So… you’ve taken every Frequency class, and now you have all this writing and you don’t know what to do with it? Good news! Writer, editor, and publisher Erica Mena-Landry is teaching a four-week workshop on Publishing Basics.
Publishing Your Work: Basics
Instructor: Erica Mena
Dates: Mondays, 8/7-8/28
Where: 186 Carpenter Street
Erica took some time to answer some questions about the class—
Seth Tourjee and Erica Mena at the RI Independent Publishing Expo
1. Why should people who have never published before consider the possibility?
People publish their work for all different reasons, but I think the best reason (and the reason I most encourage people to publish) is to be an active part of a literary community. Publishing work helps you find people to be in conversation with — other readers, and writers, and editors, who are interested in the same things you are. Community is so important to writers, though much of what we do happens alone, and through publishing you can find a place in a community with editors and writers and readers who believe in you and the work you’re doing, and whose work you believe in. These relationships can last a very, very long time, and lead to some amazing friendships, collaborations, and of course expand your reading list.
2. How can publishing be a personalized process?
There are literally thousands of places that publish literary work in English, journals, presses, websites, anthologies, and blogs just to name a few formats. Not to mention self-publishing. Figuring out why you want to publish, and for whom, is the first step, and there are lots of answers to those questions. From making a broadside of a poem to give to family and friends to commemorate a special event, to putting a short story on Tumblr, to submitting your work to contests and competitions, how you choose to publish is going to be determined by what your individual goals for each individual work are. Understanding the options, and how to actually do them, is the goal of this workshop.
3. What are some of your favorite presses, and why? How do you hope to guide others through this process?
I have a deep love of the handmade chapbook form (we’ll be talking about that, and that’s what my press publishes) so most of my favorite presses are focused on that form. Ugly Duckling Presse, local favorite Burning Deck, my own Anomalous Press, the exquisite social justice collective Antenna, and the publisher of my book Ricochet Editions are definitely among my favorites. I think the most important thing about publishing is to know your goals, and to be ready to celebrate rejection.
4. What makes a piece publishable? Why should writers consider publishing their (perhaps unpolished) work?
What makes a piece publishable is the writer’s desire to share it with a reader. That reader could be one person, for whom they make a one-of-a-kind handmade version of the piece. Or it could be (a hoped-for) many readers. But the desire to be seen and heard and in conversation with others through a piece (which is definitely not all writing, not all of my own writing for sure!) is enough to make that piece publishable.
5. Can anyone publish? Is this class open to different levels of experience and genres?
YES! Anyone can publish! Absolutely. This workshop will be exploring many different ways of publishing, and will have things for every genre and level of experience. We’ll be exploring motivation, resources for publishing, tracking submissions, writing queries and bios and cover letters, submitting ettiquite, and a ton more. We’ll also be covering things that happen post-acceptance (contracts, royalties, payments, permissions, negotiation, ect.) and post-publication (publicty, archiving, presentation, awards, contests, etc.).