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  1. #1
    David Rice

    The one that just WILL NOT sell!

    I write what some people have called "Nature stories," though I would not call myself a "nature writer." I have an article called "Providence Mountain Soliloquy" that I have been having a hard time selling. Or perhaps I should say "A hard time finding a buyer." Perhaps someone here can suggest a market that I can send it to: I have tried several "Nature magazines." A copy is at:


    The ms isn't poor, as far as I can tell, and I am a very harsh critic of my work. Seems to me there would have been a buyer by now. I write much like Edward Abbey did (or he wrote much like me), but the markets he sold to have changed and have "dried up."

    Anyone have a suggestion? Is the ms poor and I just cannot see that fact? If you have a market suggestion, I will appreciate hearing it. THANK YOU.

    David Rice

  2. #2
    Mya Bell

    Re: The one that just WILL NOT sell!

    Times change, David.

    Westerns used to be hugely popular. Now they're not.

    Nature books used to be hugely popular too. Now nature lovers can watch the Discovery Channel, Steve Irwin, Jeff Corwin and lots of other nature programs on TV. There's less incentive to pick up a book or magazine.

    Sadly, our concrete jungles keep growing and few people grow up with direct experience of nature (or an appreciation of it).

    You said yourself that the markets have changed and have "dried up."

    You didn't say whether your story was fiction or nonfiction. Fiction can be especially difficult to place. If it's nonfiction, you're going to have to check directory listings for magazines that might be indirectly related to nature to see if you can get some interest. You need to find an "angle" to pitch your stories to editors. You may have to add a paragraph or two that suits another type of publication to create a lead-in to the rest of the story.

    I wish you luck. I like nature stories, but I suspect the market has diminished.

    --- Mya Bell

  3. #3

    Re: The one that just WILL NOT sell!

    Okay, here are some thoughts: you write well and there are some very entertaining passages. That said, I see at least two things that might be getting in the way of selling the piece.

    First, it's too long. Cut out half of your observations, keeping to the ones you think most important or amusing, and you might do better. I found myself skimming over many of your entries.

    Second, and I think more importantly--there isn't a point to the piece. You say: I'm fed up with civilization so I think I'll go camping. Then you go camping, bringing the comforts of civilization with you (solar oven, radio, books, processed food). You don't seem to be trying to prove anything, you don't seem to learn anything on the journey--your conclusion is "That was so cool--I'm going to do it again sometime."

    If you could rewrite it with focus ("this is what you should bring with you/do/learn about first/where you should go if you want to experience the desert), or next time you go camping have a goal in mind (can a city boy survive for 3 days with only a pocket knife and a few pieces of string? how many native medicinal plants/rare birds can I identify and photograph on my trip? can I trace the route of X, or find the lost mine of Y?), I think it would have a much greater chance of finding an audience.

    Finally, one easily-fixed problem: most of the piece is written in present tense (example: "The luminous face on my watch is washed out in moonlight."--absolutely appropriate for the minute-by-minute style you've chosen), but you make occasional lapses into past tense (next entry following contains "I was suddenly frightened...by the barking scream of a coyote."). I'd be consistent if I were you.

    Once again, I think there's a lot of good stuff here--it's just my opinion that it isn't strong enough as is. Good luck with it!

  4. #4
    David Rice

    Re: The one that just WILL NOT sell!

    Thank you very much---- for the time you took to view the page, and more so for the time you took to criticize it.

    I think you are 100% correct. Funny how I did not see what now appears obvious. Most of what I write is planned: the text in question I merely wrote as it occured to me.

    I will bottom-drawer the text.

    Thank you again.

  5. #5
    Jerry Hatchett

    Re: The one that just WILL NOT sell!

    David, you have the most important element IMO: talent. That's what the vast majority of writerdom does not have, and when you don't have it, everything else is futile. With that said, this particular piece needs severe tightening and de-fluffing. Don't try to be "fancy." Tell a story and make EVERY word count. Two crucial things to do in learning how to do this: WRITE a lot and READ a lot.

    Best fortunes...


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