Friday, August 14, 2015

Opportunities to Publish Your Non-Fiction Writing

Creative Non-Fiction is a magazine dedicated to publishing quality non-fiction articles, memoirs and essays. Founded by Lee Guttkind, the self proclaimed "Godfather" of the creative non-fiction genre, this literary magazine publishes the work of some of America's greatest writers as well as pieces from new writers. Currently their website ( ) lists two contests and a request for queries for its regular columns.

Creative non-fiction is distinguished by its use of fiction writing techniques to make non-fiction pieces more engaging for the reader. A thoughtful reading of Creative Non-fiction magazine is a great way to learn from the masters of this medium and enhance your writing. Another way to polish your writing skills is to join the Ligonier Valley Writers. Check out to join or to learn about upcoming event and seminars.

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mark Twain--Self-publisher and Marketer

Mark Twain is remembered as one of America's greatest writers. People often forget that he was also a genius at marketing himself and his books. When he published his first books, he felt that the publishing houses of his day took advantage of him by taking the lion's share of the proceeds from his creative work. Twain took a step that is common in our day, but was groundbreaking in his; he decided to become his own publisher. Since he was living a century before digital publishing became available, he did this by making arrangements with a printer and starting his own publishing house.

Because he lacked the capital of an established house, he sold his books by subscription, essentially selling the books before they were printed and collecting at least part of the revenue upfront. Twain recruited commissioned sales people across the country to go door to door selling his books. He gave his representatives detailed instructions on selling his books and even how to sell special editions in more luxurious bindings. You can find these instructions by Googling "Mark Twain-how to be a successful agent." When Twain learned that another publishing company was taking advantage of his dear friend Ulysses Grant, Twain stepped up and offered him a much more favorable deal for his memoirs. This turned into one of the most lucrative publishing ventures of the 19th century.

I often talk to fellow writers that tell me they've published a book (or several), but then apologize for self-publishing it. They act as if this is "cheating" and it somehow diminishes their accomplishment. My response is that, "If self-publishing is good enough for the author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, it should be good enough for any writer."

If you want to learn more about writing, publishing or just want to spend time with other creative types, join the Ligonier Valley Writers today. You can reach the LVW at

Thanks for reading this post.

Jim Busch


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What's the difference between writers and liars?

Here is a great quote for writers and storytellers of all kinds:

"A storyteller makes up things to help other people, a liar makes things up to help himself." Daniel Wallace

This says something about writers, though writers are often thought of as recluses or anti-social, they are motivated out of love. They don't write for themselves (that's a diarist), they write to share with others. We all secretly hope that our work will touch others and maybe make their world just a little better.

Keep those stories coming. Thanks

Jim Busch for the Ligonier Valley Writers

Friday, May 1, 2015

An "Ad Man" on the power of words

As part of my preparation to write my monthly advertising column I reread A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young. Young was one of the original "Mad Men" and he helped create the modern advertising industry. His book is ine of the best works on the creative process I've ever found. While written for business people, I believe it has value for writers and artists as well. Here is a quote from A Technique for Producing Ideas that I think is of particular interest to writers:

"We tend to forget that words are themselves ideas. They might be called ideas in a state of suspended animation. When the words are mastered the ideas come alive again."

Young's book is still in print and available on Amazon. It is a thin volume, my 1956 edition has just 61 pages. I believe it is a good read for anyone who wants to stimulate their creativity.

If you are looking for a place to enhance and display your creativity check out the Ligonier Valley Writers Website:

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Louise Penny on Developing a Character

My wife and kids accuse me of watching "Nerd TV." Perhaps they are right because one of my favorite shows is "Well Read," which airs on the cable channel WQEDW (201 on my cable system). I just watched a fascinating interview with Louise Penny, author of the Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series. When asked how she created the character, Ms. Penny replied, "I imagined him as the kind of man I would like to marry." Contrary to the advice given to most first time authors, she said that she didn't consider the market when she created the first book in her series. She did not expect the book to be published, so she wrote for her own enjoyment. Ms. Penny wanted the act of writing the book itself to be her reward, her payoff,  for doing the work. She advised writers to embrace the act of writing, "You might write ten pages about a handsome man your encounter or ten pages about a bouquet of roses." These pages probably won't be part of your finished book, but write them anyway."

If you are a writer or interested in becoming one, visit the the Ligonier Valley Writers website to learn more about upcoming LVW programs. You will also find information on submitting your articles, stories, poems or artwork for the upcoming edition of the Loyalhanna Review.

Keep writing, keep thinking , and keep the ideas flowing.

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch     

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The purpose of story

H. W. Brands is one of my favorite living historians. He has a talent for making a work of non-fiction read like a novel. He understands the value of story. Here is a great quote from Professor Brands on the purpose that stories fill in our lives.

"Stories are simplifications of complicated realities that give us some kind of purchase, some kind of grip on the world."

You can help others get a grasp on some "complicated realities" by submitting your story, poem or work of art to the 2015 Loyalhanna Review. Submissions will be accepted February 15th. Check out the Ligonier Valley Writers website.

Keep your pencils sharp, the ideas flowing and your dream alive.

Thanks for reading this blog--Jim Busch

Monday, January 12, 2015

Art--The big YES!!!!

I love this quote from poet Marvin Bell. I think it has a lot of mewning to writers and all other artistic types.

"Much of our lives involves the word 'no.' In school we are mostly told, 'Don't do it this way. Do it that way.' But art is the big yes. In art, you get a chance to make something where there was nothing."

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch.