Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Small Presses

“These are scary and uncertain times…” ~ “What’s a writer’s calling…”


These are scary and uncertain times... ~ What's a writer's calling...

Image courtesy of Antonio Jiménez Alonso ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/Capgros-58778

One week ago, I published a post called “Words Are My Matter” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin.

I’ve been reading that book and can recommend it to all Readers, Writers, and Publishers…

The other day, I got to a particular essay that had these words:

“Where am I to find strength and hope in this world? In my work, in trying to write well. What’s a writer’s calling, now or at any time? To write, to try to write well. What work will make a difference? Well-made work, honest work, writing well written. And how might we create a community of purpose? I can’t say.”

The thoughts in that essay are explored by Maria Popova in her article, Inner Preacher vs. Inner Teacher: Ursula K. Le Guin on Meaning Beyond Message and the Primary Responsibility of the Artist.

Le Guin wrote it a number of years ago and the words I quoted up there reminded me of the import of a relatively new “community of purpose” called Main Street Writers Movement—which is actually for “Writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, editors, publicists, agents, and anyone who wants to participate in the literary conversation.”

The Founder of that Movement, a publisher in the state of Oregon, wrote what I can consider an answer to Le Guin’s words, “…how might we create a community of purpose?” — the publisher said:

“These are scary and uncertain times, but we must continue to use our voices and to listen to our neighbors’ words. By signing this pledge, you’ll become an official member of the Main Street Writers Movement, earning you access to literary community building tools, industry insights, and connections with #mainstreetwriters who are creating new opportunities in their cities. We’ll send you a newsletter once a month with ways to get involved and ideas to make a difference….Let’s honor and amplify our communities’ underrepresented voices. Let’s buy from local bookstores and small presses. Let’s leave our houses and dance in the streets to the sound of each other’s words.”

Obviously, some folks wouldn’t see important connections between a highly-celebrated writer’s words and the words of an Indie publisher…

Yet, there are two things I’m certain of:

1. Reading Words Are My Matter will give you the mental and emotional tools to decide what readers, writers, and publishers need in these times…

2. Joining the Main Street Writers Movement will help you gain a sense of Community which could help inspire readers, writers, and publishers to accomplish what is needed in these times…

One other thing I’m sure of is that reading Le Guin’s other essay, Staying Awake ~ Notes on the alleged decline of reading, could help you find, in yourself, the motivation to read Words Are My Matter and join Main Street Writers Movement
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Lots of the News About #Publishing Is Dead Wrong


What?

The news not telling us the truth??

Well, that just can’t be true!

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I certainly hope you can detect my irony

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Nearly all the news (as far as I can tell) has an agenda, pulls a few punches, caters to money or influence or special interests

The BookWorld is no different.

However, there are, thank God, sources of news that can be trusted.

One of the most trustworthy folks in the BookWorld is Jane Friedman.

In fact, if you scroll down to the Top Tags widget in the left side-bar and click on her name, you’ll find 37 articles featuring her (including this one…).

So, she recently had an article titled, The Myth About Print Coming Back and Bookstores on the Rise.

As usual, I’ll give you a few excerpts and leave it to you to check out the full article

As far as news outlets and individuals touting the two issues in the title of her article, she states simply:

“Most of it is wishful thinking rather than an understanding of what’s actually happening out there.”

There are some very clear graphs in the full article and these bullet points:

1. The ebook sales decline in the United States is related to traditional publishing and possibly its high pricing.
2. Recent print sales gains can be accounted for by coloring books.
3. Market share is drifting away from the Big Five publishers to small presses and self-publishers.

Just a few more excerpts ( for the folks who never take links out of blog posts :-)

“Adult ebook sales have been relatively stable; the big decline is in children’s/YA ebook sales due to the lack of a big franchise hit in 2015. (I hope it gives you pause to learn that the absence of a Harry Potter book or a new YA series can directly affect how well the industry does in a given year.)”

“Nielsen reports that about 12 million coloring books were sold in 2015. Compare that to just 1 million in 2014.”

“Carry a big dose of skepticism, and look at possible underlying agendas, when you hear celebrations about print’s comeback. While I’m not at all proclaiming the death of print or traditional publishers, few media outlets have an understanding of the big picture.”

Also for the folks who never take links out of blog posts—if you really want to get trustworthy news about the BookWorld, you may want to try a 30-day Free Trial of this publication
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Publishing Poetry


When I published my poetry book, I didn’t expect many people would buy it (same with my novel); so, I have them both available in free editions, along with the ones folks can buy.

Publishing Poetry

Image Courtesy of Ulrik De Wachter ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/ulrik

Basically, I don’t see giving my books away as some marketing ploy (though, some of the “experts” claim it helps sell books)—I just hope folks will read them

Yesterday, my Best Friend sent me a link for possible use on this blog—Manic D Press Gives Poetry an Address.

I’d already found an address for my poetry at FastPencil Press; but, this blog isn’t just about what I do in my writing career :-)

The article in Poets & Writers begins with:

In 1984, after being told by a New York literary agent, ‘Take up stamp collecting. No one publishes poetry anymore…. Shakespeare probably couldn’t get published today’, poet Jennifer Joseph decided to self-publish her poetry collection as the first title from San Francisco–based Manic D Press. ‘I wanted my poems to have a place to live’, Joseph says. ‘They needed their own address where they could be found in the future.’”

The article continues with:

“Over thirty years later, Manic D Press, run by Joseph and a handful of interns, is still publishing the work of ‘those who have been shunned by the traditional publishing establishment for lacking commercial viability.’”

Manic D publishes six to ten titles of poetry a year; plus, fiction, nonfiction, cultural studies, children’s books, graphic novels, humor, and art and music books.

Here are the Submission Guidelines for Manic D Press.

And, here is an interesting note from those Guidelines:

“The best way to learn if it’s worth your time and energy to submit your writing is to READ THE BOOKS WE’VE ALREADY PUBLISHED…” :-)

I’l finish this post with a link to Poets & Writers Database of Small Presses.
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Writers & Money ~ What A Lovely Affair


Are you a writer?

Do you know one?

Are they rich?

So much these days in the press about writers and money

I published a post back in 2011 called, Simple Question ~ Can Writers Make Money?, and said that it depends on what kind of writer you are

So, for instance, a writer who wants to devote their life to fiction but would like to make more money might want to consider freelancing in some form of reality-article hacking

As far as fiction writers achieving monetary success, in the past post, What Are A Writer’s Odds of “Success”?, I said:

“Who made it seem success wasn’t merely the next stage, from which further action becomes possible, but rather a pinnacle of achievement that leaves all other contenders breathless on the sides of the conquered mountain? So, who did that? Business people? Fundamentalist religious folk? Football coaches?”

But, in spite of the slim odds of fiction writers having a string of blockbusting books, they can, by working very hard, make some decent money.

And, thanks to my Best Friend‘s gentle reminders, I’ll share some resources from one of her favorite sites.

It’s Poets & Writers, been around since 1970, and their mandate is to serve poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers.

And, even though you could take that last link and find what they call “Tools for Writers”, let me put the links right here :-)

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