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SLI Enterprises Gives Voice to Vision

At the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2017 Spring Conference, Nikki Brate and Russ Hatler led the class “Social Media for Self-Published Authors.” This offering helped authors navigate the many promotional opportunities available online, and used real-life examples to wade through the “technological mire” that is the World Wide Web.

Now, Nikki and Russ have released a brand-new website devoted to helping authors give voice to their vision.

SLI Enterprises hopes to “provide a friendly place for self-published and small imprint authors and poets to showcase their work.” By bringing together authors and readers, the site will allow users to rate books, set reading preferences, add their own books to available genre categories, and take advantages of resources such as:

  • Manuscript Editing
  • Create a YouTube Video
  • Book Cover Design
  • Build an Author Website
  • Set up an Author Blog
  • Create an Author Facebook Page

Users are encouraged to register, where they’ll gain access to preference profiles, book reviews, selected candidate lists of elements, video posts, book cover designs, websites, and blogs. Guests who do not choose to register will be able to browse through the libraries, view videos, read book synopses, buy an author’s books, and search by author name for all an author’s works.

The site does so much, it’s probably best to check it out yourself and poke around:

Nikki Brate is president of Nikki Brate Graphic Design. She has worked with Russ Hatler on a number of projects, including YouTube video productions that are currently being used to promote The Sisterhood Diaries. She is currently involved in the design and implementation of a website for SLI Enterprises.

Russell Hatler spent forty-five delightful years playing the role of computer whisperer, subduing those unwieldy iron monsters with craftily-coded programs. Now semi-retired, he has redirected his creative efforts toward appeasing the high-maintenance muse of his college major, English. He has toiled diligently at the art of creating literary mystery. Most recently his efforts have been focused on writing novels for adults. He has discovered that researching an adult novel is infinitely more interesting than writing computer programs.

For more information, and to join the SLI Enterprises community, click here.

New White House Budget Confirms Arts Cuts

Yesterday, an e-mail from our friends at Americans for the Arts alerted us that the Trump Administration has released their FY2018 budget, titled A New Foundation for American Greatness.

Unfortunately, this administration’s interpretation of “greatness” does not include government-supported arts programs.

This so-called “skinny budget” provides just enough money to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Servicesfor expenses necessary to carry out the closure” of these agencies; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS) is slated to be cancelled in 2019.

Needless to say, if you value the arts, now is the time to contact your representatives in Congress and the Senate. Ask them to save the arts. Tell them personal stories of how the arts have positively affected you.

On their website, Americans for the Arts lays out a great argument for the value of arts in our towns and cities. They also plainly state what we have to lose should these arts programs be cut.

“With only a $150 million annual appropriation, the NEA’s investment in every Congressional District in the country contributes to a $730 billion arts and culture industry in America, representing 4.2 percent of the annual GDP. This arts and culture industry supports 4.8 million jobs and yields a $26 billion trade surplus for our country.”

You can find specific examples for your state by clicking here to see a breakdown of NEA grants for 2016.

Take action now.

Less Chase, More Golden Egg

Geese feature prominently in many of our most beloved adages. There’s the “goose that laid the golden egg.” There’s the time-consuming and frustrating experience of a “wild goose chase,” although, it’s important to remember at such times that “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

The Wild Goose Poetry Review, however, is more likely to give pleasant rise to “goosebumps” by producing issues devoted entirely to “poetry worth reading.”

Based in Hickory and edited by Scott Owens, a poet and instructor of English at Catawba Community College, Wild Goose is an online journal of “poetry, reviews, and poetry-related news.” Best of all, every issue is FREE!

