Dramaquill's All Things Writing

April 29, 2011

Your play: published or produced?

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As the resident playwright for Slightly off Broadway triple threat studio, I create 6-8 new scripts every school year.  There was a time when I believed that I really hadn’t done justice to my plays unless I managed to get them published or in an anthology collection.

As the years went by, I realized that the greatest pleasure I get from writing my plays and musicals is watching them unfold during the rehearsal process and then seeing the final product up on the stage during the performances.  After all, plays are meant to be seen and heard, not just read.  This is what makes plays different from all other forms of fiction writing.

I know several playwrights who have developed their own publishing companies solely for the purpose of self-publishing their plays.  That way, they don’t have to share royalties when they sell copies to schools and drama clubs. 

Over the years I’ve ordered sample copies of plays from several different publishers.  Some produce a fine product but many others create an amateur looking cardstock cover folded over and stapled to the printed sheets.  I can make copies that look better by doing it myself.  Also, if I have them published with someone else, then I have to share revenue on each sale.  So I understand why so many playwrights choose to create their own company and their own product.

But for me, publication isn’t the forerunner for my plays.  It’s the productions that I crave.  Besides the Slightly off Broadway performances, I have sold copies of my plays to school drama clubs and organizers of summer drama camps.  Knowing that something I have created can be shared with performers and audiences all over the globe is far more satisfying to me than having my play listed in a catalogue.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to be listed with the likes of someone like Samuel French – who wouldn’t? 

So how do I get the word out that I have plays available?

I advertise on the Slightly off Broadway website.  I read ezines and forums that pertain to playwriting.  I talk to teachers who are looking for new material.  I do my own networking.

Am I getting rich selling copies of my plays for productions?


Am I satisfied knowing that every single one I have written to date has had at least one production?


Publication or Production…you decide.




November 6, 2008

Screenwriters’ and Playwrights’ Market

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Writer’s Digest books has been publishing market guides for as long as I can remember.  There’s the giant volume, “Writer’s Market”, that lists a little bit of everything for all genres.  Then, there are the specific volumes for novelists, children’s writers, poets, songwriters and photographers.

To my delight, Writer’s Digest is introducing a new market book, coming out sometime in December and available through pre-order at Amazon.com and other online stores now.

As a playwright, I’m always looking for avenues for my material.  I have been lucky enough to have sold a few scripts to middle school drama departments in the USA and also to the Little Tomato Children’s Theatre’s summer program.  I’ve managed to find some online links to play publishers and their guidelines.  And I’m excited to be able to have even more information at my fingertips once this new book comes out.

But that’s not all!

Editor, Chuck Sambuchino, approached me in July about including an article of mine in the first edition of this new market book.  So, “The Business of Playwriting”, by Jacqueline McMahon, will be one of the offerings in this first edition.

I have my copy pre-ordered.  Do you?

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