Submitting a Listing

Listee Form

To place a listing in the Life Writing Directory, please print out and complete the “Life Writing Directory Listing Form” (requires Adobe Reader). Keep a photocopy of the completed form you send us. Please review the following guidelines before filling out each numbered section on the form.

Guidelines for Listees

1. Type of Writing

The Life Writing Directory is organized by type of life writing: journals, diaries, notebooks; letters; and autobiography/memoir. Please use a separate form for each type that you wish to register. If you need more forms, they can be photocopied, printed from the LWC website, or requested from the LWC.

If the manuscript you are registering combines several types of life writing (for instance, a mix of letters and diary entries), register the writing under the type that is most prevalent within the manuscript. Then in the space where you describe the writing (section 3 of the form), indicate that it consists of both types.

An acceptable listing in the directory includes all types of personal life writing. There is no biography section per se in the directory, but remembrances about family members or friends, etc., are accepted and should be listed under the Memoir category (for instance, a memoir about your mother or father). Personal letters in the form of email, and collections of email correspondences, are also acceptable. But writings that are not in any way personal—for instance, a collection of business letters—are not appropriate for a directory listing.

2. About the Author

The 20th century life writings you wish to register in the directory should be written in English by a U.S. citizen or by a foreigner while living in the U.S. for an extended period of time. Manuscripts of life writing written by Americans while living in a foreign country are also acceptable. Unpublished (or non-commercially self-published) diaries, letters, or memoirs written by people of any age, gender, race, etc., may be listed. When mentioning published works by the author, it is acceptable to also give a website address where samples of the author’s life writing can be found.

3. About the Writing

The Life Writing Directory lists personal life writings that have not been commercially published and are not available for reading online. (If your writings are published online, you may let us know and we will consider placing a link from the LWC website to your website.) You may mention life writings published on the web, but the writing you actually list in the directory must not be the writing that is available for reading online. (An exception to this would be online writings that serve as mere samples of the actual writing to be registered.)

All forms of life writing are accepted as listings—handwritten, typed, electronic files, and non-commercial self-published books. It is acceptable if the writing begins at the end of the 19th century or continues into the 21st century.

As previously mentioned, the LWC does not list writings that are currently published on the web; however, writings that were once on the web (for instance, online journals) that are no longer accessible there may be listed. Self-published books are acceptable listings as long as the print-runs were small (up to approximately 100 copies) and the books were not sold commercially (for instance, books that were self-published and only distributed to friends and family). Self-published books currently available for sale online at any bookstore website are not acceptable.

An author seeking a publisher for his or her manuscript of life writing may register the work, but if the manuscript is published the listing will be removed from the directory. If you are a published author and the published book of life writing consists of only a portion of the complete manuscript, you may register the complete manuscript. In the description area, we suggest that you indicate if the registered writing has been edited and in what way.

4. Contact Information

For our records, please complete all the information in this section. For directory contact purposes, at least one contact method is necessary (home or post office address, phone, or email address). Check the box by the method of contact if you do not wish this information to appear in the directory. If you do not wish to have any contact information appear, check the appropriate box and the LWC will list its own contact information and will forward any responses to you.

Be sure to read and sign the agreement and date the form.


How does the LWC determine what writings get listed in the directory?

The LWC is fairly open about this. As long as the writings are unpublished personal life writings written in English, perhaps the most important factor is that the information filled out on the listee form is clear and accurate. Since we cannot screen writings directly, we rely on the information given to us in order to describe and classify the content of the listings. The accuracy of this process is essential for the usability of the directory.

How are listings updated?

It is the primary responsibility of the listee to inform the LWC of changes to their listing, though periodically the LWC may contact listees by email or regular mail for an update or confirmation that the writings are still available and the information in the listings is current.

How does the forwarding service work if I don’t want to list my personal contact information in the directory?

We understand that some listees may not want their contact information published. The LWC offers an alternative way of initiating communication between users of the directory and listees. Here is how it works: in place of your contact information in the directory, we print “Contact LWC.” The interested party then writes to us, and we forward their request and contact information on to you. Your contact information will not be revealed to the directory/database user. From that point on, it is up to you to decide whether to pursue direct contact with the interested user. (Note that while this does give you the opportunity to decline a request anonymously, repeated refusals of reasonable requests may be grounds for being dropped from the directory.)

As a listee, what are my responsibilities?

As described above, an accurate description of the life writing listed is a paramount obligation of the listee. Also, if a listee does not reply in a timely manner to a user’s request for information concerning their holdings, the LWC may drop the listing from the directory. The listee is not permitted to charge directory users any fees for their writing beyond what is necessary to cover reproduction and mailing costs. The listee should always send copies of their writing to users of the directory, never any originals.

If my life writing is published as a result of the directory listing, do I still retain rights?

By law, you—as the custodian and/or author—retain all rights to the writing until you have either given or sold it to someone else. Nothing should be published without your permission. Any such arrangement for publication should be negotiated between you and the interested party. Once published, however, your registered life writing no longer falls within the mission of the LWC and will be dropped from the directory.

Should an interested party wish to publish excerpts from the writing you have listed in the directory, permission should be given by the custodian and/or author of the writing for that purpose, as well. Published excerpts from a complete work of life writing would not be cause for removal from the Life Writing Directory, but we suggest that you update your listing to include information about where the excerpts were published.

Does the LWC publish or store life writing?

No. If you list writings in the LWC directory, you are merely letting the world know they exist and how to access them. We are not involved in what happens after an interested reader accesses your writings. Also, the LWC is not an archive and does not store the life writing of directory listees.