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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2004, 05:16 PM
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Donna If I never wrote another train I couldn't forget you dear. I will think of you when I see a train no matter if it on a track or a train sitting on a shelf somewhere. I will always remember you and your book
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 02-19-2004, 08:56 AM
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Dear Barbar,
I am smiling big!!!!

Hugs, train
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2004, 02:13 PM
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Does anyone else enjoy writing stories or poetry? ever go to "open mike" in your areas?

hugs,train
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2004, 06:52 PM
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what is "OPEN MIKE" never heard of that before.

another good place to go to do writting is over at Faithwriters.com
got some stories over there....
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2004, 12:34 PM
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Hi barbar,
We have "open mike" here at our local bookstores a couple times a month.
It is a chance for people to read their poetry or a short story they wrote to an audience. It is sponsored by our writers group. They put a michrophone in the coffeeshop of the bookstore and people take turns reading their stuff!! Though I do not write poetry, I like listening to it and I like the atmosphere of being around other writers!!

hugs,train
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 07-18-2004, 05:59 PM
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chuckle For Train re: her book (Pt. 1 0f 2!)

Sorry this is so horribly l-o-n-g (I seem to say that a lot!) but I tend to rattle on! I hope you don't mind some advice from a sister writer (especially from one too lazy to take her own advice! Sigh.... I admit that I haven't published anything myself since college, but I'm familiar with the drill. I have friends in the industry, too, both professional writers and publishers, and they also like to talk a lot. )

Have you tried sending your manuscript to any of the publishers who specialize in train books and writing, like Altamont Press? They might be far more interested in a book celebrating trains and riding 'em than a general publisher. Here's a webpage that lists many sources for railroading books. You might want to look for some that sound similar in subject matter to yours, note who published them, and check to see if you can find contact information for the publishing companies online.

Many of the train magazine publishers like Kalmbach (Trains and Classic Trains) and railfan websites are always looking for guest authors, too (I know: my husband gets 'em!) and you might try to send them an article or two, if you haven't already, to get your feet wet. Many train mags are published by companies that also publish train books, so that could be a very good way to get yourself noticed by them. And being able to show articles you've had published would be a BIG selling point for your book. Who knows, someone who publishes an article of yours might even ask you if you have anything ready for them in a longer format. Here's a link to a webpage that lists many -- if not all -- of the available train mags out there; try some of the railfan mags, maybe. One think to be sure to check, however, if you rewrite part of your book as a magazine article, is whether you retain the rights to your work. It can be really important when you try to sell the entire book that the magazine publisher doesn't hold the publication rights to part of it already! That can lead to a legal mish-mash most book publishers will choose to avoid, even if it means losing a promising book.

Also try some of the regional-interest magazines. A mag like Sunset, which specializes in articles about the West, might appreciate an article about train travel through the western states. Travel magazines are a good idea, too. I've even seen articles about riding the train in airline inflight mags, and don't forget that Amtrak publishes a couple of magazines for passengers on their Acela and Empire Builder train routes. The Sunday magazine and travel or leisure sections of your local newspapers might be interested in articles from you, too.

And, as ebooks become more popular, they might be worth looking into, also. Many e-publishing companies are eager to handle special-interest books. Many of them actually specialize in books that print companies won't touch, because they can cater to a more varied audience that will appreciate hard-to-find books. Unlike a print publisher, they can often afford to carry a niche-market title that won't make a mint for them, because they only "publish" on demand and therefore have much smaller costs. They never have to worry about ending up with a half-a-warehouse of unsold remaindered books. Again, though, you have to be sure that you retain the print publishing rights; more than one author who's published an ebook has later had interest in it from a traditional publishing house, so you want to be certain it's yours and not the ebook publisher's to sell if that happens.

The more "clips" you can accumulate to show a book publisher, the more likely they'll be to consider you a publishable author. Who knows? The absolute best thing to happen to any author (besides getting a book offer out-of-the-blue) is to attract the attention of an agent. A good agent is always looking out for new talent, and frankly very few unagented book manuscripts even make it to a publisher these days. Having an agent means you're dead serious about getting published, and an agent can get your work onto more editor's desks that sending an unsolicited ms "over the transom" could ever accomplish. Very few publishing houses will even look at their so-called slush pile (where unsolicited mss end up) anymore. The best you could hope for would be that some entry level reader might give it a once-over. Getting an agent is danged near impossible for an unpublished writer, but getting your name out there in the magazines might actually attract one to you, instead of you having to hunt one who'll take you on.

I imagine -- since you've already sent your manuscript out -- that you already know all of this next "stuff," but how you present your ms is very important, too. Most successful first-time authors start with a query letter telling what qualifies them to write about the subject (I'd say that with over 100,000 train miles under your belt you're well-qualified, and I suspect a publisher might agree!) and what the book is about, usually by including an outline of the book, which doesn't, btw, have to be a fussy traditional "Roman numeral/capital letter/small-case letter"outline like we learned to write back in school, but rather a short synopsis of the book. Offer to send sample chapters. A good query letter should leave an editor wanting to see samples, usually the opening chapter and a couple more that'll knock their socks off! A publisher who requests sample chapters is an interested publisher, which is what you want, after all. The rule of thumb is to never, ever send unsolicited manuscripts! Query first! Then, when you send samples, you've got to keep their interest, and a good cover letter can go far in doing that. You're essentially asking the publisher for a "job," after all, so you should treat the submission package that you send out just as seriously and professionally as you would a resumé.

