I hardly ever do this, but with a desk that refuses to clear off — all involving great projects by wonderful writers — I’m going to resort to a placeholder blog, just to let you know some of the great pieces that are coming to the Word Journeys Blog and its increasingly popular sidekick, the 366 Writing Blog.
First, want to share how great this week has been, watching friends and clients alike publish books, land deals, score interviews, and, in the case of Lynne Martin, author of “Home Sweet Anywhere” (or whatever Sourcebooks titles her awesome travel narrative/memoir), become the newest contributor to The Huffington Post. Just saw a fine interview with Gayle Carline on marketing and promoting our own work … a subject near and dear to me.
My fifth collection of new poetry/essays, “Backroad Melodies,” came out this week as well. It’s been five years since “The River-Fed Stone” was released, so a new collection was overdue. I’m thrilled with the response, both in comments and early sales. People around the world are buying it, and as usual with my collections, enjoying the essays as much as the poems – or more. Check out our Facebook page for some back stories – or better yet, get a print or Kindle copy for yourself on Amazon. If you feel so inclined (and I hope you do), please leave an Amazon review, in which you let me know (indirectly) which poem or essay you liked the most.
Now onto future topics. Here is what is coming, soon:
• Writing With A Cause: Between the revelation that ALL of us are subject to phone and e-mail surveillance by the NSA, the FBI’s admission that drones are being used in this country, the IRS’ targeting of particular groups (though I disagree with those groups’ policies, targeting them is dead wrong), mind-boggling climate change, and the continued stripping of tools to teach our kids, we have a lot of serious issues that threaten our life and liberty. As writers, do we stand by? Or use our pens and keyboards to effect real change?
I was lit up on this topic by comments Florida attorney Beth Walz made during her keynote speech at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, reminding me of the responsibility to society we writers have. Years ago, Beth wrote an article to protest the fact women lawyers weren’t allowed to wear anything but dresses or skirts into the courtroom. In a classic example of “you never know who’s reading”, a very prominent litigator saw her article – future Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It didn’t take long for the chauvinistic dress code to change.
• Editing: Many people assume that, just because self-publishing is now in vogue and the tools to make it happen so easy to master, we can just rush out a novel or life story, without attention to mistakes. That’s a sure way to lose readers before you get them. I just sat on two fantastic editing panels at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, and am in the middle of a back-and-forth discussion on the writer-editor relationship with Lynne Martin – whose book I just edited. We’re going to turn this into a new, three- or four-part series on editing – and why the degree of your editing and the volume of your readers are directly related.
• The Magic of Book Launches & Signings: We’ll be checking in with authors Claudia Whitsitt, Jide Familoni, Charles Redner, Tom Ong, Gayle Carline, Jenny Hilborne and other friends to hear their stories and experiences about their first book signings … and what their fans had to say about their books that surprised them. Book signings are truly fascinating experiences, real slices of life — and I’ll throw a couple of tales in there, too.
• The Wonderful World of Research: Here’s the bookworm and nerd blog to top them all – a celebration of the way writers bury themselves deeply into research, and how they surface with the material that creates riveting novels and non-fiction books. What do they look for? How do they tease it out? How do they absorb the research into their voice or their characters’ perspectives? Why do so many crave the researching experience? I’m writing this one from the center of my wheelhouse: research is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. (I can see one of my dear friends, Crittenden County Library Director and author Regina Merrick, smiling all over this one).
• Social Network Posts & Links that Rock: Why do some people post all day, and find it hard to attract readers or buyers? Why do others get plenty of both? Leaving metadata and buying lists aside for a moment, part of the reason is the quality and type of content that is posted. We’ll share a few strategies that really work. (Hint: It involves being willing to really share about your books or works)
• A Very Special July 4 Interview: As you may have noticed, our writer interview series has really taken off since February, on both the Word Journeys and 366 Writing blogs. We’re going to make this a regular series now, featuring authors both new and well-published. On July 4, we’re going to celebrate Independence Day with an exclusive interview with David Abrams, author of the runaway bestseller Fobbit, a tale of the Iraq war told from six distinct, eccentric and enthralling viewpoints. When you read the book, you will laugh, cry, feel, think, wonder why the hell the government doesn’t tell us anything, and also wonder how one man can write such an incredible work. David is a retired 20-year Army man, so this blog honors him and all of our soldiers. You won’t want to miss it.
And finally, in three weeks, my first online compilation will be released by Tuscany Global: The Best of the Word Journeys Blogs. We take 60 blogs from the past seven years, update some of them, and present the stories, personalities, experiences and travels that make the writing and reading life so incredible.