Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Of Writing, Biscuits, and Gratitude

Some real fine writing in today’s re-blog — Ponderable…

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog


The resident dog at my vet’s office is named Beulah and she is clearly senile. Her black-lab muzzle is grizzled and her eyes are opaque gray.

She stands in the center of the waiting area on unsteady legs and makes eye contact with me, then moves her eyes to a blue ceramic jar on the counter marked Biscuits. Then she looks back at me.

When I look over at the jar, and back at Beulah, it sets her tail to wagging so hard she almost falls over.

Beulah looks at the jar, then at me. Over and over. Nothing breaks the trajectory of her gaze, not even when a german shepherd happens by on his way to the examining room and jams his nose into Beulah’s butt. A tabby-cat yowl coming from a crate not five inches away from her doesn’t even seem to register.

View original post 433 more words


The Conversation Continues ~ the Issues with Traditional Publishing . . .

Recently, our Conversation here has had a focus on Publishing, in the post on March 14th—The Conversation Is Still Fizzling . . .—and the post on March 19th—Back to Our Conversations ~ What the Heck Is Privishing?… Traditional Publishing

And, a regular reader (and poet) had this comment on the post of the 19th:

“Does it ever make sense for a book publishing company to suppress a book, not to mention that it is contrary to their very reason for existence? It speaks to the arrogance of such companies and individuals who think that they know what will sell, and more importantly, what the public wants to read. They have been proven to be completely wrong in many cases and will continue to practice their arrogance despite this fact.”

Very strong words, yet easy to back up…

For instance, from the post here in November 2017—Why Traditional Publishing Is Not for Serious Writers . . .—excerpts from author Erica Verrillo, critiquing a senior literary editor at Random House:

“We think editors at publishing houses edit. The truth is they spend most of their time responding to memos, developing profit-and-loss statements, figuring out advances, supplementing publicity efforts, fielding calls from agents, attending meetings, and so on. They edit on weekends and evenings, and on the train as they are commuting.”

“Privishing (where the publisher quietly suppresses books, whether intentionally or not) has become the norm for publishers for various reasons, the first of which is that there are limitations on budgets. The second is that editors compete for those budgets.”

“The negative attitude that editors develop about manuscripts and proposals is in part because budgets are limited, and is in part driven by competition. But mindless rejection is also an inherent feature of publishing….Editors are not only competing for budgets, they are engaged in what may be described as a pissing contest in snark.”

“…publishers identify writers as ‘outsiders’, as ‘them’, even though their income depends on the people they publish. This, I believe, is a significant component of the attitude that is shared almost universally among publishers…”

Then, in a post here from March 2016—How Close to Insanity Is the Traditional Publishing Industry?—I excerpted Gene Doucette (who’s been traditionally and self-published); but, rather than include those excerpts here, I’ll share the link to the article my post excerpted—The Collective Insanity of the Publishing Industry

And, finally, I present to the jury information from a post here in August of 2015—Another Good Reason to Avoid Traditional Publishing—and, this time, I’ll first share this info from that post:

“…there’s an author named Dean Wesley Smith who spent 40 years with traditional publishers, then did it all himself, then helped start a mid-sized publishing company. He’s written the article, The New World of Publishing: The Real Price of Traditional Publishing.”

Here are a few excerpts:

“In the last two years I have seen a couple dozen author contracts from various traditional houses. ‘Life of Copyright’ is always a non-negotiable contract term in the United States if you are a normal-level writer.”

“The ‘life of a copyright’ at the moment in the US is the life of the author plus 70 years.

“An example: I finish the book I am working on. I am 65 years of age. Say I live another 30 years to 95. Then add 70 years and the life of the copyright for the novel I just finished will be 100 years.

“That’s what the ‘Life of Copyright’ term in a contract means.

“That’s right, your great-grandkids might be able to get your book back that you sold for a few thousand in one hundred years or so. But at that point the book will drop into the public domain and not be worth anything to them.”

“The real price of traditional publishing is total loss of control over your work.”

Now, I’ll give you a link to the archive of posts on this blog about Self-Publishing

If you want to keep this Conversation going, just share your thoughts and/or feelings in the Comments… :-)
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Visit The Story Bazaar
Best Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~ My Bio
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

The Writing-from-Home Conundrum

I visit a virtual world—Kitely—created by an author, visited by other writers and artists, to balance my extreme Writing-from-Home existence…

Though, my Living comes from a pension—not sure I could do what today’s re-blog author is doing…

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz Lang head shot-001By Jennifer Lang

On the outside, especially to my friends who commute to an office, I have an ideal set-up. I plop my butt on a chair in the office adjacent to my bedroom and simply write. And write. And write some more. The house is husband-free, kid-free, and so quiet it hurts my ears.

