Saturday, March 27, 2010

Writer or author

I believe that almost anyone that has written a book to be published knows how I feel:

Why aren't hundreds of publishers beating a path to my door with million dollar checks for the rights to represent my literary masterpiece? After all, I've spent years writing it. Doesn't anyone realize just how important this is to me?

The answer is: Nobody cares! It's up to me to provide an outstanding indication of profitability. Publishing companies operate by making a profit, not by being nice to would be writers or authors.

The phone isn't going to ring today with an offer. Not this week, not this month. Not this year. The responsibility lies on my shoulders. I have to do the calling and the querying. I am continuing to do that until I achieve success. Meanwhile, a person whom I respect a great deal visited with me and posed a question I hadn't thought of in a while. I am a published author of a wonderful book: "Joe's Story: The Book of a Lifetime" Does being a published author make me a writer? And, if so does that make me a good writer? My first thought was, "How dare he question my writing ability? I write all the time." After I pushed my pride out of the way I asked what he meant by that. He is going to schedule some time to talk to me about it. Meantime he suggested I write down the reasons why the children's story I intend to get published is a sell able commodity. Jeez! I thought the story spoke for itself. Now I gotta figure out if I'm a writer and whether or not my writing is worth publishing too? Will it never end? I just wanted someone to call, falling all over themselves as to how they can convince me to let them publish my story. That's all I wanted. I really didn't expect it. Not really. Almost not really. Well, maybe a little bit more than I care to admit.

Just another day in the life of an author/and/or/writer. It's kind of fun really.................Joe

Friday, March 26, 2010

Government censorship

One of my older, retired mentors, John called me yesterday to offer advice on something I didn't even know I needed advice on. That's the way it is with him sometimes. He lives alone, has almost no friends, family or other social contacts. Then there is me. But, that's fine with me, if all it takes to make his day is to listen to him for a short time. This time, after explaining how I could make a million dollars selling some super vitamin he just saw on TV, he ventured into his take on this smoking ban scheduled to start here in Michigan. He's a veteran. He doesn't smoke. He thinks the government should keep their nose out of his local VFW club. John says he's getting pretty tired of government censorship. He said he didn't put his life on the line to protect government censorship. He had my attention.

John believes that a smoking ban in private businesses, let alone private clubs like the VFW amounts to nothing less than government censorship, limiting freedom of expression illegally and unnecessarily. He says that the right to smoke in certain areas of private clubs is a private matter. No less important than the right to speak. he's ticked off that pornography and profanity is protected while all the do gooders are censoring smoking. John is doing his best to get signatures on a petition to get the supreme court to look at the legality of this smoking ban. He believes that when all is said and done, the government doesn't have the right to censorship of smoking while it protects pornography, profanity and certain types of murder. He was hot on the issue. I just let him talk. He made me think...............Joe

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The road to getting published

Well, I may have been remiss in putting all my eggs in one basket by submitting my children's story to only one publisher, I am finding out that is not the case with so many other writers. The amount of publishing suggestions is phenomenal. Thank you to everyone!

First of all, I had no idea that self publishing was so popular. I was aware it existed because I self published a booklet concerning salesmanship about 35 years ago. There were a couple of reasons. One: I didn't want some editor to look it over and mess with my self esteem by critiquing my writing ability. It was my first book and I felt vulnerable. Two: after the writing was complete I just couldn't wait to see it in print. I think that's called vanity. Three: Self publishing was easy. I had little time to go through all the necessary hoops required by standard publishers. The booklet did ok by my standards. Thanks to a friend in the printing business we got a few thousand printed up and on the stands for sale through a national distributor. Sales were excellent but I made a mistake by pricing it too low and failed to make a profit. I still have a few dozen copies as a memento. It was a real earning experience. Self publishing has its place. However, at this point it is my opinion that an established publisher has the resources and know how to put together a program for a book with real potential. Their guidelines and requirements are there for a reason: Sales! Not vanity, not speed, and not to salve a vulnerable writers ego. A publisher knows how to sell books. That's why they are so important to good writers.

I'm still looking for that publisher. Stay tuned. I am on a mission..................Joe

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Looking for a child's book publisher

I am looking for a publisher. I have written a short story about Christmas. I submitted it "exclusively' to local publisher almost 6 months ago. They were very interested, however they have changed their format and have gone to a specific genre' which no longer includes children's stories. Its a shame because the details were already in the mix for sale and distribution for the upcoming Christmas season of 2010. Back to the old drawing board. Their comment was: This is a wonderful story and deserves to be published. Regrettably, we cannot waver from our primary mission and must decline as your publisher. We encourage you to submit with another publisher of your choice as soon as possible.

I am disappointed to be sure. I am not deterred. I will be submitting it as soon as possible. Because I was so sure they would publish it I neglected to pursue other avenues. If you know of a legitimate children's book publisher of integrity I'd certainly appreciate the input. It truly is a memorable story.


Taking care of ourselves

Growing up I looked forward to my first 22 rifle and going out in the woods to bag a squirrel for the dinner table. When the time came, I did just that. My dad explained how to clean the squirrel while I did the gutting and skinning. My mom watched over my shoulder while I put it in the pot with the vegetables I had prepared. I even got to put it all on the platter and carried it to the table. Everyone told me how good it was and how good I was to bring home Sunday dinner. I was 12 years old. I was raised to be self sufficient. My folks tutored me in hunting, harvesting wild vegetables and edible weeds, cooking, building whatever I needed, fixing just about anything instead of just throwing it away, even sewing and darning the holes in my socks. Their philosophy was all about doing for yourself. I understood from as long as I can remember that I was put on this earth to take care of myself and hopefully help others less fortunate along the way. I watched as my parents put money in the collection basket at church even when we walked almost an hour through rain to get there because they didn't have enough money to put gas in the car, if they happened to have one at the time. There was always some money for other charities too. Take care of yourself and help those you can.

Sometimes when I listen to the news, I wonder if my folks were the only parents in the world that believed and taught that principal. Were we living in our own little world. Sheltered from reality? Is self sufficiency a lost concept? I'm sure its not. Not really, is it? If we couldn't take care of ourselves we'd be helpless. Then we'd have to depend on everyone else. We wouldn't have any money of our own to help anyone else. Now that's a silly concept isn't it? Ha, being taken care of by whom? That almost sounds like, Hmmmmm!.....................................Joe

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Executive booby

I'm the first to say that my vocabulary isn't all encompassing. My ability to communicate is excellent. However, occasionally I must look up a word in order to grasp the complete meaning of a word. Proper spelling can be a challenge even with spell check on the computer. Especially with e before i, its and it's, affect, effect and double letter composition. I make it through though. For the most part I understand what I hear and read. When I write, I write slowly, constantly checking and what is on the screen before me. It's seldom perfect but I feel we all pretty much know what I mean on any particular subject. I'm not the only one with problems.

In reading up on what is happening in the financial markets around the world I ran across a comment on executive bonuses, in particular upper management bonuses of financial and other banking institutions. I found a spelling error. When she said that a CEO received a 1.8 million dollar bonus, she spelled bonus, "booby." The same misspelling occurred throughout the article. So much for spell check huh?:...... While such and such a bank was operating on funds received from the tax payers of the United States, the CEO, such and such received 1.8 million dollars in booby compensation. When questioned, the CEO responded that he had no choice because of the generally accepted standard booby trap of compensatory procedure of that industry. Booby's were the norm.! Everyone gets one............The article gave no apology or explanation regarding the spelling error.

Awareness of my challenges concerning issues of spelling requires a dictionary ever at my side. I looked this booby thing up. Here is what I found.: ...

(What it should have been)
Bonus-something given for higher productivity
(What it was)
Booby-A stupid or childish person.
Regarding the trap thing
Booby trap-concealed or camouflaged so as to catch the intended victim off guard.

With that in mind, I feel that it may be a good idea to inform the writer of her mistake. Can you imagine how embarrassed she would feel if this mistake remains as is? Us writers have to stick together you know............................Joe
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