Tag Archives: publishing

Being Seen (and read) or where the heck did that chin hair come from?


Well, it’s out in the wilds. The ebook version is launching on Saturday.

The book. My book. By me. All alone.

Recycled Virgin (Scleratis Series Book 1) by [Brown, DA, Brown, Dorothyanne]It all seems such a small story, so meaningless. I mean, I like it, but I am having trouble dealing with the thought of my friends reading it and then having to make a comment on it, either positive or negative or, ugh, patronizing. One fellah commented that “some of my chapters seemed fun.”

I’ve taken out a contract on that guy, and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! (Kidding, of course…)(Well, maybe…)

But it’s all a bit like doing a public speech, and meeting and greeting people afterward and when you run to the washroom at the end of the festivities and peek into the mirror, maybe giving yourself a confident, “you did it, girl!” smile, you notice a 3-foot long chin hair sticking straight out and wiggling with every lip flex.

Did they see it? How could they miss it? How do those things grow so damn fast? You know you’ve peered at yourself in your home mirror, holding your face every which way and shining lights and there was NOTHING THERE that morning, and somehow this hair grew like Jack’s beanstalk in a matter of hours. images-2

You wonder in a panic if the hair scraped the face of the people you were talking with, and if they felt it and decided not to comment, like those friends who don’t tell you you have spinach in your teeth or that your hem is tucked into your tights… Maybe they were being gentle with you, sensing your inner fragility, realizing that under chin hairs can destroy any semblance of professionalism. You can see it is almost reaching the mirror, across the sink.

Of course, you have not brought hair removal devices with you and it just won’t leave to tugging, so then you have to go out and REJOIN the mob, knowing full well your hair vine will be spotted by EVERYONE.

I took my beloved dog Pickles to the groomer once and when I was picking him up, shivering and pinkish and looking hurt to his soul (which is why I ended up grooming him after this because he didn’t find it so traumatizing, but I digress), and the groomer, who I had trusted with the animal I loved the most in the world (the kids were in a horrid stage, and let’s not mention the ex) told me that the dog hairs from her clients had slipped off and rerooted themselves in her face.

I gazed at her, non-plussed. What does one say? It seemed wrong to talk then about the biology of facial hair and how it didn’t behave like a seedling. She, after all, had a few sprouting from her chin. All different colors, she pointed out, because of all the different dogs. I was left speechless.

The more important issue was why did she mention this to me?

Well, yep. I ran my hand over my chin when I got into the car and sure enough, a hair-vine was extruding from my face. How long had I been going around like that? Who knew? Cos, you see, once these hairs grow a certain length (you official beard growers know this), the hair gets all soft and molds itself to your face. Well, unless it is yearning for freedom. Then it reaches out, struggling towards the unwary, terrifying them. Whacking against walls and tangling in scarves…

So, the book thing is sending its little horrifying curls out into the world and I keep wavering between singing and dancing (and being profoundly grateful for the support friends and family have shown me) and wanting to pluck it like a chin hair out of existence.

Either that or grow a beard so it all seems like it should be there, filling my author’s face with other books and articles and writing like a demon to get things out. (Next book: DIsgusting the Devil is on the assembly line) Creating a new framework so that this one eases gently into a crowd and thus is less obvious as a solo event. Maybe it’s time for me to embrace my writing beard?

So, I hope you have a look at my book, maybe read it, write a review, hostile, friendly, grumpy or bored. I’d love to hear what you think…No, really, I would. Just let me check out my chin…

 

 

beard-1.jpg.optimal

Submission Madness


In “the Secret Life of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4”, by the hilarious Sue Townsend, Adrian’s class is on a field trip when the bus driver, driven to the ends of his nerves, submits to motorway madness. All of the kids arrive home safely, but shaken, and the bus driver gets a well-deserved rest.

We’ve all been there, right? In the car, with howling kids? My oldest son just about lost his hearing thanks to the endless screaming by the middle one. I’ve felt that madness slip over me. (My sister still tells the story of me putting them out of the car.)

Well, today a different madness came over me. I started submitting things to publishers and journals. All sorts of things. Stories that have lain fallow for months, little ditty poems that struck my fancy, shorter or longer versions of other works in progress (called WIPs by the trendy Humber).

It’s not strictly speaking a sane process. I mean, I could work on these stories longer, could probably edit them for another few years, but there’s something about being in this crazy Humber program that makes me want to take it all seriously, start sending things about. It’s been a while since I was published, except in our local grass-roots poetry journal, OHForgery (which I love).

Oh, I’ve sent things in for competitions, sure. Won a few. Placed in a few others. But going for the publication thing – hesitant. See, in a contest, you can always argue there were so many competitors that you couldn’t possibly be expected to win. So when you don’t, that’s cool. No self-abuse required.

But when a journal writes back, no sorry, this isn’t for us, well, it chews a bit of your soul away. Immediately you start the inner walk of shame.

