Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sonia Marsh - 'My Next Gutsy Chapter'

Like many writers, I follow Sonia Marsh's Gutsy Indie Publishers Facebook page. I read her entertaining and poignant memoir, Freeways to Flip-Flops. I contributed to her first My Gutsy Story anthology.  
I met Sonia last spring after she offered an author-entrepreneur workshop for the Women's Writing Circle. I picked Sonia up on a May evening in Chester Springs from Philadelphia International Airport. I hadn't anticipated how energetic, beautiful and honest she would be. She opened up her life . . . her journey as a wife, a mother and a memoir writer . . . with candor. 

I asked Sonia to share her next 'gutsy' chapter, and her new adventures. She also shares advice on how to become a successful author AND make money. Please welcome Sonia Marsh back to the Circle. ~ Susan

If you want to be semi-successful as an indie (self-published) author, you may want to think about creating a brand that can help you make a living in other areas.

One of the main lessons I’ve learned since I published my first memoir, Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, is that if you want to make a living at writing, you have 3 options:

·         You write at least 6 great books. Why 6? Because your royalties start to accumulate, and six seems to be the breaking point at which you bring in sufficient revenue.
·         You start side businesses related to your writing like coaching, editing, public speaking, Webinars, Workshops, helping other businesses with branding and social media.
·         You become an “expert” in your field. Find your passion, focus on a “niche” market and target your audience. Read Dan Poynter’s  advice on “How to Find Your Customers” on my website.

So much has happened in my life since I wrote the first post on Susan’s blog. I feel like I’m cramming ten years into one.

Let me summarize by stating the highlights, and yes, even my divorce is a highlight.

Women's Writing Circle Author Entrepreneur Workshop

3.      Started my “Gutsy Book Coaching” business after hiring my own business coach
4.      Started Google+ Hangouts with interesting authors and experts including:
7.      All my interviews on YouTube here
8.      Started Webinars to help indie authors
9.      My “Gutsy Indie Publishers” Group on Facebook has grown to 760 writers. (You’re welcome to join.)
10.  Started sending out newsletters once a month from adding e-mail sign-up on my landing page (see more details below)
11.  Workshops at Total Wine Stores
12.  3 Costco Book Signing Events (get your free video when  you sign-up on my site)
13.  IBPA conference in San Francisco (Learn why I joined IBPA, and why you should too)
14.  Got nominated for the “Gutsy Gals Inspire Me” Awards in Santa Barbara, CA.
15.  Met Susan Weidener on May 8th and spoke at Women’s Writing Circle on “How to become a Successful Authorpreneur.”
16.  Volunteered in Spain in at Vaughan Volunteers for one week speaking English to Spanish business people
17.  Signed up to join the Peace Corps in 2015 (a 27-month commitment)
18.  DIVORCING
19.  Moving to a wonderful rental
20.  Selling properties
21.  Attending a 3-month course for women in transition
22.  Working part-time coaching a professor on his book marketing and promotion
23.  Pet and House-sitting
24.  Working with a plastic surgeon on his blog and website “face-lift.”
25.  Receiving the READERS’ FAVORITES GOLD MEDAL for my memoir in Miami on November 22nd, 2014
26.  Off to Paris, London and Copenhagen from December 15th-31st, with my 20-year-old son
So quite a few new things have happened since Susan Weidener, published my first post on her site.

I’d like to share my next adventure since I’m divorcing after a 28-year marriage.

I truly hope to experience another major life-changing adventure now that I’m divorcing and my children are 20, 24 and 27. My three sons are still single, and I have a passion to help women start a business in a 3rd world country. With my background, I know this is the right time for me to do something for others, and realize that this will also transform me.

I want to write another memoir, and have trademarked the Gutsy Living® brand. Please keep in touch as I plan to interview “Gutsy” women in other parts of the world and both film them and write about them.

