1. aberdeen
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    aberdeen Member

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    Anyone here write essays?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by aberdeen, Mar 30, 2014.

    I recently joined this forum and have a question to ask people here. I am a new member from the eastern part of Connecticut, a hundred plus miles from New York City. I have never been a member of a writers group before and look forward to learning from your experiences.

    To be very brief, I have always enjoyed reading but was never interested at all in writing for a living until the past few years. I was around forty years of age when I even started to write. For the next fifteen years or so, it was mainly letters to medical and other specialists, countless messages to various online discussion forums, as well as personal letters and emails. I am not exaggerating – I must have written several hundreds of thousands of words during this time. Reflecting back on my rather ordinary childhood, it still surprises me when I say that everyone who has ever seen my writing has been very impressed.

    I am in my mid fifties now and have finally decided to try to write for a living. Yes, I know it's a real longshot, with perhaps only one in many thousands being able to pull it off successfully. I do have many unusual experiences in life to draw upon, however, and now have the confidence that I might be able to do well.
    In the past two years, I have written one hundred and ten essays, of between a thousand and five thousand words each, on a variety of topics . These essays are at my website/blog, which is closed to the public at the moment. At least for now, my goal is to is to publish my essays, probably in an e-book format, within the next few months. I look forward to learning from all your experiences here.

    Does anyone here know the best way to go about publishing my essays? From what I have gathered so far, very few beginners, if any, have had success doing so. I read that it's almost impossible to publish a collection of essays unless one is already well known. The art of essay writing seems to be on its way out. Perhaps not with the personal types, but with the more serious and intellectual forms. Sheila Bender wrote an article in Writers Digest in 2008 on the topic of writing and publishing personal essays. I read her book and sent an long email to her. After looking through her website and seeing her email response, I decided that my work doesn't fit into this category. I also contacted Carol Celeste at http://www.writingtoheal.com. She never responded to my email message.

    After spending a few hours online checking out websites on essay writing, I found Notting Hill Editions of London. They publish books and collections of essays, and their stated mission is to revive the art of essay writing. They have an online library of a hundred famous ones. They don't seem to have a forum for essay writers. At least I signed up for their monthly newsletter, and have written to Harry Mount, an English author, blogger at the Telegraph, and the editor of their journal. I have also sent an email to Tom Kremer, an older man who founded Notting Hill a few years ago. It's been a few weeks and neither one has responded so far.

    I browsed through the whole site a few weeks and, if my memory is correct, they don't cater to beginners such as myself but instead to the more established and well known essayists. Even though it's three thousand miles away from home, it's better than nothing. If I ever become famous (in my dreams?), then maybe I will get published there.

    Does anyone here write essays? Know anyone who does? Better yet, anyone who works in the publishing field and specializes in helping essay writers? I am not sure what I will end up doing. At least for now, it doesn't seem as if there is any point in publishing essays on my website and just hoping to attract enough of a readership that way. By self publishing, perhaps in the comparatively inexpensive e-book format, I might be able to build a following that way.

    Maybe no one has ever tried this before, and maybe I'm just a fool for doing so. I really enjoy writing essays, believe I have something to offer, and have nothing better to do with my life, so I will somehow figure out the best approach.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have self-published 6 book collections of my philosophical essays and 'philosetry'... and i lived in westport, southport and new canaan for a dozen years back in the 80-90s, so please feel free to email me and i'll be happy to do whatever i can for you...

    you can check out the quality of my books here:
    http://www.free-ebooks.net/profile/290871/maia

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Duotrope has a listing of nonfiction markets, and some of them accept essays. Duotrope isn't free anymore, however; I think it now costs something like $50 a year. It's worth it if you plan on submitting often because Duotrope arguably has the best listing of markets.

    You may also want to check individual magazines to see what types of essays they publish and if they accept unsolicited submissions. I know that magazines like The American Scholar still publish serious and intellectual-type essays. Good luck!
     
  4. aberdeen
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    aberdeen Member

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    I appreciate both of your responses and will be checking out your recommendations. I have never been in a writers forum before and am quite glad to be here.
     
  5. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    You can publish inexpensively through Amazon (CreateSpace for paperback and Kindle for e-book).
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I recommend looking for magazines to submit to rather than self-publishing. First, there's not much demand for essays, and people most likely won't be buying a collection of essays from an unknown writer. Second, you'll most likely make more money publishing in magazines; there's no reason to sell yourself short by self-publishing your essays. Third, you'll be taken more seriously as an essay writer if you have publications in well-known paying markets.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've bought and read a number of books that I would call books of essays, but they weren't marketed as such. The essays were all about a common topic, so they were instead marketed as a book on that topic.

    For example, My Mother's Wedding Dress is, IMO, a series of essays about clothes. Looking at reviews, I see that that's not just "IMO"--many reviewers refer to it as essays.

    Henry Mitchell's widely admired garden books are series of essays that he wrote as a gardening columnist.

    I would say that most of Herman Herst's books about stamp collecting are arguably books of essays.

    There are no doubt hundreds of other examples.

    So I think that it's entirely possible to sell books of essays, you just need to present them as something else.
     
  8. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    I think the modern term for essay is "blog".

    :)
     
  9. Robert Clinton
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    Robert Clinton Member

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    There is very good way to get published your essay like from the following link you will get the idea and some sample of essay writing art and also can directly mail them for publishing your essay.

    http://www.theunitutor.com/sample-essays
     
  10. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    What is the difference between an essay and a short story?
     
  11. Mike Hill
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    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

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    I think that you could try to start a blog, like blogger and if you get readers you can get some money. Also if you have a successful blog people are more likely to by your collections.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's the difference between nonfiction and fiction...
     
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  13. Xueqin-II
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    Xueqin-II Member

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    I've written many essays for fun, and essays on literary style. None that I would publish yet.
     

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