Is it memoir or essay? … the final word

Poets & Writers, has an online article of great value: An interview with Philip Lopate, back in 2008. I’m posting just the tiniest excerpt here, so you’ll be motivated to click the link now. This resonates with me because after asking me how to self-publish a book, the question most people ask me is about the difference between memoir and essay.

Here’s the answer from the esteemed Philip Lopate in an interview with writer Lanai Knight. Make tea, read it, print it, take a dizzying walk around the block, and read it again. It’s that good.

P&W: What is the difference between personal essay and memoir?

Lopate: The memoir requires other people. The personal essay can avail itself of other people, but it can also be a reflection on a subject where other people are not necessarily that important.

Read the full 2008 interview here.


Write for Women’s Journals

The friendly staff at Writer’s Relief has compiled a great list of literary journals by and for women. If you’re seeking a market for an essay, use this spring Saturday to find your next successful publishing opportunity here:

This is the perfect way to find a new market for that sparkling essay you’ve polished.

Big AWP Conference hits Chicago

We have a rare opportunity to attend a writer’s conference sponsored by the Assn. Of Writers & Writing Programs in Chicago this winter.

2012 Annual Conference & Bookfair
February 29-March 3, 2012
Chicago, Illinois
Hilton Chicago & Palmer House Hilton

Having attended AWP’s conference in the past, I can confirm that “BIG” doesn’t even begin to describe the event. It encompasses 1,627 presenters comprised of 912 (56.05%) women and 715 (43.95%) men.

The AWP Conference line-up presents an astonishing roster of readings and panels.

Your Pajama Marketing task for today is to wander through the panels, and plan to attend this remarkable event. At least one writing organization, Story Studio is offering a discounted conference fee of $140 to its members.

Here’s a teaser:

Being Me (For You): First-Time Memoirists and the Agent Hunt.
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, Julia Cooke, Jane Roper, Mike Scalise
Clear pathways to publication exist for novelists and writers of research-based nonfiction, but what about the first-time memoirist? Finish the full book, like novelists, or start with a proposal? Query or look for agents at a conference? Go with a new agent or one who’s been around the block? Join five first-time memoirists—- each working on a very different project with a different agent—- as they offer clear advice on how to navigate the sometimes-choppy waters ahead.

A Year in the Life of Electronic Publishing.
Jason Reynolds, Guy Shahar, Eric Smith, Matthew Limpede, Matthew Dye
This panel features audio-visual presentations from four of America’s most innovative electronic journals: Carve, Cellpoems, The Cortland Review, and Escape Into Life. The editors of these journals are uniquely qualified to discuss new media and the successes and struggles that electronic journals experience over the course of a year. Topics include incorporating audio and video, distributing via text message, creating revenue streams, handling editorial processes, and maintaining an audience.

Anytown, USA: Representing Place in Fiction.
Ron Hansen, Ladette Randolph, Eric Goodman, Sherrie Flick, Robert Vivian
How do we define place in fiction? Does the location matter? How do place and region shape the writing, and vise versa? This panel aims to answer the larger question of how to define place while also representing the sometimes misunderstood middle coast, featuring authors whose fiction is set in the Heartland, a place many times more clearly defined by what it is not than by what it is.  Each author will share their unique approach to representing place in their writing.

The Art of the Short Story Collection.
Mary Rockcastle, Richard Bausch, Laura van den Berg, Tiphanie Yanique, J. C. Hallman
In the successful short story collection, the individual stories must move, delight, and entertain, and the collection as a whole must do so as well.  What makes a collection of short stories a satisfying whole?  How should it be put together?   What should the writer consider when deciding upon content, placement, length, title?  How easy or hard is it to sell?  Robert Bausch, acknowledged master of the short story form and author of eight collections of short stories, joins three authors of very different, all successful, debut short story collections.  Each will talk about his/her process in creating, shaping, and publishing the short story collection.

See you there,


Lit Mag Love Contest from Writer’s Relief

I love reading literary magazines. The pleasure of a Saturday morning with time to relax and appreciate good reading, and the potential to inspire my own writing to new heights. If you want to expand your lit mag reading, Writer’s Relief has a fun way to begin:

f you subscribe to two literary journals, you can be entered to win free subscriptions to two more journals of your choice! Plus, if you tweet or post this contest, as I did, you could be selected as the bonus winner. Literary journals play an important role in the lives of writers. And even if you don’t enter, join me in supporting literary journals! Learn more: