TRIBAL VICTORY FOR INSECURE WRITERS — and Others
MONTHLY IWSG CORNER—heliospheric incidents permitting
I.T. Mayhem Rules
There was no disintegrating Chinese rocket landing in my front lawn, no tsunami alarm in the dead of night, but Wednesday was not my day for anything electronic this month.
To no avail.
On the other hand, writerly deadlines are deadlines, and we IWSGers take those seriously. So I wrote a couple of notes (mostly to myself) on how gradually the Western World is coming into alignment with its own Climate Control promise to reduce fossil fuel use, and to help endangered species back up the ecological ladder.
The Good News and the Better News
This week the Dakota Sioux tribe said no thank you to construction of a pipeline through its tribal homelands. They were joined by members of the Klamath Yurok who recently succeeded in passing legislation to have dams removed from its major California chinook salmon spawning river. See last month’s blog.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] who control Pacific waters.
Pods of California gray whales mingle and travel alongside humpbacks and this month have already begun their migration and been spotted in San Francisco Bay.
Unlike the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of South Dakota who never gave in, I capitulate.
Short of blaming my computer death aka total malfunction on an upsurge of sunspots—not—global IT meltdown—possible but not yet confirmed—I am more ready to believe it’s my REALLY dicey coastal location which often forgets to switch us backward peoples forward in time—into the electronic world.
The birds and whales must know something. They’re starting to migrate early.
When in Doubt, use Cloaking Device
For newbie writers, journalists and wannabe scribes, this month’s effort is a pitiful excuse for a blog. But, if we don’t keep chipping away at the old Muse, she won’t perform when we really need her!
That’s my excuse and I’m not budging.
I am genuinely sending up prayers, incantations and blessed gratitude to the Angel of Communication who finally let me through; in ArchAngelic language—thanks, Gabe. You are a Star.
©2016 Marian Youngblood
September 9, 2016 Posted by siderealview | ancient rites, art, astrology, authors, birds, blogging, calendar customs, earth changes, environment | Alex J Cavanaugh, Archangel Gabriel, climate control, cloaking device, Dakota Sioux, endangered species, fossil fuels, humpback whale, incantation, Insecure Writers Support Group, IWSG, Klamath, Klingon, prayer, sci-fi, Sioux Tribe, Star Trek IV: the Journey Home | Leave a comment
Monthly IWSG Corner
We all know when the Muse is directing operations, it’s better if we just go along with her, with the tide, and allow her full rein. It’s important to give her loads of room to stir up the subconscious, and then wait and see what little miracles she has planned for us.
At other times, when the outer world directs—like editors, publishers, book-signings; that whole exciting round of putting oneself out there—it sometimes takes us by storm and we need to follow that flow, too.
But our Muse doesn’t like it; does she? Even when we tell her she needs to rest occasionally. Like her human charges, all work and no play… you know.
I wish it were as easy as it sounds: deciding when to write, and when not to. But, especially in the writing-publishing world, it’s never that simple. We writers aren’t totally in charge.
To be honest, we probably never were. We may think—especially during edit-mania—that the left hemisphere of our brain is running the show. But, even then, the direction is more likely to be coming from the reading public, what our publisher expects, what the market wants; what subjects are current darlings of the book-club circuit.
So, because I have been working flat-out—over the last month, at least—to try to get through final edits on my apocalyptic/end-times New Age novel, SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS, forthcoming from lovely Maine publisher, All Things That Matter Press, I have to say upfront I have probably let down my blogging/authorly friends in Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group. I know how good it feels to hear a word of encouragement from others in the same position—writers and bloggers and authors beginning to make a name for themselves out there—so I apologize if I haven’t had a chance to make the usual rounds of IWSG authors’ pages in the last few weeks. I promise I’ll try to make up for it, when the current push subsides.On the other hand, there may be quite a few IWSG-ers whose work is ideally suited to the ATTM ethos, so I’ll explain. They are a small press who like to introduce to the world of readers those authors who have a message—predominantly spiritual—to relay, a distinctive “self”, which they’d like to share. In these times where the ‘Big Five’ often have little patience with first-time authors or new discoveries, their approach is refreshing. Run by husband-and-wife team, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Phil and Deb Harris, the system operates smoothly, and the cogs are well-oiled and kept rolling by a team of editors, including the superb Marvin Wilson, himself a blogger and author of several books, including the Avatar-Award-winning novel, Owen Fiddler (2009). I couldn’t be in better hands.
For IWSG-ers, it may be of interest to point out that Marvin is also a mentor who delights in assisting writers, bloggers, other authors in the art of good writing.
