Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

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Perhaps More Writers Should Aspire to Be Like Edgar Allan Poe…?


Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

As a preface to the main text of this post, I offer a statement fraught with truth (and, perhaps, fear, for some...):

“…most books, both traditionally published and self-published, don’t sell well. Whether your book is intended to inspire, inform or entertain, millions of other books and media forms are competing against you for your prospective reader’s ever-shrinking pie of attention.”

That quote is from Mark Coker, the Founder of Smashwords, “…the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.”—I also used it in a post I did back 2013, What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

O.K, preface accomplished…

When I said up there that “Perhaps More Writers Should Aspire to Be Like Edgar Allan Poe…?”, I didn’t necessarily mean more writers should do “spooky” stuff (but, of course, not all Poe’s writing is “spooky”…); nor, did I mean more writers should drink themselves to death…

What if you knew that:

“…Poe earned only about $6,200 in his lifetime, or approximately $191,087 adjusted for inflation.”

What if you also knew that:

“…$191,087 was all you got for 20 years of work and the stuff you wrote happened to be among the most enduring literature ever produced by anyone anywhere?”

Those quotes are from an article in The Millions, entitled, Edgar Allan Poe Was a Broke-Ass Freelancer.

A few more excerpts from the article (the Voice in these quotes is Catherine Baab-Muguira):

“Last October, in the depths of a depression so profound and overwhelming that I had to take mental-health leave from work, I started rereading Poe for the first time since I was a kid… I encountered a writer completely different from the one I thought I knew…He was actually a lot like my writer-friends, with whom I constantly exchange emails bitching about the perversities of our trade—the struggle to break in, the late and sometimes nonexistent payments, the occasional stolen pitch….Poe’s short stories weren’t the adventure-horror tales I remembered, either. They turned out to be exquisitely wrought metaphors for despair.”

“You never enter the same Poe whirlpool twice. Much of his work has a purposeful, built-in double nature; he intended we discover ‘secret codes’ of meaning… “

“This points to the other important, less acknowledged, double nature of Poe’s work. It’s both art and commercial entertainment. Few other American writers so obviously and continually straddle the gap between high and low culture, between art for art’s sake and commercial enterprise.”

“I think if Poe hadn’t had to write for money, he’d probably have faded away long ago.”

And, in a second section of the article (which contains more details about Poe’s literary life), Catherine says:

“Picture this: A tech breakthrough has made mass publishing cheaper than ever before. With the cost of entry down, new publications launch with much high-flown talk about how they’ll revolutionize journalism, only to shut their doors a few years or even months later. Because the industry is so unstable, editors and writers are caught in a revolving door of hirings, firings, and layoffs. A handful of the players become rich and famous, but few of them are freelance writers, for whom rates remain scandalously low. Though some publications pay contributors on a sliding scale according to the popularity of their work, it’s mostly the case that writers don’t earn a penny more than their original fee even when their work goes viral.

“I’m speaking of Poe’s time, not our own. Still, I expect some of this will sound familiar. Pretty much the only piece missing is a pivot to video.”

As always, I urge you to go read the full article; but, as a fitting end to this post:

“When I first cracked back into Poe last October, my therapist begged, ‘Please stop reading him. He’s too depressing.’ But my experience of reading Poe and other writers on Poe the last 11 months has been the opposite of depressing. It helped me climb out of a very deep hole.

“In the end, Poe only pocketed $191,087, but he did get the immortal fame he grew up dreaming of. And I got taken, blessedly, outside myself. If the past is anything to go by, what lies ahead is not destruction. It just might be the stuff of our wildest dreams.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Visit The Story Bazaar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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Procrastination Is Fear of… What?


Sure today’s re-blog is for Writers — and, Readers — and, Publishers — and, children — and adults — and, men — and, women —- right?

Live to Write - Write to Live

procrastinationDo you procrastinate on projects?

Do you put off tasks that can be done quickly, but are tedious?

Do you avoid certain activities for as long as possible (making phone calls, for instance) because your heart rate increases at the thought of doing them?

I recently saw the phrase “procrastination is fear.” It resonates with me.

Why do we put off things we know need to be done for our business – or to better ourselves?

Fear of success? Fear of no one liking what we do? Fear of rejection after trying? Fear that our goal (making it ‘perfect’) will fall short?

Do you procrastinate on making decisions? If you delay long enough, the decision will be made for you (in most cases), so, you actually do end up making a decision — to let time determine the answer for you.

I can procrastinate on blog posts because I want to…

View original post 218 more words

Authorial Decisions ~ WebSite, Social Media, Blogging…?


I haven’t featured Jane Friedman (author, digital media strategist, editor, publisher, professor, speaker) for quite some time… Authors, Websites, Social Media

I’ll be sharing excerpts from two of her articles…

The first one leans toward author websites, the second toward social media…

Jane tends to conflate blogs with websites, which is perfectly understandable; yet, be aware, a blog can be considered “social media”…

And, I must emphasize that no matter how much help any of the excerpts may be, not reading her full articles will be a great loss (especially if you’re a writer…).

So…

The first article is, What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media?

Excerpts:

“These days, I get more noticeable results from my website and blogging efforts, email newsletters, and in-person networking than I do from social media. Not that I want to give up social media—quite the contrary—but I could walk away from Facebook and still earn a living. Not so with my website—it’s absolutely fundamental.”

Then, there are these bullet topics, as reasons a website is important (each Ripe with juicy info.…):

* Being more discoverable through search
* Offering the media (and influencers) the official story on you and your work
* Securing high-quality email newsletter subscribers
* Understanding what social media use is effective
* Monetizing the audience you have

Then (especially for those folks who won’t read her full article):

“Thankfully, you don’t (or shouldn’t) have to choose between having an author website or participating on social media. Nurture both. Choose to make your website a proud and strong showcase for your work and what you want to be known for, and don’t expect social media to always be the hub for all your branding or reader discovery. You’ll be stronger if you have a multi-faceted approach, especially if and when social media fails you.”

Article twoSocial Media for Authors: The Toughest Topic to Advise On

Excerpts (again, stressing that there’s much more meat to chew at the full article):

“Of all the topics I teach, social media is the most vexed. Even in a small class of writers, I find varying skill levels and experience, and a mix of attitudes—and these two factors play a strong role in what people need to hear or learn. I believe a successful social media strategy is driven by one’s personality and strengths, as well as the qualities of the work produced—leading to a unique approach for each writer.”

Then, she throws a critical bombshell of Truth:

“Because social media is widely considered essential to book marketing and promotion, yet it’s constantly changing, it’s become a burden and source of anxiety for beginners and advanced authors alike.”

And, the following bullet points (again, each Ripe with juicy info….):

* Your social media following grows mostly when you produce more work.
* Use social media to micro-publish or to share your work.
* People break social media “rules” all the time and succeed.

So, I’ll leave you with Jane’s summation on social media; and, one last time, urge you to read her full articles:

“So what can I possibly say to writers to help them become better at it [social media]? Well, first, don’t take it all so seriously. Look for what you enjoy. Have a spirit of questioning and discovery. Follow a daily routine that works for you. Sustainable and meaningful social media practice isn’t so different from getting your ‘real’ writing done.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Language, Literacy, Imagination, and Reading-Aloud


Do you have children?
Are you friends with a child?

In today’s re-blog, an immensely experienced teacher says:
“Reading aloud is a strong part of my classroom curriculum, and children love it! The more you read aloud at home increases your child’s development!”

I have the intuition that it helps the adult, too :-)

A Teacher's Reflections

image

People often ask why I chapter read.  After all, many of the children in my classroom are are three-years-old.  When we chapter read, the children don’t have an image from a picture book.  They have to make the pictures in their head.  That requires language development.  The more they hear, the more they learn.  Even the youngest children benefit enormously.  For example, they may not ‘get’ the humor of the goose repeating everything three times in Charlotte’s Web, but they are still getting a huge dose of language.  And, that language is sparking their imagination.  No pictures; just words pouring into eager, young minds and creating their own images.

I read picture books as well, at least twice a day.  That’s a given!  As in chapter books, we stop to ask questions.  That’s how we learn.  Remember the five W’s and the H?  Who, what, where, when, why and…

View original post 371 more words

On publishing another book when there are already so many


Today’s re-blog is a reflection on my posts of Oct 9th – 11th — it’s also the reason I was able to write those posts…

Nail Your Novel

Didn’t I say in January that I had a book I would write quickly? A book based on my travel diaries. A book that should have required a quick spit and polish, then out of the nest it would go.

But no, the months have passed, and if you followed my newsletter you’ll have seen the progress through rough edits, reconcepting, purge of darlings, second purge of darlings, beta reader 1, beta reader 2, reader 3, reader 4, final polish, snapshots of typesetting on Facebook and final sigh of relief.

January to July: seven months to take a book from personal notes to publicly presentable. It was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but still quite fast by my usual standards.

I haven’t been doing it full time, of course. My usual freelance editing gigs have snowballed, and sometimes I’ve been fighting to protect a…

View original post 793 more words