I am forever going back and forth as to whether I am an author first or a teacher first. It is the classic chicken and egg scenario. I have recently accepted a new teaching position, which has definitely caused me to put the teacher hat firmly back on my head. But then today I will be speaking before a Rotary club luncheon, so the writing and publishing hat is going on there now. I suppose the two endeavors go hand-in-hand. I cannot seem to do one without the other.
Come and join us for some informal creative writing workshops this June. These sessions will be Saturday mornings, June 2, 9, 16 and 23, from 9 am to 12 noon. Details below. Come to one workshop or enjoy all four. Each session will include writing activities, assignments and in-class critiques. Sessions promise to be informative, creative and boatloads of fun!
Session One: Are You a Writer and If So, What Kind?
Has the time come to embrace your inner writer?
Is it time to determine if there exists within you a novelist, a playwright, a poet, a biographer or a journalist? How do you get started? What is the process? Can you get published?
Session Two: Embracing Your Story
How do you begin the process? What’s the secret to writing? What are you going to write?
Do you need to do research? Where can you get information? What’s a copyright?
How many pages? What’s the structure? Should my family read it?
Session Three: Honing the Craft for Writing Excellence
What is your passion? Fiction? Non-fiction? Poetry? What are some types of each? What is point of view?
How are characters developed? How are settings created? What is denouement? What is a draft? How many revisions are necessary? What are critique partners? What about rejection?
Session Four: Can I Get My Work Published?
What are the avenues of publication? Do I need an agent? What is a query letter?
What is indie publishing? What is traditional publishing? What is an ebook and POD technology?
What kind of marketing will be involved? What is a serialization?
Time: Saturdays 9:00 a.m.-12 noon
Dates: Saturdays, June 2, 9, 16 and 23, 2012
Location: University of Houston-Clear Lake
Bayou Building: Room B1104
Cost: $20.00 per session, materials included
Note: These are non-credit, informal workshops. This program is not endorsed or affiliated with UHCL or the LITR program.
Dorothy Hagan is the author of The Edge of the Grace Period, 2000, and its companion novel, The Offshore Triumphs of Karla Jean, 2012. Hagan earned a BA in the Humanities from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She has taught Pre-K to 12th grade and is currently teaching GED and ESL classes to adults. To reserve your spot please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today it was my absolute pleasure to lead a session on indie publishing at my fabulous university. Called Small Talk, Big Ideas, University of Houston-Clear Lake held a networking breakfast and invited me to host a table. Below is the handout given to my participants. Hope it is helpful.
In the Company of Walt, Beatrix and Benjamin:
Indie Publishing Then and Now
An informative session prepared by indie author
Today we will explore the publishing world in transition from the traditional/legacy process to the exponentially exploding world of indie publishing. We will discover the indie authors, blogs, publishers, book sellers and experts in the field. Come and find out if indie publishing is the route for you to share your gifts with humanity.
My name is Dorothy Smith Hagan. I am a former merchant mariner, and currently a teacher and author. I received a BA in the Humanities from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. I indie published The Edge of the Grace Period in 2000, and have recently published a companion novel, The Offshore Triumphs of Karla Jean, 2012. Currently, I teach GED and ESL classes to adults. I am passionate about helping others achieve their goals, whether they are literary, academic or otherwise. Originally from the intoxicating hills of Pennsylvania, I now live in the warm cuddliness of suburban Houston.
Once upon a time, in 1996, Dorothy Hagan finished her first novel. Immediately, she shared what she whole-heartedly believed was the brightest literary genius since Gone with the Flipping Wind. Soon but not soon enough, she learned in wonderment about little things like the critical importance of editing, face-saving critique partners and that constant nemesis called professional rejection. After hundreds of rejections and five short years of industry angst, she ponied up $600 and self-published her first novel using POD technology. She is now enjoying what they call in the business an HEA. Yes, she’s living happily ever after. Rich no, happy…quite.
- Important definitions regarding publishing:
Traditional, Big Six (HarperCollins, Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan), Legacy has over time become
Vanity, Self-Publish, Indie
Two kinds of indie publishing:
POD: From Wikipedia “Print on demand (POD), sometimes called, in error, publish on demand, is a printing technology and business process in which new copies of a book (or other document) are not printed until an order has been received (which means books can be printed one at a time). “Print on Demand” developed only after digital printing began, because it was not economical to print single copies using traditional printing technology such as letterpress and offset printing.”
Ebook: From Wikipedia “An electronic book (variously, e-book, ebook, digital book) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital.”
Indie Authors of Old:
Beatrix Potter, Walt Whitman, James Joyce, John Grisham, Gertrude Stein, Zane Grey, Upton Sinclair, Mark Twain, Ezra Pound, Virginia Wolff
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
Indie Authors of Late:
J.A. Konrath: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/
David Dalglish: http://ddalglish.com/wp/
Aprill Hamilton: http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/
- 5. Indie Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Pros and Cons
Comprehensive discussions of this found at:
Pros: control over content, control over time table, control over rights, no rejection
Financial investment, on your own, legitimacy curve
Advances, marketing and promotion, industry acceptance, newspaper reviews
May never get published, required to perform to contract, still required to do massive editing yourself, little marketing help, still no certainty of presence in bookstores
- 6. During the process of writing:
Use Word files, format and punctuate correctly, no weird, fancy stuff
Be consistent as you word process. For example tabs and hard returns should be used the same way throughout the manuscript.
