Michael Connelly was in town for an author tour for his newest book and, somehow or another, by the time Michael arrived at the restaurant, the only chair left to sit in was across from me. To my immediate left was Jedwin Smith, an internationally known author and prize-winning war correspondent I had only just met the previous year, but had become fast friends with. Two seats to his left was Linda Sands. By all measurable accounts, the luncheon was a success for Decatur, Georgia’s Eagle Eye Book Store owner, Doug Robinson, attendees, and Michael. Jedwin introduced me to Linda, and she and I exchanged emails with “keep in touch” flung to the other. That was in 2010 — and we have stayed in touch. In fact, while we don’t get to see each other very often (schedules are always an issue), we have helped each other through several projects. She hired Continue reading Linda Sands
Looks like popular media has finally caught up with what I’ve been knowing and talking about for several years. (Click HERE for the NY Times story about book publishing — ebook and print books.) You’ll see the music business tie-in at the end. Folks, print has never been dead.Yes, I was laughed at and called naive and, in more than one case, “stupid” as well as told “you better get on the bandwagon — or else!” But why the popular notion that print was dead? Simple: Flackery. You see, ebooks had a bunch of companies behind them with big marketing dollars whose sole purpose was to sell physical devices (Kindle, Nook, etc.) as delivery systems. When they saw that sales of ebooks weren’t going anywhere (as in, not double- and triple-digit growth to satisfy stockholders), why they added bells and whistles and began selling reading services that could only Continue reading Books and music: Don’t believe the hype over delivery systems.
“Too many cooks spoil the dish.” Creatives instinctively know the truthfulness of this. Wisely, though lonely, they squirrel themselves away in order to focus on the vision. Sometimes the loneliness can be overwhelming and we cry out, “Where, oh where, is anybody who cares?” Personally? I love working within a team environment. It’s nice to have people with whom to celebrate the successful conclusion to a project. As a DIY/Indie creative, though, I find most of my work begins, continues, and ends alone. For my books and music — sure, of course — editors, musicians, singers, production, and so forth, come into play. But these are usually work for hire whose only interest in the project is to do a thing for this amount of money. In other words, they are not part of the project as a stakeholder. And nothing wrong with that. I do the same thing when I Continue reading Working Alone: A DIY/Indie Creative’s Lot in Life
Followers. Likes. Everybody is chasing them in the assumption that on these sales are based and strong businesses are grown. That is not the case. Gaining followers and racking up likes are simply one method to get eyes on you. To depend on Facebook and Twitter or Instagram or whatever social media platform du jour, is to put your success in the hands of another. Facebook is famous for constantly changing their algorithms that determine who they allow to see your posts and when. They also punish their users by letting their automated application of those algorithms determine real threats. A current case going to that point: I know a 70-year-old woman who posted pictures of her exciting trip. She described each picture in that album as Hell’s Canyon because that’s where she was. Facebook’s response was to shut her down, warning that she was issuing terrorist-type threats. Pictures of trees and rocks surely fit that description, right? Continue reading Chasing Algorithms
I never would’ve believed it, but there it was. A paper letter. In my hands. An outright rejection of my manuscript submission to a “respectable” publisher located in New York. “We’re sorry. But you did not submit your materials to us in the form we wanted. Please buy a current copy of ‘Writer’s Marketplace’ and see our submission guidelines there. If you cannot afford to purchase a copy, your local library probably has a copy you can check out.” I was confused because I had the current Writer’s Marketplace on my desk. I guess I could afford it. And I had followed their submission guidelines to the tee. At first, I thought it was an anomaly. But then more and more of those letters arrived. I began to wonder if I was insane and not reading the guidelines properly, or if they were insane. Come to find out, there as Continue reading The rise of self-publishing: Forced to reinvent the wheel
“Many will roam here and there and knowledge will increase.” At first read, the implication is that many are seeking knowledge and they will find it thus increasing the benefit to humans. This is not so. Just because people roam here and there, and just because there is more knowledge available than ever before, does not in any form or fashion mean the knowledge will be understood, accepted, or more importantly — challenged. Further it does not mean the knowledge that is increasing is accurate. In fact, with the vast amounts of information coming our way every second, who’s got time to challenge and verify? Therefore, what is happening is people simply assume that the person who says they know, knows. And on that premise comes the death of dreams of millions. Sometimes you got to slow down to speed up.
