I’m Julia Tagliere, writer, editor, and purveyor of unsolicited opinions. From freelancer cattle calls and self-publishing to M.A. programs, lit journals, and fellowships, I’ve been climbing the literary food chain since 2005. AMA!

Julia Tagliere
Jul 12, 2018

Why am I doing this AMA? I've been told it's because someone saw my awesome interview with the divine Dara Beevas (co-founder of Wise Ink Creative Publishing), wherein we discuss marketing e-books, and they thought I'd be interesting; I suspect, however, it's more because I rock my Minnesota accent hard in that video, don'tcha know, so maybe they were just looking for a laugh (see for yourself: Julia Talks Marketing in Bitchin' Minnesota Accent). Either way, I'm delighted.

Some legit creds: The Writer, The Bookends Review, Potomac Review, a handful of anthologies; Best Short Story, 2015 William Faulkner Literary Competition; 2017 Writers Center Undiscovered Voices Fellowship; M.A. in Writing, Johns Hopkins University; fiction/CNF editor with The Baltimore Review; working on my next novel, The Day the Music Didn’t Die.

How I got to this rung of the food chain: newsletter writer/editor for church and professional editors' association; vanity books ghostwriter; English-Spanish website translator (because also former high school Spanish/French teacher); SEO serf; grant writer for a lovely nonprofit; associate/digital editor, Hay & Forage Grower magazine (yes, that’s a real thing); self-publisher of my first novel, Widow Woman, in 2012. Like most writers I know, I've worked hard for those creds.

Here's my website (has my blog, where to find my publications, and all my social media): justscribbling.com

Proof: Yes, it's really me, Julia

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Conversation (143)

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How do you approach reviewing a book?
Jul 18, 9:22PM EDT0
What are the hurdles for authors when they are trying to find agents and publishers? How has been your experience so far?
Jul 18, 12:42PM EDT0
How do you strike a balance between your life and work?
Jul 18, 6:54AM EDT1
Some writers describe themselves as planners, while others plunge right in to the writing. Would you consider yourself a planner or a plunger?
Jul 17, 8:14PM EDT1
Who are some of the organizations you have partnered with for your sustainable publishing project?
Jul 17, 11:11AM EDT0
Do you have a process for selecting the themes of your books, articles or whatever content you develop?
Jul 17, 9:19AM EDT0
What is the most important lesson you have learned during your career as an author and as a self-published author?
Jul 17, 6:12AM EDT0
What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?
Jul 17, 2:56AM EDT0
How does Project Ink Possible empower the youth, what is the criteria you follow when deciding whether to publish material received by children and teens?
Jul 17, 12:17AM EDT0
How do you go about finding new media outlets to publish your stories? Are opportunities knocking out your door or do you constantly seek to create them?
Jul 16, 7:17PM EDT0
How far are you into the creation of your business model that has as little negative impact on the environment as possible and what complications are you experiencing with producing books that have minimal environmental impact?
Jul 16, 1:49AM EDT0
What does zero waste publishing entail, why is this initiative important to the industry?
Jul 15, 6:57PM EDT0
What writing fantasy have you always wished you could fulfil but still haven't?
Jul 14, 1:22AM EDT0

Hello!

I've been fortunate to start publishing things here and there, and I'm super grateful for all of those opportunities. But I'm still hoping that one of my next two novels will wind up being traditionally published. I don't regret self-publishing, not one tiny bit; I learned a tremendous amount from the experience, and I'm really proud of the book that I put out there. But still--I'd really love to have a publisher pick one up (and another, and another, and another...) That'd be awesome!

Great question; thanks for asking!

Jul 14, 1:53PM EDT0
What would you say is the most frustrating thing about your work?
Jul 14, 1:01AM EDT0

Hello!

The pace--I'd like to be so much speedier than I am! I've just had to accept that my process is not of the speedy varietal, and that's made it easier to just get on with things.

Thanks for your question!

Jul 14, 1:51PM EDT0
What are some of the unethical practices in the publishing industry that aspiring writers should look out for?
Jul 13, 7:11PM EDT0

Good morning!

I don't think a lack of ethics is the exclusive providence of any particular industry. Before you sign anything, get the terms of your agreement in writing; take time to review them thoroughly before signing (if you have a friend with expertise in contracts, etc., have them take a look, too); have a clear path for dispute resolution. It's like that great quote from author Jean Shepherd: "In God we trust; all others pay cash." Don't blindly trust anyone to have your best interests at heart--it's your job to safeguard those.

Jul 14, 1:47PM EDT0
Why do you describe Wise Ink as an author-obsessed publishing company?
Jul 13, 7:45AM EDT0

Good morning!

Well, I haven't worked with them myself, but I have, over the years, had enough conversations with the co-founders, Amy Quale and Dara Beevas, to know that that is their approach (I first met them in talks about having the company they worked for at that time take on my self-published novel). They are always thinking first and foremost about how they can help authors have the best publishing experience possible--that's not always the case with some pubs, and, IMHO, it sets them apart.

But again, full disclosure--I haven't worked with them as a client, only had conversations with them over the years, and paid close attention to how Wise Ink has grown and blossomed. You don't have that kind of success in such a short period of time unless you're doing something right.

Thanks for your question!

