Flash Fiction: for writers, readers, editors, publishers, & fans


Tasha’s Tips for The Aspiring Writer: Be a Good Literary Citizen

[Editor’s Note: FlashFiction.Net will be pub­lish­ing tips from Tasha Cot­ter, one every Mon­day, for twenty weeks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

My goal for this series of blog posts is for writ­ers to save them­selves a lot of time and frus­tra­tion. This series is meant to get you on the path toward pub­li­ca­tion, pro­vided you put in the work of writ­ing and revis­ing. Don’t worry if you don’t fol­low all these recommendations–who could? I’ll be the first to admit that even I’m guilty of some­times not using my time wisely–look for my tip on social media! But over­all this series con­tains hard-won truths on how to make writ­ing a big­ger part of your life. I hope it clar­i­fies the pub­lish­ing guide­li­nes, pro­fes­sional eti­quette, and pro­to­cols you may have been unsure about in the past. More than any­thing, I hope it puts you on track toward oppor­tu­ni­ties you may not have imag­ined.

                                        Twit­ter: @TashCotter

Tip #18

Be a Good Lit­er­ary Cit­i­zen

Being a good lit­er­ary cit­i­zen, at its core, means being engaged and giv­ing back to the lit­er­ary pub­lish­ing world. I’m sure you’ve heard the sto­ries about how book pub­lish­ing is chang­ing dra­mat­i­cally. Peo­ple have dif­fer­ent opin­ions about whether pub­lish­ing is “in trou­ble” or not. Some peo­ple see the rise of e-books and elec­tronic media as a good thing–less paper and cheaper con­tent, right? While oth­ers see the rise of e-pub­lish­ing as a bad thing–cheaper con­tent means writ­ers aren’t get­ting paid as much. Either way you see it, it just makes sense to sup­port the writ­ing that you admire. Here are ten ways you can add a lit­tle good­will (dare I say pos­i­tiv­ity?) to lit­er­ary pub­lish­ing.

  1. Review books (you can write a lengthy review, if you want, but tak­ing the time to write a short review for a site like Goodreads or Ama­zon is nice, too.)
  2. Con­grat­u­late fel­low writ­ers on their suc­cesses.
  3. Host a lit­er­ary read­ing, open mic night, or sim­i­lar event in your town.
  4. Buy books!
  5. Sub­scribe to a hand­ful of jour­nals and mag­a­zi­nes.
  6. Offer to give a read­ing at a local school or uni­ver­sity.
  7. Men­tor another writer.
  8. Begin a cre­ative writ­ing group in your town. Meet weekly to share new work and hold each other account­able.
  9. Vol­un­teer your time at a local lit­er­ary con­fer­ence or fes­ti­val.
  10. When you read a book you love, spread the word. 

This is by no means a com­pre­hen­sive list! Think of these actions as a way of giv­ing back and also as a way to learn more about the lit­er­ary world. It’s likely you’ll meet oth­ers with inter­ests sim­i­lar to yours. Work to strengthen the arts com­mu­nity in your own town.



Tasha Cot­ter
, @TashCotter, is a poet and fic­tion writer based in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky. She is the author of two chap­books of poetry and the full-length col­lec­tion, Some Churches (Gold Wake Press, 2013). You can find her online at www.tashacotter.com.

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