to a writing listserv, you should rectify that situation as soon as possible. Writing listservs are, quite simply, the bomb-dot-com, and here are eight reasons why:

1. You get to mingle with all sorts of writers – from aspiring to published. This mingling is usually done online, but depending on how active your listserv is, that mingling could also occur in person.

2. You get to read about the “writing journeys” of various published writers. On one of my listservs, the list owner interviews published writers, editors and agents, then opens the list for members to ask any publishing/writing/illustration/marketing question they want. It’s great.

3. You get alerts about upcoming seminars, schmoozes, get-togethers and workshops. In the last few weeks, I’ve been alerted to half a dozen events – including a get-together just a few miles down the road from me. Although I can’t possibly attend them all, these alerts keep me in the loop and give me plenty of choices and opportunities.

4. You get to ask questions and actually have them answered by seasoned writers.This one is self-explanatory.

5. You get first-hand information about critique groups forming in your area, and you just might land in a group with real, live, bona fide published authors. I did, and they’re wonderful to behold (and share material with).

6. You get alerts about publishing opportunities. Within the last week, I learned about a Scholastic agent who was opening a four-day window for unsolicited submissions (something that almost never happens), then closing it indefinitely. I subbed a historical MG/YA I’ve been working on for the last two years, and although she advised that it may be six months before any of us hear from her, I got to toss my hat in the ring because I was on the listserv.

7. You can sometimes get “first call” from editors and agents who are building their lists. The same week that the Scholastic agent accepted unsolicited subs, a writer who just became an editor invited the writers on my listserv to sub their romance YA’s so she can build her list.

8. You hear from seasoned agents, who tell you exactly what they’re looking for, what they DON’T like, and what’s on their wish list.

The list of benefits associated with joining a listserv could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. To find a writing listserv that fits your needs, search Yahoo Groups or SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), which usually identifies all types of groups, not just the ones who write for children.

I hope this un-editorial advice helps you in your quest to become a published writer.

Best wishes and happy writing,

Rita Lorraine

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