For those that have, or are about to, signed up to participate as authors in the 3rd Annual Dzanc Books Write-a-Thon, here is a good example of a sample letter that one of our participants from the past has used, emailing it all of her family and friends, and she's raised quite a bit of money in each of the two years:
I have decided to participate in the Dzanc Books Write-A-Thon which
will take place September 1st through the 4th. I plan to spend XXXXX
hours on those days, writing, only taking breaks to eat and other necessities.
only will it be a treat for me to have a dedicated time for my writing,
but hopefully this will also benefit Dzanc. Dzanc is a wonderful
independent publishing company that supports literary magazines, small
presses, and publishes fantastic work. Also, Dzanc funds writing
public schools in both Michigan and New York, and is looking for
funding to expand beyond those states, where
creative writing classes are not offered. They also sponsor the Dzanc
Prize which benefits not only the writer awarded it, but pays for a
community based project like writing workshops in prisons, cancer
centers, or working with immigrant populations.
I would be honored if you would sponsor my writing this year. Your dollars will help Dzanc Books to continue to
support great writing and foster the creative talent of public school kids.
If you'd like to pitch in, please click on the following link which will take
you to a page where you can make a donation:
Thanks for your time!
P.S. If you would like to get involved in the Write-A-Thon, please email Dan
Wickett at email@example.com."
August 16, 2010 - Ann Arbor,
MI--Dzanc Books is excited to announce a new program, the Dzanc Books
Independent Bookstore Program, which has Dzanc working in conjunction with one
or two independent bookstores each month (from
the 15th—with a slightly delayed start this month—through the 15th,
coinciding with our monthly online journal, The Collagist, to move forward with our mission of promoting literary fiction.
There was great interest during the month of July, where we at Dzanc donated
books to many schools and libraries when provided proof of purchases of books
bought at an independent bookstore. We have decided to continue
this offer. We believe that by focusing on one or two bookstores each
month, with the help of their cross-promotion, that we will be able to help
inspire sales within the indie bookstore community of not only Dzanc books but
all great books, while at the same time drawing attention to the many
charitable programs Dzanc Books sponsors and runs, including our Dzanc Writer
in Residence Programs and the Dzanc Prize, which the purchase of our books,
and/or usage of our Dzanc Creative Writing
Sessions helps our ability to sustain and advance these programs across the
The first store to celebrate this program with Dzanc Books will be the RiverRun
Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH. There are two main aspects to the program:
1) Dzanc Books will continue the donating of a title from our catalog, or
one of our imprints. The patron of RiverRun Bookstore will inform us of
the library to which the donation will be made. Dzanc Books has created
fliers that have a simple form to fill out and send to us with the receipt,
showing that the book was purchased during the correct dates, and was for a
book of literary fiction from RiverRun Bookstore. The books do NOT need
to have been published by Dzanc or our imprints.
2) RiverRun Bookstore, along with promoting the donation of books, will
also promote the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions, our extremely inexpensive and
successful writer mentoring program. For every order to the DCWS placed
by a writer that notes on their order that they were sent our way by
RiverRun, Dzanc will donate $5 to Seacoast Local, a non-profit based near the
bookstore that promotes that people think local first when it comes to their
money and time spent. Dzanc Books will make this donation in RiverRun
Bookstore's name in one sum at the end of the month.
Throughout the future of the Dzanc Independent Bookstore Program it is our goal
to promote shopping at independent bookstores, develop better relationships
with the stores we'll be working with, promote literary
fiction, help writers via our DCWS program, and to donate both books to
libraries, as well as money to worthwhile non-profits local to the bookstores
we are working with. Dzanc Books strongly believes that every single one
of these aspects is vital. Interested bookstores should email Dzanc Books
Books was created in 2006 to advance great writing and champion those writers
who don’t fit neatly into the marketing niches of for-profit presses. As a
non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, Dzanc Books not only publishes literary
fiction, but runs inexpensive online mentoring programs, and sponsors the Dzanc
Prize which has a literary community service aspect to it.Dzanc also fully committed to developing
educational programs in schools. For more information on Dzanc Books and its
mission, books, authors, awards, and programs, please visit www.dzancbooks.org.
a reminder: The Dzanc Write-a-Thon is a chance to take a day or two
for both yourself (how frequently does your planned writing day get
bumped for something else) and to help others. The helping others
aspect comes from the fact that Dzanc earmarks the money raised during
the Write-a-Thon for both our Dzanc Writer in Residence Programs and the Dzanc Prize.
