Posts Tagged With: Books

Straight to a Publisher

Instead of wooing an agent, many writers are working directly with niche or boutique publishers and finding the relationship very satisfying.

Stairs in JerashIf you want to go directly to a small publishers, how do you approach him or her?

In our early days, Newbie Writers Podcast interviewed niche publisher Lyle Perez  of Rainstorm Press 

Here is some of Lyle’s Advice

  • Query letters are important to publishers as well as agents.
  • The questions a publisher asks is, can I invest in this work and person? It is the writer’s job to reassure the publisher that yes, he or she can successfully invest in you and your book.
  • The Advance from  a smaller publisher is small, like  $25 to $50 but the author will earn more in royalties
  • It usually takes about a month to get back to an author
  • There are a million small publishers in the world –  so a writer CAN find them and find the right fit.
  • Small Publishers have followings so that readers really do read “everything” that a publisher like Rainstorm press puts out.

Historically, Publishers have always sold to bookstores not to readers. Like publishers, author need to speak directly to their readers, so your book is not just a book, it is a blog, twitter feed, Facebook conversation, appearances, workshops, conferences, library readings.

And yes, even with a small, boutique publisher, your book can make it onto the shelves of a brick and mortar store.

We say, check out the boutique publishers, and see what they can do for you and your book.

I am migrating this blog to be part of NewbieWriters.com  Until we have complete lift off, both blogs will publish simultaneously.  Sorry Panda.

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  • Complimentary ½ hour Consultation with Catharine
  • and a subscription Newbie News
  • Drop me a line at –  bramkamp@yahoo.com for your Start Your Book Kit.
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The Reading Vacation

 Books are the things you lose yourself into.

I had a bad day during which  everything electronic was sparking, failing and frustrating (I’m looking at you iTunes and AT &T). Instead of taking it out on nearby humans, I  quit everything and read a whole book.

Book sculptureYou have heard, often enough, that writers read.  Authors should read everything.  We should read as if our lives depended on it.  We should read as if we are  still in school and reading is a class requirement, necessary for our  job, something that we must do.  Our response, reasonably enough, is to resist those requirements and go to the movies.  Because the popcorn is better there.

What is forgotten during  all these admonishments is the shear joy of reading.  If you are  a reader,  then you know what it is to lose yourself in a book.  That day I picked up a book thinking okay fine, I can’t get on line, I can’t watch TV, it’s too cold to hike, I’ll just sit here and read.

It was  like taking a vacation.  As I dove into the novel, not only were my troubles temporarily gone, so was my whole being.  Reading launches you into  exotic places, allows you to experience the world through someone else’s eyes, passions and ideas.  It allows you to glance  into the future or experience first hand what happened in the past. And for hours, you are not in your house or your car or your in-laws.  You are on an exotic adventure.

Reading in this context is like getting away with something.  No one knows where you’ve been, what you’ve learned. No one can tell.  A good book gives you conspiracy and a shared experience: you and the author, a communication that transcends both space and time.

Don’t mind me, I’ve been far away.

I am migrating this blog to be part of NewbieWriters.com  Until we have complete lift off, both blogs will publish simultaneously.  Sorry Panda.

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 www.yourbookstartshere.com or bramkamp@yahoo.com for a complimentary consultation.”

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The Reluctant Twitter

Twitter for AuthorsSometimes I  cannot ignore the signs, even if you work really, really hard.

The first sign was my friend Beth Barany just published her  excellent book Twitter for Authors and she asked me to review it.

Then my client Julia Stege, who is on the verge of launching her first book, pinned me down (and oh lord that’s something else to manage) and offered to help me with whatever social media eludes me.

And that was, again, Twitter. As if a little bird told them.

For good information, reference Beth’s book and Julia’s Web site.

If you’re flummoxed about how to approach the damn thing, stay here, it won’t take long.

Once I realized that Twitter was really just a very  large cocktail party juiced by illegal steroids, it made it easier to answer one of the first questions in Twitter for Authors: What kind of relationship do you want with Twitter?

Up until now, I’ve treated Twitter as a seething noise of one night stands. Then I thought it was only for other people because the music was too loud.  Finally, with the party idea to help, I realized that what I wanted now was connection  – even a few minutes connecting and conversing is  valuable and worth the time  spent.  How many times do we leave a party satisfied because of a few marvelous one on one conversations?

To find those connection Julia told me to find and follow people I find interesting and who,  therefore, would be interested in what I have to offer.  And go ahead and have some fun (this was recommended by both these experts).  Just as you have more fun discussing Renaissance Art instead of networking for your insurance business, a Twitter conversation about your favorite show or film  may be just the connection you need.