Jul 13, 9:03AM EDT0
What is next for you? Are you currently working on anything new? If yes, what is it about?
Jul 13, 7:20AM EDT0

Good morning!

I am always working on short projects and essays; that's sort of a 24/7 endeavor. I will have one short story coming out in Gargoyle Magazine next spring--I am super stoked about that! I'm also working on my first book review for Washington Independent Review of Books, which I believe is due out in September. I'm thrilled they asked me to do that, and hoping they ask me to do more after this one.

But I also have two longer works--both novels--in progress, and those have been taking up the bulk of my time these last few months.

Novel 1 is an upper-middle grade adventure with supernatural elements, squarely in the cli-fi genre, working title Water Bear. Here's the basic pitch for it:

At the pond behind her family’s home in a new, upscale housing development in Virginia, thirteen-year-old aspiring hippy freak Bibi Barnes and her incorrigible twin brothers nearly die in a bewildering attack by a previously unidentified, microscopic, and sentient species—think angry tardigrades on steroids with high IQs. (Never heard of a tardigrade? Ask fans of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s show, Cosmos; trust me, they know.) Bibi only survives because Moby, one of these strange creatures, happens to be a devoted student of the human species, and intercedes. Inextricably bound physically to Moby in the course of her rescue, Bibi learns that, in order to put a stop to humans’ devastating impact on the planet, Moby and his kind have essentially declared war on humans; the attack on her family at the pond was only the opening salvo. To stop the coming cataclysm, Bibi must somehow convince everyone around her that she is not only not completely, barking mad—Talking to microscopic creatures living inside her that no one else can see or hear? Who does that?—but also that, by working together with this ludicrous creature, the two of them might yet be able to help stop it from happening.

I am completing the final revisions (post-professional editing) and plan to begin shopping it around to agents and publishers later this summer.

Novel 2 is an adult novel, The Day the Music Didn't Die, a pop-culture father-son love story, also with some fantastical elements. Here's the basic pitch for that:

Ray Hall, co-owner of a failing celebrity-impersonator bar in Deadwood, South Dakota, is still reeling after causing his 14-year-old son Donny’s death in a drunk-driving accident. Seeking impossible solace, Ray completes the restoration of a vintage Wurlitzer jukebox he and Donny were fixing up together and discovers in the process that the jukebox is a portal into the afterlife, one that will bring Ray improbable visitors from the afterlife, fresh threats to his sobriety and his sanity, and the tiniest hope for redemption.

I completed the first draft last month, and have set that aside to let it rest a little before I begin the first round of revisions. Letting a project proof for a bit before revising is always a good idea; it provides a bit more detachment so you can revise objectively, approaching the work more like a reader seeing it for the first time and less like a writer savagely protecting its precious baby. I'm hoping to finish the revisions on this later this fall, with an eye toward shopping that one around through the end of the year.

If either of those works sounds awesome to you, you can follow updates about them on my blog [you have to click on a specific post on the right-hand side of my website's landing page, under "Julia's Blog"--I hate it but haven't had time to figure out a workaround yet] or on Twitter and Facebook, where I'm most active. Hopefully, there will be some good news later this year. Thanks for asking, and wish me luck!

Jul 13, 9:26AM EDT0
What does your holistic approach to publishing entail?
Jul 12, 6:30PM EDT0

Good morning!

Not sure what you're asking here--I'm not a publisher. I did self-publish a book, but in terms of "holistic approach," can you clarify what you mean?

Thanks--I'll give it a shot!

Jul 13, 9:04AM EDT0
What are the specific elements one needs to include in order to achieve an award-winning book design?
Jul 12, 2:44PM EDT0

Good morning!

If I had all the answers to this one, I wouldn't have needed to hire a professional graphic designer for my book's design and layout...

But to understand this a bit better, even if you're not a professional designer, here's what I would suggest: go into a bookstore. Plan to spend at least an hour there. Wander up and down the aisles, just looking at covers. What draws your eye? Think colors, graphic elements, the style or size of the title/subtitle fonts. Was the book description gripping? If there are blurfs or review quotes on the back, did they make you want to read more? What made those particular covers grab your attention? Really think about it.

Once you're hooked by a cover, then pick up the book and flip through the pages. Is there a point, as you start from the title page, where something distracts you from the content of the book? Is the font too small? Are the margins too big? Are there distracting amounts of white space or irritating graphic elements? If nothing distracts you on the interior design, that, to me, is a good design. Please remember, I'm saying this as a reader, not as a designer--I've never claimed to have that expertise. But IMHO, the purpose of the cover design is to stand out from all the other books on the shelf or on the website; the purpose of the interior design is to frame the content in such a way that you never get bumped out of the story thinking, "What the hell is this stupid leaf symbol here for?" or "God damn it, who the hell writes writes a whole book in Comic Sans?" Good interior design should be invisible, good exterior design should be as eye-catching and appealing as possible.

Now--do I think, even understanding all of those points, that I'm qualified to design a great book cover/layout? Nope--if you're self-publishing, your 2 big budget items should always be 1. professional editing and 2. book cover/layout. Few people can write, and edit, and do graphic design, and do all three well.

Hope that answers your question. Thanks for asking!

Jul 13, 9:43AM EDT0
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