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Welcome to the 22nd issue of the Weekly Prophet, a weekly newsletter that focuses on creative writing, publishing opportunities, life. A cheery wave to new subscribers! Thank you for being here and for being you. Buckle in, everyone. This one's a bit on the long side.
Langley | November 29, 2020

Is Your Feedback Alienating Other Writers?

Last week, we talked about receiving feedback because I needed to share my recent (mis)adventures in finding a critique partner. (If you missed it, you could check it out here.) To catch you up, it hasn't been going well. I've had my head ripped off, and insecurity reared its ugly head. 

But let's focus on the insecurity bit I mentioned. I don't like conflict and being yelled at makes you think about what you could've done wrong. 

With that in mind, I went down a rabbit hole to figure out what went wrong and if I'd overstepped my role. I also wanted to check the guidelines for giving a critique to make sure I wasn't too harsh. Full disclosure: I can be blunt. But I'm working on it. 

So if you're like me, then you'll want to check out this list on how to give good feedback: 

  • It’s candid and honest
  • It’s specific and actionable. Tell them what's wrong, and then give the recipient tools to help them get better.
  • It’s based on more than one incident or example. "You’ve made this same writing mistake multiple times; what gives?" Followed by the above bullet point.
  • It’s framed positively and constructively. Instead of saying, “you don’t have what it takes,” say, “Hey, I see you’re struggling with these things, but I want to help you get better by doing the following.”
  • Tailor the feedback to the author. If you don't know the person, then this may be a bit tricky, but if you do know them, phrase things in a way that gets the point across without being mean. 
  • Don’t skim, read deeply, and take notes. If you can’t do that, don’t say you’ll give feedback.
  • Think quality, not quantity. Forget pointing out every spelling, grammatical, or punctual mistake you find. You're probably looking at a work in progress. Instead, focus on the big picture issues like plot and character development. 
  • Compliment sandwiches are useless. Don’t layer all of the bad things with compliments on either side. It’s still demeaning and disheartening. Either start with the bad or the good. Don’t use the good as a balm for the bad.
And most importantly, check in with your critique partner after you give your feedback. It's always nice to know that you care about them despite the wallop you delivered on their manuscript. Remember, you're there to help, and sometimes that means giving moral support. 

In Case You Missed It

This week, the publishing landscape changed dramatically. Penguin Random House has purchased Simon & Schuster for US$2.175 billion. 

Let that sink in. The Big 5 has now become the Big 4. 

The consolidation of the publishing industry in the US has some serious repercussions for writers, such as:
  • Penguin Random House/Simon & Schuster will account for 50 percent of all trade back books published. 
  • Competition for contracts would increase and "would inevitably drive down advances offered."
  • It would make it even more difficult for agents and authors to negotiate for better deals or secure changes to standard publishing contracts due to a lack of options. 
  • The merger will also likely mean editorial layoffs, contract cancellation, less diversity among authors and ideas, a more conservative approach to risk-taking, and fewer imprints to publish under. 
The Author's Guild is asking the US Department of Justice to prevent the merger. Hopefully, something will come out of the request.

In the meantime, encourage your friends and family to buy books from a brick and mortar store instead of Amazon this year. Many are pointing to the retail giant as the reason for the merger.

Speaking of Amazon, the retail giant also came under additional scrutiny this week for their "shady" Audible practices. 

Unfamiliar with #AudibleGate? Here's the skinny: Audible, as part of their growth platform, allows users to exchange or refund their audiobooks for up to 365 days. Audible will then remove the author's royalty upon return or exchange without telling the author. 

The kicker is they've been doing this for years, and no one noticed. 

Again author rights groups have taken issue with this, and Amazon has amended the policy slightly and not to these groups' satisfaction. The changes have prompted the Alliance of Independent Authors to downgrade Audible's listing from safe to use cautiously. 
Links and further reading:

Upcoming Publishing Opportunities

I want you to have more time to prepare your submissions, so here's a look at some upcoming publishing opportunities:
  • Migrant Anthology is seeking essays and poetry from those settled primarily in the Midwest and border towns in the US. The editors are prioritizing work from Indigenous migrants, Black migrants, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Arab communities. The deadline to submit is December 5, 2020.
  • The Sunshine Review publishes poetry and short stories. The deadline to submit is December 30, 2020. (If you wouldn't mind, please share this with your writer friends. I'd greatly appreciate it.)
Good luck to everyone who chooses to submit! Please don't forget to check out the publisher to ensure that your work is a good fit, and follow submission guidelines to the letter.

This week on Danielle Adams... 

Volney Road Review is a paying online publisher of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. They showcase the unpublished treasures of both emerging and established authors.

I've curated a list of 19 poetry markets you can submit to this month. And if you're more into fiction or nonfiction, you'll want to check these publishers out; there are opportunities for you too.
The Sunshine Review publishes poems and short stories. It's my literary magazine, and I'd greatly appreciate it if you passed the news along to your writer friends. 
Read More

What I'm Working On

I have officially finished my Christmas shopping for everyone but my husband. That means presents bought, wrapped, and shipped all last weekend. It's a big relief to have that off of my plate.

Christmas baking has also picked up. The hubby is delighted that I've been making butter tarts and shortbread cookies.

Other than Christmas, I have been working on getting things done for The Sunshine Review, like Instagram and Facebook posts (follow us @thesunshinereviewlitmag), and getting a mailing list set up to receive emails. I still have a bit more work to do on the email front, though. 

This week was also exciting because I have a new-to-me computer. So far, I haven't been kicked off the internet or had any major hiccups. 

I have been writing a few poems this week, accompanied by plenty of staring out of the window. Here's one of them:

Star Gazing


The cricket flies through the air,

Singing his song without care.

The wind stirs a breeze through the stagnant night,

Cooling you and I as we search the sky for moving light.

What I'm Reading

I'm officially done reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I'm just collecting my thoughts on it and will give you a run-down on what I thought next week. 

In the meantime, I've been doing some comfort reading, which means I've been re-reading some of my Nora Roberts books. I'm a huge fan of hers, and I like reading her Christmas stories at this time of the year. They're always so wholesome. 

I'm hoping to dive into Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston next. It's the third book in the Once Upon a Con series. I liked the first book, was meh on the second, but I've heard good things about the third. 

Thanks for reading this far. 

Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

I'll be back on December 6.

Danielle Adams

Don't forget to follow me on social media.

Copyright © 2020 Danielle Adams, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
308-20115 53A Ave
Langley, British Columbia
V3A 0M7

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Danielle Adams · #308 20115 53A Ave · Langley, British Columbia V3A 0M7 · Canada

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