Saturday, March 29, 2008

Getting Results

Sometimes as writers we get discouraged because of all the rejection that goes with the territory of submitting to publishers. So, it's important to seek out those opportunities that provide positive opportunities and feedback. I've been experiencing some of those lately.

Even though the monetary aspect isn't significant at the moment, the feedback from readers has been incredibly uplifiting, especially for my Therapy 101 blog which is a fictional and episodic story about a therapist named Georgia who is struggling with her own demons through her patients while maintaining a delicate balance with her rebellious teenage daughter. Some of the emotion is from my own experiences and I've been blending this with observations I've made of people over the years and of course using my insights and imagination. It's an incredible mixture and I'm really enjoying the process. Just yesterday a reader asked me when the next episode was coming out because she was "hooked" and couldn't wait. That's music to my ears as I suspect it would be for any writer.

Please check it out - http://therapy-101.blogspot.com/

I've also been publishing more articles on http://www.helium.com/ about taxes. Right now they have been generalized and not specifically written for writers - although I have been working on those types of tax articles as well. However, my most recent posting about the Tax Gap is a must-read for writers even right now. So, please check it out:

http://www.helium.com/items/956548-theres-phrase-congress-legislators

It's free to read but you can greatly help me by reading the article and I know you'll find it very informative. The money is minimal right now but I'm developing a body of work that I can leverage in the future. It's also a way to build a solid readership.

As always - have a happy and successful writing day!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My latest writing gig

My non-fiction projects are rolling along. I'm still rewriting my first romantic suspense novel but the non-fiction projects are providing me with a more immediate sense of accomplishment. Since I have such a strong background in the area of income taxes - having worked for a major tax preparation firm for 13 years - I decided to pursue the "info snack" approach to writing articles about areas of taxes that are relatively unknown to most people.

Check out my efforts on electronic filing and why you should do it and just why a baby needs a social security number (SSN). You can either click on the links below or go to www.helium.com and search for the articles.

E-file: The benefits of filing your taxes electronically
http://www.helium.com/items/930986-electronic-filing-first-available

Why does a baby need a social security number (SSN)?
http://www.helium.com/items/944161-there-information-required-return

So, what's in this for me? Well, eventually I hope some money - check out Helium's writing guidelines and conditions for more information. Perhaps even more important right now is the ability to develop an online portfolio of my writing that will hopefully lead to bigger and better paying gigs.

I appreciate everyone's support and have a happy writing day!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Extra! Extra! You Tube added

I found some You Tube clips of Joyce Carol Oates talking about her writing process and an interview with Kurt Vonnegut. I've added them to the blog so check them out. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Writing!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Other Writing opportunities

You may have noticed one of the features of my blog includes ads. I don't select these ads, they are fed via Google's AdSense program. I earn a small percentage of the ad revenue based on parameters such as page views and/or click throughs to the ads, depending on how the advertsising has contracted with Google.

I like to see who the advertisers are and I've actually found most of them to be quite interesting and they have led to some other writing opportunities, mostly non-fiction but I'm actually more comfortable with non-fiction writing than fiction. Probably because I've done so much technical and fact writing over the years and my many careers. I'm still working on my fiction but I'm finding that the non-fiction writing is giving me a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Moreover, the majority of the writing is artcile length that I can produce in short bursts of information or "Info Snacks" which hopefully will find a wider audience not only on the web but on other digital devices such as mobile phones, Blackberries, etc.

My favorite fiction challenege right now is my Therapy 101 blog because it's not only providing me with an outlet for my fiction writing but also the subject matter is helping me work through some of my own issues. As writers we really can't escape ourselves, can we? I remember seeing the book, Just Open A Vein by William Brohaugh, and thinking, "Yeah, that's right!" I haven't read the book yet but it definitely caught my attention.

So what are some of the other writing oppportunities that the ads on my blog are presenting? They include:

www.helium.com
www.createspace.com
www.zazzle.com

Some of these sites like zazzle are more oriented towards my poetry and I also am developing a tax calendar for writers but that's only at the projects-to-be-considered stage right now.

So, don't hesitate to check out online sites for publishing your articles while you are working on your fiction. Even non-fiction can be an extremely creative process that moves you further towards your ultimate publication goals.

Happy writing!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Baby steps and second acts

I've been making progress on my final edits of my novel and I'm not obsessing about making it perfect. Still I'm a bit impatient and a novel takes time to write and rewrite/edit. In the meantime I've published a poem as part of Ranger Against War Story Project - check it out:

http://www.rangeragainstwar-story-project.blogspot.com/

I've had an idea for another project for a long time and I'm blogging a episodic story at:

http://therapy-101.blogspot.com/

We'll see how it goes. It's nice to have something of a length that affords me a sense of completion sooner than a novel does. At the same time it actually helps me progress with my novel.

In case you think you're too old to write - check out the article by Frank McCourt in Parade Magazine at:

http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2008/edition_03-09-2008/Second_Acts

It's a great article to keep nearby when I get frustrated with my progress or lack thereof.

One of the features on my blog is an Adsense where Google ads appear. One of the ads that appeared addressed providing content for profit for the Amazon Kindle Reader, so I'm going to do some more research on that.

