adventures in dysthymia

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Writing, Editing, Traveling

A mention that the latest book, the illustrated collection of poetry for children, AWFUL ALVIN AND OTHER PECULIAR POEMS, is officially out next week. Already available via Arachis Press in both print and ebook, and the ebooks are probably showing up at other retailers by now. Who knows when the print versions will show up at Amazon, et al? I'm not even sure why I'm bothering with print distribution.

Incidentally, I've noted that there is a moderately obscure cartoon character named Awful Alvin, as well. An evil onion, apparently. I originally drew up AA back in the Eighties so I'm probably the first, not that it matters. But if I'd known, I might have changed the name.

Why do I put out the books – and, in particular, the novels – via my own imprint? I could go through the process of finding a good agent and submitting to other publishers. With luck, something might see print that way in a couple years.

But getting stuff out there is perhaps the best way to attract the attention of the big players in this day. Publishing is following the same road the music industry took a while back. Self-release and build a following — then the majors might show some interest in you.

If one actually needs the majors at all. In the age of the internet (assuming it remains open and free), a middleman is not truly necessary. Even the big retailers such as Amazon are not. Google and other search engines can bring those who are interested to you. The trick is to arouse that interest in the first place.

That means various forms of social media, of course. It really should mean social contact in the 'real' world, as well. One needs to attract attention to oneself, online and off. I have no illusions that the success of the books co-written by my niece and sister (Mary and Jean James) was aided by the fact that Mary is also a popular musician. The one feeds the other.

I need to address this second part of the social question. That is, I need to get my music career back on track. I needn't be particularly successful but just being on stage so people know I'm around may be worth more than a post on Face Book.

In the mean time, I've started working on the second Malvern novel, the sequel to COAST OF SPEARS. Mostly outlining and notes at this point, working things out, asking questions about what would happen in different scenarios. Once I get that pretty much worked out, the actual writing will come pretty fast, I know. Should be ready early next year, as a guess — a pretty educated guess, knowing my work flow.

And I will have my 'serious' contemporary novel, SHAPER, out on September First. I put a lot of myself into this one; it might be a while before I can write anything of the same sort for a while. If ever. I'm not sure of the genre under which to list it. I guess it is a mystery, to a degree. Not much mystery to the mystery, however. It's mostly there to give some structure to the plot, which is, I may have to admit, something of a chick-lit relationship story. Let's just call it literary fiction, okay?

A poetry anthology should appear before the end of the year, as well, to be titled THE TOWER. I've done a fair amount of work there already, chosen and sequenced the poems, finished the illustrations. I'll finish designing the book when it is convenient. I also am going to repackage some of the older titles so I can get them into print distribution, including the three previous poetry collections and all four Donzalo books. So this stuff will eventually be available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. It's all there as ebooks right now, of course.

Another mention, to close, that I spent four days in (or traveling to and from) Nashville last week, visiting my sister and niece and seeing a lot of relatives at a family reunion. Many I hadn't seen in a couple decades. Or never, in the case of the little ones. I had not driven that far in a very long time, over four-hundred miles, and don't look forward to doing it again. But I might anyway---see 'social contact' above! :)

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