Latinidad Newsletter - August/September 2003
- Latinidad Newsletter August/September 2003
You are receiving this newsletter because you have expressed an
interest in Marcela Landres and her work. If this newsletter has
been forwarded to you and you wish to receive it directly, please
visit http://www.marcelalandres.com/id51.htm. Past newsletters are
archived at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marcelalandres/
3. Success Stories
5. News to Use
6. Upcoming Workshops
7. Writing Opportunities
Muchisimas gracias for the outpouring of good wishes I received from
so many of you in response to July's inaugural issue of the
Latinidad Newsletter, as well as in response to my departure from
Simon & Schuster. Many of you have asked what my plans arerest
assured, I will continue, through my workshops, web site, and this
newsletter, to forge ahead with my mission to help talented Latino
writers launch writing careers. I welcome you to join me in my
mission by sharing the information I offer with interested friends
Q: I know Latino writers are hot right now, but I want to be judged
on my talent, not because I'm Latino. Do I have to identify myself
as a Latino when I submit my proposal?
A: Many people want to believe that writing talent is the only thing
agents and editors seek in a writer. This is not the case. If it
were, then the only component necessary to a proposal would be a
writing sample. The reality, as you can see from the submission
guidelines on my web site http://www.marcelalandres.com/id20.htm, is
that a complete, professional proposal is composed of many parts.
The purpose of a proposal is not to convey the talent of a writer,
but rather to persuade agents and editors that a writer has a
platform from which to launch a writing career.
A platform can consist of many things. For instance, authors
of self-help books can have a high profile on the speaking circuit,
a newspaper or magazine column, and a psychology or counseling
background. For fiction, authors can have an MFA from a highly
regarded program, a well-connected mentor, and literary awards. If
there are two proposals on the same subject that are equally well-
written, the one with a weaker platform is more likely to end up in
the rejection pile.
Your proposal is competing against countless others. I have
rejected more proposals in a week than I've published in a year.
Large publishing companies receive hundreds of submissions a day.
Agents and editors wade through piles of submissions seeking
proposals that will offer the greatest return on their investment of
time and energy. But on your side is the growing interest in Latino
authors. Latino writers who are savvy enough to clearly identify
themselves as such will getand the ones with talent and a platform
will keepthe attention of agents and editors. Latino writers who
don't identify themselves as such risk getting lost in the
bottomless submission pile. Being Latino is not a platform in and of
itself, but it is a hook that may keep you away from the rejection
pile long enough to have someone fall in love with your talentand
For more FAQ visit http://www.marcelalandres.com/id54.htm
3. Success Stories
Below is an example of one writer, Laurie, who used the advice I
shared with her to start laying the groundwork from which to launch
a great writing career. As I mention above, talent alone is not
enoughwriters need a platform. For fiction writers a platform could
include having short pieces published in
magazines/journals/anthologies, as well as garnering awards and
recognition from the literary community. Congratulations to Laurie,
on being published in the anthology, winning the award, and being
chosen for the mentorship programall things that will make her
proposal stand out amidst the scores of submissions editors and
"I read your email a while back about you leaving your job. I have
to admit my first thought was what happens to my book now? I'm not
sure if you even remember me; we met 2 Julys ago at Gemini Ink here
in San Antonio. I've been working a lot on my novel, but it's much
harder than I first thought it might be. I have however taken your
advice about doing everything I can with my poetry in the meantime:
Last October I had some work published in an Anthology and in March
I won a monetary award from the National Society of Arts and Letters
for a small collection of poetry. I just found out that I was hand
picked by Barbara Ras to study with her in a mentorship program
through Gemini Inkand they're going to pay for it.
So, thank you, Marcela Landres. You have been a large voice in my
life. Because of you I feel like a real writer.
For more success stories visit http://www.marcelalandres.com/id57.htm
VONA (The Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation) is a non-profit
organization associated with the University of San Francisco's
School of Education that is dedicated to nurturing developing
writers through the traditions, perspectives, and aesthetics of
writers of color. VONA was founded by Junot Diaz (author of Drown),
Elmaz Abinader (author of Children of the Roojme and In the Country
of My Dreams) and Executive Director Diem Jones. I've heard nothing
but raves from both writers and speakers who have participated in
their Summer Writing Workshops. The impressive faculty has included
such acclaimed writers as Terry McMillan, Martin Espada, and Willie
I highly recommend their Summer Writing Workshops. This year's
workshops are already closed, but bookmark their web site and visit
regularly to find out how to register for next year's session, as
well as to find more information about VONA http://www.vona-
For more recommendations visit http://www.marcelalandres.com/id25.htm
5. News to Use
Last year I attended a writing conference in a region of the U.S.
that has a large population of Latinos. As such, I expected to meet
a significant number of Latino writers. Over 200 writers attended
but only about six were Latino. To my dismay, numerous non-Latino
writers approached me and said "I'm not Latino, but I have lots of
Latino friends who would love to submit their work to you. Can
they?" To which I responded "Why aren't they here?"
