Friday, February 23, 2018

Ways to Promote Your Writing Online

A lot of disabled/neurodivergent writers can't promote their writing in person.  Chronic pain might limit outings.  Living on SSI/SSD (or equivalent programs) means there are no funds to travel.  Crowds could wreak havoc on someone with anxiety.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to promote our writing (and ourselves) on the Internet.  Some are cheaper than others, but the right one can be just what you need.

1.  Start a blog or write guest posts on other blogs.  (Like this one!) Blog tours to promote a book are a viable option.

2.  Vlogging (or streaming) on Youtube, Twitch, or Facebook.  You can do readings of your works, talk about the industry, etc.

3.  Focus on your Facebook or Twitter.  Try Instagram or another platform you may have overlooked.

4.  Submit to online literary magazines.  If published, you'll have a link to share on all your social media.

5.  Start a monthly newsletter.

6.  Make a book trailer or a video out of a poem.

7.  Offer an online class in an area you have expertise in.

8.  Join writer groups online.  It will take a while to find the right ones, but it will be worth it if you can find them.

9.  Have a traditional author website.

10.  Do giveaways (sparingly).  Giveaways can be a decent promotional tool, but they can get expensive and not worth it if they don't take off.

11.  Make your books available in e-formats.

12.  Take interview opportunities.

13.  Start a virtual reading series with other writers,

14.  If a book club covers your book, schedule a Skype chat to "meet" the members.

15.  Schedule a virtual book launch when your book releases.
Always take into consideration how much time, energy, and money you have to put into promotion.

Your writing comes after your care but before marketing efforts.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Is Snickering at Bad Query Letters Ableist?

I read a newsletter aimed at writers.  Every once and a while, the editor posts snippets of the worst query letters she receives (names redacted).  The sections are generally quite error-laden, and readers seem to like it.

A few months ago, the editor received an email saying the feature was, among other things, highly ableist. The person went on to say people with disabilities don't often type well (through no fault of their own) and poking fun at typos and the like was horrid.  The editor maintains she has no idea who is disabled and who isn't... she's just showing the most outrageous segments.  The person concluded by saying everyone needs to have their voice heard.

First, let me take the last point:  Just because there should be a place for everyone to share their thoughts, doesn't mean an editor should accept everything given to him/them/her.  If that were the case, some of the best literary magazines in the country owe me space in their issues.  Editors reject things for all sorts of reasons.

One of the reasons most editors reject a submission is because it has too many errors.  I don't mean dealing with a misplaced comma or errant homophone, either.  If there are so many errors that fixing a piece would require significant time, people are likely to skip it.  The next submission might be a good fit for the publication and sans typos.

Part of being a writer is having an understanding of grammar and spelling.  Everyone makes mistakes but, when we're submitting to a publication, we are attempting to show we're professionals (or reasonable facsimiles).  Our disabilities do not exempt us from this, though being in our own spaces (like on Twitter, our blogs, etc.) tends to be more relaxed.

Is it ableist for an editor to share (and poke fun at) badly-written query letters?  In my opinion... no.  Is it the best choice she could make?  I probably wouldn't do it, but it isn't my publication.

What do you think?  Is it ableist to post those queries?  Am I wrong to say it isn't?  Should disabled people be held to different standards when submitting?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Mentor Program FAQ

This will be expanded as needed.
Contact us on Twitter @HandUnPen or via email if you have more questions.

Do I quality as disabled or neurodivergent enough?

Do you have a good reason you claim the disabled and/or neurodivergent labels for yourself?  If so, you probably qualify.

Can I apply as a mentor in one genre and a mentee in another?

If you fit requirements for both, you can apply to be both. Your status as either will be looked at individually.

How much money does the program cost?

The program is free.  Mentors are volunteers who wish to help other disabled and/or neurodivergent people succeed in their literary goals.

What happens if a mentor or mentee becomes ill or injured and can't participate?

Mentors can post that they're open to applications again if their mentee is unable to finish the term (should they choose).

Mentees are allowed to pitch to other available mentors immediately.

What if I apply as a mentee and don't get picked?  

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can try the same mentor again (during another term with a different writing sample) or pitch other available mentors immediately.

I'm 16.  Can I apply? 