The Spring 2017 issue features familiar Tar Heel poets such as Lucy Cole Gratton and Richard Allen Taylor, as well as reviews of books by Irene Blair Honeycutt and Michael Parker. New this spring: a “Featured Editor” section that presents a repesentative sample of a Wild Goose editor’s work. For Spring, 2017, that editor is Lenoir-Rhyne University Senior History / Creative Writing major and Wild Goose Poetry Review Assistant Editor, Jordan Makant. Past contributors include John Amen, Sam Barbee, Maren O. Mitchell, Mary Ricketson, and Maria Rouphail. Some contributors have been published more than once.

Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, but close at the end of the month preceding the next issue’s publication. Issues are published quarterly (roughly) in mid February, May, August, and November, although this publication calendar has been a little less rigid over the past couple of years. The important thing is that the journal continues to publish.

Wild Goose looks for good contemporary poetry with no particular biases. Enjoy humor, strong imagery, strong lines, narrative, lyric, etc. Not a fan of abstraction, cliche, form for the sake of form, shock for the sake of shock. As in any good poem, everything should be purposeful. If accepted, a 100-word maximum comment on each poem will be requested. Choosing not to submit a comment will not alter the acceptance decision.

To submit, poets should send 3-5 unpublished poems in the body of an e-mail to Scott Owens at

Learn more about the Wild Goose Poetry Review on their website or follow them on Facebook.

Rejected So Many Times, Publication Becomes Inevitable

The year might be nearly half over, but there’s still plenty of time for rejections to pile up. However, you’ll never get rejected if you don’t submit!

In 2016, Lit Hub encouraged writers to aim for 100 rejections a year, arguing that quantity would eventually lead to quality:

In the book Art & Fear, authors David Bales and Ted Orland describe a ceramics class in which half of the students were asked to focus only on producing a high quantity of work while the other half was tasked with producing work of high quality. For a grade at the end of the term, the “quantity” group’s pottery would be weighed, and fifty pounds of pots would automatically get an A, whereas the “quality” group only needed to turn in one—albeit perfect—piece. Surprisingly, the works of highest quality came from the group being graded on quantity, because they had continually practiced, churned out tons of work, and learned from their mistakes. The other half of the class spent most of the semester paralyzed by theorizing about perfection, which sounded disconcertingly familiar to me—like all my cases of writer’s block.

This year, author and writing coach Sara Connell established the Publish 100 Challenge. Each writer sets a submission goal that will keep him or her focused on the number of submissions sent out in 2017, but only as a way to “write more, write better.” The group operates as a private Facebook group where members can support one another, share opportunities for submissions, and be part of a community dead-set on getting rejected so many times, publication becomes inevitable.

To sign up for the Publish 100 challenge, click here.

Members will receive a weekly video tip on publishing or the craft of writing. The group is FREE to join, and their goal is to have 100 writers participate.

Benefits include:

  • Overcoming fear of rejection
  • Improving writing skills
  • Increasing productivity- write more!
  • Increasing publication success

As an author and coach, Sara Connell has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The View, FOX Chicago, NPR, and Katie Couric. She has presented to a wide range of organizations from Fortune 500 Companies to local and national organizations such as: Avon, Estee Lauder – Origins, Johnson & Johnson, Jones Lang LaSalle, GE, Northwestern & Northwestern – Prentice Hospital for Women, Unilever & the Young President’s Organization. Her writing has appeared in local and national publications including The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, and many more. Her first book, Bringing In Finn, was nominated for ELLE magazine 2012 Book of the Year and is available in bookstores now. Learn more about her at

To join the Publish 100 Challenge, click here.

And here’s to making 2017 the year of mountains of rejections!

Catawba Libraries Recognized for Community Award

From our friends at the Catawba County Library System:

NEWTON—Catawba County has received national recognition as the second-place winner of the 2017 LibraryAware Community Award, which recognizes cities and towns and their libraries that have demonstrated their ability to make their community aware of what the library can do for them—and deliver on that promise. The award is given by Library Journal and underwritten by LibraryAware™, a product of the NoveList division of EBSCO Information Services.

