We’d Love Your Input on the Inboxed

Inboxed_LogoWill you help us serve you better? We’re hoping you’ll donate 2-5 minutes of your time to provide confidential feedback  on Writer Inboxed, WU’s bimonthly newsletter. (Contains tips on the craft and business of writing, as well as interviews with premier authors.)

Not familiar with Writer Inboxed? That’s okay. We’d still like your input. Have a look at our March 2013 edition, featuring special guests Alice Hoffman and Jane Porter. Then proceed below the divider to answer questions 5 & 6. (Want to subscribe after the survey? Go here to sign up and receive tips on preparing for a seamless delivery. Be aware we have an email confirmation system in place, so you’ll receive an email link that you’ll need to verify once you’ve signed up.)

If you are already subscribed and familiar with the newsletter, please proceed to answer questions 1-4.

In all instances, your responses remain 100% confidential. Poll answers are not visible to other readers and can be read only as an untagged aggregate. We hope that will free you to be completely honest, as we value your input.

For Subscribers:



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When It Comes to the Writer Inboxed, Don’t Say “Neigh”


You’ve heard about the horse-meat scandal in Europe. How people who purchase meatballs, and meat pies cannot be sure what animal species they’ll be consuming, or if they’re consuming a species at all?

Well the next edition of the Writer Inboxed, WU’s bimonthly newsletter, coming out later this week, bears one striking similarity. Our guest contributors will remain nameless, shrouded in an aura of mystery until the moment of newsletter opening.

Where it differs? We’re betting your surprise will be of the pleasant variety.

Here’s what we can reveal about our guests: 

  • They are both female.
  • They’re both prolific, writing in several genres.
  • They’re both bestsellers.
  • They’ve both had movies made from their fiction — one when her book was sent back for its seventh printing in six weeks.
  • One has been nominated for four RITAs.
  • The other has had her fiction translated into 20 languages and her most recent offering blurbed by Toni Morrison.

As for the remainder of the newsletter, here’s a sampling of its exclusive content, culled by Editor Jan O’Hara and her Assistant Editor, Liz Michalski.

  • 21 Century Tips: short-and-pertinent tips offered by our WU craft-master, Donald Maass
  • Ask Chuck: a Q&A column with Writer’s Digest’s Chuck Sambuchino on all things relating to the business of writing (including his specialty, getting an agent)
  • Ask Victoria: a Q&A column with editor Victoria Mixon, who’s poised to answer all of your tricky craft questions
  • Insider Confidential: pub scoop written by folks in the know who may or may not post as “anonymous”
  • Boundless: digital media insights by our Digital Editor, Erika Liodice
  • Community Roundup: the best of the WU’s readership craft posts, as curated from our Facebook page, via WU’s Facebook Community Editor, Vaughn Roycroft
  • Author and Industry Interviews: timely interviews conducted by WU’s editorial staff, featuring authors and industry experts you want to know more about
  • A Book That Changed My Life: profiling books that impacted successful authors (e.g. Diana Gabaldon, Jon Clinch, Christopher Moore)
  • Reader Unboxed: book reviews by our Reader Unboxed staff

Want to give the Writer Inboxed a try? Type your email in the box below, click subscribe, and that’s it

We’ll never share or sell your email address, and if for any reason you want to quit, we’ll make that easy for you too. No hassles.


See you in your inbox!


Celebrating a Newsletter Milestone with Randy Susan Meyers, Lydia Netzer, and a Giveaway

champagneQuestion: What do you get when you put two high-energy writers in an interview and shake?

Answer: A delightful entry in February’s upcoming newsletter, out tomorrow, in which Lydia Netzer, author of Shine, Shine, Shine, a NYT Notable Book, answers WU contributor Sarah Callender‘s questions.

Here’s a sample of their dynamic in this month’s Writer Inboxed:

Sarah: Many believe that writing anything after the debut will be a relative piece of cake. Is this true for your current project, or is it simply a “different” cake? Or is this project, instead, something utterly non-cakey?

Lydia: It’s non-cakey.

Here’s an example. So I was trying to write this one scene, and it wasn’t working. And I realized that the problem was not my approach but that the scene itself was just bad. I realized this as I was on the phone with  Joshilyn [Jackson], pouting and whining about how hard it all is, and I said, “You know, it’s like I’m trying to make mashed potatoes out of sand, so even if I do the best job possible, and perfectly transform the sand and get it just like potatoes, the very best I can hope for is still only mashed potatoes.”

