Monday, June 26, 2006

Publishing Book Closes Doors

Genre-Hopping Lucky Duck writes...

I've studied poetry. I have an MFA and recently
completed a Ph.D. in creative writing. During the
last year of my doctoral studies, I genre hopped and
took two fiction workshops. I loved them. The
instructor encouraged me to pursue a particular story.
I did. Wrote a novel. Signed with a good agent in
New York. And sold my first novel in April to Simon
& Schuster. They just sent me the cover art and the
book will be out in spring. Now I really feel like I
could benefit from some focused time to write and
study fiction. I'm thinking about applying for
fellowships in fiction at Wisconsin, Stanford,
Provincetown, etc., but worry that my degrees or the
novel publication might work against me. I fear that
a committee would look at my application and think
that I should be pursuing the job market and not the
fellowship market. Do you think either the Ph.D. with
the poetry emphasis or the novel publication would
hinder my chances for a fellowship in fiction?

Lucky Duck, the door is definitely shut for you at Stanford and Wisconsin. Those fellowships are for people who have not yet published a book in their genre. Provincetown may be the same. You'll have to turn your attention to the NEA and grants like that.

Congratulations on your book deal. Rock on.


Incredible Undulating Daughter said...

No disrespect, Tom, but I just don't see how you can endorse this behavior. The intentions behind those fellowships are clear--to support writers who have not had a book accepted for publication. Why encourage readers to try and skirt this on a technicality? Do you really want us having to argue down the road that, hey, we got those apps filled out a whole two weeks before our book hit stores, so back off, OK moneyman??!

After an MA, an MFA, and a PhD, this guy still has avenues to pursue if he feels he just needs a little more support to get that book--excuse me, second book--out. Why not advise him to apply with a clear conscience to those opportunities? Doesn't that beat 'not mentioning the book', which is essentially lying?

I don't see how this fair to other applicants.

Incredible Undulating Daughter said...

Boy did I really misread your answer!

My apologies, Tom. I'm drunk and it's late, etc. How embarrassing.

Please consider the above a general shame-on-you to the person who asked that question. Look elsewhere!

blue said...

There is fellowship money out there earmarked for writers are AREN'T just launching their careers. I believe the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program is only open to those who are two years out of a terminal degree program and who have publications. A number of short-term artists' residencies, such as MacDowell and Yaddo, also accept applicants who are well-published. A Fulbright may be an option if the project involves international research research.

One good resource is