Please follow me on my website as I disclose more news about my future and the Peace Corps, or other adventures.
I also hope you submit to the 2015 “My Gutsy Story®” Anthology publication. The submission guidelines are here.
Any questions you have for me are welcome. So please ask, and I shall reply.


Sonia Marsh is a “Gutsy” woman who can pack her carry-on and move to another country in one day. She’s an award-winning author, blogger, unconventional thinker and world traveler with a passion for tropical islands.

Sonia likes to inspire people to get out of their comfort zone and take a risk. She says everyone has a “My Gutsy Story®”; some just need a little help to uncover theirs. Her story, told in her travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, is about chucking it all and uprooting her family to reconnect on an island in Belize. Her memoir received the 2014 Gold Medal at the Readers’ Favorite Awards.

Sonia has lived in many countries – Denmark, Nigeria, France, England, the U.S. and Belize – Sonia Marsh considers herself a citizen of the world. She is looking forward to embarking on her next “Gutsy Adventure.”

Monday, November 3, 2014

Feeling Kinship, We Celebrate Writing

Each of us is the Women's Writing Circle. Without the other, our community wouldn't exist as we explore the rich life that writing awakens.

The good news - we feel kinship even if only a couple hours a month, thanks to sharing our stories . . . stories that aren't always pretty; or maybe because they aren't pretty.

As we celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Women's Writing Circle this weekend, I'm honored to offer you the following tributes from our wonderful writers. No more needs to be said except a huge and heartfelt thank you. This is the power and the joy of collaborating and sharing our creative lives and passions in community. ~ Susan

The Women's Writing Circle is a refreshing anything-goes type of group. No apologies allowed. We speak what we write because it feels safe to share. We connect first through our voices, but in the end it's our stories that unite us and make the Women's Writing Circle so unique. ~ Candice Swick

The Women’s Writing Circle has brought an unexpected dimension to my creative life for several years. The Circle has provided a safe setting for me to explore my writing after a hiatus of nearly forty years.  An elementary school teacher once described me as the most aesthetically-minded student she ever had. As the years progressed, I came to realize that what I had to offer was not necessarily valued by today’s society. Poetry was replaced by practicality and creativity was funneled elsewhere. Today as I prepare to turn sixty, I feel closer to the whimsically ponderous and aesthetic child I once was. I thank Susan and the Women’s Writing Circle for bringing me back. ~ Flo Shore

The Women's Writing Circle has a special spot in my heart. When I miss a monthly meeting, I am a little less alive, creatively fulfilled, whole. Yes, it's about the lovely ladies and their diverse stories. It's about the cozy room at Wellington and the steaming free coffee in the real mugs. Mostly though, it's about acceptance. It is my time to take a deep breath and celebrate who I am as a person and a writer. I know that I am not being judged. It's ok for me to share my deepest fears and evolving truths." ~ Diane Yannick





The WWC continues to be a life raft for me - a unique place for renewal, contemplation, listening and sharing. How fine to gather in an amazing, welcoming bookstore to hear women tell their stories, read their poems and discuss the rigors of the writing process. What is more amazing is that women have given their ear as I wrote about (and wept) over the loss of a dear cat. Where else could I write - and have a lively audience of women writers listen to my mid-winter story about a life-long love of reading? The WWC remains my own special piece of survival gear. Challenging. Nurturing. Accepting. Exciting. Funny. Fulfilling. Nostalgic. ~ Edda R. Pitassi


I’ve found a safe place to connect with like-minded women, gestate ideas, test drive my “voice” and cast off my sense of artistic isolation.

