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4 Must Read Essays from Electric Literature For Authors in 2021

Tired of reading textbook like essays for authors? Here are four brilliant ones from Electric Literature to break the cycle.

1. Canceling My Book Deal Was the Best Career Move I’ve Ever Made

After toiling for many years writing, editing and querying for a book you poured your soul into, an acceptance letter from a publisher—big or small—could feel like a lifeline thrown into the drowning pool of self-publishing for any author. But it’s precariously easy to get sucked into the excitement of landing your first book deal and overlook your own needs and expectations.

In this essay, Lilly Dancyger talks candidly about publishing her memoir Negative Space. If you’re at this stage in your work, then her advice has come at the right time for you. She explains what it took to understand that a contract that doesn’t suit your needs or expectations could be worse than no book deal at all.

In this post Lilly shares her own experience of what it means to wait for the right publisher that will champion your work, send it out into the world, and fight for the well-deserved success you earned alongside you.

2. Your Book Might Not Sell, and You Have to Live With That

What if nobody reads the work you squeezed the best years of your life into? What if none of your sacrifices and skills feel like they materialized into anything?

Your book can be a rival to Shakespeare, yet potential readers still may choose to look past it. Truth is, it takes more than skill and hope to move the needle in your writing career.

No affirmative words can prepare a writer for the reality of these downfalls that play a big part in the publishing process. So how can we navigate and sustain this reality for years on end? In this essay, author Abigail Rasminsky shares her experience of navigating this phase.

3. Writing Doesn’t Need to Hurt

Is it necessary for writers to “bleed on the page?” Should they “cut deeper” into the writing process and suffocate themselves to bring forth the “rawness” of their craft? Can a writer not exist in any other way?

Many authors agreed with Dorothy Parker when she once wrote how the greatest favor you can do for an aspiring writer is to shoot them down while they’re still ignorantly happy.

In this powerful essay, Lindsay King-Miller, the author of Ask a Queer Chick, pens her own counter argument.

4. The Insidious Rise of the Author Photo

Taking an author photo is an important milestone for every writer. It will stay with them (and their book covers) for years to come.

Ever wondered where it all began? Who was the author that woke up one day and thought they had to put their face out there?

Cornelia Powers traces the long history of the author photo to first century B.C. and pens an interesting essay here.

Shafeeka Hafeez

Shafeeka Hafeez grew up escaping into a world of books where she discovered a love for writing and a fascination with trees. When she’s not taking up a new marketing skill, or typing out a blog post, you can find her Googling the best therapy for abandoned cats.

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June 20, 2021

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