The writing life is a solitary one, but Latino writers seem
more removed from the writing community than other writers. This
needs to change, because writers who are part of the writing
community are more likely to be happily published than those who are
isolated. One effective way to become connected is to attend writing
conferences, which offer the opportunity to create and maintain
relationships with agents, editors, and other writers. Over the
years I've met numerous writers at conferences who stay in touch
with me, and I naturally pay more attention to their submissions
than to submissions by writers I've never met. At one conference
alone I met two writers who I signed upone for a six figure deal.
Writing conferences are more about cultivating your rolodex instead
of honing your craft. Consider the cost of attending a conference,
like the cost of a good computer and printer, as an investment in
your writing career. Below is an article that offers excellent
guidance on how to choose the right conference for your needs. To
help you get started, look up some of the conferences I've attended
on the left hand side of this page on my web site:
Writermag.com article "Writing Conferences: How Do You Choose the
Best One for You?"
For more News to Use visit http://www.marcelalandres.com/id41.htm
6. Upcoming Workshops
I will participate in a panel regarding Spanish language publishing
in the U.S., as well as present my "What Latino Writers Need to Know
About Getting Published" workshop.
Location: 2nd Annual Latino Artist Round Table Congress, The King
Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, New York University, 53 Washington
Square South, New York, NY 10012
Panel: 6:30 8:00 p.m. Thursday, October 23, Auditorium, 1st floor
Workshop: 11:00 1:00 p.m. Friday, October 24, Rm. 404, 4th floor
To Register: tk
For a list of upcoming workshops visit
7. Writing Opportunities
The Jim Preminger Literary Agency is looking for television series
(comedy or drama) and feature writers for representation. Please fax
your credits to Hilary Stern at 310-860-1117. You must have at least
one completed spec television episode or spec feature screenplay to
be considered. Please do not send unrequested material.
MARKETING FOR AUTHORS
Do you want to ensure the way you think you should promote your work
is indeed the best way? At the end of this six-week class you will
know for sure, and you'll have a customized plan that is tailor made
for your book--and only your book.
M.J. Rose (www.mjrose.com) and Douglas Clegg (www.douglasclegg.com),
novelists, co-founders of Pigeonhole Press and co-authors of Buzz
Your Book will do much more than teach theory. Rose and Clegg will
work on each student's marketing plan, word for word. The work is
done in the class assignments and, when it's done, each student will
have everything they need to go forth and get attention for their
book. To register, and for more information about the course, visit
START-UP LATIN MAGAZINE
Start-up Latin Magazine aimed at young, ambitious, urban, Latin
markets of metro NYC is seeking talented writers with hot story
ideas. We want a Maxim with citysearch type flavor to it. Articles
and stories must be sexy not vulgar, hot, creative, intelligent but
not geeky, funny but not immature, opinionated, clever articles,
columns, lists, letters, blurbs, charts. . . the list goes on. Send
in idea for articles in the following categories:
-Sex/Dating - online dating, blind dates, etc.
-Entertainment - Hip hop, Latin, alternative, dance, rock, Latin
-Music - Hot recording artist and upcoming ones.
If your idea rings a bell with us, we'll give you a call and work
out the details. If this sounds like you, send ideas and salary
requirements to: dssraft@...
SEEKING STORIES FROM MATURE WOMEN OF COLOR
Guidelines: We're calling on mature women of color from 45-105.
We're developing an anthology that's a celebration of your years of
seasoning; a place for all of those stories you want to share with
your Sistahs. You've triumphed as a mother, you've become a dynamic
businesswoman; you're gifted, or perhaps you've come to terms with
negative events in your past.
Write a story, essay, or poem about a unique event in your life.
Submissions should be typed, double-spaced, no more than 2500 words.
Poetry should be no more than two double spaced pages. Send via
email as a Microsoft Word attachment, to vicki@....
Submissions must be received by 11/30/03. You're encouraged to
submit early, as decisions to publish will be made as entries are
received and reviewed. If manuscript is accepted, author will
receive $100.00 and one copy of anthology upon publication. For more
information, please visit: www.seasonedsistahs.com
STUDENT WRITING AWARD
Willamette Writers announces the 2003-2004 Kate Herzog Writing Award
to recognize exceptional student writing. Open to all high school
seniors or college freshman/sophomores in the U.S. This year's theme
is "Winners & Losers". Prizes include college scholarships: first
place = $500; second and third place = $250 each; plus a free
scholarship to the 2004 Willamette Writers Conference. To apply,
please forward the following by no later than Sunday, February 1,
2004 to Kate Herzog Scholarship, 9045 SW Barbur Blvd., Suite 5A,
Portland, OR, 97219:
1. A writing sample, typed, double-spaced. For fiction include an
original, unpublished writing sample of 1000 words or less. For
poetry include an original, unpublished poem, 2 pages or less in
length. The sample should be titled, but should not include
information about the writer. Writing published in school
publications is eligible.