So today, I’m sending out submissions like I used to send out flirts in online dating. Send out lots, you don’t notice the no replies as much. Someone usually replies pleasantly…

Of course, if I don’t, I’ve got some lovely Writers Tears to drown my sorrows…

http://redroom.com/member/dorothyanne-brown/writing/first-date

Smashwords: Amazon’s Hachette Dispute Foreshadows What’s Next for Indie Authors


Interesting posting, well worth a read.

Smashwords: Amazon’s Hachette Dispute Foreshadows What’s Next for Indie Authors.

The Writer’s Union and the art of gentle discouragement


writers union blue cropI was lucky enough to be able to attend a Writer’s Union workshop yesterday. I say lucky, because, as a writer without a book published by a “real” publishing house, I can’t be a member, so it was a bit like being invited to a frat house but not allowed to drink.

It was an interesting workshop on the new face of publishing, on the glories and challenges of self-publishing, the thrills of being offered an impenetrable contract from a “real” publisher, the shame of self-publishing that remains, since oh so much self-publishing is garbage.

I learned a few things I couldn’t have picked up hanging about on web street corners, but the prevailing thing I learned was to keep a sense of humour about writing and publishing and BY NO MEANS expect to make money at it.

Well, I knew that.

But it hits a little harder when a prize-winning author in adult and child books (from REAL publishers) still struggles with contracts that give her less than the Writer’s Union suggest. Or when the originally REAL published author who has turned to self-publication tells you that she still hasn’t made back the relatively small investment she made. And still mentions self-publication with a wisp of shame.

They laughed, both of them, whenever money or joy was mentioned. They mentioned they had their books with them for sale. No one bought any. It was fairly discouraging.

On the other hand, they emphasized the work that goes into writing a good book, and in a way that was reassuring. I keep getting people asking me about why I don’t send in my things to publishers and such, but these authors emphasized the need for many many many many revisions, at least 4 years of production, and then more revisions, preferably by a professional editor. So I am off the hook a bit for the manuscripts that languish unloved (but, I hasten to say, still percolating in my head) on my computer.

When is your stuff ready to send out? “When you feel like you are going to throw up if you have to read it again,” was the jist of things.

I’m only a bit nauseated. I think I need some more revision time. And now, yes now, I feel like I want to do it. Despite the discouragement.

Why? Well, if my mum were still around, she’d tell you why. I’ve always been a bit bloody minded. If someone tells me I can’t do something, that simply means (to me) that they don’t know me. My mum, for all her faults and our arguments and her preference for my brothers, told me that I could do anything I put my mind to. She told me this every day of my life and hers.

It’s in my genes.

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So when someone says, oh, this is horrible and you will hate it and you won’t ever ever ever succeed, well… my mum inside me rises up, with fire in her eyes, and says, “WHO are YOU?”

She really shoulda been a hookah-smoking caterpillar.

Check out the Writer’s Union website for all sorts of helpful information, including sample contracts and a list of editors and agents. Plus a contest or two. Well worth a visit!

And maybe, maybe, one day I can become a member. For now I’m hoping to join the Whiskey Association of Halifax. Membership is easier there, and it might help with the other.

Infographic: 4 Key Book Publishing Paths


Infographic: 4 Key Book Publishing Paths.

Excellent post by Jane Friedman. Writers should subscribe.

Word on the Street Festival Doesn’t Care About Author Scam


Word on the Street Festival Doesn’t Care About Author Scam.

Reblogged from David Gaughran’s excellent blog. While I am not aware of Author Solutions position with the Halifax Word on the Street Festival, I thought I would repost in the interest of writers beware.

 

How do you know when it’s ready?


41vZycAOEfL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_I’m delighted to report my wonderful, smart, and confident niece has written and self-published her first book and is now marketing it to bookstores in her area, as well as on Amazon. It’s called “Crescent” and I’ll link to it here.

When I first heard about this, though, I was startled to find in my heart a bit of anger. I was frustrated – I don’t have a book yet myself, and yet I’ve been “working” at writing for some time (though procrastination seems to be my main output). The things I do write, people tell me, are good. Why don’t I send them in for publication?

Where does that niece of mine get her confidence? I’ve never ever been that confident in my entire life. Was it my mother’s fault? My English teacher’s fault? (She told me a story I sweated over to write for my parents as a Christmas present was trivial and derivative) (It probably was but I cried buckets writing it and my parents cried even more reading it, so there!) My ex? There must be someone I can blame, surely.

Facebook doesn’t help. Everyone is writing books and books and more books and I am smothering in the weight of all those books published when mine are not.

It’s not like I haven’t been published before  – for a while there I was making a pretty good income from writing. I’ve been on CBC’s Sunday Edition, I’ve got publications in humour, non-fiction, poetry, fiction, even the Oxford Companion to Medicine.

And yet I hesitate. I have turned myself into one of those things I promised myself I would never be, the dilettante writer. The wanna be. The liar.

