May 13, 2015

Begging For Help

From Lonely Dragon by Donny Welch (author's profile)


Begging for Help

Hey, everyone.

As you all know, I am trying to become a published writer. It has been my dream since I was young. I have sharpened my writing skills through a free college course. I have started several books and written several short stories which I have entered into some amateur contest. I feel I am good enough to get published, but I ran into a brick wall.

I'm a prisoner in Texas, and I am trying to change my life. But I am indigent. I have no one in the free world who can help me. Publishers will not even read a submission unless it's typed and I don't have access to a typewriter. So I can't send anything to a publisher directly. I have sent some manuscripts to agents and one was kind enough to send me an Internet address for a site listing agents who sign a cannon of ethics to be registered on the site. I don't have access to a computer.

If someone would be kind enough to go to this free site and download the names and address of agents who handle science fiction and fantasy manuscripts and send them to me, I would be forever grateful. I am trying to change my life, to get off the streets, and turn away form any criminal activity. My writing is my only chance. It's my dream and it's something my mother and brother both wanted me to attempt before they died.

I'm begging you, please, someone out there, help me chase my dream. Help me take the first step in changing. The web address and my address are below. Thank you for your help.

Peace :)
Donny (or .com)

My address
Donny Welch #1375713
William Clements Unit
9601 Spur 5914
Amarillo, TX 79107


Replies (5) Replies feed

ew74 Posted 6 years, 1 month ago. ✓ Mailed 6 years, 1 month ago   Favorite
Hi Mr. Welch,
My name is Emily and I somehow came across your blog and read your writing. I would love to help if no one has already done so, but I am unclear of what the website name should be. I tried searching it but I'm not sure what the letter behind "aa_" is. If you could please write back and let me know exactly what the website is and what I can specifically do to help, it would be my pleasure to do so.
It is so moving to me that even in prison you continue to have hope and tenacity in achieving what you dream of. I'm not sure if this is the public consensus, but I always had this misconception that if someone is in prison,they would basically give up on everything. After coming across this website and reading so many inspiring pieces of writing, I am determined to do whatever I can to help. I feel like your request is something that I could easily accomplish, and I really would just like to take this opportunity to help you reach your goals. I'm eager for your response. Just let me know what the website is because what you wrote was a little unclear!

Hope you're having a good day,

JT Posted 6 years, 1 month ago. ✓ Mailed 6 years, 1 month ago   Favorite

They were just giving out general advice (about those agents listed on the association of author's representatives, inc.). This is a reputable site and screens out agents who are scams (there are many out there).

If you want to publish a short story, you don't need (and shouldn't try to get) an agent. In fact, this should be your first step: send in a short story to a magazine that features the genre of writing that you write.

If you want an agent for fantasy type books, find a book that is similar in theme (science fiction and fantasy have different 'sub-genres') and look inside the book to see who their agent was/is. See if you can find them and write to them. You'll want something published somewhat recently, of course.

Finding a publisher is hard work! I'd start with the short stories and see what kind of feedback you get from them.

Donny Welch Posted 6 years ago.   Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

Donny Welch Posted 6 years ago.   Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

Cavak Posted 4 years, 11 months ago. ✓ Mailed 4 years, 11 months ago   Favorite
I know this is dated back in 2015, but if you still want to try getting your writing published somewhere, this is an ongoing annual contest you could try entering:


PEN American Center sponsors an annual writing contest for prisoners. Anyone incarcerated in a federal, state, or county prison in the year before the September 1 deadline is eligible to enter.

Prizes of $250, $200, and $150 are awarded for first, second, and third place, respectively, in each of the following categories:

Submit up to 10 poems of any form, no more than 20 pages total.

Short story or excerpt from a longer piece, no more than 25 pages.

Monologues, scenes, or plays intended for stage or screen, no more than 25 pages.

Essay, observation, journal excerpt, editorial, article, or memoir (personal experiences from childhood or later life) no more than 25 pages.

PEN Writing Awards for Prisoners
PEN American Center
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012


PEN’s Prison Writing Contest accepts contest submission between January 1 and September 1 of each year. Winners will be announced the following March. Manuscripts should be typewritten and double-spaced whenever possible, or legibly handwritten on 8.5-by-11-inch paper. All submissions should be accompanied by a brief cover letter with the author’s name, identification number, and complete mailing address.

Authors may not submit more than one entry in each category, except in poetry, which has a 20-page limit.

Only unpublished manuscripts will be considered, with the exception of pieces that have appeared in publications for the prison population only. Any subject matter will be considered.

Please be sure to send copies of your work, not the originals. PEN is unable to return manuscripts. Always include a return address.

Selected winning entries will be published by The Fortune Society in Fortune News and on PEN’s web site.

The Prison Writing Contest Prizes are sponsored by the generous support of the Greenburger Center for Social & Criminal Justice.

The website also includes a free writer's handbook that can be sent to your current address. Here is the free form for any readers seeing this online: If you or anyone else wants a copy, give a holler.

We will print and mail your reply by . Guidelines

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