Our leader and founder Susan Weidener demonstrates patience and respect for each writer, however novice or seasoned. Over the past year, I’ve grown to respect and admire her as a sharp editor and a careful, insightful listener. Each session proves to be genuine and thought provoking—I’ve never departed without an idea or two to inject into my own work.  I feel fortunate to have found the Circle and be immersed in the creative process, if only for a few short hours each month. I’ve enjoyed the quick intimacy that we share as introspective women, who reflect on both the sacred and profane stories of our lives. In the bustle of life and all of its banality, I intend to carve out a space for the important work of tuning in to women’s storytelling, and reaping the benefits of inspiration and community it has bestowed upon my writing life.  ~ Marjory Cafone


In the few months I have been coming to the Women’s Writing Circle, I feel a sense of kinship to this beautiful group of women. Together we share our writing, using experiences and insight to celebrate the journey of life. The Circle has given me an opportunity to grow, empower myself and demand of myself to write well. ~ Doris D. Westermark


When I attend the Circle, I am lifted creatively and feel a completeness within. There, the human spirit prevails and an ethereal spirit swirls about the room. The atmosphere is like no other; magic and earthiness abound. The Women's Writing Circle is an outlet and a place for me to experience other women. Their trust and confidence is placed upon me and I somehow soar. Sometimes the sharing is quite deep and the content is tough. By the end of our gathering I am satisfied and my heart is again light. ~ Jan Backes

The Women's Writing Circle is a special community that presents a venue where women find their individual voice. Memories of past experiences are validated through the individual's writing. Everyone has a story to tell. In sharing our stories we give compassion and understanding to each other." ~ Maureen Barry

I feel blessed to be a part of the Women’s Writing Circle. When Susan and I met on LinkedIn in 2010 and I read about her Women’s Writing Circle, I visualized myself participating, even though it was many miles away. My dream came true and I have had the honor of being a part of the Circle since 2012. Susan has created a sacred space where the stories of our lives can be shared in safety and with the utmost respect. I am deeply grateful to the Circle for helping me claim and honor my voice and my story. Happy 5th Anniversary, Susan and wonderful members of the Circle! ~ Kathy Pooler http://krpooler.com/


The Women's Writing Circle is a superb example of what humans (not just women) can do to inspire each other to tell their stories to help themselves and others live a better life and not just endure, but learn to thrive from the pain we all inevitably suffer in this life. In founding the Circle, Susan Weidener has made the contribution of a lifetime to human well-being. Thank you Susan. I can still feel the inspiration from my visit to the Circle in May 2013. ~ Boyd Lemon  http://BoydLemon-Writer.com

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Novel Born In Memoir Completes Trilogy


I have shared on this blog the story of my late husband, John M. Cavalieri, who, two years before his death, wrote a memoir about his time as a West Point cadet during the Vietnam War. 

John also wrote about his battle with cancer and impersonal systems – the military, the medical establishment and corporate America; systems which often destroy the individual spirit and soul. 

My new book, anticipated publication date early next year, is titled A PORTRAIT OF LOVE AND HONOR. Wrapped around the memoir of Jay Scioli (John’s pseudonym) is the story of Ava Stuart, author and editor, a woman who fears taking a risk on love, almost as much as she fears never finding it at all. Ava and Jay's love story "embraces" Jay's memories of the past and serves as a canvas on which to paint a larger portrait of love and honor.

My son, Daniel Cavalieri, pointed out that by incorporating his father’s memoir into a fictionalized love story, it represented the ending to a trilogy which began with Again in a Heartbeat: a memoir of love, loss and dating again, and its sequel Morning at Wellington Square. So at the very end with Portrait of  Love and Honor, we arrive back at the beginning.

                                                              ***
For the past two years, I’ve written and revised numerous drafts. I’ve gone to bed thinking about the story, jumped up to write down this line of dialogue, that turn of phrase while still fresh in my mind. After batting around a dozen titles, I settled on one I felt the perfect fit.

Even the image for the cover (see photograph above) came to me in one shining moment.


Last week, I finished my book; felt as good as any writer can feel when accomplishing something they set out to do.


The Women’s Writing Circle provided invaluable input as I crafted my story and read excerpts. I especially thank Edda Pitassi, who gave heart and soul as my developmental editor – a woman of Italian American descent whom I know John would have loved; Diane Yannick, whose sensitive and insightful critique came unexpectedly and “capped off” the final version; Marjory Cafone who has been supportive and a valuable listening ear at read around and in private conversations.