And so I heap more scorn on myself and freeze myself into even greater immobility. It’s ridiculous, but I can’t seem to stop myself.

Nor can I stop myself from writing.

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
― Dorothy ParkerThe Collected Dorothy Parker

Ah, so true. But there is joy to be had in writing – the joy of seeing things more clearly, of being more present in this world, of delighting in all those other really good books out there (we really don’t need another one, I tell myself in my dark heart…) because we’ve struggled to get things just right ourselves.

I’ve restarted The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron in an attempt to jumpstart my mind, and am working on a few things that have deadlines so that is a good thing. I love deadlines. I’m waiting to hear about a couple of submissions, hoping things go well. I’m doing the 3daynovel thing again this year, working on a mystery plot.

I’m wishing my niece well with her book, which is really quite good and you should all buy it. But that initial anger I felt – I’m hanging on to that, too, because it might just push me over the hump to get my stuff done, too.

Taking flight…


I’ve been working on a little story for a while now. It originally was a story from the fantastical 3DayNovel contest – dashed off in a pile of sweat and handwriting over three days, painstakingly typed into my computer over the next day or two. I was thrilled that it survived the competition, made it to the top twelve!

I was so proud of it.

So then I thought, gee, maybe I should send it somewhere else, see how it can cope out there in the big bad world. So I’ve been working on it, toiling now and again, thinking about it. It’s not an easy story to place, being a bit odd and perhaps a bit offensive to some, though I tried to write it with love and affection throughout.

I had wonderful friends who read it, helped me catch errors, helped me make it clearer, less of a three-day panic attack (though I HIGHLY recommend that contest!). Thank you and kisses to HJ, PH, JP. It’s a shinier thing thanks to you.

Now it’s all grown up, ready to leave the nest, ready to face the cruel world. In fact, it HAS to leave the nest. I’m entering it in a contest and the deadline is so close I can smell its breath.

Of course, it’s heavily laden with my hopes and dreams and such things. Which tells me immediately that I’d better get some more submissions out there so the poor wee thing can fly without having to drag my entire psyche with it.

So fly, little story. A part of my heart goes with you. It’s time for you to connect with others now.

And now, back to work…

animal-beautiful-bird-fly-flying-Favim.com-412310

Connecting to the real writer’s life


take-chances

Ach. I am fed up with myself.

I’ve been a self-described writer for several years now and my publication list is just terrible.

It all started out pretty marvy, with lots of articles published about my silly life, a story published here and there, some entries in various professional publications.

Then I got lost in work, lost the miracle of writing, struggling to prove myself in a serious grown-up venue. MS stopped that for me, and in my heart of hearts, I was a wee bit grateful. I could devote my life to writing now – yay! Infinite writing time (except for the mandatory naps and the various disease challenges) – what’s not to like?

Painting-cartoon-Your-Not-Applying-Yourself-resized-600

Well, five years later, I don’t have anywhere near enough to show for it. I’ve entered contests, had some success, but am NOT applying myself, as my mother would say.

I feel like a “writer wanna be” and I hate it. So I’m setting myself some goals.

It’s time to trust in what I can do, take it on, send stuff out, put on my big writer panties and get out there. Because regrets suck.

I’m taking a page out of Edith Piaf’s songbook…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3Kvu6Kgp88

Connecting to the criminal element


Whew. It’s like the wild west out there. 

I’m talking about self-publishing, small publishing companies, vanity presses, etc. With the endless diversity there is now available in the publishing universe, it is becoming harder and harder to pick out the black hats from the white hats. 

We writers are a needy lot, and want so desperately to have a book out there (I should know as I don’t have one yet and I am gradually getting that glint of terror in my eyes that says I’d better get published or I will have to resort to playing Bingo for entertainment and thereby crush my creative soul into a small box of letters and numbers…). We want that validation. We want to have something to give to people who say, “So, have you got anything published yet? Anything I can READ?”

Mind you, that’s just galling. But maybe I’m over sensitive (see parentheses above).

And out there in the publishing world swim the sharks, the ones who promise publishing contracts, who sing you songs of “supporting you through this wonderful experience” for only a smallish fee such as one could use to buy a small car…

They go about, they take advantage, they hurt and bankrupt authors. Diane Tilbert has been fighting the good fight, trying to identify and check one of the companies that is being less than helpful. She’s running a risk; the person involved is lawsuit-positive, as they say in politically correct speak, but I applaud her efforts to cast some light on the murky side of things.

That said, she’ll squash this one (with any luck) and it will spring up again, under a different name, Like mushrooms, these little companies spring up in the dark dank undergrowth, and fade away whenever the sun is shone on them…

So be careful out there, writers! Choose pblishers carefully, Read the contracts carefully. Don’t be too desperate to get something out there (advice to me…). Make your book the best it can be and someone NICE will want to publish it, presumably.

Or not. 

But at least you won’t be bankrupted…