We regularly receive interest in starting up new DWIRPs in various
areas of the country in great need of such projects, but simply cannot
fund each one on our own. We are looking to expand this wonderful
program and need the resources to do so. The Write-a-Thon can greatly
help us with this.
noted above, this year we've moved the Write-a-Thon away from the in
between Thanksgiving and Christmas time period as we always got about a
dozen emails letting us know that it was a bad time of the year. So, we
are bringing it to the beginning of September. Like last year, the
Write-a-Thon dates will spread over more than just one day, in case
somebody really wants to participate but is busy on one or two of the
days, they can still plan on writing on one of the other days--we'll
have a prompt, and for those of you planning on writing all four days,
we'll have slight deviations to that prompt if you so desire.
be setting up a special page on our website as we've done the last two
years, making it easy for authors that want to participate, and those
that wish to sponsor an author, to do so. To get things started though,
if you are an author that would like to participate, please send an
email to firstname.lastname@example.org simply stating that you would. We'll be taking this initial blast of sign-ups to get the web page started.
The Write-a-Thon will be September 2 through September 5 (getting in both weekday and weekend dates).
As always--we'll ask that writers participating:
a) promote the event and try to find sponsors for your efforts b)
send us the writing that is done on the day(s) of the Write-a-Thon.
While we'll only include it in the special pdf sent to participants and
sponsors if you want us to, we do occasionally get asked by a sponsor if
somebody actually wrote during that day when they don't see your work
in the pdf.
whose sponsors donate the most will receive a full run of the Dzanc
titles from 2010: Raffel, Parker, BotW 2010, Svoboda and Lopez (which
will be sent when it is published).
wishing to sponsor may obviously do so--you do not need to know the
author in question--once our web page is set up, we'll put up another post. It's as simple as clicking on their name on that page to support
the effort through them.
Pirate Talk or Mermalade is a novel in voices about two brothers who
meet a mermaid, fall into pirating, and end up in the Arctic. Henry
Hudson said "mermaids are as thick as shrimp in these parts," and it was
in the Arctic where fellow explorer (and pirate) Martin Frobisher
dropped off part of his crew. To be released just before "Talk
Like a Pirate Day."
July 21, 2010 - Ann Arbor, MI—Dzanc Books is proud to announce that it
will publish 2 novels by Stephen Graham Jones.The first, Flushboy, will be
published in early 2013 and will be followed a year later by Not for Nothing.Stephen is the author of 9 books of
fiction, including The Fast Red Road—a
Plainsong, All the Beautiful Sinners, The Bird is Gone—a Manifesto, Bleed Into
Me—a Book of Stories, Demon Theory, The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti, Ledfeather
and the forthcoming novel, It Came
from Del Rio, and collection of stories,
The Ones that Almost Got Away: Stories.Stephen has also published over 100 stories in such places as Alaska
Quarterly Review, Hobart, and Mississippi Review.
Jones’ work has been called
“mesmerizing” and “masterful” by Booklist,
and Texas Monthly describes him as
“an unapologetic pop-culture savant.”Jones holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Florida State University
and teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Both hilarious and heartbreaking
at times, Flushboy is a novel about
the 16-year-old boy working the window of the drive-thru urinal of his father’s
latest business venture, The Bladder Hut. It’s a uniquely told coming-of-age story and
more.Not for Nothing, is in theory, a detective story, but as usual,
Jones plays with convention and gives his readers much more than they might
“Stephen Graham Jones is a
fascinating writer,” Dan Wickett said. “One that hasn’t delved into the
same territory twice, and these two novels continue on in that vein. We at
Dzanc are very excited to publish these two wonderful novels from a writer that
continues to constantly find new ways of storytelling.”
Dzanc Books was created in 2006
to advance great writing and champion those writers who don’t fit neatly into
the marketing niches of for-profit presses. As a non-profit, 501(c)3
organization, Dzanc Books not only publishes literary fiction, but works in
partnership with literary journals to advance their readership at every level.
Dzanc is also fully committed to developing educational programs in schools, as
well as supporting literary community service projects with its Dzanc Prize
For more information on Dzanc
Books and its mission, imprints, books, authors,
awards, and programs, please visit www.dzancbooks.org.
It's been a little more than a year since we started the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions and it has been just as good as we had hoped it would be. Where else can you find workshop styled help with your poem, story, essay or novel from either a published author or editor at a publishing house, at rates of $20 per hour or lower, that you can participate in from your own home (or wherever you have access to your email account) and can begin a new session at ANY time? Nowhere.
Here are some things that happy customers said upon finishing up their session(s):
"I can't say
enough about how valuable this process has been for me—and will
continue to be as I digest her comments and revise my story. Her
insight, encouragement and suggestions are just what I needed.
I will definitely participate in this program again in the future!
Thanks so much for the opportunity."
—Jennifer Hollmeyer (regarding mentoring author, Katrina Denza)
"I am so glad you guys have this, I cannot tell you how pleased I am."
"I found the experience quite wonderful."
"Thank you so much for your time and for your words of encouragement.
And thanks especially for being so straight with me—this is exactly the
kind of tough coaching I need."
"Thanks so much for the in-depth critique . . . Also, I'm applying your
no-holds barred editorial style to many of my other stories. I
appreciate your time and insights."
"I wanted to let you and Michele Battiste know that your program
through her guidance has been extremely useful for me. I had gotten to a
point in my project at which I felt stuck, and I don't have an
effective writers group here in Japan to help me. Michele's comments and
critique reminded me of some long-standing tendencies that I had
forgotten I need to avoid, and she also made some insightful points
which were new ideas for me. Best of all, I am reinvigorated and working
hard on the project again. Thank you so much for that."
"Thanks so much! Ah, these comments from Laura van den Berg are just
what I needed. I can't wait to use this service again for another
"I was very impressed with DCWS services and would use them in the
"Thank you so much. I'm thrilled with my DCWS experience, and the level
of thought and critique I received from Gabriel. Tremendously helpful, I
will definitely do this again. Thank you to you & Dzanc &
—Marie Gauthier (after working with Gabriel Welsch)
"I give this program all the credit for my
having short stories finally accepted by lit mags. Best deal on the
planet. Go for it."
--Jon R. Horton (via Facebook)
"Many thanks for sending this along. These comments are very helpful! Please let George know how much I appreciate his help -- what he gave me here is more than worth my $50!"
"This is great, Dan. It's exactly what I wanted. Matt really did a fantastic job of pointing out the story's weaknesses and also ways to fix them. The detailed feedback is invaluable to me. I'll probably start sending ALL my stories to DCWS, since this is the only way for me to get unbiased feedback right now."
Dzanc Books is extremely pleased to announce that Laura van den Berg's short story collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009), has been selected as a finalist for the Frank O'Connor Short Fiction Award.
Announced earlier today, Laura's book is one of six collections that the committee has winnowed down from the original semi-finalist long list of 58 titles. The Frank O'Connor Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the world as it is open internationally and receives submissions from publishers all over the world, is awarded to the best, original collection of stories published in English in the 12 preceding months. This year's finalists range from debut authors on up to TC Boyle, who has published 20 works of fiction, including 9 short story collections.
