Business rules for dreamers

by admin on 17 January, 2015

Susan SpannAuthors write out of passion for their subject. They’re dreamers and artists. But, says Susan Spann, a mystery author and practicing attorney specializing in publishing, contracts, and intellectual property rights, once the book’s done authors have to put on a completely different hat.

“Dreamers get taken advantage of,” she says.

Spann was on a panel last weekend on the business of writing. It was sponsored by the Colorado Authors’ League. Kenn Amdahl, who has been self-publishing for years, was also on the panel. He self-publishes only his own books, which include Calculus for Cats (which I remember on my mother’s bookshelf) and There Are No Electrons: Electronics for Earthlings. He earns a living from this, pretty inspirational for all of us in the room. Sandra Bond, the principal at Bond Literary Agency was also there.

Bond impressed me with her knowledge of the industry, her savvy, and the fact that she doesn’t seem at all burned out.

Spann had great advice for self-promotion via blogging and Facebook for authors. Her rules:

  • Post regularly
  • Write entertainingly and helpfully
  • No sex
  • No religion
  • No money
  • No politics

That’s unless you’re writing about those things. She also said that Facebook is fine for publicity. That’s where she regularly posts, rather than on her website.

I’m finally realizing that events like this are just as important as are writers conferences. They’re sources of inspiration and opportunities to talk with other writers. When I was on staff at a publication, there were always reminders to be professional and get to work. Freelancers need to seek out those reminders.

 

 

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Gardening madness

by admin on 1 December, 2014

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I’m finishing up some gardening articles today for spring issues of magazines, ignoring the wintry skies outside. It makes me miss the huge yard at Hillcrest, and, even more, the made-to-order gardening climate in Portland, Oregon. Gardening there is a matter of cutting back all the exuberant growth, plus some good mentorship from neighbors.
Actually, neighbors are an important part of gardening just about anywhere. Have you ever noticed how some blocks burst with well-kept gardens? Often boasting many of the same flowers?
That’s because a great gardener on the block got the ball started.
Thanks, Tracy.

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Tea Party Brat: Party On

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Major disagreement with someone in the house (let’s say it was the cat) about whether David Brat, long-shot Republican upsetter of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, was a Tea Partier. This arose from the New York Times article in which it was revealed that Brat had failed to win any financial backing from Tea Party […]

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Five Habits of Effective Parishes

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If you can get beyond all the sorrow, horror, and fury about sex, there’s a space miraculously constant, both still and flowing, that is the heart of the Catholic Church. It goes by the name of parish, and it means ritual, community, spirit, and faith. The best parishes are constantly renewing themselves, while somehow keeping […]

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Patrick Leigh Fermor in Bulgaria

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I’ve been intrigued by Bulgaria ever since reading Elizabeth Kostova’s marvelous novel The Historian. These evenings I’m reading The Broken Road, a book I’ve been waiting for for decades. It’s been decades since I read the first two books in Fermor’s trilogy, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, so when […]

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C.S. Lewis: A Life Observed

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Devin Brown writes that, unless he could find an entirely new angle,  he saw no reason to write yet another biography of the beloved novelist and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis. (Such a startlingly concept: apologist. Is it modern? Apologizing for  faith in a secular time, explaining why it makes sense after all… Or is it instead […]

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Summer laugh

23 February, 2014

 

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Waking from the Dream

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While the book that David Chappell is best known for, A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow, seems as though it could be taught in philosophy or religion classes as well as history classes, his latest book is a different species. Waking from the Dream: The Struggle for Civil Rights […]

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Bright mind, quiet mouth

19 January, 2014

Like a magnificent medieval tapestry, Nicola Griffith’s historical novel Hild pulls you into a foreign, familiar world and shows how it was. Griffith has taken the historical figure, St. Hild of Whitby Monastery, and put flesh and desire into her. Hild begins when the future abbess is just 3 years old, the niece of King […]

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St. Peter’s Bones

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For me, with a passion for history, faith, and mystery, St. Peter’s Bones was almost bound to be a hit. It was especially meaningful since I’ve been to Rome a couple times, and wandered through much of that city’s history, the layers of which are so marvelously visible. Author Craughwell uses the bizarre story of […]

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