Friday, September 19, 2008

Conference Notes: Pam Zollman on Jump Starting Your Writing

The first event at the SCBWI Carolinas conference was Pam Zollman's talk on "Jump Starting your Writing."

Some of it was a bit more of the same that writers typically hear, but some highlights that really stood out for me include magazine writing and philosophy on submissions.

Magazine Writing
Zollman considered magazine writing to be a bit of an overlooked market--writers should take advantage of the opportunities magazine writing could include. She particularly notes that nonfiction writing is beneficial. 100% of magazine who accept freelance writer submissions will consider nonfiction, while only 30-40% will consider fiction--despite the fact that most submissions are fiction.

One does not need be a nonfiction writer to write nonfiction magazine articles. Zollman pointed out that as writers, we all do some level of research for out writing--and could turn that into a non-fiction article. She gave an example of a fiction book she wrote based on the gold rush, and a nonfiction book about the gold rush that she wrote using all the research she couldn't include in her fiction book.

Rejections
My favorite quote from Zollman was about rejections:
A manuscript that is in the drawer is rejected. A manuscript in the mail isn't.
She suggests having 10 different things in the mail at the same time--and 10 copies of the same manuscript doesn't count. Whenever one comes back rejected, add another into the cycle. Her theory is that with 10 things in the mail at one time, an author is bound to get an acceptance just based on sheer numbers.
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