Help Me Help Dzanc Books!

Alas, a respite from politics just when I need it most.  Dzanc Books is one of my favorite literary nonprofits.  This organization goes to great lengths to help writers, literary journals (print and online), and the broader community through their educational outreach efforts.  I’m especially excited about their Fellowship program in which the winner receives $5,000 to work on 1) a piece of literary fiction and 2) a year-long community service project related to writing.  As editor of The Externalist, this is an exciting prospect to me–literary activism at work!  As the economy has declined, so too has the ability of nonprofits to raise funds in traditional ways (major campaigns, large donations, and particularly grant writing which has become highly competitive with increased needs nationwide).  Dzanc Books has decided to host an innovative fundraising project–a Write-a-Thon–and I’ve decided to participate.  What is a Write-a-Thon and why should we be excited about it? 

A Write-a-Thon is similar to a Jog-a-Thon or a Walk-a-Thon.  On November 15th, Dzanc Books will send a prompt to the participants who will then dedicate a portion of (or all of) their day to writing on that prompt–poetry, short stories, essays, whatever works for the writer (I suspect that my own contribution will be a conglomeration of these).  Then Dzanc Books sends a confirmation of participation by email to all of the people that have pledged on behalf of that writer (by the word or a flat rate as the sponsor sees fit).  I am also offering to email whatever I write that day to any of my sponsors if they so desire. 

One exciting aspect of this project is the ability of writers with disabilities to participate.  I can’t do walk-a-thons or jog-a-thons, but this I can do–and I can do it from my own home without having to look for specialized child care for my son.  So not only do I have an excuse to dedicate a large amount of time to writing, I also have the opportunity to support a cause that is important to me and exercise my belief in literary philanthropy.  And Dzanc Books, a very worthy and effective organization, has the opportunity to raise money for their projects.  It’s a win-win situation!

Naturally, I am asking people to sponsor me, but my primary concern is that people interested in writing and reading get involved.  On the Dzanc Books Write-a-Thon web page, there is a full list of participants and I encourage folks to pick one even if they can only donate a few dollars.  And if you can’t donate a few dollars, but are a writer and think you might be able to find some sponsors of your own, by all means, sign up, participate, and raise some money for a good cause! 

If you do decide to sponsor me, thank you!  Don’t forget to send me an email at if you’d like me to send you the results of my participation (in .pdf format)!


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