2. A cover letter with contact information, the title of the writing
sample, and a paragraph describing the student's goals as a writer.
3. A letter of recommendation from an instructor in the student's
current academic year.
For further info about the award, please contact Willamette Writers
at 503-452-1592. For more info about Willamette Writers, visit
STUDENT WRITING PROGRAM
Young Willamette Writers - Students in grades 4-8 in the greater
Portland area are invited to join an ongoing creative writing
program. For more information visit online
http://www.willamettewriters.com/ or contact Joni Heyman, Willamette
Writers, 9045 SW Barbur Blvd, Suite 5A, Portland, OR 97219.
2003 ZOETROPE: ALL-STORY SHORT FICTION CONTEST
A. M. Homes will judge. First prize: $1000, Second prize: $500,
Third prize: $250
Winners and seven honorable mentions will be announced at the
website December 1, 2003, and in the spring 2004 issue of Zoetrope:
All-Story. Mail entries to: Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction
Contest 916 Kearny Street San Francisco, CA 94133
Complete Contest Guidelines - We accept all genres of literary
fiction. Entries must be: unpublished; 5,000 words or less;
postmarked by October 1, 2003; clearly marked "Short Fiction
Contest" on both the story and the outside of the envelope;
accompanied by a $15 entry fee per story (make checks payable to AZX
Publications). Please include name and address on first page or
cover letter only. We welcome multiple entries ($15/story) and
entries from outside the U.S.; please send entry fee in U.S.
currency or money order. While we cannot return manuscripts, we will
forward a list of the winning stories to all entrants who include an
SASE. Entrants retain rights to their stories. For more info visit
CALL FOR POETRY
Poet Lore is the oldest continuously published poetry magazine in
the U.S. Under the stewardship of its present publisher, The
Writer's Center, Poet Lore publishes semi-annual installments of the
finest contemporary poetry both by established writers and by those
breaking into print for the first time.
Submission Guidelines: 1. You may submit three to five poems. 2.
All poems must be typed with name and address on each poem.
Photocopies are acceptable. 3. If a poem is more than one page,
please indicate if the second page begins with a new stanza. 4.
Submissions must be poems or essays never before published. 5.
Reviewers: Please query the editors with a sample of your writing.
6. We prefer poems or prose not be simultaneous submitted. However,
we ask you let us know in your cover letter if this is the case. We
also need immediate notification if the work is accepted elsewhere.
7. A SASE must accompany all submissions. No manuscripts will be
considered without an attached SASE. 8. Send your work and SASE to:
Poet Lore, The Writer's Center, 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD
20815. For more information visit http://www.writer.org/poetlore/
INDIANA REVIEW'S FICTION PRIZE
$1000 Honorarium and Publication
Postmark Deadline: October 6, 2003
Reading Fee: $15, includes a year's subscription. All entries
considered for publication. All entries considered anonymously.
Send no more than one story per entry, 35 double-spaced pages
maximum. No previously published works, or works forthcoming
elsewhere. Cover letter must include name, address, phone number,
and title. Simultaneous submissions acceptable, but fee is non-
refundable. Entrant's name should appear ONLY in the cover letter.
Entries must be accompanied by SASE for notification. Manuscripts
will not be returned. Make checks payable to Indiana Review. Each
fee entitles entrant to one-year subscription, an extension of a
current subscription, or a gift subscription. Please indicate your
choice and enclose complete address information for subscriptions.
Send entries to: Fiction Prize/Indiana Review Ballantine Hall 465
1020 E. Kirkwood Ave. Bloomington, IN 47405-7103
Final Judge: Aimee Bender, author of two books: The Girl in the
Flammable Skirt, a collection of stories and a New York Times
Notable Book of 1998; and An Invisible Sign of My Own, a novel and
an L.A. Times Pick of 2000. For more information visit
"MAKING BOXES AND SHRINES" WORKSHOP AT OMEGA INSTITUTE
September 15-19, 2003
Kathy Cano Murillo, Latina artist and author, will be teaching
students how to express themselves through the fabulous world of
assemblage art, via shrines and shadow boxes. A form of "dimensional
scrap booking", it takes her recent how-to book, Making Shadow Boxes
and Shrines (Rockport Publishers) and brings it to life in a hands-
on way. Students will create all kinds of collage-friendly projects
such as cigar box shrines, tin travel shrines, spirit houses,
dashboard shrines, and much more. Students can bring their own
photos or mementos to incorporate in their projects, otherwise all
supplies are included.
To register, or for more information about the workshop,
5/; for more information about Kathy Cano Murillo, visit
For past writing opportunities visit
Changing the world one e-mail at a time,
If you'd like to share a question, success story, or information
about an organization/event/job opening, please email me at
"Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage."
Latinidad Newsletter © 2003