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Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

Pursuant to my earlier post on self-promotion, I want to share what happened to me yesterday: a prime example of what NOT to do.

I am very well aware that, these days, writers must promote their work. I also know that, for the self-published, all promotion is, by definition, left solely to the author’s efforts.

But there are limits, both to what is effective and to what is appropriate.

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Coffee and NewspaperWhen I visited my school guidance counselor to discuss my future careers, the term “creativity scientist” never came up. Then again, neither did “musician” or “novelist” or even “computer programmer,” all of which I have used to describe various aspects of my “career.”

But “creativity scientist?” Wow, that sounds like a good gig. Of course, “zookeeper” sounds great, too, until you realize that it’s mostly shoveling poop. Come to think of it, “shoveling poop” describes every single job I’ve ever had, to one degree or another. Sometimes it’s my poop. Most times it’s someone else’s. No matter what, it’s poop. Everyone shovels poop.

Anyway…Jefferson Smith, who runs the Creativity Hacker website and blog, obviously attended a different school district than I did. He is a creativity scientist and novelist, and he’s got some interesting ideas and thoughts on all things creative, and especially about creative writing.

One of his ideas is his “Immerse or Die” program: Take a book, get on the treadmill, and see how long the author keeps the reader immersed in the world of the novel. (more…)

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Self-Promotion: the crude and unappealing practice of marketing one’s own work; in British slang, often called “flogging.”

I’ve only met one writer who actually enjoys flogging his books. He travels up and down the coast, reading excerpts, glad-handing, meeting people, building an impressive network. For every other writer I’ve met, mention the word “promotion” and watch them wince.

We hate promoting our books. HateitHateitHateit. Some writers hate it so much, they don’t do it at all.

But according to ND Author Services (aka NDAS, run by bestselling authors Barb and J.C. Hendee, who–believe me–know what they’re talking about), there’s some good news. As with everything else in the publishing industry, self-promotion–the very nature of it–is changing.

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Bath Abbey Fan VaultingSometimes, the word “interesting” isn’t enough.

This weekend past, as well as being sad, stressful, productive, lazy, and maddening, was also interesting.

It was the 31st anniversary of my wedding. It was the yahrzeit of the death of my wife’s mother. It was a weekend of plans, and of disrupted plans. It was a weekend with three reservations to the same restaurant, each one made and canceled in daily succession. It was a weekend of editing, rereading and rewriting my latest short story (“The Book of Solomon”), proofing it, polishing it, and then sending it off to a paying market.

It was also the weekend when I got an email from the Senior Librarian in Sumner, WA, asking if I’d be interested in participating in a panel, this October.

Yeah, “interesting” doesn’t really cover it.

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Over on Facebook, a reader mentioned a scene in FC:1 that she really liked. I like to investigate this sort of specific feedback–the good and the bad–to see what worked and what didn’t work for my readers.

I remembered the scene she mentioned in general, but not in detail. The main reason I wanted to investigate, though, was that her description of it as dialogue-free was not my recollection; I remembered it as being chatty to the extreme, as two swoony teenaged girls prattled on about how divine it was going to be to see Sarah Bernhardt on stage. (For those of you out of the 19th-century loop, Sarah Bernhardt was the Lady Gaga of her day.)

So, I pulled down my copy of The Year the Cloud Fell and tried to figure out what this reader had meant when she referred to the scene’s “shared communication and not a scrap of dialogue.

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Writing with Pen and PaperIf you don’t have one, you need one. In fact, you need several.

I’m talking about beta readers, those folks you lure/ wheedle/ cajole/ beg/ entrap into reading your baby, promising them anything from sex to chocolate to whisky—for the record, that last one is the coin of my realm—in order to get their input, their take, their particular and specific impressions.

This weekend, I received the draft copy of a new memoir from the talented, wry, and always engaging Todd Baker, whose first book, Ten Year Run: A Marathoning Memoir, I was lucky enough to beta-read. His new work, about his lifelong love of heavy metal music, promises to be a hell of a lot of fun, not to mention a good dose of humor in a difficult time.

I’m lucky, also, in that Todd is one of my beta readers. (more…)

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Salal RainIt’s Blogging 101: Thou shalt recap the year.

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