Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Oxford University Press

Interview with a Most Talented and Enterprising Publisher


Do you know this woman? Laura Stanfill

More than likely not, unless you’re a regular reader of this blog; or, you’re involved in the literary scene in Oregon, U.S.A.; or, perhaps, you’ve bought something from Forest Avenue Press

However, more folks could soon know her since she’s been nominated for Publishers Weekly Star Watch, which was created “…to identify and celebrate members of the U.S. publishing community who are on the rise and bring recognition to them on a global stage.”

Some of you who follow this blog may remember that she founded the Main Street Writers Movement

And, I’m happy to say there is a new interview with—drum roll—spotlight onLaura Stanfill !

The interview was conducted by Edwin L. Battistella—instructor of linguistics and writing at Southern Oregon University—author of six books and over fifty academic articles. He “…is on the editorial board of The Oregon Encyclopedia, and the Executive Committee of the Linguistic Society of America. He is the co-editor-in-chief of the Wiley-Blackwell journal Language and Linguistics Compass.” He also “…contributes a monthly blog to Oxford University Press, called Between the Lines with Edwin Battistella.”

As is my usual plan, I’ll share a few excerpts and encourage you to read the Full Interview

As part of her relating what she’s learned in publishing, Laura said:

“I spent two years selling books out of the back of my car—and toting boxes to bookstores for consignment—before signing with Legato Publishers Group…We have sales conferences and reps that sell our books across the U.S., which makes our marketing and publicity efforts even more crucial, because the risk is higher. But the potential reward is higher, too.”

While discussing her choice of Portland, Oregon for her business, she said:

“We…have incredibly dedicated booksellers who write excellent shelf talkers and hand-sell local titles to browsers. When I showed up as a new publisher, I found friends and allies in the indie bookstore world because I had been buying books and attending events for a decade. My mission with Forest Avenue was to urge in-person conversations about literature, so I created an events-based marketing plan that I still use today. My whole business model is centered on independent bookstores. I support bookstores; bookstores support our authors. It sounds obvious, but it’s important. Essential.”

When asked about Main Street Writers Movement, she said:

“It’s a movement geared to encouraging writers to build community at the local level by supporting each other, their indie bookstores, and local presses and magazines. If we can create these invested hubs of community goodness, then the whole national literary ecosystem will become stronger. And touring writers will be able to activate Main Street communities in the places they travel….We use #mainstreetwriters as our hashtag to help members find each other.”

Here’s where you can read more about or join Main Street Writers Movement

Again, I encourage you to read the Full Interview; but, here’s a final excerpt to help you decide to go over there :-)

When asked what she looks for in an author, Laura said:

“I look for someone who has been actively building community, because it’s really hard to sell books by authors who are only invested in promoting their own work. Debut authors are a favorite, because so many of them have spent years honing their craft, and it’s a huge honor to launch an author’s first title.

“I love working with authors who have a strong sense of their own craft and want to work together with our team to get the book to reach its full potential. That kind of collaborative spirit is essential.”

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The Amazing Effects of Learning to Read & Helping the Child Who Struggles with Reading


“The image was riveting. Like an X on a treasure map, the orange-yellow spot on a series of MRI frames marked an area in the brain that was brimming with activity. We were witnessing the physiological impact of greater reading exposure in the brains of preschool children.”

So begins an article on the U. S. News & World Report site—The Lifesaving Power of Books.

Here are some of the results of a relatively recent survey:

Only 46 percent of parents say they read aloud every day with their children, and only 34 percent read for at least 15 minutes.

Only 15 percent of parents say their children were read to from birth, though 64 percent say reading aloud started by age 1.

Four in 10 parents say their children spend too much time watching TV, while a third say the same about the time kids spend on devices.

If you have children or know folks who do, I’d encourage you to go read the whole article; but, here’s one last excerpt:

“An array of consequences including obesity, academic failure, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and juvenile delinquency have been linked to a child’s literacy level and correlated with inadequate early exposure to books. These poor health outcomes fuel cycles of poverty, stymieing countless children while costing hundreds of billions of dollars a year…”

So, a conscientious parent reads aloud to their child—even in the womb.

But, what to do if a child is struggling to read—having difficulties learning such a life-enhancing skill?

I found a particular part of one of the sites of the Oxford University Press called OxfordOwl.

Here are their bullet points:

* When should I worry about my child’s reading?
* Is my child the only one struggling to read?
* Is my child a struggling or a reluctant reader?
* Why might my child be struggling?
* What should I do if I am worried?
* What do I do if I’m told not to be worried, but I still am?
* What extra help might my child receive?
* What will I be expected to do if my child is having extra help?

Top Tips
* Keep anxiety levels down
* Make time to share books
* Take turns to read
* Build confidence
* What to do when your child gets stuck
* Play with sounds
* Convince them they are not stupid!
* Avoid blame
* Read to your child
* Use technology

There’s lots more on that site to help parents

And, here’s a rather amazing little girl:


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Everyone Can Be {More} Creative . . .


We all have the “creativity-gene”.

Everyone Can Be Creative

Image Courtesy of Flavio Takemoto ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/flaivoloka

Or, if you prefer, we all have the Will to Create.

Even if you think you’re not creative at all, I bet, within the past few hours, you faced some decision and made your own creative choice about what to do—no matter how small you felt that choice was

Writers, readers, publishers—folks who want to write, read, or publish—people who don’t want to do any of those things—everyone—the mother who teaches her child, the father who works at home, the child who dreams of greatness, the homeless one who wishes for better dreams

Some of you are in life-positions where creativity is demanded of you—every split-second.

Perhaps you have a justification and the resources to buy a book like The Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship—the “First major volume to connect and integrate contemporary research in organizational creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, with a multi-level approach”.

Some of you have little or no extra money and just want to enliven an otherwise somber existence—stoke the embers of creativity—raise the spirit of radiant living.

Most of you are probably expressing your potential somewhere between those two poles of my own imagination

But, speaking to that person who feels life has no space for their creativity, let me quote something from the Aspen Ideas Festival blog:

“…all humans have a natural ability to come up with creative ideas. Although some people might have unwittingly suppressed this skill, everyone can unleash it by finding the creative confidence to voice ideas….In kindergarten, everyone considers him or herself an artist. This notion slowly dwindles away because most people are afraid of judgment and failure. That’s where the mindset of creative confidence steps in.”

Creative Confidence

First, we have to believe, no matter how much our circumstances may seem to suck, that we have whatever it takes to find creative solutions to our life challenges.

Then, we have to locate the spaces of mind and heart where creativity is hiding.

Finally, we have to somehow find the will to express that spark of personal creativity.

And, usually, we have to repeat that cycle of steps, repeatedly, to get the inspirational bonfire blazing

Btw, that book I mentioned before, from the Oxford University Press, costs $225.

Perhaps you have or can find or borrow about $17.00 for a book by Tom and David Kelly—Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All.

And, for those with no chance of scraping up any extra money, these two videos, with one of the authors of that last book, may be just enough to kickstart your creativity

[ EDIT: after publishing this post… ] One more resource to aid Creative Confidence:
7 WAYS TO DIAL DOWN DOUBT AND CRANK UP CREATIVITY

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