Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Fridge Clean-Out: Labor Day Weekend Edition

Like when you just don't know what to eat and open up the fridge door and stare, or maybe decide it's time to clear out the fridge and start pulling out this and that --here are plenty of picks for your weekend enjoyment. If the three-day weekend is more of a lounge than I think it will be, I'll get more up as it meanders along. Or maybe not. Meanwhile, read, think, wonder, discuss. Report back if you like.

The Salon des Refuses is a compilation and criticism special edition by two Canadian lit journals: only the previously-rejected story need apply. It's in response to 2007 Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories, which some thought passed over too many worthy stories (and authors). OK, I get it. And I applaud anyone brave enough to launch any new print vehicle in 2008. Still: doesn't every story in a literary journal or anthology – unless you are Alice Munro – end up being rejected at least a time or two before it's published? And isn't it the job – like it or not-- of every anthology editor to whittle down the possible contenders? Guess the folks behind the Salon just didn't like what (and who) Jane Urquhart chose. And decided to do something about it.

With thoughts of school everywhere, I'm wishing my friend
Harriet Brown, who edited the funny and rueful Mr. Wrong, as well as the forthcoming Feed Me: Writers Dish about Food, Eating, Weight and Body Image, much good luck in her new job teaching in the magazine journalism program at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication, where I got my undergraduate degree. [Yes, I have an essay in Feed Me, but I'd send good wishes to Harriet anyway!]

I'm addicted to Publisher's Lunch/Lunch Daily, for a bunch of reasons. First, it's free, which its parent,
Publisher's Marketplace, though wildly informative, is definitely not. Second, anything that reminds me, on a regular basis, that there are books deals out there for writers and book ideas of every possible kind, that publishers are still hiring despite the "print is dead" rhetoric, and that agents are busy every single day nabbing contracts for completely unknown writers – well, that's the sort of encouragement I can use. Go here to sign up.

Speaking of free, you can sign up for the
BookPage twice-monthly e-newsletters here.

High-paying, quality markets for personal essays and creative narrative nonfiction are around, though not as plentiful as we'd like.
The Sun is an exception. It's good looking, well-edited, long-established, a monthly, and enjoys a good literary rep. And now there's this update from the submissions guidelines posted on the magazine's site:

"We pay from $300 to $3,000 for essays and interviews, $300 to $2,000 for fiction, and $100 to $500 for poetry, the amount being determined by length and quality. We may pay less for very short works. We also give contributors a complimentary one-year subscription to The Sun. We purchase one-time rights. All other rights revert to the author upon publication."

Hmm. Respectable compensation, fair rights terms, and a literary magazine that looks like a consumer magazine: in other words, I can keep it on my coffee table and visitors who never thought they cared about literary journals, may -- and do -- page through without intimidation, and without ads, too. The monthly e-newsletter, is free.

Okay, then there's this, and I’m not sure whether to be jumping in the aisles or putting on the "too good to be true" look I use when one of my kids tries to tell me something that ordinarily should be expensive, difficult and time-consuming is actually free, easy or quick.

Field Report is a new website promising a $20,000 payment each month to the author of a personal essay, judged the best by site visitors, who are fellow writer-contributors. I'm skeptical, mostly because (except for a few Google Adsense ads - and they pay next to nothing), there's no hint where the contest funds coming from. Who knows, maybe there's a noble-minded nonfiction lover behind the site. (Sure, they exist!).

The blurb on Mediabistro notes that one West Coast journalist said the San Francisco-based site has an "odd new business model." I'm hoping the emphasis in that quote isn't on "odd." Really, I hope it flies. I do. And I'd love to hear from anyone who knows more about it.

Have a great weekend.


Special Needs Mama said...

I had a friend have a not so great experience with the Field Report. You can write me offline if you want to know more.

Michelle O'Neil said...

First of all...look how beautiful you are! Great new photo Lisa!

Secondly, thank you for this amazing link filled, informative jewel of a post.

FieldReport said...

Hi Lisa,

I like to think that all of us at FieldReport are "noble minded non-fiction lovers," but we also have a business model. We're seeking to be a great entertainment site, and a sort of American Idol meets this American Life for the web. Our prizes are not fictional and we already have satisfied prizewinners to vouch for the fact (you can see details on the site).

As for your comment above from Special Needs Mama above, I would really like to hear from this person. If her friend had a mixed experience with the site, we want to know about it. I can be reached at

Best regards and thanks for the post,

Will Petty, CEO

Harriet said...

Aw, thanks for the shout-out, Lisa. One week down and no one has run screaming from the room, including me. Great photo! So that's what you look like!