Published Authors on Being Published #InPrint14


In the spirit of technological innovation I am going to try mobile blogging—from my iPhone. Limited HTML knowledge don’t fail me now.


So, this week at Ball State is the annual In-Print Festival celebrating and probing three authors who have recently published their first books.

This year we had the pleasure of meeting T Fleischmann, Mario Alberto Zambrano, and Natalie Shapero to talk about their respective books and experiences.

We were also able to hear from someone on the other side of publishing, editor of Booth literary magazine out of Butler University, Robert Stapleton.

So, how do you go about getting yourself published?

If you’re T Fleischmann, author of Syzygy, Beauty you have a lot of voices in your head and need a place for them to go. After graduate school Fleischmann hitchhiked across the continental U.S. and admits that he would write even if being published wasn’t in the cards. For him, writing, speaking for the transgendered community is gratifying enough.

Mario Alberto Zambrano always knew he wanted to be a dancer and he was until age twenty-seven. After fifteen years he didn’t feel as passionate about a career in dance, so he went back to school where he found a passion for creative writing. It was while on tour performing Wicked in Osaka to pay for his tuition to The New School where he found his muse. A childhood game honoring his Mexican-American background—lotería. Lotería, 53 vignettes for the 53 lotería cards. The rest, as they say, is history.

Natalie Shapero is my hero. Could go on a bumper sticker right? Her candor and awesome prose inspires me to be better and at the same time feel better about not knowing exactly what to do. After completing her MFA and what she calls an unpublishable thesis, Natalie went to law school where she was able to overcome her hang-up on never writing too personally blaming her creative awakening on the environment of law school. After two years of sending around a manuscript we have No Object—a fascinating and frankly hilarious book of poetry that isn’t afraid to delve into real-life feels.


TF: Find time to read and write things that you want to read and write.

Natalie Shapero exchanges poems with a friend every two weeks. “It just helps to keep writing.”

Getting published is hard, but we can increase our chances by writing every day and submitting our work. According to Robert Stapleton and affirmed by the writers, doing extensive research on literary magazines and finding which one is the best fit for your work is the best way to increase your odds.

The In-Print Festival is a great opportunity to meet some great people and hear writers speak candidly about the publishing biz. (It also happened to be a great place to score some free reads this year.)


I encourage everyone to participate in In-Print (back in 2015) and events like In-Print and tweet advice and information via #litcitizen and check out the Literary Citizenship blog.

If you would like to read a sampling of these authors’ works and the works of some other great writers and artists pick up a copy of The Broken Plate literary magazine at

Thanks for reading!


So you have a manuscript? Now publish it.


This week in Literary Citizenship we’re talking about publishing.  The publishing world is like a giant game of Blackjack.  It’s really a game of luck, but you can increase your chances of winning with certain skills and know-how. 

Many editors have cashed-in on the secret to being published.  Styles vary, but the advice is consistent across the board. 


A Catchy Title and the Perfect Pitch


You’ll need both of these things not only to get published, but also to catch an agent.  Your pitch should consist the nuts and bolts of your story and why it should be published.  Something that is very important to the big publishers is money: is this book going to sell?  “Who is this book for?” and “Which bestsellers is it similar to?” are questions you need to be prepared for. 


Hit or Stay?

I’ve been reading Betsy Lerner’s book The Forest for the Trees, an invaluable resource for writers who want to be published.  In chapters nine and ten Lerner, a book editor, contrasts what editors want with what authors want.  There is a thickly drawn line as to whose opinion is more important in getting published, but what you as the author have to decide is what is more important to you: changing a major plotline to make them happy or keeping your integrity and moving on.



The publishing industry is a dog-eat-dog world, so it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.  It’s important to know that getting published by one of the Big Six publishing houses (think Penguin) is next to impossible, but don’t fret there are other ways of getting your book published.  See Jane Friedman’s guide to getting published “Understand the Key Book Publishing Paths” (pictured). 



Get out there!

There are many valuable resources when it comes to publishing that make it easier to get to know the industry and get your book out there.  See: Eckstutt and Sherry’s The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, Marek’s Editors on Editing, Lerner’s The Forest for the Trees, or one of the other handfuls of books out there on the subject.  The best advice I have heard, though, is networking.  In publishing it’s all about who you know, so get on Twitter, build a blog, sell short stories to magazines, do whatever it takes to get your name out there. 


Until next time,