Share the love. When we introduce people at a party we often say – hey, I think you’ll like Sue, she quilts just like you –  we are part of the connections and will benefit even as we hook up our pals.

Like every advice column we’ve ever read, Twitter follows the age old trope of be interested in other people and they in turn, will find you flipp’n fascinating.

So limit how much you talk about yourself   (As soon as you start over promoting your products, you web site and yourself, everyone else will  stampede  for the stuffed mushrooms).  Share something, quote your friends, promote their books, it will make you look that much better.

I love a party, but if you don’t, then (staying with the party metaphor) Twitter maybe exactly the thing for you.  You can take your time, respond when you want, and join conversations on your own terms. You don’t even need to worry about your hair.

Okay, one more question  from Twitter for Authors; What does winning the social media game look like to you?

What does wining at a party or networking event look like?  Is winning walking away with a date for the next night?  Finding the perfect mate?  Finding the perfect job or employee?

I think Beth makes a good point, if we don’t know what we’re after, it’s hard to get terribly involved or enthusiastic about the game.

So get Twitter for Authors, figure out what you want from Twitter and join the conversation.  Talk to me, I’ll be looking for you.

@Cbramkamp

Beth will discuss her book and how to Tweet Better –  on Newbie Writers Podcast  Friday August 23rd.  I can never keep track of what episode number it is.  Just head to Newbie Writers.

I am migrating this blog to be part of NewbieWriters.com  Until we have complete lift off, both blogs will publish simultaneously.  Sorry Panda.

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 http://www.yourbookstartshere.com or bramkamp@yahoo.com for a complimentary consultation.”

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Don’t Do This!

Books out doorsWhat we don’t read  can be as instructive as what we do.

I found this Linked In post in my in box:

This is Interesting

“Hmm, where do I even begin? There is so much to share. I am so blessed every day and I just hope I can remember everything that has happened!  When so much awesomeness happens I am compelled to immediately share with with you all here, as it is most fitting and want to share my good news with you all!  This month my recovery…”

– from a real linked-in post but I altered the details 

In this Linked- In post, the headline is the best part.  But the opening narrative is ineffective and a turn off.  We are not, on any level, compelled to read anything more.  So the writer could be announcing the end of the world, and we’d miss it, because she didn’t start her post well.

A long time ago writers commanded  enough page space to be able to “clear our throats” , we had time to set up a comment or explain all the points necessary for an essay to really sing.

But now we don’t.

Those opening lines cannot be wasted, they are the critical and arguably the most important part of a post or a blog. They must   grab the reader’s attention. And with this post, by the time I read to the third line – I was out, I  did not have the time to listen to the writer’s thinking process.

The solution is easy.  Do clear your throat.  Write all that introductory material because it helps focus the work and gets you really into your subject.  But before you post the work, delete those opening sentences and just start with something interesting like zombies invaded my home last night!  It’s the end of the world.

I guarantee  you I will continue to read.

Do you have a novel in you?

Get your own Start Your Book Kit

  • Includes: copy of  Start Your Book
  • ½ hour  consultation with Catharine
  • Subscription to  Newbie News
  • Contact me:  bramkamp@yahoo.com

 

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Kick Start the Sonoma County Book Festival —

Sonoma County Book Festival —.

I love this festival, mostly because it has grown on a Moores Law scale.  But to make it better, we need your help –  go to kick starter and enter Sonoma County Book Festival and in exchange for your help, you get, yes, books.

That’s all, just doing my part.

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What if the Future Sucks?

On Newbie Writers Podcast this week, we are reviewing  the second draft of a book:  mine.

This is the second part of the Opening chapter  to  The Five Elements of Time so you can play the game at home.

Statue from Turkey

Please do comment here, or email me with suggestions.

And thanks!

Premise: What if you have your whole future before you, and it sucks? 

The sheets were not even dry.  Charity pushed them away and lit the stove.

The house lights flickered again, Charity held her breath, the lights dimmed, then surged back on to full strength.

Charity took the last two pieces of the dense, coal – like fuel, dranit, and fed them into the stove.  It was the only certainty this week – that fire was warm.  Was real.

“Nancy reported the Fabers in the market were down.”  Mother walked into the kitchen, testing the sheets as she went.  She wiped her damp hands on her pale blue skirt.

They used to just toss the dirty sheets and Nancy, their main servant would bring in new from the market replicators every week, the old sheets were recycled for their essential material. The family was probably using the same sheets over and over, on a molecular level, but it was still nice to have new.

Not any more.

Charity glanced at the hanging sheets, no longer the original white. Just this morning she had helped her mother  wrestled those sheets out of the big tub, the fire burning underneath.