There’s this guy whose writing I very much enjoy. Naturally, I subscribed to his blog through the RSS feed. But dang it if every single day I wasn’t getting a blog post from him. Truly, I wanted to read him; he is thought-provoking. But as busy as I was, I found myself not reading, so I began to move all his blogs over to a special folder with his name on it and told myself, “Goody, I’ll have them all in one place and can spend an enjoyable hour or two immersing myself.” Day after day his special folder got longer and longer, and one day it was time to read him. Here is what I found. One: I could not stand to read his “important” blog posts in such concentrated a fashion. Two: His posts needed to be read several days apart. Three: I was being driven to distraction as he hounded me Continue reading Why I Don’t Blog Every Day
START: Condo Log. Star Date: 6790-1225 (06:05 Post Meridian Earth-time) Mother ship’s journey through the year has been successful. Though mostly friendlies have been encountered, some protective measures were needed for other interactions with inhabitants met on the journey. The Team met with unexpected delays. This captain for one had her foot broken when a friendly was thrown onto it. A six-inch steel pipe of a high-heel shoe landed square on it and — crack! — broke right there. Other members of the team were attacked in various fashions as well — we lost a few, sad days, and some were injured. We had several others join us on the journey, though, thus necessitating realigning of time allotments. But, as all excellent teams do, they did not quit, they did not cry Uncle. There was no whining. Shoulder to the wheel, and push. Here we are almost 365 days out and infinity has been challenged. Continue reading Condo Log: 6790-1225
Get the book by Angela K. Durden by Clicking Here Email Angela here: angeladurden[at]gmail[dot]com Challenges are not bad in and of themselves. Some can be, true. But others are opportunities from improvements, and when met make us better people adding high value to the communities in which we live, the customer which we serve, and the businesses which we grow. I am tired of people complaining about things that are not real problems. Such as: Waiting in a line a little longer than expected to get a hamburger. Someone who didn’t set the alarm clock and overslept raging against other drivers as if his being late is their fault. Traffic jams that happen everyday at the same time. Accusing people of rubbernecking when they are only slowing to safely pass an accident and rescue workers. Here’s an old poem that sums up the challenge of our own attitude. I’ve always loved it. It Continue reading Challenges are not bad
Friends send links to success stories and the first thing I do is begin a negative questioning my own path. Have I not been working hard enough? Am I simply untalented? Shall I quit now? I am my own worst enemy. Why I do I do this? Why do I assume the worst about myself? Why do I always assume failure is imminent? Is it easier to expect certain failure than to embrace possible success? It seems so. So I examined my emotional response to success and found an interesting. I would be happy with success, but how dare I be happy when [fill in the name of someone else] is not? I brought this up to several people who, surprisingly, said they too had experienced the same thing. I asked, “Do you find that this person you’re so worried about, would they be happy for you to make a success of something?” Continue reading Subtexts-Part Two: My Own Worst Enemy
Why do I love an honest-to-goodness real book with paper pages that are numbered sequentially and can be flipped rapidly and dog-eared and marked upon and that I may have to wear glasses to read? And why will I never have a digital device upon which to read a book that I can change the font size because I’m too vain to wear said glasses? Well, let’s review our history of the written word. First, there was no written word. Then there was. Immediately everybody realized rocks were just too hard to carry around and they got to looking around for another methodology. So rocks out; papyrus in, and it lasted for several thousand years. But, even papyrus was a booger to deal with. You see, it was in scrolls. Long pieces of papyrus, rolled up, and tied with strips of leather and piled up with no way of telling Continue reading Paper or Digital?
START: Condo Log. Star Date: 6790-0101 (11:02 Ante Meridian Earth-time) Mother ship launch successful. Broke free from gravity forty minutes after zero hour. Future readers of this Condo Log will conclude correctly: Zero hour was at nine ante meridian. (If a reader did not conclude this, then I must wonder if they are familiar with music at all. But I shall save that for private musings in my second memoir.) The Team worked hard in Star Date 6789. There were glitches, missed steps, and stumbles. But, as all excellent teams do, they did not quit, they did not cry Uncle. Instead, they worked hard to put their ship in order, outfit it for the journey, and got themselves in prime shape ready to go to infinity and (dare I say it?) beyond in the next 365 days. But what will by our infinity? What will be our beyond? As my Continue reading Condo Log. Star Date: 6790-0101
“I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing.” Have you ever heard that? Forbes magazine just had an article about that concerning the Madeline books. Remember those? The cute little Parisian girl and her adventures? I loved those. But the author died many years ago and left everything to his wife and daughter. The wife is now dead. The daughter had three sons and they all own little bits of this and that and now… Oh, it’s a mess. I won’t even go into it, but you can read all about it here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/11/27/madeline-and-the-family-business-2/ The daughter said she doesn’t know what to do, so she’s done nothing. And the problem is getting worse because of her inaction. How many of us live like that every day. We are confronted with something confusing on which we must decide, but because we are overwhelmed with that lack of understanding, we Continue reading So, I did nothing.
I have so many projects going that, if you saw the wall in my office, you’d just say whoa. Books. Songs. Movie and TV stuff. A software company start-up. All moving forward into finished or pitchable states. Most of these I’m working on with others, such as song collaborators and business partners. I once had a man tell me I should finish something before I started something else. I was incredulous. I told him if I did as he advised, nothing would ever get done. He was very used to starting a project and finishing it, then being assigned another by a boss. He didn’t understand that his boss was just like me. He thought of projects, worked on them, then sent them out to others so they could do their part. If he didn’t have a boss like that, then he wouldn’t have a job. I think of my Continue reading Shuttlecocks in Flight and Marching Armies
No matter what, bad timing can mess up anything. Whether it’s the beat of a song, the pacing of a story, walking with another, or coughing, bad timing can cause disastrous results…okay, sometimes the results can also be hilarious, as blooper reels can attest. Then there is the timing in relationships: You meet the right person, but it’s the wrong time. You aren’t ready for him, and he isn’t ready for you. That can be sad, at the time, but later you both know it would have turned out horribly if you had both given in and gone with your heart when the gut was right all along. But this post is also about publishing a book. Publishing a book is very, very easy. Hundreds of thousands do it every year in the U.S. The questions, though, are these: Is that book ready for publication? Is the author ready with Continue reading Timing is Everything
I’ve been thinking about how I can best serve the writing community other than what I’m already doing (editing, book design, and so forth.) My idea involves a systemizing of pitching. Some folks are already trying that, but I think they’re still not where they need to be. Any thoughts on this subject?