That said, my Muse is feeling a little restless. She doesn’t like taking a back seat. Edits and reworked points-of-view (POV) are not what she thrives on. But I have told her that she, like me, should take a break from time to time. We all need to make the Journey Out and In. Besides, I’ve had a couple of chapter rewrites where she seemed delighted to pitch in again and throw her weight around!
And, if all goes well, she will be allowed to stretch her wings fully once more next month, when the annual NaNoWriMo marathon starts up again for all of us fledgelings to soar, unencumbered, to dizzy heights.
Until then, I hope she will a-Muse herself—sorry :(—and I have reminded her that we have even greater (Muse-ical) avatars who paced this path before us:
Gazing past the Planets
Looking for total view
I’ve been lying here for hours
Got to make the Journey Out and In
Thank you ©Moody Blues.
And thank you, Alex.
©2012 Marian Youngblood
October 3, 2012 Posted by siderealview | authors, blogging, fiction, Muse, novel, publishing | Alex J Cavanaugh, AllThingsthatMatterPress, apocalyptic, deadline, edit, Insecure Writers Support Group, IWSG, Journey Out & In, Moody Blues, Muse, novel, POV, Shasta: Critical Mass | 6 Comments
Writing should be an act of love; all else is a scribble—”écrire c’est un acte d’amour; ne pas faire c’est escriture” Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau clearly didn’t have a lot of deadlines; or else he was so secure within himself that they didn’t phaze him. Well, some of us DO write only when we’re inspired and in love with our words, but there are other times…aaarrrgggh.
No, I didn’t say that Alex J Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group [IWSG] stresses me with deadlines! But I did completely lose track first Wednesday last month, posting something which even Alex must have thought indicated I had lost it. So I am giving a quick apology now to any who read my cropcircle item at that time, as a bonus, or for misleading those who searched my site for other relevant material and ended up reading my (much older) post on how Myers-Briggs sees us flighty authors!
Blame it on the weather! Or something.
It is true: the 2012 season (which in Britain has been dire) since having early summer in March, resorted to Arctic gales and rainstorms from April through August, and now that September has arrived, only the most hardy of us mortals lingers outdoors to pick up the fragments of petunia blossoms, and rose petals hurled from their stems. It could get anyone down—in their right mind.But we writers have never been really in our right minds, have we? And, as we all know, if we’re feeling down, or insecure, or unable to cope for any reason, it always helps to reach out and help another. So if you guys are still with me, reading/writing and supporting each other, you may find it gratifying to stretch out the hand of friendship—even if your fingers are full of petals and your mind full of untyped words—because this month marks one whole year that the IWSG has been together, and it has grown from just a few writerly bloggers to an amazing 276 people out there sharing their tips, fears, doubts or just plain helping other budding writer/bloggers along. Alex, our Ninja captain, is a great one for holding out a helping hand—besides he posts FAR MORE FREQUENTLY than I do—so if you are in any doubt about joining our disparate gang, [I said disparate, not desperate] I heartily recommend it.
Besides, in reading and visiting the blogs of others—even if you haven’t really got one going yourself—you develop a ‘feel’ which just could turn into something you’ve always wanted to try, but never had the guts to. Now’s your chance.
P.S. My criticism of world weather may sound unreasonable, particularly in the wake of hurricane Isaac, which seemed intent on doing a Katrina around the Mississippi basin; I don’t mean to steal any thunder. My dear goddaughter is a doc in one of the emergency rooms in NOLA and she says it wasn’t pretty; but the great thing we all share about WEATHER is that it changes; and there is always hope for us writers that our togetherness—hugely assisted by the friendly electrons of the internet—will give us the feeling of holding hands across the waves [literal and metaphorical], so that we know we are not alone.
For that reason alone, I am grateful for having found IWSG and want to wish it happy birthday. I also wish Alex godspeed with his third novel CassaStorm—go to his site and reeeeead about it—like his other two, it is destined for huge success.
Thanks for being there IWSG buddies.
Have a good September.
©2012 Marian Youngblood
September 5, 2012 Posted by siderealview | authors, blogging, fantasy, fiction, novel | Alex J Cavanaugh, Arctic, blogging, Insecure Writers Support Group, Isaac, IWSG, Jean Cocteau, NOLA, September | 6 Comments
I wanted to write about a couple more personal insecurities, but the idea got knocked sideways by a post from the prolific David Gaughran, a 34-year old Irish writer, living from time to time in Sweden, but spending a lot of his working life traveling the world, collecting stories, and writing about his adventures! How fortunate, you say. His advice behind the scenes comes with a punch, too. So it’s not all dancing in the tropical moonlight and storming into Valparaiso (although he does that).
