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Showing posts from July, 2017

"I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy"

The post last week by Linda, Independent Writer? Team Player? Can you be Both? really resonated with me. Photo by Maryann Miller Since I was born on the Fourth of July there has been a strong independent streak down my back a mile wide, and it did take me a bit longer than some others to appreciate the benefits of joining a team. Whether that be a critique group, or even later joining with other authors in a group blog, such as this one, or banding together for marketing and promotions. In some ways, marketing was a little simpler for the author before the advent of the Internet - thank you Al Gore, LOL - and all the social media outlets. If we were lucky enough to have a book accepted for publication, often the publishing house would do the marketing, and we were encouraged to make a few bookstore appearances, but that was all. Of course we all know how different that was for big name authors. For us in the mid-list, we were encouraged to write the next book, respond to fan

Independent writer? Team player? Can you be both?

This month's theme at Blood Red Pencil is independence, very appropriate for July because this is the month it's celebrated every year in the United States. Independence, however, has a far broader application than one country declaring its liberation from another. Take writing, for instance. Like other art forms, it promotes solitude. With some exceptions we work independent of others, turning our imaginations and creativity loose and letting them lead us wherever our characters go to tell us their stories. Those characters become our closest companions while we all share space in our heads. How do we view and deal with flesh and blood professionals who are equally vital to our stories? Consider the following fiction scenario depicting some of this editor's experiences with writers over the last 25+ years: Writer : I can't  believe I let my critique group talk me into hiring an editor. They all said my story was unique, so why do I need somebody to edit it? E

Journalists and the First Amendment

Freedom of the Press is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. It is supposed to safeguard against government interference in the dissemination of information and opinions needed for an informed electorate. Take away that freedom, and you eliminate the very principles on which our nation was founded.  One of the first things an escalating authoritarian government does is limit the press, close the doors on the information it uncovers, and demean its research. When Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis controlled less than three percent of Germany’s 4,700 newspapers. Little by little, they seized control of the press and radio stations, and destroyed opposition political party offices, which fundamentally stopped the distribution of information that wasn’t in their self-interest. Governments have used the press to propagandize its positions. John Adams signed into law the 1798 Sedition Act, which made publishing anything critical of the government illegal.

Freedom of the Press and Freedom to Be Me, a Writer

Those of us who live in the U.S. and other free countries enjoy the liberty to express ourselves through the written word. Currently, the press in the States is under attack for alleged bias and failure to check facts; whether or not these allegations are true, they write on—because they can. The press is not stifled; it can speak freely. Authors can also speak freely. Whether we write fiction, nonfiction, or fiction based on fact, we can say what we please with impunity as long as we avoid defaming another person in a way that causes them financial loss. While the publicity resulting from a libel suit might generate enough curiosity to sell some books, it might not be in our best interest in the long run. Thoughtlessly or viciously written words can follow us through a lifetime and impact our credibility as writers. Besides, we have other avenues in which to address almost any issue. Freedom of the press grants us  carte blanche to say almost anything we like—within a well disgu

With Freedom Comes Responsibility

With the birth of the internet and self-publishing, it is a wonderful time to be an author, unless you were hoping for that golden ring of a traditional contract with a publisher and a huge advance. In that case, you have my sympathies. It has never been harder to obtain. For those who have ventured into the water of self-publishing and found minimal success (a few amazing success) or are just happy to be published, these are heady days. No one can tell you that your plot doesn't fit into a particular marketing niche or there are too many stories like yours in their stable, or worse your book competes with a better known author's idea. However, the freedom to write and publish anything you want comes with responsibility. You must perform all the duties of a traditional publisher. 1. You must "promise" a specific sort of story and not veer into another lane. There is nothing worse than settling down for a lighthearted romance then finding yourself chained to