Although I’ve been writing since the late nineties when I freelanced for websites and magazines, I only became a committed writer—one who has the capacity to spend hours with fingers poised on the keyboard, one who is plagued with self-doubt, one who receives inordinate amounts of rejections—during the first semester of my MFA. By second semester, I noticed when the writing took over and I went out less and less—for errands, with friends, even to see family. By the third semester, I realized my phone hardly rang. By the time I graduated, I noted how…

View original post 634 more words

Back to Our Conversations ~ What the Heck Is Privishing?

Privishing vs Publishing The Monday/Wednesday Conversations idled for a bit; but last Wednesday’s post, The Conversation Is Still Fizzling . . ., got things going again.

My part of the Conversation was about the two most common ways to publish—Traditional and Self-Publishing.

A regular reader picked up on a particular term used in one of the excerpts; and, this particular reader is a traditionally published author:

“I am astonished to read the word ‘privishing’. I have never heard of it before but I do believe I have experienced it! Many traditional publishers I believe use freelance editors who work on contract now. I think many now famous books which were perhaps published in a quieter and slower age would have sunk without a trace if they had experienced today’s privishing.”

And, from the text-link in that reader’s comment, a working definition for Privishing could be:

“…when a publisher intentionally suppresses a book that might be embarrassing and that they may have published in the first place. They might do that by printing as few copies as possible, for instance, so that it is instantly out of print. Or the book may be made scarce by buying large quantities of it in the shops, once it has gone out to retail outlets…”

Just to clarify, privishing happens, primarily, in Traditional publishing.

So, since that reader/author focused on the practice of Privishing, I did a bit more research…

I found a forum topic, from 2004, called: “Privishing” books: how much the truth hurts, and costs.

And, even though it focuses on journalism, the ideas certainly apply to fictional works.


“From Gerald Colby’s essay in Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press:

“‘In the thirty years I have been a freelance investigative journalist, I’ve seen books suppressed in varying ways, sometimes by the subjects of books, sometimes by publishers, and sometimes by authors succumbing to self-censorship out of fear of repercussions for telling the truth. In the 1970s, a new term came into the vernacular of industry-wise writers: privishing.'”

“Serious research into America’s hidden history is not big business. Most big publishing houses, for one reason or another, will either reject a title altogether or privish the run. Hard truths are often left to the alternative presses, as with alternative media, which keeps them hidden from most Americans. And when they’re not, they’re often privished and priced out of reach.”

Another definition I found:

Small-scale or unadvertised publication of a book, so that it is not easily available to the public.

When it’s worded that way, privishing could be applied to a self-publishing author who’s afraid or incapable of getting the word out…

If you happen to be a “privishing” self-publisher, do, please, check out this article: Be the Gateway.

And, if you want to read an in-depth article on how Traditional Publishing can be manipulated into “banning” books, read, Behind the Forbidden Bookshelf: Du Pont Dynasty by Gerard Colby.

So, if you want to move this particular Conversation forward, feel free to leave any comments you care to share…

And, if you don’t see any reason to comment on this post, perhaps you could leave an idea (or, two) in the comments on what you’d like to see in our Conversations :-)
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Visit The Story Bazaar
Best Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~ My Bio
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Authors’ Advice for a Better Writing Life: Read Widely by Marci Glaus

I suggest you take the link to the original post because the author says: “In the span of just a couple of minutes, these authors emphasize so many wonderful things we celebrate as readers and writers.”

And, do take all the links in that original post so you can see these authors talking :-)

Nerdy Book Club

In an attempt to capture the recursive, complex, messy process we call writing, I started asking authors from my state to do something extremely awkward. I asked them to allow me, and sometimes a small crew, to enter into their personal writing space to film them while they were writing. I also asked them talk out loud about what they were doing in real time. I figured most authors would refuse or just ignore my queries, but to my surprise, almost all of them enthusiastically agreed.

Since 2015, I have been capturing glimpses into example writing processes of writers from a variety of contexts through a project called Wisconsin Writes. More than 20 authors have shared part of their writing process, involving everything from planning, putting a writing plan into action, editing, or revising. Their thoughts were filmed, edited, and then published as short videos on the Wisconsin Department…

View original post 495 more words