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Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

yellodaisyMany of us experience trepidations when we offer something of ourselves to others.

The classic and often humorous question, “Suppose I give a Party and nobody comes?” is all the more poignant for actors, dancers, artists and writers who are always at the mercy of “invited” guests when they exhibit, perform or publish a work of their own creation.

A saying in the performing arts goes, “As long as there are more people in the audience than on stage…” but imagine what you feel when that is not the case.

A writer is always a singularity—in no danger of being in the majority—as long as you have more than one reader.

As one of my colleagues once commented, “If one person reads your book and loves it, you are a best-selling author.”

There is no monetary security in the Arts, probably least of all in the written word. Here are the statistics one author presented to a workshop a few years ago (regarding fiction authors):

  • Only 3% of authors/writers are ever published.
  • Only 3% of those authors who are published get their name of the cover of the book.
  • Only 3% of published authors with their name on the cover of the book make a living from writing.

That works out to .00027% or roughly 8100 authors out of an estimated 30,000,000 writers.

1384050607361Do not quit your day job until you get that movie deal.

Many more of us in this century can tick off the first two of the statistics largely due to the advent of independent/entrepreneurial publishing. Some of us were among the fortunate .009% who ticked off the first two in traditional/legacy publishing but are still far from being among the 8100 who can make a living from writing alone.

Like most creative people, writers find other ways to bring in the payola, bread, dough, green, bacon. Some of us find employment in a field related to our vocation such as writing copy, journalism, grant-writing, advertising, web content—hoping that such activity won’t kill our creative impulses. Others make our daily bread from sideshows such as teaching, talks, workshops.

1384050603906And many choose to work in jobs and professions that have nothing to do with writing and everything to do with keeping a roof over our heads and food in our children’s mouths.

Fortunately for all of us, we live in a culture and society that gives us the freedom and tools we need to create and dream and speak our minds.

Imagine if we didn’t.

What kind of party would that be?

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Every year that goes by since I first wrote this, I am more certain that the quotation that opens this post is increasingly important to remember.

August 23, 2012

“Never put in writing anything you don’t want people to read.”  V.V.Verrill (1913-2005)

That is not the only quotation from my mother indelibly enscribed onto my brain but it is most pertinent today and not just for writers. I almost missed my appointed blog date and with only a few hours to spare, I have found a topic worth writing about. (One of my cardinal rules – not from my mother: Write for yourself but don’t expect anyone to read it unless there is something of value for them.) So, until noon today, I had no topic. Therefore, no post ready for the midnight launch.

But at noon, I saw one of the scariest and most amazing things. I work in the financial district, many tall buildings, a few that qualify for skyscrapers status. I chose to have lunch on the roof of my building (small in stature compared to others in the area) and take time to work on my current work-in-progress. At a blurry juncture when my brain needed to sort through images and words to find the next step, I looked up and to the south.

On the ledge of a building twenty floors taller than mine, I saw a man washing the windows. He was balanced on his toes, his left hand gripping the top of the window while he scrubbed the panes of glass and wiped them dry with a cloth on his belt. I could see no visible sign of support and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. One, for fear he would fall. Two, in abject fascination that he could do this. (I have difficulty walking over grates in the sidewalk, along the pedestrian area of bridges, looking down the 13 floors in the stairwell of my building to the ground floor.) Yet, here was a man hanging on the vertical wall of a 24-story construction with seemingly no way to stop himself from falling.

This is earthquake country. Anything can happen at any time. At last, he went into the room and after a while I saw that he was attached to a webbed belt locked into an eye-hook in the ceiling of the room. Still! Not anything I could do.

I looked around the area and saw two men in a gondola hanging from another building, on two wires that lowered the gondola as they finished one window and moved down to the next. And, on the ornate frontage of another building, another gondola suspended on wires, two men swinging in the air. Whether these two pairs of workers were tethered to their equipment I wasn’t able to see. Brave? Foolhardy?

They trusted themselves, their ability and their equipment to keep them safe. (You may have seen photographs of skyscraper construction with men sitting on eye-beams and no visible sign of support – these photos make me weak in the knees!) All they had to trust were themselves and their co-workers. Were there safety nets out of sight of the camera lens?

