Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Check it out

There is a fun contest over at

and the prizes are really fun. Now I want to collect Agatha Christie books.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A double rainbow sort of day

If you do not follow Bransford's blog - here is a great video - what ever that guy is on - I want some.

If it is cuT off - here is the link!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Great White Whale of an industry

Every day I am seeing posts about "the state of the [publishing] industry". My mother even has soap box lecture when it comes to how the publishing industry is shooting itself in the foot. Granted there are multiple perspectives here: that of the agent, that of the writer, and that of the reader.

As far as the agents go - it is a scary scene. They go on at length about how self publishing is going to destroy the industry, and E-books are its death knell. For example, albeit more optimistic than most, Nathan Bransford ( today about Mike Shatzkin's prediction that by 2015 at LEAST 50% of the book market will be through E-book publishing. Bransford goes on to comment about how this will affect "the industry" even beyond the "brick and mortar" bookstore which will of course be a fossil by then (according to the prediction.)

To quote Bransford,"it will have huge implications for the way books are planned, marketed, acquired, published, and discovered. Everything from the seasonal publishing calendar to print runs to marketing campaigns will be in for reevaluation." He does, as I said before, put an optimistic spin on it. Again from Bransford's blog: "[P]eople are still buying and reading books. The ease of access afforded by e-books might even mean they'll buy more when they can download a book at home rather than planning a trip to the bookstore...Authors will still write books, publishers will still be the go-to place to put a book together and market it, there will be self-publishing for those who want to go it alone, and readers will have still more choice and ease of access." But still, as he says, "there is lots still to be worked out on the author side, including paltry royalties and more reliance on authors for platforms and buzz-making."

What I wonder is - where do the agents fit in? Certainly I believe they will still exist, but will they lose their position as gate keepers? After all, as of now, they sit high atop their summit of power - authors bending and begging based on their every whim. I read their blogs and many complain about how tired they are of seeing the same thing over and over again. They make examples out of wannabe writers who have (gasp) made an error in their submission format. Of course - I know it is important to read the directions and people should follow them if they want to play the game. But it seems that there is a lot of buzz out there that the game will change and there are a lot of sharp words about how it will be the end for us all. Be warned, they tell us, you writers don't want this. It will mean no money and more work for you. But that then means less money and maybe less work for them too, right?

But what Bransford says does make sense and if this happens, maybe there will be a recalibration of the industry, evening out some of the ...let's say idiosyncrasies of the game. Or maybe it won't. I hope it is true that for readers at least, the self publishing through E book ease(although they are not the same thing)will give more choice to readers. But, how will those choices be measured? How will one find the books they are looking for? Genre search? If everything is digitized will that make it easy to locate the Women's supernatural mystery I have been looking for? Or will there be an overload - too much supply - with not enough quality?

Although that brings me to my personal reader and writer view of "the industry" and this is something the agents hate hearing. Why is there so much crap out there? When I look at the new books shelf I laugh out loud at some of the stuff that is being published. But if it is what sells - then I guess more crap in the on-line market place will be exactly what people want. And it will be cheap. Think I-Tunes for books. $3.99 is my guess for new fiction.

So where does this leave us writers? I secretly hope I will get published under the old ways before this predicted transformation is complete. I have never believed self-publishing was an answer to the writer's struggle. To get in the door and to get a book "traditionally" published has always been a badge of honor. Now it is even more so. As far as E-books are concerned, I have nothing against them - although I see there is a diminished revenue because the cost is smaller. So how do we value the craft of a writer in these digital times? I don't know.

But, I am against total; E-publishing. I think to myself - without that book to hold in my hand - why bother? And I don't just want to hold it - if so I'd go to a vanity press. I want to walk down the book isle at the grocery store (yes the grocery store) and see it right there on the eye level shelf. I want to see it in people's beach bags. I know...big dreams. But without that as a possible reward - never mind the money - why would anyone publish for people beyond themselves and their close friends and relatives. (I know, I know...according to agents family and friends are a valueless audience.) I will certainly agree to publish an E-book - through my traditional publisher after the hardcover is out. Even if only libraries buy that hard cover - hey it's there. I want a physical book to my name. So what ever else these changes bring - I hope that does not change - at least in my time.

That's brings me to the last point. If what they say is true (and not necessarily Bransford here) and the number of books taken on by publishers diminishes to almost nothing, and the market is flooded with self-published junk, and avid readers can no longer find what's good anymore, well then there is only one thing to do: Go to the library and begin devouring all those classics you didn't get to. Re-read the ones you've already read. Thus we will fill the drought with the rich waters of that which is old, noble, and reminiscent of a better time when the "industry" was strong and proud.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I received an award

Wow - thanks Piedmont Writer. I am not really sure what to do with such an award because I am - as you said - a freshman here.

But thanks for the

award. And now I need to pass it on to someone else.

I will give this lovely "Bloom of an Idea Award" to Perri - because she is not only a writer - but is also a farmer and a mom and wow - she impresses me all the time.

And do I have to say some things about myself or is that just for certain awards?

Well - IDK - but I haven't done an about me - so I'll say seven things anyway - even if it is against award protocol.

1)I am a high school English teacher and have my summer off. I love teaching Hamlet, the Iliad, and All American Literature. My students are Juniors - aged 16-17. Oh what a job.

2) I am named after a wood sprite in Shakespeare's the Tempest (not that little mermaid)

3) I have three cats (Pedro, Lydia, and Simone) and 8 chickens (Helen, Clementine, Red, Agatha, Martha, and Gertrude [the 3 witches], and Elenore and Ophelia.

4) I love water - because I am a Cancer (but on the cusp of Gemini)

5) I am 33 and 5' 0" tall (on a good day)

6) I have only one sibling - a sister who is twelve years older than me

7) I grew up on a lake and when I was 14 my dad gave me a canoe and it was my trasportation for a long time.I have many fond memories of meeting my friends at the town beach and spending days island hopping and swimming

Thanks again Piedmont Writer - and maybe someday I will have more than 50 followers - but I have to admit - I am not as dedicated a blogger as many. I really just want to share my writing thoughts - because my husband can only listen to so much. I read them much more than I write them. I love reading everyone's posts very much.