Critique partners are an absolute necessity. Find some.
Possible strategy if manuscript is a real mess: Re-type entire book during the pre-publication/revision process. This will fix a multitude of errors.
What can you publish? Just about anything. See FAQ at IUniverse.com as one example. Fiction and non-fiction should have 10,000 words minimum. Poetry books should contain at least 20 poems. Compilations of novellas, short stories, poetry are possible.
- 7. Indie publishing range of costs:
Publish to Kindle Direct Publishing for free, also publish ebooks to Smashwords for free, Begin around $600.00 for POD with IUniverse, other potential expenses include copy-editing and seller’s return policies
- Indie publishing companies: Author Solutions, Inc. IUniverse, Lulu, Xlibris, Kindle Direct Publishing, there are many more and more emerging every day. I have published two books with IUniverse and am very, very pleased on all levels.
- Book Sellers:
Brick and mortar like Barnes & Noble, all online retailers like Amazon, dozens of hits on Google.
- 10. The Absolute Worst “A” Word Ever: A M A T E U R
The biggest, most constant criticism of indie publishers is inferior composition of their literary work. Poor grammar, punctuation and sentence structure are the most obvious. Those in the industry, traditional and indie alike, will take one look at your book and push it aside if these amateur mistakes scream out. Writing is a craft. It is an art. It is, in fact, a professional undertaking. Give it your absolute 100% best effort.
The Absolute Be-All and End-All to take away from this session… for the sake of indie legacy and yours, NEVER allow yourself to be dismissed as an industry amateur. Publish like a professional or not at all!
- 11. Videos, blogs, articles and websites:
My personal favorite author’s blog is Boxing the Octopus. The authors are first-rate, profoundly experienced, and their archives contain just about every subject you could imagine. Visit them at www.boxocto.com.
Other helpful sites:
Ask yourself, do you have a story that needs telling? Or do you know someone who does? Indie publishing may be the vehicle to share your gifts with humanity.
Thanks for joining me today. Hope it was helpful! Please join me for a book signing and Powerpoint presentation right here at UHCL on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, from 6:30-8:30. Fun, informative, free event! Tell your friends!
Imagine a world with no Leaves of Grass. Or The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. Or Poor Richard’s Almanack.
Or imagine further, that after you wrote that first draft, of the first attempt, of your first real writing adventure…imagine there was no tome of instruction called The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., with his student E.B.White. Yes, imagine if this first response in writing instruction, had not been available.
That could very well have happened. Because along with being great contributions to our literary existence, all four of these works have something else in common.
They were all…dare we say it? Self-published. Every one.
On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at 7:30 in the bright, early morning, I will be leading a session discussing the very topic of self-publishing, or indie publishing, as it’s called today. Technology now allows virtually anyone to be published. For some folks that’s not a good idea. But for others it is a duty to humanity to share their gifts. Depending on your contribution, self-publishing is not vanity. I would go so far as to call it duty. It is incumbent upon you as an author to find out if the world will benefit from your contribution.
Walt Whitman. Beatrix Potter. Benjamin Franklin. Legacies we have to enjoy because they were bold enough to publish their own work. Who among us is being called to join them?
If you have not registered to attend the Tuesday session, watch this blog for further announcements. More sessions are in the works. Thank you as always for stopping by.
Do you have an organization and need a speaker? How about some hot topics?
Would you like to know what Karla’s offshore world really looked like? How about a PowerPoint presentation to find out?
Or would you like to know the latest about indie publishing? And what that might mean to you?
I would love to come and join you! Just drop me a line here or at email@example.com
And did you know…
The Edge of the Grace Period is now live on Kindle! Check out this companion novel of The Offshore Triumphs, also on Kindle for $3.99!!!
UHCL presents Small Talk/Big Ideas
In the Company of Walt, Beatrix and Benjamin:
Indie Publishing Then and Now
Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 7:30 am to 9:00 am
University of Houston at Clear Lake, $15.00 admission
To register go http://prtl.uhcl.edu/portal/page/portal/ALR/roundtable
Seating is limited. To reserve your seat in the conversation by phone, call Kris Thompson at 281-283-2040.
This event is presented by the UHCL Alumni Association. For more information on the association, please visit www.uhcl.edu/alumni.
Southern Belle Book Club
Saturday, April 28, 2012, 10 am
UH Clear Lake Official Book Tour Launch: Book Signing and PowerPoint Presentation
What would Karla’s offshore world really have looked like? The rigs? The helicopters? The gritty work?
Come join us for a PowerPoint presentation to have a look at just that! Stick around for a free reception and
book signing. Enjoy fabulous nibbles created by the inventive Cindy Smith!
Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 6:30pm to 8:30
University of Houston-Clear Lake
2700 Bay Area Boulevard Houston, TX 77058
Garden Room and Atrium I