Resources for Writers


This article by best-selling author Rebecca Skloot is an outstanding guide to the nuts-and-bolts of being a book reviewer.

The trade association of book critics is the National Book Critics Circle. A junior or student membership is available for $15. And of course reading their blog and following their twitter feed is free.

PEN America is a literary organization that defends free speech but that doubles as an advocacy source and networking center. $25. is an industry trade periodical has resources for all media professionals covers trending topics in media, publishing is an industry roundup of news and are job boards is an easy to use and free clips portfolio maker (you can see mine at

The Hopper review, by the way, is here.

Here are some periodicals that might publish work by novice writers: Empty Mirror, Luna Mag, the Millions, the BOILER, Rust and Moth, Grist Journal, Collapsar, WhiskeyPaper, Squalorly Lit, Wyvern, Sundog Lit, Gravel Magazine, Split Lip, etc. etc.


End of May: Book Expo and BookCon

September: Brooklyn Book Festival (free!)

Spring: Awards season — National Book Awards and NBCC awards


Go to the library (it’s RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER). Bring a piece of mail and a photo ID. Get a library card. Go to Click “research.” Scroll down. Click “articles and databases.” Use “find e-journals by title,” “Oxford Reference Online,” and “JSTOR.”


Strunk and White, The Elements of Style.

Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition.

Associated Press Stylebook.

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, online version.

American Heritage Dictionary.


“Ten Ways to Make Yourself a Better Writer” by Mike Lindgren, Medium, July 2015

“The End” by Boris Kachka, New York, 9/22/08

“Diary” by Colin Robinson, London Review of Books, 2/26/09

“The Last Book Party” by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Harpers, March 2009

“Diary,” by Christian Lorentzen, London Review of Books, 8/2/12


ARC — Advanced Readers Copy. A bound preview of the book sent to reviewers and bookstores in advance of the publication date.

backlist — the cumulative books a press has published in the past, which continue to sell in paperback and provide low-maintenance revenue. cf. frontlist

blurb — an endorsement by a fellow writer, used for pre-publication advertising and on the back of the book to entice readers.

clip — a published review, used to demonstrate a reviewer’s experience, style, competence, etc.

frontlist — the publisher’s new offerings for the upcoming season, to be published largely in hardcover and aggressively promoted. cf backlist

lede — the first sentence of an article or review, one which should grab the reader’s attention.

pitch — a message to an editor suggesting a book to be reviewed by the reviewer, including a description of the book’s relevance and the reviewer’s qualifications.

pre-pubs — Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus. Three periodicals which publish advance reviews of upcoming books.

trade — 1) intended for the general reader, and sold through bookstores; 2) a general-interest periodical such as the NYT, WSJ, etc., as opposed to pre-pubs.

wholesaler — a company that warehouses and distributes books to bookstores, i.e., the middleman between the publisher and the bookstore.

SLIDES to the lecture are here: SVA.Criticism.LindgrenM

A Christmas Miracle, Sort of…

IT’s a cold morning, two weeks before Christmas, and I’m walking across 57th street on my way to work when I noticed him up ahead, shuffling along the curb — silver hair, blue jacket and white sneakers – not dressed for the weather. I probably wouldn’t have given him a second thought, but he reminded me of someone I knew from the literary scene. As I pulled even, I realized I was mistaken…

A very NYC holiday story from downtown avatar Ron Kolm, from Sensitive Skin magazine…

Jim Feast reviews “Duke and Jill”

Ron Kolm’s new collection of short stories, Duke and Jill, recounts the adventures of two woebegone, half countercultural, half drugstore-cowboy lowlifes, who shabbily inhabit the 1980s East Village, always one step ahead of eviction and the law. Duke ekes out a living by selling porno rags on the street, boosting and petty drug sales. Jill is a bit more upscale, doing phone sales and working in retail stores, ones that offer chances to pilfer on the sly.

Ron Kolm Photo by Arthur Kaye
All in all, Kolm gives a good-humored, excruciatingly accurate portrait of people surviving on the margins, recalling the good-old bad days on the not-yet-gentrified Lower East Side.


“8th Street Station”

I met you
At the Grey Gallery
Across from Washington Square Park.
We were going to the opening
Of The Left Front: Radical
Art in the “Red Decade.”

We ate all the peanuts
And most of the chips
That were set out as snacks,
And drank way too much wine
Which seemed to annoy the NYU
Students who were serving us.
They gave us dirty looks
But didn’t actually
Say anything.

I left you and walked
Over to Broadway
To get an R Train home
Still pretty buzzed.

Inside the station
I went to the downtown end
Like I always do
To sit on the wooden bin
That’s been there for years.
But this time I couldn’t—
It was covered with trash
So I stood on the platform
And waited for a train.

A razor-thin tranny
Sporting a long blonde wig,
Nose ring and high-heeled boots
Walked over to the mess,
Glared at it, then furiously
Swept it away with her hands
Flinging Styrofoam cups
And sandwich wrappers
At everyone
Standing nearby.
I didn’t mean to stare
But her sudden rage
Took me by surprise.

“Don’t look at me, bitch!” she screamed.
“Do you want to get pushed
In front of a train
And die?”
She yanked a bottle
From her jacket pocket
And smashed it against the wall,
Just like in the movies,
Spraying glass everywhere
And dared me to attack her.
I looked in my bag
For my umbrella
Which I figured
I’d use as a weapon
If I had to.

Just then a train pulled into the station–
I got on, turned and shouted:
“I was on the wrestling team
In high school . . .”
But I couldn’t finish the sentence
Before the doors closed.

I looked out the window
As the train left the station
And saw her sitting
On the wooden bin
Lighting a cigarette.

— Ron Kolm

From Sensitive Skin, April 8, 2015.

“Rashomon,” by Ron Kolm


We got off an R train
At Lexington Avenue
And went down the steps
To catch an express
To South Street Seaport
To hear some music.
Kids were breakdancing
On the 4, poorly,
So we bailed to a local
At Grand Central
And got on the last car.

There was a girl
Sitting to our right
Dressed all in black:
Black boots, black mini,
Black top, her hair Read More

“Home for Christmas, 1975” by Ron Kolm

Home for Christmas, 1975

By Ron Kolm

It’s starting to snow. Nothing is sticking to the highway, but tiny wind-driven drifts scatter back and forth in front of the pickup truck as I drive to work. A winter storm has been predicted all day, but it hadn’t started yet when I pulled out of the driveway. I probably should have called in sick. I hate the damn job — night-shift on an assembly-line — which seems to be killing me in some way or another, but I need the money so I keep showing up and punching in, waiting for something to happen, an accident, anything — looking for a sign that I should quit and move on but not finding any.

Read More