Dzanc Books is thrilled to have Laura's work among the finalists. Since Laura first won the Dzanc Prize in 2008, proving not only her skills as a writer but dedication to social service, her collection has gone on to receive a starred Booklist review, as well as be selected also as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers and a Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist. Stories from the collection have also been reprinted in Best American Nonrequired Reading2008, Best New American Voices 2010, and The Pushcart Prize XXIV: Best of the Small Presses.
Laura is a well deserving finalist and we here at Dzanc Books could not be prouder to have published What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us.
In response to Tin House's new submission policy, we at Dzanc
Books are motivated to reply with what we hope is an alternative
solution to one of the issues Tin House seems to be raising; to
wit the decline of books being purchased - and purchased at independent
bookstores. Rather than tie our concerns to the submissions we
receive at Dzanc - and our lit reviews and imprints: The Collagist,
Monkeybicycle and Absinthe, OV Books, Black Lawrence Press, Keyhole and
Starcherone - we would like to make the following offer which we feel
will better serve the desire to support independent bookstores and the
purchase of books. For the month of July, we at Dzanc will donate a
book to a school/library for each proof of purchase provided to us of a
book bought at an independent bookstore. The book bought should be a
work of literary fiction, though does not have to be a book published by
Dzanc Books or any of our imprints. Simply send a copy of your receipt
to the address below and Dzanc will donate a new book to a
library/school of your choosing.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
recent 20 Under 40 list composed by The New
Yorker contains twenty authors, who in the estimation of the staff
of The New Yorker, are “fiction
writers who. . . are, or will be, key to their generation.” While it is not the
intent of our response to disparage the writers chosen, it is important to
point out the flaws of any list which purports to represent an entire body
of achievement while having excluded from the very voting process the
majority of individuals who work daily with the material under review. As
we - the independent publishers, agents, bloggers and reviewers, in total
a majority of people working in literary fiction today - were
not consulted by The New Yorker in
the composition of their list, we feel it is essential to respond to The New Yorker's list with a complementary
list of our own, offering another twenty writers worth watching, this time
drawn not from a singularly New York view of publishing but from the wider
world of the American independent presses.
The we referenced here is made up of
nearly 100 independent publishers, agents, editors, bloggers and reviewers. As
the staff of The New Yorker went
to the sources they knew best when creating their list, and most of the
authors they reviewed have either been published in The New Yorker or with major New York publishing houses, so we focused
on writers publishing with independent houses. We realize that our list reflects
its own prejudices, those coming from a different set of sources than those
of The New Yorker, but we did
attempt to open our list to a far greater body of voters. Anyone trying to come
up with a list of twenty "writers to watch" is going to come under
the same scrutiny, but we have done our best to be as transparent and open
about our process as possible. Unlike The
New Yorker, inclusion on our list was not also dependent on having a story
for us to publish. The writers included here were selected purely on the basis
of this voting process, without editorial interference.
compiling our list, we invited our voters to name four authors for
consideration, splitting their votes between two that are associated with their
publishing interests and two they favor independently. The only other
parameters given to the voters were that these writers needed to be North American,
and had to have published at least one book with an independent publishing
house. (Unlike The New Yorker's
list, there were no age restrictions, so the authors did not have to be under
forty.) We then compiled the votes, tallied the score, and had a second round
of votes for those authors who made the first cut. Through this purely democratic process, we have
compiled a list of twenty authors we find representative of the best talents at
work in literary fiction today, including five authors who made the final list
on the strength of first round of voting alone. That list, including bios of
the authors, can be found below this letter.
no point do we imagine that the twenty writers who have made our list are the
exclusive voice of literary fiction. Our process, however fair it was
intended to be, remains at a certain level subjective. For instance, as
we were looking for authors who have published at least one full book with an
independent press, we did not consult editors at literary journals, even though
such editors would certainly have had their own keen insights and opinions on emerging
writers. In the end, for every writer who made the final twenty, there
are dozens of other talented authors worthy of consideration at both the
independent and the corporate publishers, including such writers as Allison Amend, Chris Bachelder,
Jonathan Baumbach, John Brandon, Lucy Corin, Elizabeth Crane, Lydia
Davis, John Domini, Brian Evenson, Percival Everett, Jonathan Evison,
StevenGillis, Renee Gladman, Rachel B.
