Monthly Archives: May 2013

Author Beware

When the author pays a company to publish their book, it’s called a Vanity Press and after 100 plus years, it’s still a bad idea.

Linda Joy Myers passed this along to me through her Facebook feed. I’m passing it along to my blog readers as a public service announcement to Newbie Writers everywhere:  Watch out for Bogus Presses.

The author, David Gaughran discusses the latest conflation of what used to be called Vanity Presses but now are just called ; vanity presses.  Companies like Author Solutions – the display of which authors will find at every conference, promise everything and deliver little more than a book that you paid for, and a marketing plan that any 13 year old with a phone could create – in fact the 13 year old would do a better job, for just a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints.

top book is from Author House, second book is from iUniverse - both bad news.

top book is from Author House, second book is from iUniverse – both bad news.

What our word is – to you writers – is that the publishing world has certainly become more complicated, and because it’s easier and easier to publish, the promise are more grand, and the results more disappointing.

When it’s time to send your beloved book out into the world – you’ll have to pay some money: for copies, for editing, for distribution if you choose hard copies, for promotion.  boutique presses and Author Assist presses do charge authors for services and copies, but these smaller establishments also vet the book, help you hire the right editors and deliver good advice for marketing and promotion.  Larger legitimate houses deliver a small advance and all of the above at no charge to the author, however you “earn back” those monies in book sales, and that situation can be fraught with challenges as well.

Or you can be your own publisher and simply do it your self.  Again, you’ll need at the very least, a final copy editor and cover designer.  And you’ll need to buy (at a discount) copies of your books to mark-up and sell.

It’s depressing to learn that no one will really “take care of us”, on the other hand, as adults, it’s our job to figure out what is the best course and just do it.

I keep telling writers that writing their book, the drafts, the challenges, the late nights, the obsession, is really the best part.


Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Manufacturing Angst

A lucky few of us rarely experience flat out public rejection or prejudice or even a moment of  feeling uncomfortable in a situation.  This makes for a lovely smooth life, but doesn’t generate much in the way of empathy for others or a direct experiences that will help us create realistic characters in our books.

Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards, Second Sunday Spanish-Style Tapas & Wine PairingSo I was thrilled to experience first hand what it is like to be treated badly for no reason at all.

My husband and I visited  Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards in Freestone CA.  We came to wine taste and enjoy their advertised Second Sunday Spanish-Style Tapas & Wine Pairing.

It was a beautiful spring day and we were invited by the tasting room staff person to sit anywhere on the desk we’d like and we would be served our  tasting selections.

We chose a nice table in the sun and settled in. A minute later the wine server approached us and asked us to move.

“We want to keep this table free in case a group of six come.”  She explained, completely confident that her reasoning made sense.

We looked around for the potential group of six, but failed to see any group at all, let alone a covetous group eyeing our spacious table and chair combination.

We declined her invitation to move even though we could tell she really wanted us to follow along with her own order of the universe.  She gave up and served us our wine tasting anyway, not in the right order, but what the heck.

We in turn did not linger on the deck and declined the opportunity to join the wine club or even purchase any wine (the wine is good by the way).  We were not comfortable there and clearly not welcome. It was fascinating.

Women dining alone used to be seated in the back of the restaurant next to the restroom doors; they wrote about it.  African Americans weren’t seated at all; and wrote about it.  Our lives are usually pretty politically correct and polite, so that even a hint of bad treatment is valuable for both immediate experience and for  character development.

If you are treated badly or even indifferently, how did you feel? What rose up?  Can you capture that and escalate it so you can reproduce that angst and sense of unfairness in a fictional work?

Sometimes when our lives are pretty nice, we have to search out situations that give us some depth of feeling – some despair  – a little angst.

I have just the winery for you.


You are welcome to re-post this article in your own blog or  newsletter – please include this entire statement, “Catharine Bramkamp is a Writing Coach and podcaster, find out if you’re ready to go from  Newbie to Known visit or for a complimentary consultation.”

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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