Collaboration, friendship and support have always helped the writer. I may not have Gertrude Stein’s salon but I have something equally treasured and valuable – a circle of friends, colleagues and mentors who inspire and encourage the hard work of not just starting, but finishing a book, offering insight how to improve it.

Colleagues, friends and other authors can be incentive to finishing your work-in-progress..

I also thank Elizabeth Madden, a psychologist and social worker who critiqued the story and suggested I dig deep into the psychological dynamics of Jay and his family. Betty urged me to ask the questions: Why did Jay keep coming back to West Point year after year? What role did his mother – an Italian immigrant, play in Jay’s desire to be special? Was pleasing his father, a World War II veteran, instrumental in Jay’s decision to pursue his dream of becoming an officer despite signs that “duty, honor and country” often fell flat in the face of reality?

With John at Yosemite
Cynthia McGroarty, a former colleague at The Philadelphia Inquirer, set me on the right direction when she asked, “Who is Ava?”

Cindy wanted me to dig deeper into Ava’s story. That helped establish the framework of my novel – Ava’s love acting as an “embrace” around Jay story.

I also thank my son, Alex Cavalieri, who read the book and offered up what will eventually become its synopsis. And Bruce Mowday, bestselling author of Pennsylvania history and a friend for over two decades, whose interest in Jay’s story offered the much needed male perspective, separate from my sons.

Finally, to Kathy Pooler, memoirist, who also acted as a beta reader and gave me the warmest glow of encouragement when she said, “Susan, I was swept away and deeply touched. . . Fabulous, heartrending, real. I have no doubt John was not only with you throughout the writing process but is smiling right now and so proud of how you have brought this to fruition.”

In coming months I’ll blog about the themes in Portrait of Love and Honor, perhaps, take a page out of author Mary Gottschalk's innovative marketing and seek guest bloggers to write about those themes.  

I read on Daring to Live Fully a blog featuring tips for writers that.“Chilean author Isabel Allende once said that writing a book is like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean. You never know if it will reach any shores.” 

For now, just finishing the book offers a restful shore.

TOP PHOTO:  Susan G. Weidener photo:  All rights reserved.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Make Way For The Lovely Blogs


In many ways blogs have replaced the old-fashioned magazine. Remember those? We all used to thumb through them at our leisure.

I still recall how excited I was when TIME magazine arrived weekly in the mail. I would curl up in a chair and get lost in the articles, insights, and opinions of people from around the world.

Print magazines, unfortunately, are dropping by the wayside in a digitally-driven world. See this article in the Wall Street Journal.

 It might not be that big a stretch to say magazines are being replaced by many mediums, not the least of which is the blog. 

Blogs brimming with attention-grabbing observations; interviews by a variety of people; essays; stunning photographs, garner thousands of "views" by readers each month, sometimes each week.

I enjoy reading blogs about writing and publishing over a hot cup of coffee in the morning, or while eating lunch . . . even after dinner. Many blogs are linked through Facebook and Google+ which makes for easy access.

So why not take a moment and give a nod to a favorite blog?   A “one lovely blog award,” a sort of chain love letter, has been making its rounds through cyberspace as bloggers take a moment to recognize other bloggers.

I’d like to thank Madeline Sharples, Mary Gottschalk and Kathy Pooler for awarding the Women’s Writing Circle blog the “one lovely blog award” in the last two weeks. I admire the generosity of these three women who nominated me; I admire them as bloggers and writers. They share their personal journeys, their writing process and open their blogs to other writers without self-promotion.

The loveliest blogs are written in an informal or conversational style. That's the art of the blogging genre; to present information in a way that people can relate to, enjoy and, hopefully, find useful.

Blogs take a great amount of time, commitment and energy in order to give readers something new each week. That said, since I started this blog in 2008 the rewards of being published through this amazing medium known as the Internet and social media are numerous.