Charity was used to such odd behavior from her mother.  She had little choice but to help.  So she automatically arched over the hot flames and helped her mother pull the wet fabric to the wringer.

“They are out of material for fabric.”  Her mother said quietly.  “I told you it’s  good to know how to wash. Your sister, “  she left the rest unsaid and continued to wrestle with the old wringer.

“She was suppose to return today.”  Charity announced.

“Mirabella?” Her mother jerked the wet fabric from the rollers and gave the fabric a mighty twist putting her shoulders into the effort.   “I know, she was.” Her mother held Charity’s gaze for a second before twisting the sheet with   more force than Charity ever saw. Water, precious water, streamed from the fabric.  Finally mother stopped her shoulders sagged.

“She is gone honey.” Her mother’s faded blue eyes watered. “I’m afraid she  died in yesterday’s train wreak.”

Charity’s whole body turned cold.  Her first friend in school, her first pal, her only pal,  gone?

“Ray is devastated of course.” Her mother concentrated on the laundry and did not meet her oldest daughter’s eyes again.  “Of course.  He’ll find someone else. He needs a wife to go into the Government Guards.  All Guards have a wives.” And all those men involved in the RC ,the Reality Cloud, needed a wife to keep the family fed, organized and together.  If a man wanted to work, or participate in any of the Realty Cloud world, he needed to marry, put his wife into a nice house and make sure she was blessed with children.

Charity stopped wringing  the sheets. The warm water dripped on her bare feet.  They never wore shoes in the house, an old tradition. There used to be so much toxic material outside that the women finally stopped everyone from tracking it into the house by creating the rule – no shoes inside. Now it was a law.

“He asked for you.” Mother said finally.

Nancy, one of their five servants,  was late.  She pulled her kerchief more firmly over her blond hair and ducked her head.  “I’m so sorry Mother, the lines were long for the dranit today. And the village riots stopped us from leaving the market.”

“Takes a lot of electricity to manufacture the dranit.”   Mother never raised her voice at the servants, she insisted on treating them as people, even individuals.  Charity kept that eccentricity to herself, her friends, like Mirabella, reported that Mothers were suppose to berate servants and keep them in line, something Charity’s mother never did.

Mother simply   took the offered fuel, two day’s worth.   “If only we could harvest  wood ourselves.”

“There are no forests.”  Hope importantly flounced into the kitchen. She was 16 and just feeling her strength as a leader, now that all the boys in her class had been transferred  to the RC Colleges.  “I learned that today.”

Mother sighed and considered the huge wood burning stove.  The electricity was channeled mostly to the Government where the replicators and RC equipment were kept.  The family owned a small one of course, but the food pods were becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, even for a well placed family like themselves.  The only reason they weren’t hungry, the only reason Faith was even as well as she was, was because mother grew food in the back of the house.  Dirt Food.  Charity never told anyone.  But she had to grudging admit  that her mother eccentric gardening had kept them from going hungry many nights.

Only two days ago everything was as it should be.  If she had known, she would have ben kinder, not pinched so hard.  Charity drew in a shuddering breath and batted away the drying sheet.  She wanted things back the way they were.  But according to Mirabella, that wasn’t even possible.   “RC has been fluctuating,  I can feel it.  Most women our age can feel it.  Sometimes I worry that we aren’t even real.”  She held out her arm.  “Pinch me.”  She commanded.

Charity reluctantly took a pinch of Mirabella’s flesh and dug her nails into the skin.

“Yikes!”  Mirabella  glanced down. “That’s going to bruise.”

“Then you’ll know you’re real won’t you?”  Charity shot back.  They didn’t dare linger on the street.  They continued to the Temple, but now that Mirabella mentioned it, the   houses really did vibrate as she walked: sometimes revealing a plain one story home and sometimes turning into the glass and wood castles she always envisioned, remembered.

It wasn’t all that bizarre, they heard early on in their education that reality was one of two things: a shared community effort or an individual vision.  The shared world community, represented by the 100 year old Reality Cloud, was preferable.  Women were proud to support such an instrument of world peace.

Yes, increasingly,   Charity was experiencing the individual version of reality. It was not comforting.

Mirabella liked to see her world one way, and Charity sometimes wanted to see it differently.

But they were alike in two important ways.

Their reality was shifting.

“What do you think is going on?”

“My dad said the grids are down more and more that it’s difficult to work in the RC, there are surges.  They  blame the villagers.” She lowered her voice, “They sent out bot after bot to fix the problem.  I heard they are even sending out drones but can’t find any reason for the electricity or for the the decrease in pod production .”

