So, You Want A FREE Book?

Be sure to download Julie Cantrell’s Into the Free because a) it IS free, b) it received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, c) it is currently ranked number 99 in Amazon’s FREE Kindle books, and d) Julie is a fantastic writer.

Seriously, check her out.

The book is free for Sony, Nook, and Kindle readers. 🙂

Writer’s Digest Best Writing Blog

WordServe Literary‘s writers and agents have a blog, the WordServe Water Cooler, which was recently nominated as one of the best writing blogs by Writer’s Digest. The community of writers that has been established focuses on encouraging other writers throughout the writing process, and clearly they do it well.

Are you an unagented author interesting in someday having an agent? Check it out. The WordServe Water Cooler is contributed to by both agents and agented writers. It is an excellent place to learn about the process of obtaining an agent, what life is like once one has an agent, and how an agent determines which queries to do a jig over and which to sit in sackcloth and ashes to mourn over.

Are you a writer who needs encouragement? Several blog posts talk about writing even through the difficult times–even when the most you can do is stare at a blank page and watch the cursor blink… blink… blink.

Are you a reader who enjoys learning about your favorite writer’s process? The Water Cooler is a wonderful place to read their whitty reporitee, spiritual revelations, and the research process that the writers of your favorite novels discover.

So what are you waiting for? Take a few minutes out of your day and head over to the WordServe Water Cooler.



Guest Blog

An awesome friend, Tina Forkner, allowed me to do a post on her blog, here: It Is What It Is

Check it out!

Sometimes I Don’t Write

I have been… not writing a lot lately. Gotta work on that.

But, I did write here:


Check it out.

Coupons for Books?

Since I am newly married (as of July 4, 2011), I have recently picked up more housewife activities which I have never before been interested in namely gardening, couponing, and laundry. Okay, so that last one isn’t so much an activity as a never-ending chore that splits up my time reading manuscripts.

Seriously, how is it possible that two people emit a mountain of laundry? I used to be able to do my laundry once every two weeks (every three weeks if I didn’t wear underwear–kidding, of course).

Anyway, in my couponing, I have noticed that none of the coupons I get are for books. Sure, I know about things like and, of course, the amazing Friends of the Library sale. And the free Kindle ebooks. I know how to get my books cheaper than my dental floss. But, why have I not seen any coupons for books? Do you know how fun it would be to buy a 15% off book and then receive another $1.00 off because you got a coupon in Smart Source or Red Plum or while Dumpster diving.

Have I just not Googled enough? And, no, I don’t want the promo codes, either. I want a tangible book coupon that I can hold in my hands and present to the lovely Barnes and Noble bookseller.

I wonder if the Friends of the Library have the same policy as Wal-Mart. <– Seriously, click that link. Did you get that? “If coupon value exceeds the price of the item, the excess may be given to the customer as cash or applied toward the basket purchase.” In other words, Wal-Mart HAS to give you $.03 if you have a dollar coupon for $.97 shampoo. So can you imagine buying a book and then getting money back for buying that book. How fun would that be?

Okay, who wants to start making coupons for books in their basement. Anyone?

Have you ever used a coupon to buy a book? Have you ever made anything in your basement?

To MFA or Not to MFA

This week, Amazon is offering The Portable MFA in Creative Writing for free in the Kindle edition. I have had my eye on this book for a little over two years, right after I completed my MA in Creative Writing (and MLIS in Library Science) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Among academics and non-academics, alike, there is much discussion concerning the MA/MFA/PhD in creative writing–between the degrees themselves (which one is best? the most useful? which one will make me sound like I rock at life during family Christmas dinners?) or simply not obtaining a degree and pursuing an education of one’s own via critique groups, attending conferences, and independent reading/writing. So where do I stand on the debate?

Honestly, I’m Switzerland. And not just because they have amazing chocolate.

Yes, I did pursue the academic side of the debate; however, I have amazing friends/colleagues who chose not to. And they are really cool people as well as amazing writers. So, I can’t really say that my choice was better. I can say, though, that there are definite pros to receiving an MA/MFA/PhD in creative writing.

1. Community. Pursuing any kind of writing degree automatically links you to an immediate critique group, especially if you are enrolled in a writing workshop. Plus, there are the spontaneous critique groups made up of various circles of close friends/connections that you meet while attending graduate school. Because I am a community freak (probably because I attended Cornerstone University–community buzzword central), the community side of obtaining the degree is a definite plus for me. Seriously, I heart people.

2. Feedback. The feedback that you receive when you are in pursuit of a degree in creative writing is stellar. Not only do you have a classroom full of colleagues/friends who are writers, but you also have published professors who are commenting on your work. Granted, critique groups outside of the collegiate realm can have some pretty stellar commentors as well, but you never really know for sure… unless you have developed the group yourself and placed certain guidelines around who can join (i.e. only people who shower every day, or only people who hate wearing thongs, and by that I mean underwear not what you wear on your feet, as much as I do).

3. Resume. So, say you actually have to make a living in this world by doing something besides writing. You know, you were planning on a billion sales of your book, and you only sold a million, or something crazy like that. Well, having the degree on your resume can make you look pretty cool to your employers. Or it can make you look like a kiss-@$$. I’ve heard both. I’m going with the it makes me look awesome.

4. Because I hate cliché lists of 3, I am going to add… Parties. Seriously graduate school parties rock. For realzies. And sangria at graduate school parties rocks… sometimes a little too much (Blog post on that later. On the other hand, probably not so much).

One definitive reason to not attend graduate school: IT COSTS A WHOLE FREAKING LOT. (Unless, I’ve been told, you attend one of those awesome PhD schools that actually pays for your education. Seriously, you go there… teach a few classes… and WA LA! Free school! Well, there is the slave labor that you have to participate in… but other than that–FREE!)

So, what do you think? Graduate school or not graduate school?

What if you got one of these along with your degree:

Seriously, you wouldn't get a degree in creative writing for one of these? Really???

What I Read When I Am Working

Tremble by Addison Moore. Welcome to the world, book!

What I Am Reading When I Am Not Working

A wonderful friend of mine just started a continuing story on his blog: I woke up this morning to the beginning of his story and strong coffee. 🙂

What are you reading right now?

Welcome to My New Blog

While I am not new to wordpress, I am new to this blog. I have been blogging since I graduated from my undergraduate alma mater, Cornerstone University, in 2004. After I started graduate school in 2008, I transitioned to my IHeartYA blog where I have been blogging off and on about various YA books that I have read and, more recently, exciting life events (i.e. my upcoming wedding).

I decided to switch to this blog because so many other life changes are happening. Namely, I am working towards becoming an associate literary agent with WordServe Literary. I have been working with Rachelle Gardner and Greg Johnson since June of 2010.

So what sorts of discussions might you find on this blog:

* Discussions of various publishing trends (And by ‘discussions’ I mean that you will have to help me. I am learning, too!).

* Lists and discussions of what I am reading/writing professionally.

* Lists and discussions of what I am reading/writing for fun.

* Comments on publishing/editing/writing blogs that I am following.

* Updates on my personal and professional goals.

* Other things that YOU want to hear. I really want to work at aiming my discussion towards my readers, so definitely feel free to comment and interact with what I am saying. I want to learn from you!

Thank you for joining me for my first-ever-almost-literary-agent blog post. 🙂 I look forward to seeing you again soon!


Sarah Joy

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February 2021