Now to move on to the “rules” of the One Lovely Blog Award . . . sharing 7 things about yourself that your readers may not know and then nominating your favorite blogs for the award.

Seven Things About Me: 


When I was in my mid-30s, people used to stop me quite often and tell me I looked like Glenn Close. It was pretty scary since it  was about the time she had filmed Fatal Attraction. I chalk it up to that horrible home perm I got that year (see photographs) because by all measures Glenn Close is beautiful and I have never considered myself as gorgeous as she.

Halloween is my favorite holiday and in the next life I want to come back as a vamp with a sexy Italian gangster at my side.

If there is one woman who has died that I could have dinner with it would be my grandmother Nanny Weidener. Nanny (maiden name Annie Beatrice Dean) came to this country from Blackpool, England in the early 20th century. After her husband died, when she had barely turned 60, she started a boarding house in Germantown, PA, as a way to support her and her elderly aunt. When Nanny turned 71, she got engaged to be married. Yes, there is hope no matter how old you are!

I saw the Beatles at the old JFK Stadium in Philadelphia when I was 14 years old. From the distance, they looked like little bobble head dolls, but I’ll never forget the hush that came over the screaming crowd when Paul sang "Yesterday." I went home and immediately wrote a love story with Paul as the hero.

Speaking of music, I saw Bob Marley at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia around 1972. Truly one of the greats, I’ll never forget his magnetic performance and voice at this small venue where I had front row seats in the balcony.

My best friend is Paula (see photograph with Paula. I still had the horrible perm. That's my son, Alex, nudging his way into the frame). We have been best friends for half a century – yes, this year marks our 50th year of being best friends. Who needs a sister when you have a best friend like Paula?

Over the last 15 or so years, I have met over 70 different men for Internet dates . . . but who’s counting?

Now To The Rules:


Mention a few of the  blogs and bloggers I enjoy (but not those bloggers who nominated me).  Then, someone I list is supposed to take it from here. I gladly let you off the hook if it's not your thing.

Lovely Blogs


Sherrey Meyer, Writer: healing life’s hurts through writing. This blog is rich in book reviews, memoir writing as a way of healing and interviews with authors and aspiring authors.

Widow's Voice: Seven Widowed Voices Sharing Love, Loss, and Hope.  A treasure trove of up close and personal experiences, emotions and grief that comprise the widowed journey, I have been a fan of this blog for years.

Write on the River by Bob Mayer. I just found this blog recently. Bob is a West Pointer and shares generously of his publishing journey, his prolific career as an author AND his opinions about the state of publishing in an ever-changing world.

Anam Cara. Kellie, Kellie Springer’s blog. Anam Cara refers to the Celtic spiritual belief of souls connecting and bonding. Kellie has come to the Women’s Writing Circle to share her wisdom about life, dispelling myths about women and culture, and the never-ending and exhilarating journey of self discovery. All of this makes her blog a treasure.

Sonia Marsh. Always one of my favorites because Sonia’s gutsiness, honesty and letting-it-all hang out personality set the tone and template for finding our voices through writing, publishing and promoting. Her blog features stories from people all over the world who share a "gutsy" moment.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kathy Pooler Shares Pubslush Experience


What is Pubslush and how can authors use it to get the word out, create some buzz and stand out from the sea of books flooding the marketplace?

In this interview Kathy Pooler, author of Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, shares her experiences with Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform.

It allows authors to raise funds, collect pre-orders and market upcoming book projects. Pubslush also gives authors an opportunity to gauge audience response for their project.

For those who have never heard of Pubslush, there are several articles about it, including this December 2013 article in Forbes, which says:

"Run by mother-daughter team Hellen and Amanda L Barbara, this American start-up is focused on providing crowdfunding services tailored to the needs of authors, agents, self-publishers and small presses . . ."

The article goes on to discuss the company's marketing tactics and fees.