We have a mentor for teen poets and speculative flash writers. "Teens" are defined as people ages thirteen to seventeen. Hopefully, we will add more in the future. 

I'm not American.  Can I apply?

Yes!  Anyone writing in English can apply.

Are the people picking mentors and the like going to be mentors themselves?

Yes (this changed in 2020).

Why isn't the program open year-round anymore?

I'm a solo operator and lack the energy to keep everything spinning all year. I hope this is a good compromise.

So... "multiply marginalized" writers are "especially encouraged" to apply.  I'm a straight, white male.  Why aren't you welcoming me?

We want our mentor program to reflect our community.  It means my straight, white dudes are welcome.  It means my Asian enby folx are welcome.  It means anyone who works on their craft and is disabled and/or neurodivergent is welcome.

Unless you're a pompous jerk, that is.  Why is saying other people are "especially encouraged" to apply mean you aren't "encouraged"?  Think on that a bit and get back to me.

What if my mentor/mentee is threatening or abusive?

We will investigate any allegations we receive.  Abuse, bigotry, and harassment are not allowed here!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Mentor Application (2021 Edition)

Contact me via email:
Or on Twitter:  @HandUnPen

Notes before starting:  All mentors must be disabled and/or neurodivergent.

If you have a CV, please send it.  

Mentors and mentees will be in contact twice a week (minimum). This is a volunteer program.  Anyone in the world can take part.

All mentors will have their photograph (optional) and information put up on the blog so potential mentees can read about them.  If you're selected as a mentor, you will be sent a preview to okay before your entry is up.

Please send attachments as a PDF file, if possible.

If you've mentored in our program and want to do so again, just email us with any updated information and tell us you want to!

Mentor Application for The H.U.P. Mentor Program



Email address:

Website/social media:

Highest level of education completed:

Publication credits:

When would you like to mentor? We have two terms a year: February 1st to April 30th and August 1st to October 31st.

Do you work/have experience as an editor, sensitivity reader, teacher, or mentor?  If so, tell us about it.

What is your disability and/or neurodivergence?  (Share as much as you're comfortable with.) Is it okay to share this publicly?

If you have a specific connection to another community or marginalization, what is it?  (Are you nonwhite, part of the QUILTBAG umbrella, not Christian, etc?) You do NOT have to answer.  If you belong to a community, but aren't out publicly, say "no".

Which types of writing do you work best in?  Poetry, journalism, memoir, flash fiction, novels, something else?  Pick two at most.

Do you work in a specific genre (speculative poetry, romance novels, travel writing, etc.)?

Which aspects of writing or publishing do you feel you can guide someone in?  Writing query letters, pitching periodicals, novel development, submitting to literary magazines, editing essays, putting a poetry chapbook together, or what?

What are your preferred methods of correspondence?  Email? Skype? Facebook? Phone calls?

Why do you want to be a mentor in this program?

Do you need any content warnings on the writing samples or projects potential mentees submit?  Are there topics you absolutely will not read about?
(If so, and you're picked as a mentor, you and I will figure out how to best address it.)

Is there anything else you want us (or possible mentees) to know?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Ways to Support Writers (Without Spending Money)

1.  Review their books.

2.  Recommend their work to people you know.

3.  Send them a message of support or gratitude.

4.  Ask your library to get their books if it doesn't have them.  (Check out their books, too.)

5.  Get on social media and talk about your favorite works.  (Link to poetry and short stories if they're online.)

6.  Ask for books as holiday and birthday gifts.

7.  Attend free readings or open mics near you.

8.  Follow writers on social media.

9.  Nominate a work for an award, if able.

10.  Take photos of your library haul or books you own and share them online.

11.  Offer to interview lesser-known writers on your blog.

12.  Get together with friends and swap books.

13.  Recommend books to a book club.

14.  Tweet something witty, humorous, or useful the author has said.

15.  If you know a writer personally, be attentive when they talk about their projects or writing difficulties.

16.  If any writers follow you on social media, post any good writing opportunities you find.

I realize there are probably a lot of lists like this online.  But, I also realize a lot of disabled and/or neurodivergent people don't have money to donate to authors (or to buy books).  It's worth remembering that other acts have value.