Saturday, June 10, 2006

On Publishing Essays of Creative Nonfiction (Personal Memoir, Etc)

Just back from the Washington Independent Writers Conference and my panel on memoir and essay with novelist and essayist Leslie Pietrzyk, Washingtonian features editor and writer Bill O'Sullivan, and op-ed "ghost" Mike Long (who made me laugh so much I almost had to put my forehead on the table-- in fact, I don't think I laughed so much since Pee-Wee Herman's last movie. Wasn't that 15 years ago?) I spent my 15 minutes talking about publishing in literary journals, and it was only afterwards that I realized, I'd forgotten to mention that the advice in the handout, my article "Out of the Forest of Noise: On Publishing the Literary Short Story," is also applicable to essays of literary memoir and creative nonfiction. (To read the article on-line click here.) Another thing tugging at the corner of my mind: someone in the audience, anxious to place her work, asked how to develop a relationship with an editor. I wish I'd thought to say it isn't so important as you probably imagine. Editors come and go. It might sound lame to say, "Just do good work and be politely persistent," but that, truly, is the best advice I could offer. Well, that and "laugh as much as you can." It's nuts.