Frequently Asked Questions (and their answers!)
Why is your web site and Twitter handle “GoodDirt”?
I grew up in a family where women were expected to be quiet and clean and pretty. But I gravitated towards the outdoors, and I didn’t understand why that was such a strange thing–why it wasn’t acceptable. So I started telling myself that it was okay, and that getting dirty wasn’t a thing to be afraid of, or to be ashamed of. It wouldn’t make me any less of a woman. So—thegooddirt.org.
No, it doesn’t have anything to do with Pearl S. Buck.
Can I pick your brain?
Yes. But you are required to do a few things first:
- Peruse this web site and make sure you understand what my areas of expertise and interest are. Find me on LinkedIn and do the same.
- Do some basic research; don’t ask me questions you can answer for yourself on the Internet. Examples might be:
-What’s the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing?
-How do I write a query letter?
-How do I find an agent?
- Have a look at my current offerings.
- Read this article, on the right way to “pick someone’s brain.”
When you do your homework, we can have a robust, thoughtful conversation.
What exactly do you do?
(Hi, Mom. Thanks for visiting my web site.)
I’m a freelance editor, and I also write for a living. I pen a column for The Writer magazine on publishing and writing. I teach in two MFA programs in classes about writing and publishing.
I sometimes work in diversity and inclusion education, if we’re a good fit. E-mail me for more details.
Do you have an agent?
No. The answer to the question of whether or not to go with an agent is a highly personal one. I looked for one for my novel; I deliberately went without for my memoir. For my next project, a YA historical novel, I’ll seek out an agent.
What are you working on now?
Apart from that, I’m drafting a new novel, some essays, and a nonfiction book proposal.
How do I pronounce your name?
It’s pronounced “yeeshun,” with a short “u.”
The way my name is pronounced in English has zero semblance to how it’s actually pronounced: Taiwanese has no written language; it relies on Mandarin, so the original “Gee Swun” (hard “G”) morphs into “yí xùn” once it’s spelled out; and from there into the butchered English. Folks inevitably pronounce my name in their own ways, depending on when I met them and how much they wanted to know about the heritage of my name and how it’s pronounced in my native language, and that’s okay.