His books are — like Amanda Hocking’s — all published in e-format. So he is an expert in the self-publish world.
While many of us continue to dream of being picked up by the ‘majors’, while we’re waiting, there is no harm whatsoever in self-publishing a few e-books.
Or is there?
According to David, Penguin’s self-publish arm is ‘actively targeting inexperienced writers’. They say they are offering the lure, oops opportunity, for young writers to ‘make a name for themselves.’
Book Country began last April as a place for authors to post their work for critique. Then in the fall they announced a program to turn manuscripts posted on their website into e-books and paper books.
‘Our self-publishing process has been designed by a team of book industry professionals to make the experience as accessible, convenient, and affordable as possible’
Their ‘basic package’ is $99 for ‘user-formatted’ books. ‘User-formatted’ means you, the author do your own formatting.
But for $549 they will ‘help the writer’ format both e-book and print book, and then upload it to retailers.
Or for $299 they will let you do your own formatting, and then upload the book to retailers for you.
This is ‘affordable’????? Does it not sound a little like Vanity press?
Questions are now being asked about such huge fees; and about the massive royalty cut they take on top of that (after charges taken by retailers such as Amazon). If you are a newbie, it all sounds a bit much.
Let’s say you are a budding writer who has entered their site simply to share your new flow with other writers, to get some feedback, to know if what you thought you had written was good…and you saw their ‘suggestion’ to ‘share your work with a larger audience’; ‘signed in’ to their new offerings (small print: you have to agree to ALL their terms and conditions before entering — i.e. no backing out. It’s a contract.) It rather dents the newbie writerly ego a little to find that in the end, you have spent all that money and can be almost certain your royalties, if any, will be minimal.
There’s more. Penguin — because they have you ‘signed’ — keep 30% of your royalties. And although the beauty of royalties is that they keep on coming in when your book sells, in this ‘contract’ you keep on paying Penguin.
Here’s how it breaks down. For sales on the Book Country site itself, writers receive 70% royalties. This part, at least, is justifiable. Book Country are providing a retail platform, they are processing the sales, and dealing with the customers. And it’s a comparable percentage to the major retailers. Plus their name is a biggie.
However, through Book Country, you can also sell your book on those major retailers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This is where the real trouble starts.
On pages such as this one, they claim that writers will “earn 70% on your sales when priced at $2.99 or higher on all channels.” This is an extremely disingenuous claim, as it is not 70% of your cover price, but 70% of the money Book Country receive from retailers.
How do new writers figure this out without testing the waters themselves?
There is a simpler way.
It takes a little time and application to learn the format process, but I’ve done it with my aging braincells, so if I can do it, you can do it.
After formatting, you should upload your books to Createspace, Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords on your own (takes about an hour) for FREE and you’re done. You’re published. That’s all there is to it. There seems to be no added reason why — after you’ve learned how to format and done all that hard work — you should pay Penguin to upload it for you. Now, does there?All that said — thank you Alex for allowing a rather irritable insecurity to be voiced — I need to encourage all new/young writers at least to TRY the self-publish method.
I published my ‘Phantom’s Child’ (sidebar right) that way and its historical/suspense theme seems to be catching on. It is beginning to take off. Last week author Pat Bertram kindly interviewed me on the process.
She, like our Ninja host, is an author who holds out her hand to help others up this thorny ladder we’ve placed in front of ourselves.
In the daunting milieu of what the publishing world is becoming, every little bit helps.
So, as we wend our way into the depths of winter — shortest day is only two weeks away and then it’s all going to look better –solar flares, radiation storms, power blackouts notwithstanding (next blog down on this page)– we do have much to look forward to when the light returns: this publishing business is gradually, slowly, finally, starting to give a little back to the hard-working author… fingers crossed.
©2011 Marian Youngblood
December 7, 2011 Posted by siderealview | authors, blogging, fiction, novel, publishing, writing | Alex Cavanaugh, Book Country, caveat emptor, David Gaughran, e-books, Insecure Writers Support Group, IWSG, Penguin, royalties, self-publishing, Valparaiso, vanity press | 3 Comments
Lots of writers use a nom de plume to distinguish between their personae – it’s the way publishing works. Blogs, too. What choice, what abundance: we can be guided by all our Muses and still retain our integrity (who doubts it?)if we are prone to take one persona more seriously than another. For this blog I become this particular blogger because the material is time-sensitive; the research is all coming together now and our way forward is mapped. That said, it’s up to us whether we take the information and run with it.
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