And here we are, as writers, out on our own individual ledges, trusting ourselves, our ability and equipment to keep us from falling. My mother’s edict is even truer today than when I was confined to notebooks and scraps of paper. At least then, someone had to find the notebook, steal it and read it in secret. In today’s connected world, every word I put on the screen and upload to the cloud or the social media page, is available to hundreds of thousands of people. If I send my work in an email, I have no control over where that email will end its journey.

Some of us believe this is a grand thing. My mother would disagree. And I, for once, have to agree with her. There are some thoughts that are best kept in notebooks, locked away in drawers for which the keys have been lost. However, we also have to trust the recipients to respect our ownership as well as our freedom to write with honesty and integrity, according to our own beliefs and understanding.

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My blog as a guest on Birth of a Novel.

BIRTH OF A NOVEL

Leigh V-R�My guest this week is Leigh Verrill-Rhys.  Leigh is a native of Paris Hill, Maine, but spent most of her childhood and early adult years in San Francisco before emigrating to Wales to marry and raise three sons. She has been a writer, editor and lecturer most of her life, intermingled with career portfolios in marketing, finance and community arts projects. An award-winning editor, she has published three volumes of women’s autobiographical writing about their lives in Wales and during World War II. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Welsh Academy and several RWA chapters. She is also the author of WAIT A LONELY LIFETIME & the six installment serial novel, NIGHTS BEFORE. Leigh admits to running with scissors and leaping before she looks.
Here’s what she has to say about her latest book, which probably has the most unusual title I’ve ever heard.

When I first published Salsa…

View original post 550 more words

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Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury’s classic novel of book censorship) is back with a vengeance. Whatever you write, this will affect your future in this entrepreneurial industry.

Below are posts you should read if you are self-publishing or care about your freedom of expression:

Indie Reader gives a good explanation of the activity on WHSmith, Amazon and Kobo Books.

David Gaughran on WordPress also has an excellent opinion piece about this knee-jerk response to a scare-mongering article on kernelmag.com.

This is a blatant witch hunt and all entrepreneurial authors and publishers are being tarred and feathered, run out of town. No matter what we write, this action is an attack on our right to write and our basic freedom of speech.

 

 

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About Entrepreneurial Publishing read Kristen Lamb’s latest blog: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/the-democratization-of-publishing-independence-is-scary/.

Kristen’s post puts this burgeoning industry into perspective for anyone who hasn’t yet taken this step and for those of us who have — more fuel for our fires!

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Cover image for 'Twas the Night Before New YearI’m beginning my new serial with ‘Twas the Night Before New Year, inspired by the children’s poem by Clement C. Moore and a personal experience. As you may know, the legend is that Clement Clarke Moore wrote A Visit from St. Nicholas on Christmas Eve, 1822 on a sleigh ride home from Greenwich Village. His inspiration may have been Sinter Klass or more literary sources. In any case, The Night Before Christmas became a self-published classic, loved and treasured from generation to generation.

Moore refused to acknowledge this work until fifteen years after its appearance in a neighboring town’s newspaper and became an overnight success – in today’s terminology – went viral. Very little of his scholarly work is remembered, but he reluctantly included this ‘mere trifle’ in a collection of other writings in 1838 and became a legend as well as generating an industry based on the trifling matter of Santa’s sleigh ride through the midnight sky.

I have written ‘Twas the Night Before New Year for fun. This humorous serial novel will follow the trials and tribulations of Portland, Maine small press editor, Jocelyn Tavers, after she is abandoned by her fiancé – who’d rather be skiing, without her – on New Year’s Eve, through a year of Nights Before.

Merry Christmas!

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A short piece from me about a long piece from David Vinjamuri. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, detailed and thoroughly researched, this article, Publishing is Broken, We’re Drowning in Indie Books and That’s a Good Thing goes into depth about the advantages and disadvantages of independent (self-) publishing, gives reasons for its growth and predictions for the future of the industry, six pages of fair assessment.

The ever-increasing numbers of traditionally published authors rallying to the Indie banner is surprising, but it shouldn’t be. For decades, Indie Music and Indie Films have been the avant-garde.

Writers don’t have much excuse for remaining silent – except for fear of being heard.

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