Anna Dunwell

Official Website

October 2018 Newsletter


Letter from the Writer

This is the year that I've fully completed the initiation into my writer's life. What I found there is enormous solitude which I treasure, though the hardest part of this life for me still is writing a newsletter. And I always wonder:

What do you want to see in my newsletter?
What don't you want to see?
What are you curious about my writing process or my work?
What would you like me to share with others from you?

Book 1 is now in Beta Reads, a process I talk about in my Facebook Notes. In brief a Beta Read is what you have done to a completed book basically soliciting answers to questions like: Did the story make sense? Where did your attention flag? Which character do you want to see more of? Was anything distracting from the main story? 

I have been very fortunate to have had an excellent editor who has done developmental and structuring editing as well as copy editing. This has been invaluable in my learning how to edit my own work. Initially, five years ago I thought I'd write a book and that it would be published. The process has been significantly different and longer, involving throwing out drafts, rewriting and then doing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd drafts. And it is through this process of learning the craft of writing that I have learned how to write, rewrite, revise and throw away. The most surprising thing that's happened is that my editor said that the title for Book 1 Alert the Paparazzi didn't suit the content, and I had to agree with him despite loving the title, and the art work for it. But now that Book 1 is done - it really doesn't fit the material and is upbeat in a comic sans way that doesn't fit the material. So, Book 1 has been renamed Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative, and the idea of that being the series title for the ten books has also been dropped, so each book will have a different title.

´╗┐The reason none of the books have been published yet is that my plans have changed. Initially I planned on self publishing and putting the Book 1 on Amazon. But as I read more about what is required to publish and market books and the amount of money involved, though I have a publishing company I'm not prepared to do the labor or pay for production costs. I enjoyed my work with student interns; however publishing company's have full time staff to handle book production and marketing. Also books only get in major book stores and reviewed in national publications if they are being promoted my major publishers. And though my editor said enough work was completed to begin the submission process, I should expect things to move forward quickly. This freaked me out. And as I thought about not wanting to be a one trick pony as first books often don't do that well when they're not written by known quantity people or celebrities. I also heard that unknown writers who get the best deals have at least three books to pitch, and the publisher then has more of a stake in the author after the usual 3 months of marketing by the publisher - after which the author has to handle the costs of marketing.

After conversations with many people I learned that the best way to proceed is to secure an agent as major publishers do not look at unsolicited mss. but work with agents. So I have been compiling a list of agents who are looking for the kind of writing that I do. Of course if any of you have contacts please share them with me.

My laser focus on actually writing the book stories (scenes and chapters) has made it difficult for me to shift gears and get into shorter more blog like pieces. I have ideas, but I just can't get engaged. My hope is that this will change.

I've discovered is grief is inevitable, and that digging deeper into that is making me a stronger writer. There's a bit more about that in my

Here's What's in My Writer's Life at the Moment
  1. Writing every day, 4-6 hours
  2. Working with editor until I learn to effectively self edit, revise, cut and focus
  3. Read Literary Reviews like the Literary Hub daily.
  4. Attend1or2VariedWriter'sEventsayeartolearn/meetandgreet
  5. SubscribetoTradeMagazines:Writer'sDigest,Poets&Writers,TheNewYorker
  6. WatchYouTubeVideosonWriting:StevenJamesFlashWritingTips,Salmon
    Rushdie: The One Thing You Can’t Teach about Writing , Kurt Vonnegut: The Shapes of Stories, Zadie Smith , Kazuo Ishiguro v=DoGtQPks3qs&frags=pl,wn , 11 Writers: Advice to the Young, Karl Iglesias
7. ReadBooks:StevenJames,HowtoWriteUnforgettableFictionbyBreakingthe Rules: Story Trumps Structure; Charles Johnson, The Way of the Write, John Gardner's "The Art of Fiction", Congratulations George Saunders, Jerome Stern, Making Shapely Fiction, Roy Peter Clark, Writing Tools, Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones Freeing the Writer Within, Paula Munier, Plot Perfect, Anne Lamott, bird by bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Lauret Savoy, Trace, Karl Ove Knausgård, My Struggles, Bukowski (bits and pieces), Isabel Allende, In T he Midst of Winter, Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen, Hector Tobar, The Barbarian Nurseries
8. AgentPublisherSearch:Duotrope, Association of Authors' Representatives, Inc., Literary Agent database at Poets & Writers