You May Not Need an Agent

by Barbara Florio Graham

Most authors dream about having an agent who will find a top publisher, negotiate a terrific contract, and provide guidance through a successful career.

Agents, unfortunately, can be as difficult to find as publishers, and the process of querying agents can be time-consuming and frustrating.

As with anyone you hire, if you think you need an agent, check out potential agents thoroughly. They should have an excellent website detailing a solid track record, belong to The Association of Authors’ Representatives (which prohibits charging reading fees), and specialize in the genre of your book. Continue reading

Starting From Scratch as a Writer

by Ruth Hill

There are several growth stages in being a writer. Secretly, writers can write anything they want, but then, what to do with it? If the writing is good, no sense hiding your creation in a drawer!

Finding publication for any work can be daunting. It is important to find which publications are compatible with your work. Read their guidelines to see if your work is eligible. In your browser, you can research many publications. Use Duotrope, Winning Writers, or SPAWN, or type “call for submissions” into Google, and filter these down to the ones you want. Continue reading

Email Efficiency and Safety

by Barbara Florio Graham

A friend and I were reminiscing recently about the early days of email. We were members of a writing group who joined one of the earliest email providers in Canada in order to keep in touch with members across the country.

Our organization had just arranged for a bulk purchase of the Kaypro II computer, so many of us were early users of this new technology, which contained programs on 5-inch floppies that were inserted into one slot and a blank floppy was inserted into the second slot, enabling the user to store a mind-boggling 191k of data. Continue reading

Six Truths About Anthologies

by Barbara Florio Graham

I’m using the term “anthology” to cover all kinds of books you may contribute to, but you aren’t the primary writer or co-writer.

There are a couple of main categories these books fall into:

1. Contributions are solicited from the general public. The publisher pays a small amount (often just twenty cents a word), buys all rights, and then uses your contribution any way it likes, often in other books, magazines, and websites. You lose all control over where your work appears, and have no recourse if you’re not happy with the way your piece was edited or where it ends up years later. I call this the Chicken Soup model. Continue reading

Editing Nightmares

Bobbi 2016by Barbara Florio Graham

I don’t review many books, but recently a friend  approached me. He needed a review for his local newspaper in advance of several book signings.

A retired civil servant who worked in planning and administration, he was so eager to get his first novel published that he ignored my warnings about pay-to-publish companies and took the book to a company that promises a quick turnaround.

He thought paying $5/book for 250 copies of a 225-page trade paperback a good value, as he could sell the book for $15-20.

Most SPAWN members would’ve asked key questions before proceeding. We would have insisted on having our own ISBN, that the book contain contact info for the author (not the so-called “publisher”), and on examining the credentials of the editor. Continue reading

The Adult Coloring Book Craze

by Sandra Murphy

1-reallycolor-before1Publishers Weekly reported sales in 2015 of 1.75 million copies of the ten best-selling adult coloring books, through November. Coloring books allow users to be creative without judging if the cat looks like a cat or an animal you’d see in a nightmare. When offices are beige and business dress consists of brown, black, gray, and maroon, coloring books add much-needed spice into our daily lives. Continue reading

The Real Costs of Self-Publishing

Linda head shotby Linda Formichelli

Self-publishing consists of whipping out a manuscript and sticking it up on Amazon, right? After all, self-publishing is all about doing it yourself! Who needs to hire cover designers, editors, proofreaders, and marketers?

Sure, you could churn out a quick draft, toss it onto Amazon, and cross your fingers. But smart readers can detect a lazy book from a mile off. Continue reading