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  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
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How Not To Promote a Writing Contest: The NY Literary Magazine

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware Congratulations!You have been nominated for the "Best Story Award".That's the message some writers found in their inboxes on Christmas Day, from a publication called The NY Literary Magazine:Could there be a better Christmas gift? Recognition by a "distinguished print and digital magazine"! The chance to "add to your bio and credentials that you are a Best Story Award 2017 Nominee"! An award recognized by the New York Times and Writer's Digest!Well...not exactly.Anyone who clicked the email link discovered that this isn't so much a nomination as a solicitation (for a monthly writing contest; winners get a "distinguished award seal"), and not so much an unexpected holiday gift as a rather deceptive buying opportunity (the entry fee is $19.95, discounted to $14.95 for, you know, Christmas). As for those impressive-seeming pull quotes,Typing the first line of that quote + "NY Times" into Google reveals, yes, a real NY Times article - one that was published in 1992, in reference to the National Book Award & Pulitzer Prize. IT'S A TWENTY-FUCKING-FIVE YEAR OLD ARTICLE YOU GUYS. https://t.co/773JNrErRw— Foz Meadows (@fozmeadows) December 25, 2017In fact:So, to recap: of the six pull quotes featured prominently at the top of the site, NOT A SINGLE ONE refers to the actual NY Literary Magazine Best Story Award.— Foz Meadows (@fozmeadows) December 25, 2017Just a teeny bit misleading, wouldn't you say?Above, I say "some writers". It's actually "a crapload of writers". NYLM seems to have engaged in a truly massive spam campaign to promote this contest.Thread: So, I've just been sent an email telling me I've been "nominated" for a "best story award," though the email doesn't list a specific thing I've written and it's not clear if this is for a novel or a short story. It also asks you to "submit your entry" by clicking a link.— Foz Meadows (@fozmeadows) December 25, 2017I also got one of those emails from @NYLiteraryMag saying I’ve been nominated for an award but asking me to submit my story (plus reading fee) for an “award” that isn’t worth the paper its printed on. @victoriastrauss #writerbeware #scam— Percival Constantine (@perconstantine) December 25, 2017Almost everyone in my writers' group got this email today, and almost everyone deleted the email.— Sandra Owens (@SandyOwens1) December 25, 2017Raising hand for roll call. I eyeballed the thing and promptly went to Absolute Write to see if there was a thread. There was. :-)— Jules Jones (@bookfetishist) December 26, 2017Just got this email over on my website from the NY Literary Magazine. Never heard of them. Will email you the addy and info.— Kim Baccellia (@ixtumea) December 26, 2017Absolute Write members got hit up, too.So what is NYLM? Basically, an obscure literary magazine with a very high opinion of itself (check out how often it uses "distinguished" as a descriptor). It's the brainchild of Camille Kleinman, girl genius (just read her bio). It runs free contests and doesn't appear to charge reading fees for submissions--but it does have several money streams. There's the monthly Best Story Award that's the subject of this post. There are anthologies, which no doubt are heavily marketed to contributors. And there's an "Editorial Book Review Service For Authors", which sells for $99. (Supposedly conducted by "experienced, professional Editors", the reviews are touted for their brevity--just two or three sentences long. Authors may want to save their money--the NYLM reviews I was able to find online are not only generic, many of them sound suspiciously similar.)NYLM has gotten wind of the not-exactly-enthusiastic response to its spam campaign. I got an email this morning from "Amanda" (no last name or title, but NYLM's masthead lists an Amanda Graham as Editor) lamenting "a torrent of angry, hateful messages which shocked us and which we feel are unjust". Because, you see, it was all a terrible mistake:We outsourced our marketing to an Asian service to help us spread the word about our Best Story Award contest. That is why authors received the marketing email from nyliterarymag.org (which is not our main website) on Christmas night, and at such an unexpected time in the middle of the night.Unfortunately, it appears they chose the wrong terminology when inviting authors to our contest. We're very sorry that being told they were nominated for the Best Story Award offended, insulted, angered, or disappointed so many authors.We have fired this agency and will monitor each marketing action any one of our team members does extremely closely from now on.I'll leave it to you to judge how plausible this is.Amanda also admitted something that I'm sure won't surprise anyone: the goal of the Best Story Award is "to finally become profitable and support our magazine." I'm not a fan of contests, even where they're reputable; but profitmaking contests are nearly always a waste of money. For why, and how to steer clear, see my 2015 post: Awards Profiteers: How Writers Can Recognize and Avoid Them.UPDATE: Digging themselves deeper into an already pretty big hole, the folks at NY Literary Magazine are now attempting to excuse their blunder with a non-apology apology. Those shifty Asians are again invoked. Click the link below.This is one of those “I’m sorry you were offended for no reason” apologies. It doesn’t change a thing. If anything, I feel much worse. pic.twitter.com/ya2x46srtu— Briana Morgan (@brimorganbooks) December 26, 2017

"Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially. You may read selections to sensible women, -- if young the better."
A. Bronson Alcott

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  • The famous author John Grisham is most famous for his courtroom dramas and all his titles are well known for having two words only, examples are The Firm and The Client. He already had a ten year old courtroom career as a lawyer before he decided to become a writer. John Grisham was born in Arkansas and brought up in Mississippi and he brings two unique perspectives to his novels that of a lawyer and a southerner.
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Fast fact about writing

In China historians have found out a lot about the early Chinese dynasties from the written documents left behind. From the Shang Dynasty most of this writing has survived on bones or bronze implements. Markings on turtle shells (used as oracle bones) have been carbon-dated to around 1500 BC. Historians have found that the type of media used had an effect on what the writing was documenting and how it was used.