The LibraryAware Community Award is given annually to a community of any size and its library. Criteria for the award include any and all components that create a LibraryAware community such as strategic planning, marketing, outreach, partnerships, programs, and product or service development.

This award recognizes model communities that engage with their libraries to improve the lives of their citizens and create lifelong learners and library users. The Catawba County Library is a model of this goal as a leader in improving the overall literacy of its community, and supporting lifelong learning for residents.

The Catawba County Library was recognized for leading meaningful community collaboration through outreach and partnerships as seen through the county-wide BIG READ initiative, collaboration with Centro Latino to better engage and serve the Hispanic community, partnerships with local schools to support the county’s educational strategy, the Catawba County Partnership for Children to strengthen literacy, and NC Works to connect people with jobs. In a new partnership with the Hmong community, the library will begin a project to preserve Hmong heritage through a National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant-funded digitization project.

Assistant County Manager, Mary Furtado said, “The Library has focused on innovating to expand the reach of library services beyond the walls of the library, with a stated goal of meeting people where they are, bringing library resources and programming out into the community. The Library is well respected across our county and has a demonstrated reputation for responding to community needs with programming and services.”

The library demonstrated its commitment to focus on the priorities of the community and to make a difference in the lives of its citizens by engaging over 1,500 community members to develop the Library’s Strategic Plan, which drives and shapes everything the library is doing today. The library continues to keep an outward mindset as they convene residents and facilitate community conversations to learn the hopes and aspirations of the community, and to curate and share that public knowledge with key leaders. “The Library is well on its way to transforming its role in our community from a place people go to access books to that of a trusted convener who facilitates community dialog through authentic engagement” said Furtado.

The library communicates all of its resources and programming with customers and citizens in dynamic ways including TV, radio, newspaper, weekly emails, social media, and a full featured news and blogging site ( Catawba County will be featured along with the other 2017 Library Aware winners in the April issue of Library Journal. Fairmont City Library Center in Illinois was awarded first place and Kansas City Public Library in Missouri took third place.

Submissions were judged by the following library and community experts:

  • John Chrastka, Executive Director of EveryLibrary
  • Amy Garmer, Director of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries
  • Jim Blanton, Library Director of the Louisville Free Public Library, First Place Recipient of the 2016 LibraryAware Community Award
  • Randall H. Reid, Southeast Regional Director of the ICMA

About NoveList
NoveList is dedicated to transforming lives through reading. By helping libraries help readers, NoveList empowers libraries to engage and inspire their communities. NoveList has been helping readers find their next favorite book for more than 20 years, and continues to develop innovative solutions for connecting readers, books, and libraries. As a division of EBSCO Information Services, NoveList specializes in readers’ advisory tools for libraries that include book discovery, catalog enrichment, and outreach. Find out more at

About EBSCO Information Services
EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) is the leading discovery service provider for libraries worldwide with more than 11,000 discovery customers in over 100 countries. EBSCO Discovery Service™ (EDS) provides each institution with a comprehensive, single search box for its entire collection, offering unparalleled relevance ranking quality and extensive customization. EBSCO is also the preeminent provider of online research content for libraries, including hundreds of research databases, historical archives, point-of-care medical reference, and corporate learning tools serving millions of end users at tens of thousands of institutions. EBSCO is the leading provider of electronic journals & books for libraries, with subscription management for more than 360,000 serials, including more than 57,000 e-journals, as well as online access to more than 1,000,000 e-books. For more information, visit the EBSCO website at: EBSCO Information Services is a division of EBSCO Industries Inc., a family owned company since 1944.

More Writing Goodness, per Inch, than You’ll Find Anywhere

In this modern age of tweeting and live stream, where even many of the most traditional publishers feel compelled to have some sort of online presence and offer online content, it’s refreshing—if not downright inspiring in a kind of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” kind of way—that the literary magazine Inch is, well, defiantly low-fi.

