Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Writer’s Blues

What an opportunity! A chance to get up on that soapbox and tell the world, well maybe just the readers of this blog, that publishing is not dead. This post isn’t news, but a response to the writers with the publishing blues. At least from this writer’s point of view, the industry appears to be morphing into a different reality. There will be more agonizing groans and grunts before a new model emerges. The point to remember is that humankind has been reading since we first learned to make sense of symbols. The manner in which we read may change as we absorb the new technology, but the love of the story and the chance that we might learn something or be entertained is too enticing to be ignored.

Just as there is always someone who foretells the end of the world, an end which appears to be on a fluctuating scale, there are doomsayers in all walks of life. As each antiquated function is retired into obscurity, a sleek new techie function slides into the gap. This is the story of life and renewal, viewed in an industrial sense.

As writers, we must keep an open mind about the possibilities, before we judge which way will suit us best. This is an industry which is a catalyst, existing as a conduit between the author and the intended audience. Publishing can be elitist in some of its manifestations at the highest levels, although each successful book starts in the same way. Someone must write it, unless computer compilation of the subject is desired, a choice that goes against the creative process.

Due to the difficulty in acquiring a representative within the publishing field, self-publishing and e-publishing have become more prominent. These choices haven’t been totally embraced, as most writers believe that a printed book is the epitome of success for the author. The actual measure of success is how well the book is received by the readers, a fact that is dependent on how well it is marketed. Most writers aren’t comfortable with this marketing aspect, which explains the success of companies offering to do the promotional work for a price.

What is needed at this point is direction. There are websites that assist writers in their efforts to be published, and there are many writers’ help sites which will charge you for that help. Some agent blogs or writer sites offer guidelines -- free of charge -- to help writers through some of the process. Just as research is needed to determine which agent or publisher to contact for representation, so research is also needed to find out which newsletters or blogs/websites are suitable for your purposes.

I’ve listed my favourite picks for sites on this blog in another post, 'My Pick of Writer Sites and Blogs'. Checking some of these links might save you a little time, or provide a starting point for your own research. In summary, industries and technology continue to change and unlike those sixties bands that seem to keep on rockin’ the oldies, you must continue to evolve or find yourself on the sidelines.
July 7, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Pick of Writer’s Sites & Blogs

Here’s my pick of the agent and writer sites that I’ve found helpful, though the list is dynamic in nature. Some I found on the Writer’s Digest 101 Best Writer Sites, which is updated yearly. Many of these sites listed below have been on the list for several years. Some of them offer postings about various aspects of the publishing process, and are maintained by a variety of literary agents, authors, editors and other writers. The information gained is comparative to the amount of time invested in reading and following the material found on these blogs or websites. There are also newsletters and email notification available which will keep you immersed in the daily events in the writing field.

In order of personal preference:
http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/ Literary agent

http://accrispin.blogspot.com/ (Writers Beware Blog)


This short list will be updated with any new sites I learn about on an ongoing basis. Thanks to all those above who offer help or information to novice writers.

June 2009

UPDATE-2011:  Refer to revised list, 11 Writing Sites for 2011, as some of the above sites are no longer being maintained.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pressure Drop on New Writers

In the current world of planet wide Internet access, everyone is told they need an identity, a visible web presence. On many writing websites I have seen this advice to all authors, including those just spreading their wings.
It may not be required, but having a web presence is considered another plus for your chances at getting published. The reasoning is sound, but seems a bit early in the process of being published when it is applied to the new writer. Those authors who have a few published book titles, or those who sponsor public relations events should have a web presence, for the products they offer. One of the benefits to the new author is the practice of producing something which others will see, perhaps read, and comment on. Feedback from those comments is another benefit that could help the new writer, if that comment mechanism has been set up on the website.

In summary, I question the value of a new writer having a webpage (if strictly for writing), as this poses another distraction from what the writer should be doing -- getting back to that first draft or final draft of their novel. A blog, however, can perhaps fulfill an interim need for writing exposure if it's not too time consuming.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 (Revsd May 2009)