Seems like lots of folks are getting into digital feeds of a variety of materials. It will be interesting to see the stats on which types do well. My sense is that shorter material is better. Seems folks, especially younger generations, are embracing Info Snacks over longer material. Part of this is driven by the device they're using to read but also by the amount of time and where they have to read.

A number of publishers have recently put out the call for shorter material for the ebook program. Harlequin is just one example:

http://www.eharlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=538&chapter=0

The possibilities are very intriguing.

Memoirs are one of the best selling types of books out there but it will be interesting to see how the latest fake memoir scandal affects this. Margaret Seltzer using the name Margaret B. Jones wrote a memoir that was marketed as a gang memoir and it was climbing the charts until her sister turned her in. Didn't she think her real family would notice?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/books/04fake.html


Well, signing off and more baby steps for me tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Letting readers downlod a novel for free - what are they thinking!

Hoping to push sales, publishers are starting to allow free downloading of some of their books at the same time that they are published in print - even hardcover. What the heck is going on?

It wasn't that long ago that I was sitting at a luncheon during a writers conference and the keynote speaker was discussing the reluctance on the part of traditional publishers to embrace ebooks. The evidence? Ebook versions of mainstream novels usually cost the same as the hardcover so why would anybody spend $25 on an electronic download when they could get the real deal for the same amount of money? It was clear that publishers were pretending to embrace ebooks while undermining their acceptance. When ebooks didn't sell in numbers that rendered them commercially viable, the mainstream publishers seemed to be saying, "See we told you it wouldn't work!"

Then came the smaller, independent publishers who embraced ebooks with a passion at a time when many in the industry treated ebooks like a dirty word. Elora's Cave stands out as one of the pioneers as does Echelon Press and so many others. Writers everywhere owe these pioneers a tremendous amount of gratitude for hanging in there. Now the mainstream publishers are embracing ebooks with a passion as well - which signals that it's now a money maker.

But why now?

There are lots of reasons but a pivotal one is generational. The newer generations - X, Y, Millennials, Igen, or even Z are so much more comfortable with technology that they almost demand it as the media of choice. They're busy, they're mobile, they're wired and can out multi-task previous generations.

Publishers know that if they are to grow they need to recruit new readers and if they want new readers from these newer generations they have to play on their turf.

A recent interview of a young writer in Japan who has the number one "cell novel" which is not only being read on the cell but she wrote it on her cell. Yes, wrote it on her small little cell phone in bits in pieces - on her lunch breaks, on the train, anywhere she had an inspiration she flipped open her cell phone an started texting. The book was available for free on the internet but then something extraordinary happened. A publisher decided to make a print copy available and even though it was free on the web, it sold millions in a very short period of time.

There are so many ironies here but one is that the technology that main stream publishers have been so afraid of for so long may actually be the very thing that saves them and gives them a future.

Take a look at the following article at USAToday and you'll understand what I mean.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2008-03-03-free-books-downloads_N.htm

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Looking for rainbows

I've decided to throw in a poem in which I wrote back in July 07 under the name Vashtie.

Here it is:

Looking For Rainbows

A hungry man
But not for food
His hunger ran
For a love no good

A love that cost him
More than he wanted to pay
A love that lost him
Precious time each day

He was looking for love
In a faraway rainbow
While ignoring the love
That gave him a chance to grow

That love was for him
For the soul of the man he is
But he still sought to dim
The past ache of an unfulfilled kiss

That yearning for what could have been
Consumed his better judgement
He reached for the carrot and spin
That took him back to an earlier juggernaut

He was used, abused and thrown aside
Wanted only for the shining star he became
And not for the man who dwelled inside
A shell of a little boy and his hide-n-seek game

Now there is another chance to find
The true color of love here on earth
To reach out and touch a heart in kind
That will fuel loves eternal hearth

Saturday, March 1, 2008

When an author's fans get in the way.

You may have heard by now that J.K. Rowling and her publisher have filed suit against a Michigan publisher - RDR Books - to stop it from publishing a book compiled by Steve Ark based mostly on information presented on the Harry Potter Lexicon Web site. The rub is that Rowling has openly priased the efforts of fan Web sites regarding her Potter series but now she and her publisher contend that this book - as opposed to the fan sites - will infringe of Rowling's intellectual property rights. While other tomes have been written and published by fan site creators the tome in question is one for profit and this has clearly created a problem. Apparently, Rowling is also planning on her own encyclopedia of her famous boy wizard, his world and friends but hers is expected to benefit several charities. The Michigan publisher has stated that it will proceed with publication of Steve Ark's book despite the law suit.

So, when does the work of fans, including fan fic, become an infringement? Reviews after all have been widely accepted as a legitimate way to embrace an authors work. So, clearly reviews do not cross the line. It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit goes and what kind of answers we all get. Some years back the estate of Andy Warhol sued after an individual took one of Warhol's works and morphed it with one of the new software morphing programs. As I recall the gist was once the new work no longer subsantially resembles the original work then a new work has been created.

Again, this will be an interesting law suit for authors to follow and to watch for in terms of rights and legal protection on and off the internet.