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5 Bushwick Writers on How to Get Published

By Katarina Hybenova

By Katarina Hybenova

Are you squinting night by night on your unfinished novel manuscript? Are you dreaming about holding a hard cover proudly bearing your name one day? Are you reading literary journals and hoping to see your name in the Table of Contents rather sooner than later? In other words, are you a Bushwick writer hoping to get published?

We asked five of the Bushwick writers who have been published for their advice...

#1 Maggie Craig  

Start your own publishing house.

3 Words to characterize your writing:

Passionate. Speculative. Honest.

What did you publish:

I started a publishing house called Papercut Press and published my book The Narrows, a steampunk fantasy novel about being different and learning to love yourself for who you are. It's available on Amazon and Etsy, and at small bookstores around New York City, including Bushwick's Better Than Jam at the Loom.

Advice to the writers who are trying to get published:

No matter what you do in the writing world, patience is key. These things take time, especially when you're at the point of trying to get your work out there. Don't get discouraged. Also, don't be afraid to pursue nontraditional means of publishing. The literary world is in an amazing, exciting state of change right now, so anything is possible. If you're going to publish your own work, be ready for a long, tough, expensive journey. Avoid self-publishing sites like lulu.com or createspace.com and do your research so that you put out a book that people will take seriously. Most importantly, hire a professional editor and designer. In the end it comes down to quality writing, solid editing, and great design. You can visit my blog to find more details on exactly how I created Paperuct Press and published The Narrows.

#2 Mike Lala

Make a spread sheet!

3 Words to characterize your writing:

It's basically poetry.

What did you publish:

Two chapbooks: Under the Westward Night (Knickerbocker Circus Publishing 2011) and [fire!] ([sic] Press 2011). Various poems in online and print journals/magazines.

Advice to the writers who are trying to get published:

Submit more than you think is necessary. Make a spreadsheet.

#3 Paul Rome

Spend a lot of time writing.

3 Words to characterize your writing:

Self-conscious. Considered. Re-considered.

What did you publish:

I’ve published an essay in Mercer Street (NYU’s literary journal), poetry in The Minetta Review, drawings and an essay in The Deadbeat Digest (Buffie Gilbert’s zine), and a short story in The Bushwick Review, Vol 2.  A self-produced studio recording of my audio-fiction is available at www.theyoutrilogy.com

Advice to the writers who are trying to get published:

I may not be the most qualified person to give advice since, as you can see from question 1, I’ve published very little. I’ve been told, and I think it’s true, that getting one’s work published is probably extremely important if getting a novel published by a major, mainstream publisher is a goal.  I spent five years writing a novel titled We All Sleep in the Same Room and it remains unpublished.  With the exception of drafting query letters to agents regarding the novel, I’ve devoted almost no time to getting my “shorter work” published or even written that much “short work.”  My advice, for what it’s worth, is to spend your time writing.  Everyday is best.  Reading author’s you want to emulate and doing sufficient research and outlining is also helpful.

#4 Dolan Morgan

Submit often and everywhere.

3 Words to characterize your writing:

Busty. Barely. Legal.

What did you publish:

Kiss My Annulus,” a long story about calculus and butts in Contrary Magazine

There Are Places in New York City That Do Not Exist,” a short story with a bibliography in Vol. 1 Brooklyn

Hijacking Myths,” a serialized history of airplane hijackings in Fortnight Journal

“Google Place Reviews,” an ebook on Amazon, and more.

Advice to the writers who are trying to get published:

I don’t understand literature, but I know a few numbers. Any story or poem is roughly 1 of 63,000,000,000,000 sent out each nanosecond of the day (give or take a few billion). The sheer odds aren’t so kind, and are in fact plainly inhuman. Fight these numbers -- not with love or courage or fire -- but with more numbers. Submit often and everywhere, write often and everywhere, and fervently embrace failure, also often and (if you can) more than everywhere. Most importantly, if you don’t like rejection, kill yourself. Death accepts everyone.

#5 Eric Nelson

Pay less attention to what others are writing.

3 Words to characterize your writing:

Urgent. Realist. Mimicking.

What did you publish:

I had a collection of short stories published two years ago from Knickerbocker Circus Publishing called The Silk City Series.

Advice to the writers who are trying to get published:

My advice for writers looking to get published is to pay more attention to what you're doing and less attention to what others are writing. Also, when submitting, pay careful attention to what the press or publisher has put out and if it fits, submit. Don't make your submission process a skeet shoot.

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