Submission Madness

28 05 2014

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

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

27 05 2014

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

6 02 2014

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

19 11 2013

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

8 08 2013

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?

4 08 2013

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…

28 07 2013

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








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