Glaser, Carol Guess, Paul Harding, Roy Kesey, Victor LaValle, Sam Lipsyte,
Emily St. John Mandel, Joseph Mattson, Debra Monroe, Antonya
Nelson, Julie Orringer, Jeff Parker, Vanessa Place, Padgett Powell, Dawn
Raffel, Emma Straub, Alex Taylor, Christian Tebordo, Deb Olin Unferth, Josh
Weil, Colson Whitehead, and Paul Yoon, along with many
others who were recognized in the early voting.
is obviously much to praise about the work that is published by New York houses,
and in The New Yorker, as well
as the authors on the New
Yorker list. Nonetheless, we feel it is the independent presses
who best represent the heart and soul of understanding what is going on in
literary fiction today, and the writers included here have all struck a chord with
that community. Each of these writers deserves to have his or her work
championed and read by anyone who values great writing.
thank you for taking the time to review our list, and we hope you will consider
reading many of the listed authors, who we truly believe are among the best at
Dan Wickett, co-founder, executive director, Dzanc Books
Steven Gillis co-founder, publisher, Dzanc Books www.dzancbooks.org
Writers Worth Watching*
Matt Bell is
the author of How They Were Found, forthcoming
from Keyhole Press in October 2010, as well as three chapbooks, Wolf Parts (Keyhole Press), The Collectors (Caketrain Press),
and How the Broken Lead the Blind (Willows
Wept Press). His fiction has been selected for inclusion in leading anthologies
such as Best American Mystery
Stories 2010 and Best
American Fantasy 2. He is the editor of The Collagist and the Best of the Web anthology series.
Blake Butler has
published the novella Ever (Calamari
Press), the short story collection Scorch
Atlas (Featherproof Books), and has a novel (2011) and work of non-fiction
(2012) forthcoming from Harper Perennial. He is the editor of HTML
Giant: the Internet Literature Magazine Blog of the Future, Lamination Colony, co-edits No Colony, and co-publisher of Year of
the Liquidator Books.
M. Allen Cunningham has
published two novels, The Green Age
of Asher Witherow (Unbridled Books), and Lost Son (Unbridled Books). Both were BookSense
Selections and The Green Age of
Asher Witherow was a BookSense Book of the Year finalist as well.
Amelia Gray is
the author of AM/PM (Featherproof
Books). Her book Museum of the Weird is
coming out in September 2010 through FC2. She co-directs the Five
Things series in Austin, Texas.
Samantha Hunt has
published two novels, The Seas (MacAdam/Cage)
and The Invention of Everything Else (Houghton
Mifflin). The Invention of
Everything Else was a finalist for the Orange Prize.
Jamie Iredell has
published the chapbook Atlanta (Achilles
Chapbook Series), the chapbook When
I Moved to Nevada (Greying Ghost Press), and the chapbook Before I Moved to Nevada (Publishing
Genius). This trio was combined to create the book Prose. Poems. A Novel (Orange Alert
Kelly Link is
the author of three collections of short stories, Stranger Things Happen (Small Beer Press), Magic for Beginners (Small Beer
Press), and Pretty Monsters (Viking).
Her short stories have won three Nebulas, a Hugo, and a World Fantasy
Award. She co-runs Small Beer Press with her husband.
Norman Lock is
the author of The King of Sweden (Ravenna
Press), Shadowplay (Ellipsis
Press), A History of the Imagination (FC2), ‘The Book of Supplemental Diagrams’ for
Marco Knauff’s Universe (Ravenna Press), The Long Rowing Unto Morning (Ravenna Press), Two Plays for Radio (Triple Press),
and–writing as George Belden–Land of the
Snow Men (from Calamari Press and in Japanese from Kawade Shobo).