Except that didn’t work, because mashed potatoes can actually be sort of transcendent and wonderful. So we decided it was like trying to make prunes out of poop. A perfect success will still only render prunes. And prunes are kind of not what I’m looking for in a follow-up novel. Especially ones secretly made out of something more sinister. So yeah, I cut the scene. And cake wasn’t even part of the picture.

Also in the upcoming edition of the Writer Inboxed:

  • Randy Susan Meyers, beloved Grub Street teacher, author of The Murderer’s Daughters and the forthcoming The Comfort of Lies, talks about life-altering fiction.
  • Independent editor Victoria Mixon mixes up her column by gently interrogating Writer’s Digest editor, Chuck Sambuchino. The topic? What agents want.
  • Vaughn Roycroft, lead moderator of WU’s Facebook community page, curates and promotes the best blogging content available from the Writer Unboxed community. That would be you folks, if you are a member of the Facebook group and nominate content for Vaughn’s monthly thread. (Typically occurs in the third week of the month.)
  • Agent-guru Donald Maass provides more of his famed pointers on craft.
  • WU mamas, Kathleen Bolton and Therese Walsh, provide a practical writing tip.
  • Erika Liodice condenses and serves the latest news in digital publishing.
  • Community member Colleen Turner reviews an atypical book for our Reader Unboxed column.
  • An anonymous insider provides input on how the publishing landscape really works, and how savvy writers can navigate it.

Newsletter Crossroads

Vaughn cropped

In addition, the Writer Inboxed is within striking distance of its two-thousandth subscriber. To celebrate, the person who helps us hit that milestone will receive a free Writer Unboxed t-shirt or coffee mug. Winner’s choice.

To sign up, go here.

Still undecided about subscription? Here’s an example of a recent edition, featuring special guests, Jacqueline Carey and Diana Renn.

Your information is kept strictly confidential and you can unsubscribe at any time.

We hope you’ll give us a try.




A Solution for Your Lonely Inbox

The next issue of the Writer Unboxed newsletter — the Writer Inboxed — goes live tomorrow. (Sign-up here.)

Here’s what we’ve got planned for you this month:

  • Special guest Jon Clinch talks about a book that changed his life. Jon is an award-winning writer and a teacher. His first novel, Finn, which relates the backstory of Huckleberry Finn’s father, was an American Library Association Notable Book. It was named one of the best novels of 2007 by the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor and Book Sense. It was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s first-ever Best Recommended List and the Sargent First Novel Prize. His second novel, Kings of the Earth, was #1 on the annual summer reading list prepared by O, The Oprah Magazine.
  • Jessica Brockmole gleans productivity tips from literary agent  Courtney Miller-Callihan.
  • Literary agent and WU contributor Donald Maass discusses the value of self-assessment in constructing and revealing character.
  • F + W editor and WU contributor Chuck Sambuchino talks about the limits of honesty when crafting memoir.
  • Dee DeTarsio falls in love with an unboxed book — Michael Lowenthal’s The Paternity Test.
  • Want to ensure your cover art is unique? Get tips from an anonymous author.
  • Erika Liodice is back with some highlights from recent publishing news.
  • Independent editor Victoria Mixon explains the real value in writing.
  • Blog mamas Kathleen Bolton and Therese Walsh have a tip on how to look fabulous for your next photo session — or TV interview.
  • Last but not least, some of you take the stage as Vaughn Roycroft shares the best links from this month’s round-up on the WU Facebook page. (Want to have your piece qualify for inclusion? Watch for Vaughn’s thread asking for submissions during the third week of each month.)

If you aren’t already signed up to receive a newsletter and would like to see a model before commiting, here’s a link to last month’s edition, featuring NYT-bestselling author Jacqueline Carey. As always, your information remains confidential and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Any beefs, bouquets, or difficulties with receiving your newsletter, don’t hesitate to contact WU itself or me.

Thanks, peeps. Now back to your regular programming.





Issue 2 of the Writer Unboxed Newsletter Coming Soon to Your Inbox

PhotobucketThe reviews are in, and we’re thrilled to share the news that people love the new smart-phone friendly WU newsletter:

The format is great–short, interesting articles /essays. Kudos!

Thank you thank you thank you. Simple, concise, useful writing advice delivered to my inbox. I love the newsletter. Well done.

Love your new newsletter. Great content and excellent links, tips and expert advice. Thanks for bringing this to your readers. I will look foward to receiving these.

Like the new newsletter, the layout is very nice and easy on the eyes. Should be a great addition to Writer Unboxed.

If you’re one of the 1,000+ people who’ve already signed up for the WU newsletter, be on the lookout for our sophomore issue in the next few days. In it, we’ll feature: [Read more…]