Nice Things Said Re: EWN

  • "Dan Wickett is serious about a good read. But the EWN email list doesn't just deliver his sure-footed reviews; it also brings you news and connections to other writers. Sign up now - he understands what readers want to know about books." Quinn Dalton, author, Bulletproof Girl
  • 1.
    "Mr. Wickett is that rarely heard from but best of all possible reviewers - the dedicated and knowledgeable fan. He writes clean-cutting and fresh reviews that represent a sensibility unspoiled by over-exposure to the biz of books, but deeply in love with them." Daniel Woodrell, author, Winter's Bone
  • 3.
    "Dan Wickett is a reader's best friend. Not only does he read and trenchantly review new work, but he looks back to books that deserve ongoing readership. I've lost track of the number of times he's led me to boks that I overlooked (or never knew about), and that were a delight. There aren't many reviewers I will let shape my library, but Dan Wickett is one." Erin McGraw, author, The Baby Tree

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    « Book Review: 2008-004 In the Land of the Free by Geoffrey Forsyth | Main | Source of Lit - Listen Up »

    August 02, 2008



    Dan, thanks for posting this; it's the little shove I needed, particularly re: telling someone you like their work (I love it on the rare moments when people tell me that, so why not spread the love?) and the "secret handshake..." comment is just smart.

    Rock on.

    Matt Bell

    A lot of this is probably going to be repeated at my own site, but I started writing it here in the comments so I wanted to post it here too:

    I know that for myself, I started getting published when I started sending stories only to magazines I read and loved and wanted to be a part of instead of just the magazines with the big reputations. Guess what? The magazines I liked the best were also the places that were likely to be publishing the kind of work I wrote, and sure enough, I started getting published on a much regular basis.

    One of the best things that helped me was--and here's another of the above points--I started doing literary magazine and book reviews. I was in Hobart #5--which is only relevant to show that I didn't do this to get published--but I took Hobart #6 and wrote a review of every single story and essay on my blog. Besides trying to promote a magazine I love reading, it also gave me an opportunity to really dive into how a particular magazine is put together, what the editor likes and doesn't like, etc.

    I also took that opportunity to try and e-mail as many of the writers in the issue as I could find, or to link to their websites if the had one. I met several of the writers this way, and stayed in some sort of contact over the years, as well as starting to look for their work in other magazines.

    Which brings me to my last point, I guess. If reading and reviewing and subscribing made me a more successful writer, then reaching out and saying hi to writers I admired--and having strangers do the same to me--has made me a happier writer. It is a lonely, solitary thing to be a writer, especially for someone who started out living in a rural community far removed from any literary "scene," and there was a long time where the only people I knew who read literary fiction or wanted to write it were people I'd met on the internet. I'm lucky now to live in a place where there's lots of people trying to make a career in the writing world (okay, there's like twelve, but to me, that's a lot more than I had before), and it's pretty amazing. It's still worth pointing out that almost all of the "real world" relationships I have with Ann Arbor's writers and editors started on the Internet or through submitting and publishing. Everyone I know in real life here I had a preexisting relationship based on reaching out, saying hi, admiring someone's work or asking to be considered. The community you have is the one you make for yourself, and the more you expand your circle, the better off you'll be.

    Cliff Garstang

    It all boils down to "Get the Word Out!"

    I occasionally get email from writers whose work I mention on my blog. I'm glad when they see it and appreciate it, and I'm glad they let me know!


    forget uncle al, where is dan wickett's nobel prize?

    Laura van den Berg

    I totally agree. I'm perpetually baffled by people who want the community to love them, but aren't really willing to do expend energy doing things that don't directly benefit them/their careers. There's a discussion about Blake's post going on at the Ploughshares blog too:


    awesome Dan, thank you for bringing this even further. as I've told you before, EWN and Dzanc is a great inspiration and model for how with focused effort over time you can accomplish great things. Dzanc is the future, and I believe that.

    excellent point, too, Matt, about these activities, if not necessarily making you a more 'successful' writer, then definitely at least making you happier. at this point I really don't know what I would do without the writing friends I have made online, they fuel me in a way I never had before I started blogging, contacting people etc. If nothing else, it is fuel.


    This is great, Dan. Words I'll try harder to live up to.


    This is very good advice. And I think it's applicable to what we're seeing with a lot of people who have earned an artistic reputation online. This interesting NY Times article on Girl Talk also relates:

    Susan Olson Lawson

    Bravo! And ditto Cliff Garstang's Nobel nomination.

    Laura Benedict

    Kick-ass post, Dan, as usual. And I'm thrilled to have gotten a chance to check out Blake's blog.

    As an aside--I'm ALWAYS happy to have writers--lit or genre--guest blog or interview at my Notes From The Handbasket blog. Especially debuters. It's all about getting folks' names out there!

    Joseph Levens

    I think this is good, but the fact is that there are many, many more people out there that want to be the next great writer, than there are people interested in simply reading good literary stories on a consistent basis. This is evident in the subscriber/submitter ratio many editors complain about, and how about this one: My literary mag offers a $100 prize for 50 words of comments on a story, per quarter. In the last two quarters, the ratio of comments to submitted stories was about 1:100! In addition to getting the word out, which largely revolves around writers, we need to think of ways of getting people to read more. I think it is becoming ever harder with all the other mediums and things one can do these days.

    Cliff Garstang

    Hey, Susan, I think that was Barry's nomination--I'm not on the committee--but, what the heck: I third the nomination.

    Rosanne Griffeth

    I totally wanted to be one of those secret handshake motherfuckers but my nodes were too open. All of this makes perfect sense--and being kindly and literate to those who aren't writers opens up more opportunities to the literary community.

    Thanks for mentioning me in your piece about Keyhole. Peter is a great guy and I'm real proud he accepted some of my work.

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