“Nancy said the lines were getting longer.”  Charity confirmed. The food pods for their replicators ran low at the end of every month, forcing some family to eat dirt food.

“They’ll have to find the villagers .”  Mirabella  confirmed.

But they didn’t need to find the villagers, the villagers had found them.

Can you do better than me?

Get your own Start Your Book Kit  

  • Includes: copy of  Start Your Book
  • ½ hour  consultation with Catharine
  • Subscription to  Newbie News
  • Contact me:  bramkamp@yahoo.com
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Dr. Burack Featured at Day of the Book

Day of the Book – April 20, 2013

Day of the Book ink well

Day of the Book

                                   JFKU 100 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA

                       Time: 10-4

The Art of Spiritual Writing   Charles Burack, Ph.D.

Dr. Burack will discuss some of the literary techniques that writers and poets use when portraying spiritual experiences. He will also lead some experiential exercises that will help participants reflect on and write about their own sacred experiences.

Charles Burack, Ph.D., is an award-winning poet, scholar and teacher as well as a widely published writer.  Author of the literary study D. H. Lawrence’s Language of Sacred Experience, and the poetry collection Songs to My Beloved. 

Admission

$35 with lunch

Faculty, staff, alumnae:  $25

Students: $20

Morning events open to the public 10-12

Panel discussion (lunch) 12-1

Literary salon 2-4

For early reservations contact: Catharine at bramkamp@yahoo.com

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Tanya Egan Gibson at Day of the Book

Day of the Book – April 20, 2013

Day of the Book ink well

Day of the Book

                                   JFKU 100 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA

                       Time: 10-4

Tanya is awesome.  I was so impressed with how much time and energy she gave to the participants at the SF Writer’s Conference.  She has graciously agreed to do the same for us during Day of the Book!

Building a Vibrant Fictional World  – Tanya Egan Gibson

How do you create a fictional world that is unique yet believable, exciting yet grounded? Learn the various ways you can get the details of places right (even without a travel budget), how to make your world exciting, and how to use your world to strengthen both plot and characterization.

Tanya Egan Gibson is the author of the novel How To Buy a Love of Reading (Dutton – 2009), and a freelance editor, consultant, and writing teacher. She has written for such magazines as The WriterParents, and Writer’s Digest, which will publish her latest article, “10 Things Your Freelance Editor Hasn’t Told You–But Should” in its May/June 2013 issue.

Admission

$35 with lunch

Faculty, staff, alumnae:  $25

Students: $20

Morning events open to the public 10-12

Panel discussion (lunch) 12-1

Literary salon 2-4

For early reservations contact: Catharine at bramkamp@yahoo.com

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Fiction as Emotional Autobiography

Day of the Book – April 20, 2013

Day of the Book ink well

Day of the Book

                                   JFKU 100 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA

                       Time: 10-4

Sounds interesting?  Come and hear Elizabeth Rosner speak during Day of the Book!

Inheriting Identity: Fiction as Emotional Autobiography.   Elizabeth Rosner

Sometimes a novelist’s subject matter isn’t chosen so much as discovered from within.  In this talk, I’ll share my process of finding — and fictionalizing — the complicated and dramatic material inside my family’s history.

Novelist, poet and essayist Elizabeth Rosner is the author of THE SPEED OF LIGHT and BLUE NUDE.  Her prize-winning and national best-selling works of fiction address themes of inherited grief and the redemptive power of storytelling.  Her newest novel ELECTRIC CITY will be published by Counterpoint Press in 2014.

Admission

$35 with lunch

Faculty, staff, alumnae:  $25

Students: $20

Morning events open to the public 10-12

Panel discussion (lunch) 12-1

Literary salon 2-4

For early reservations contact: Catharine at bramkamp@yahoo.com

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10 Things to Do with That First Draft

Ferry to Canada

Ignoring my first draft

Thank you Tanya Egan Gibson for a great Writers Digest article – 10 Things Your Freelance Editor Might Not Tell You – But Should.

As a developmental editor I really appreciated how Tanya created a clear list of what authors need to do before they drop their baby off to an editor.  The number one piece of advice?  Don’t hire an editor to take care of your first draft.

First drafts are fragile, messy, complicated documents.  They don’t need editing, they need:

  • to be put in a drawer or virtual file for a few weeks
  • reviewed
  • re-read
  • extensive rumination
  • consideration
  • panic
  • ruthless cutting and pasting
  • a sympathetic reader
  • a second draft
  • a third draft

Do that work before you offer up your manuscript to a professional, and you’ll be happier with your editor.

The other nine tips are  covered in the May/June Writers Digest issue on line and on news stands.

Check out Tanya’s advice!

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