                                                                  ***
I've met Kathy many times. We've attended writing workshops together and she taught a journaling workshop in February 2013 for the Women's Writing Circle. Together, we have traveled the journey of memoir. My review of Kathy’s memoir can be read here.

As part of the Women on Writing (WOW!) book tour, please welcome Kathy back to the Women's Writing Circle. ~ Susan

Q: Would you use Pubslush again?

Yes. Overall, participating in a Pubslush campaign was a positive experience for me. It’s a lot of hard work on the front end, developing the focus of your campaign and deciding on rewards but I found that the process helped me to hone my message and establish a solid foundation for the book promotion phase of the publication journey. 

They offer pre-marketing strategies to help build your audience and spread the word, which was exactly what I wanted. If you have a successful campaign (achieve 100% funding), your book remains on their webpage forever with links for ordering.

Additionally, now that I am in the marketing phase, I feel like I’m standing on solid ground with materials prepared—press release kits, and synopsis, because of my Pubslush campaign. It’s like a practice run before your book is even published.
Kathy reading from her memoir

Q: How much is involved for the author in terms of shipping books, writing thank you letters?

A lot of time and effort, daily during the campaign, is necessary and then again afterwards when the book is published.  At that time the rewards need to be fulfilled in a timely fashion.

Q: Did it ever feel "uncomfortable" to you, like being a saleswoman?

Indeed! I admit I am one of those "self-promotion-phobic" writers who do not want to come across in a selfish manner. What helped me over this hump was to find a way to connect with my message and purpose for writing my memoir in the first place. Once I made that connection to spreading a message of hope, courage and resilience to others suffering from abuse through my story, I was able to move forward with purpose.

Q: Did it help you open dialogue with readers, and if so, how?

Absolutely! Not only did I do blog, Facebook and Twitter shout-outs, I sent emails messages and personal notes to supporters. It is heart warming to have so many people rally around you and inspire you to keep going.

Q: How does Pubslush help find readers in advance of publication?

You can create buzz about your book and its message before it is published. If people know ahead of time about the book, they can decide if they want to read it. And if you can get people excited about reading your book, that’s even better. I had already involved many people through the beta reading process and was able to request and receive advanced reviews and endorsements.

Q: Where did your money go?

So far, the money has gone towards fulfilling the Pubslush reward—postage, promotional materials such as posters, bookmarks, supplies for my book launch party. My funding level was $2,500. I contributed 10% of that ( my choice) to their child literacy fund. I donated $200 to the local Catholic Charities.

I met with Ginger Cato, director of community education for the Domestic Violence Program with the local Catholic Charities (see photo above) and have a speaking engagement about domestic abuse scheduled at the local community college on October 23, 2014. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


About the Author: Kathleen Pooler is a retired family nurse practitioner. She is working on a sequel to  Ever Faithful to His Lead called Hope Matters: A Memoir about how the power of hope through faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories. Kathy lives with her husband Wayne in Amsterdam, New York.

To visit Kathy's blog and website: http://krpooler.com/

Monday, October 6, 2014

Living In An Age Of Digital Disruption


Are we living in an age of digital disruption? An ebooks LinkedIn discussion this past weekend centered on the Authors Guild meeting with the Department of Justice seeking an investigation of Amazon’s business practices.

As I wrote on this blog last week, cries among “literary lions” and others with a vested and established interest in traditional publishing claim that Amazon borders on creating a monopoly in the ebook market.


Yesterday as I trolled The New York Times, I found the paper's public editor, Margaret Sullivan, putting the controversy into context in this article: Publishing Battle Should Be Covered Not Joined.

Sullivan writes: "It’s important to remember that this is a tale of digital disruption, not good and evil." 


Then I saw this article in SayDaily on the "democratization of content."

"The One Percent Rule of Internet culture goes something like this: One percent of users in any given community actively create new content, while the other 99% only view it. But on the new social-mobile Web, everyone is a creator."


