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Episode 16: How I found my agent

This is the fourth in a series on How to get your work published–you can find all episodes here.

In case you missed them, the episodes in this series are:

In this episode, I talk about how I found my agent, who is the reason my novel is on submission (woo!). Finding an agent took me a long time, many query letters, and two tries in Pitch Madness. But eventually it happened and it was a total thrill.

Want to read more? If you’re in email, click on the image below! You can also subscribe in iTunes.


Show notes:

Reading update: Thinking about rereading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Still lacking in the reading department.

Writing update: I am working on a new novel! I am too superstitious to share details! And sometimes it’s hard to write in coffee shops.


  • I found my agent through Pitch Madness, a.k.a. #PitMad. It’s an event on Twitter and is AWESOME. It includes every. single. genre. that I know of, and it’s an amazing opportunity. It has changed a bit since I participated, but it’s coming right up – February 24, 2017! Details here.
  • You can look at my tweets for Pitch Madness if you are interested–here is my Twitter feed (I’m @likesoatmeal).
  • My nonfiction manuscript didn’t get picked up, but I did write for the Patheos network on a blog called Surprising Faith.
  • Nathan Bransford’s blog is a treasure trove for query letter writing for novelists and nonfiction book proposal writing.
  • Ann Patchett, “Writers need great swaths of time,” comes from her amazing longform piece “The Getaway Car”

Come back next week to find out if my daily hour-long limit on the Internet has worked!

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Scratch Paper, Episode 15: How to submit (pitch) nonfiction articles

Hello, listeners! Scratch Paper Podcast has resumed.

After a break filled with winter cheer, I’m here to continue the series I started back in Episode 12 on How to get your work published. You can find all the episodes in this series here.

If you’re reading this in email, hi! Click here or on the image below to get to the podcast on my site (it’s the only way to listen).


In this episode, I talk about how pitching a nonfiction article–as in a heavily researched, non-personal essay–is different from submitting a short story. For one thing, you don’t have to have finished your article to pitch it! And for another, the publication itself is really important.

I share some of my own experience pitching to The Wire in Seacoast New Hampshire (RIP), a local weekly, and to Sojourners Magazine, a national publication.

Show notes

Writing update: My agent liked my revision of Finding Lucy and is sending it out to publishers.

Reading update: I love Elinor Lipman’s The Inn at Lake Devine and My Latest Grievance. I checked out Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event.


What has your experience pitching nonfiction been like? What other resources do you have for fellow pitch-ers? Please click through and share in the comments!

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Episode 13: How to submit short stories

Welcome to Part 2 in a series on How to get your work published! Part 1–a general overview of paths to publication–is right here. Find all the episodes in the series here.


Getting published used to seem like a weird, opaque process to me. Luckily, I had friends and teachers demystify it for me at UNH. Here is what I’ve learned from them and from my own experience.

If you are trying to get your first novel or short story published, this episode is for you. I share some resources for finding literary magazines to send your work, a basic overview of how to send in your work (including what to put in your cover letter), and then give you a rundown of the publications I’ve submitted to.

**This is also relevant if you are a writer of lyric or personal essays–the same rules apply! A lot of these journals accept fiction and nonfiction, and some are even nonfiction only.


Numerous publications:

What publications have you submitted to? What questions do you have about sending out short stories and/or personal/lyric essays? Please share in the comments!

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Episode 12: Paths to getting published — Part 1


In this episode, I kick off another series: How to Get Published.

You might like this episode if:

  • You have written something–a novel, a short story, an essay–but you don’t know what to do next.
  • You would like to embark on a big, research-y project that would turn into a book, but you don’t know what to do next.
  • You have always wanted to be a published writer, but you don’t know how to get your work published.
  • You have questions like “Where do agents come from?”


Listen in here for a general overview of how fiction and nonfiction writers “typically” get published–based on my experience, that of my friends, and my observations of bloggers and the like online.

This episode is a map that you can look at and figure out what track you are on, or which track you might want to get on. In the next episodes, I’ll dive into specifics like writing query letters, pitching nonfiction, and submitting short stories.


Please post questions in the comments!! As I say in the episode, I feel like it is a mystery how to get published and I would like it to not be.