Gary Lutz is
a professor of English and composition at the University of Pittsburgh
in Greenburg. He’s published the short story collections Stories in the Worst Way (Knopf,
1996, re-released by 3rd Bed in 2002), I Looked Alive (Four Walls Eight
Rooms, 2003), and Partial List of
People to Bleach (Future Tense Press, 2007).
Sarah Manguso is
the author of the memoir The Two
Kinds of Decay (2008), published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and
Granta Books, and of the story collection Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape (2007), included in
McSweeney's One Hundred and
Forty-Five Stories in a Small Box. Her poetry collections are Siste Viator (2006) and The Captain Lands in Paradise (2002).
Eugene Marten has
published the novels In the Blind (Turtle
Point Press), Waste (Ellipsis
Press), and the forthcoming Firework (Tyrant
Books). He lives in New
Scott McClanahan has
published two short story collections, Stories (Six
Galleries Press) and Stories II (Six
Galleries Press). He is also a filmmaker and a native of West Virginia. He
is co-partner of the company Holler Presents, which has produced such films
as Preacher Man, Spring, 1386, The
Education of Bertie Mae McClanahan, and Lil Audrey's Last Day at School.
Mary Miller has
published two short story collections, Less
Shiny (Magic Helicopter Press) and Big World (Short Flight Long Drive).
Lydia Millet has
published Omnivores(Workman), George Bush: Dark Prince of Love (Touchstone), My Happy Life (Henry Holt), Everyone's Pretty (Soft Skull
Press), Oh Pure and Radiant Heart (Soft
Skull Press), and How the Dead Dream (Counterpoint),
and the short story collection, Love
in Infant Monkeys (Soft Skull Press).
Kyle Minor published
the short story collection, In the
Devil’s Territory (Dzanc Books), from which his novella “A Day Meant
to Do Less” was anthologized in Best
American Mystery Stories 2008. He co-edited the anthology, The Other Chekhov (New American
Press), and had an essay published in Twentysomething
Essays by Twentysomething Writers (Random House).
Yannick Murphy is
the author of the novels, The Call (forthcoming
2011), Signed, Mata Hari, Here They
Come, and Sea of Trees.
Her story collections include Stories
in Another Language and In
a Bear’s Eye. Her children's books include The Cold Water Witch (forthcoming Fall '10), Baby Polar, and Ahwoooooooo! She is the recipient of various awards including a
Whiting Writer's Award, a National Endowment for the Arts award, and a
Chesterfield Screenwriting award. Her story “In a Bear’s Eye” was recently
published in the 2007 O. Henry Prize
short story collection, The Bigness
of the World, won the 2008 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and
was published in the fall of 2009. Stories from it appeared in The Georgia Review, New England Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Bellingham Review, Hobart,
and Blue Mesa Review. In the
summer of 2009, she was chosen for a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award.
Benjamin Percy has
published two short story collections, The
Language of Elk (Carnegie Mellon University Press), and Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf Press),
and has a novel, The Wilding,
forthcoming this fall from Graywolf Press. He has won a Whiting
Award, the Plimpton Award, and his story “Refresh, Refresh” was anthologized
in Pushcart Prize Stories (2007)
and Best American Short Stories 2006.
Justin Taylor is
the editor of The Apocalypse Reader (Thunder’s
Mouth, 2007), and Come Back, Donald
Barthelme (McSweeney’s 2007). His own books include a poetry collection, More Perfect Depictions of Noise (X-ing
Books, 2008) and a short story collection, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever (Harper Perennial,
2010). He also co-edits The
Agriculture Reader, a limited-edition arts annual.
Laura van den Berg’s
short story collection, What the
World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books), was a
Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers selection, a finalist for the IPPY
Short Fiction Award, and was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor Short Fiction
*The writers are listed here in alphabetical