An imprint of Durham-based Bull City Press, each issue of Inch is printed in black and white, hand-cut, and stapled by its editors. Because they believe “good things come in small packages,” their focus is on eight pages of poems of one to nine lines, or prose of 750 words or fewer.

That doesn’t mean they publish excerpts: quite the contrary. They publish complete works that are also compressed. Past contributors include poets Vievee Francis, Michael McFee, and Matthew Olzmann; fiction writers Halina Duraj, Julia Ridley Smith, and Daniel Wallace; and the occasional bit of nonfiction, plus plenty of excellent writers you may have never heard of. Authors sometimes contribute more than once, and across genres.

Every issue is 5.5″ x 4.25″ and eight pages long, published quarterly (roughly). Guess how much it costs? A buck.

That’s right. One dollar.

For a hundred pennies, you can have eight pages of goodness. You truly won’t find a deal like that anywhere else.

A two-year subscription is $8. A three-year subscription is $12. Subscribe here.

Some back issues are available too.

Think you have something that fits? Inch accepts prose up to 750 words and “smart, complete poems one to nine lines in length.” Click here for full submission guidelines.

According to a 2014 profile of founding editor Ross White in INDY Week, “Inch grew out of a magazine called Blink that the poet Robert West started at UNC.” After finding success publishing Inch regularly, White began publishing poetry chapbooks, and now the backlist for Bull City Press includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry titles. Matthew Poindexter recently replaced White as Inch’s editor.

Visit Inch on the World Wide Web at They’re on Facebook and Twitter, as well.

New Amazon Policy Could Hurt Authors and Publishers

The Independent Book Publishers Association sent an FYI to their members yesterday, and we wanted to pass it along to you.

Anyone who shops at Amazon is familiar with the “Add to Cart” button on every product page. In the past, options to buy used versions of the product were listed below the buy button. And in the case of books, the buy button automatically defaulted to the publisher, who earned 45 percent of the list price of each book sold.

The publishers passed some of this 45 percent, of course, along to authors in the form of royalties, and the rest went to cover the publisher’s overhead, things like marketing, distribution, and staff salaries. In short, buy clicking the “Add to Cart” button, you were directly supporting those who created the book.

As of March 1, however, Amazon is allowing “third-party sellers to compete for the Buy Box for books in ‘new condition.'”

Now Amazon is giving that priority spot to third-party sellers, relegating the publisher button to a far less favorable position, below the landing page screen line, often last in a list of third-party sellers offering the book for a significantly lower cost in addition to free shipping.

IBPA believes this policy change hurts publishers and authors.

IBPA outlines an eloquent argument against the policy change here, and it’s worth the read. In short, they argue that Amazon is working to drive down the price of books (and devalue creative and intellectual property in general); encouraging piracy; and severely penalizing any independent or back-list author whose books are print-on-demand, as Amazon has suggested one way to “win” the prioritized “Add to Cart” button is to keep a book in stock.

No doubt we’ll hear much more about this in the months to come.

The mission of the Independent Book Publishers Association is to lead and serve the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. A not-for-profit membership organization, IBPA serves and leads the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 3,000 members, IBPA is the largest publishing trade association in the U.S. If you’re an independent publisher, self-published author, small press, or mid-sized publisher, IBPA may be the place for you.

Learn more and join at

2017 Southern Book Prize Finalists

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced the finalists for the 2017 Southern Book Prize. The finalists include NCWN members:

  • Ross Howell, Jr., for Foresaken (NewSouth Books)

For more details, and the complete list of finalists in all categories, click here.

For a book to be eligible, it must be set in the South, or the author must be Southern (or both) and it must have been published within the previous calendar year.

Finalists were chosen by Southern independent booksellers from the long list ballot. The finalist titles will be sent to juried panels of booksellers, who will then decide on the winners in each category. Winners will be announced on July 4, “Independents Day.”

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) is a trade association which represents over 300 bookstores and thousands of booksellers in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and Mississippi.