Yes, anyone can create a book, publish a blog, “tell their brand stories and market their content.” Thanks to pro-level digital tools like Smartphones and mobile apps, non-professionals have at their fingertips tools to make professional-looking visual content.

***

While I love blogging and was recently cited by bestselling author, Madeline Sharples as having one of her favorite blogs, I often feel the pressure to come up with a more digitally savvy blog. 

This blog/website is set up much like the old-fashioned magazine. It offers written content in the form of an essay or journalistic Q and A. No videos here, no bells and whistles, nor have I hired a professional webmaster.

I’m comfortable and at home with the simplicity of the written word, and the photographs that enhance the commentary, not just my own, but the other wonderful bloggers and writers featured here.

That’s not to disparage all the great new tools out there, but the learning curve, the investment in time and money, just isn’t there for me, at least not now.

Interestingly, at a recent Constant Contact workshop I attended on email marketing, we heard that the fastest growing segment of people using Facebook and Twitter are over 60 years old. 

My own sons, their friends and other Millennials I've talked to, deride Facebook. They don’t have much interest in it or Twitter since they have no business to promote and no grandkids to show off. Or maybe they're just turned off by all of it.

Which gets back to the idea that Sullivan is right. We are living through an age of “digital disruption.” It is changing and upending everything from how we go about branding and marketing ourselves “just as regular people” to publishing and selling ebooks. And for better or worse, it’s here to stay.

It’s a choice now whether to accept it and move forward or continue mourning over a way of life that is no more.

Are we living in an age of digital disruption? Your thoughts on the digital world and its impact on writing and publishing are most welcomed.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Local Author, One Book At A Time


I spent this past weekend selling my books, talking to other authors as they sold theirs at crafts fairs and fall festivals.

Maybe we don’t know it yet, but when you find a few good people to spread the word about your book, setting up tables and displays, standing in burning hot sun, talking to people who even after a lengthy conversation don't buy your book, makes it all worth it.

You shared something meaningful, no matter who published your book or who controls what.  

Yet the politics of publishing continues to take center stage, threatening to drown all of us in a cacophony of egos, anger and angst. 

In today's New York Times yet another article relates the fury, frustration and agendas of the book publishing industry and the pricing of ebooks by Amazon. 

A group of “literary lions” under the banner Authors United has banded together, or, rather, a literary agent with a longstanding and vested interest in traditional publishing, is bringing them together. 

In July I blogged about how publishing is big business.  http://www.susanweidener.com/2014/07/author-beware-publishing-is-big-business.html  

Yet I think if we get too caught up in the politics of publishing, we run the risk of losing the reasons why we write; as well as eroding the ambition necessary to see a book through from beginning to end, getting it in print against all odds. 

Wasn't it always about the simple act of faith in the written word?  . . . facing the blank page each morning over a hot cup of coffee and hoping to write something worthy that would touch a few folks? If it were about money, ambition, arguing over "censorship" and monopolies, I would not have had the energy to write a book.

This week I ran into a woman in the hardware store parking lot. She had come to the Women's Writing Circle and read my memoir, which she purchased on her Kindle. 

She confronted the imminent death of her mother. “I believe some things are meant to be. Your story came to me at the time I most needed it,” she said, since I had written about my mother's death following a stroke.

Two weeks before I spoke to 40 women from the General Federation of Women's Clubs. They not only bought my books - which is always nice - but we shared stories of Valley Forge Military Academy, growing up there, after I read from one of my memoirs. 

Several deferred buying the trade paperbacks, choosing instead to purchase my books on Kindle.

Just knowing it is available in the marketplace continues to motivate me to forge ahead with another book. I'm a local author. I’m excited to help women and men get their stories where they want – whether read in the Circle, a few copies published for family or for a broader audience.

I love the creativity I see, not just among writers, but potters, jewelers, and crafters of all mediums who proudly display their work and open their hearts to the public. These conversations and connections drive the local author as we work hard to reach our audience, one person, one book at a time.