That normally means double-spaced on good paper in Times New Roman or Arial, a good plain readable font. (Change your printer cartridge if neccesary to get a good clear, crisp printout. If you send a Xerox copy, be sure it's a decent one.) No fancy-schmancy fonts or pretty paper, which just scream "amateur." At least your last name and the book's title (an abbreviation for it is fine, if it's long) in the page headers with the page numbers on every page. And they should be loose pages only held together with a clip (hence the name and title on each, in case a sloppy reader or editor mixes them up with another ms on their desk.) For a book-length manuscript, the norm is to type a separate title page with your full name and contact information; for a shorter submission, it's acceptable to start your first page about a third of the way down with this information, then skip a few lines and start right in with the article or story.

If you need your copy back, enclose a SASE for it. An idea I like is to also include a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which you've printed a message like, "We have received your submission and will contact you about it at a future date." Add a note requesting that whoever gets your ms return the postcard to you, as it's quite probably the only "receipt" you'll get for it. Even a swamped, underpaid reader can flip a postcard into his or her outbox. You might request an email notification of receipt, too, but I'd advise not holding your breath. The card's faster for the person reading your book, and that's the person you want to make your very, very bestest new friend. Make it easy for them!

Many publishers prefer submissions these days by email or disk. If you get a request for either from one, make sure you understand the format they want. Most will be quite specific (okay, downright nit-picking,) and they tend not to be very forgiving if their rules aren't followed to the nines.

I can tell from your posts here, even though message board writing does tend to be loose as far as grammar and style goes, that you have the mechanics of writing down pat, and you can tell a good story that catches folks' interest. But one thing casual writers (as opposed to the very rare lucky folks who make a living at it) often forget is that a publisher doesn't want to spend any more time and money fixing up a manuscript than they have to, so be sure it's as polished as you know how to make it before you send it out. There are plenty of great books, magazines, and websites out there that can help you with that, if you need the help. Writer's Digest and The Writer magazines have been around a long time, and are good places for anyone interested in writing to start. Lots of tips about getting published! A time-honored, well-respected resource for anyone wanting to be published is Writer's Digest's annual Writer's Market book. Besides listing thousands of places to sell your work, it's always full of good information about writing and specifically about formatting and submitting manuscripts. Most libraries should have it, or they can get it through interlibrary loan for you. Be sure you get the latest edition, though, because publishing's a very changeable business; the 2005 edition is out now. It's about $30 to buy, and, since it's revised every year, it pays to hunt it out for free if you can. One advantage to having -- or having access to -- the book is that it usually names the specific person at the publisher who handles new book submissions. It looks far more professional to address a query letter to an individual than to a company or, heavens forbid, "To Whom It May Concern"! <shudder> (cont'd, 'cause I ran long even for me!)
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 07-18-2004, 06:04 PM
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shocking For Train re: her book (Pt. 1 0f 2!)

There are some good Yahoo and MSN Groups for writers, too, where you can get support and "test drive" your work. A quick search at either will bring up a list. (AOL probably has a bunch, too, but I'm not as familiar with them.) If you join a group, be selective; you don't want a writing group where everybody will just adore everybody else's work but never give a helpful critique. You want one where folks will be friendly but honest (sometimes pretty brutally so, but that can be a good thing) about your writing, not a warm-and-fuzzy mutual admiration society where you won't learn anything new. Of course your family and friends love your writing, but you want to know what people who don't think you hung the moon think about it, too.

I hope this wasn't too boring (I already know it was too long!) Good luck!
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 07-18-2004, 06:12 PM
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Hi there!

Just stumbled on this thread and was thrilled to find it. I have not written anything in the past few years but I have always loved writing poetry. I like to write about things that have happened in my life...it is a great outlet for my emotions.

Train that is awsome that you wrote a book on your love of trains. I still remember when I was 5 travelling across Canada with my mom. The conductor taught me the song the eensy,weensy spider. I remember sleeping in the top bunk and counting 1 clickety clack, 2 clickety clack....... to fall asleep. I thought it was so cool to go from car to car. I am hoping to take my 3 kids on a train ride so they can have some great memories too.

Take care
Debbie
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 07-19-2004, 11:12 AM
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wow... and I though I was the only one that writes a lengthy message. glad to see I'm not.
Welcome roisindubh... just giving you a hard time.
thanks so much for those 2 websites

another one that I've already mention is faithwriters.com... this is where I done some of my writting, and suppose to be in a book that will be pulbish later that has 2 of my stories in it.

Deb... wow... if I ever become your ss... keep me in mind with your poetry....and If I'm not stil would llove to see some of it.

I do not write any poetry... that not me... seems to hard to do.
I enjoy wirtting life experiences... to be able to help someone else if posible.

in fact I posted a link in the women of faith thread over in the religious forum how I finally excepted the call I felt GOD called me to write. after a long battle of saying NO me, LORD.

any ways it good to find a few more that enjoys writting....
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Old 07-19-2004, 12:04 PM
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roisindubh.... Thank you for all the wonderful information about writing. I have a cousin who is 75 years old who is writing stories about her childhood. She is looking to get them published. I will send her this information you have posted. Love the two websites for writing very interesting. This same cousin recently took up painting too. She has already won prizes at senior citzen shows. She will be entering in the state finals. She just bought her self a new car after 45 years of driving. Being a widow she has plenty of time to be creative now and travel.


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