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance exists to empower, promote, and celebrate our core member bookstores in a spirit of partnership. “Core members” are independent, privately held, brick & mortar, commercially zoned bookstores with a retail storefront, in our region. Among our members are owners, managers and employees of independent bookstores, publishers’ representatives, publishers, wholesalers and producers of “sideline” bookstore goods. Librarians, book reviewers, writers and other “friends of the trade” are also represented in our membership.

SIBA was formed to unite in one organization individuals and businesses actively engaged in the writing, selling, publishing, distribution and/or promoting of books in the South. SIBA provides a forum to discuss common problems and share ideas; offers educational programs and workshops for the benefit of its members; and strives to promote a high standard of ethics and business practices among the membership. SIBA exists to help you become a more profitable business, and sell more books.

Visit them on the web,

IGMS Explores Strange New Worlds

Fans of fantasy and science fiction need look no further than the North Carolina-based InterGalactic Medicine Show (IGMS for short). Founded by Orson Scott Card in 2005, the magazine currently releases new issues every other month, with columns and book reviews updated monthly.

IGMS is an:

online fantasy and science fiction magazine…featuring content from both established as well as talented new authors. In addition to our bi-monthly issues, we offer weekly columns and reviews on books, movies, video games and writing advice.

Chris Bellamy writes a regular movie review column; other recent columns have included “The Story Behind the Stories: IGMS Authors Share How Their Stories Came to Be” and “Lit Geek” by former Piedmont Laureate James Maxey.

Past fiction contributors include current fiction editor Scott M. Roberts, Tim Pratt, Edmnund R. Schubert (the fiction editor from 2006-2016), Gray Rinehart, and a host of newer and lesser-established writers. For the full back list, click here.

Subscriptions to IGMS are only $15 per year, which also grants access to all the back issues! Each issue is fully illustrated and contains some audio content.

Those interested in writing for IGMS should spend some time on their submission page. Of note:

  • “Science fiction” includes hard science fiction, science fiction adventure, alternate history, near-future, far-future, psi, alien, and any other kind of science fiction you can think of.
  • “Fantasy” includes heroic fantasy (based on any culture’s mythology), fairy tales, contemporary fantasy, and “horror” in the sense of supernatural suspense (not gory blood-fests, thanks).
  • Within these genres, we like to see well-developed milieus and believable, engaging characters. We also look for clear, unaffected writing. Asimov, Niven, Tolkien, Yolen, and Hobb are more likely to be our literary exemplars than James Joyce.
  • They don’t usually publish stories that are more than 17,500 words.
  • IGMS pays $0.06 a word.
  • IGMS requires a rating of PG-13: no explicit sex or violence; obscenity is fine in moderation, but profanity is not.
  • Some free stories are available here.

IGMS is online at They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

Nobody Writes Alone: Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

In support of the North Carolina Writers’ Network “Nobody Writes Alone” campaign, we’ve asked beloved authors to weigh-in on what the North Carolina Writers’ Network means to them.

“The expertise, camaraderie, and mentoring that I have received as an NCWN member has been invaluable in helping me develop my writing craft and negotiate the ever changing field of publishing. I’ve experienced more publishing success and greater happiness on the writing path since joining this organization.”
—Michele Tracy Berger, Pittsboro

Michele Tracy Berger is a professor, a creative writer, and a pug-lover. Her main love is science fiction. Her new novella is Reenu-You (Book Smugglers Publishing). Her work appears in some notable publications including The Feminist Wire, Ms., and 100wordstory. She is a Trustee of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. You can find out more about her at her award-winning blog The Practice of Creativity.

Still not convinced? Read additional testimonials from:

  • Lee Smith, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee

You can make your gift online with a VISA, MasterCard, or Discover; over the phone by calling 336-293-8844 or 919-308-3228; or by mailing your check to:

P.O. Box 21591
Winston-Salem, NC 27120

Donate now!