Conversations: 7/14/2017

IT’S JULY!

TIME TO CELEBRATE OUR FREEDOM TO WRITE! II

Once upon a time there was a teacher. Her “student-teaching experience” sent her to a high school where she was assigned to a class of “low-performing students.” Walking into that classroom was a moment mixed with fear, courage and hope. She already knew that one student had allegedly threatened a previous teacher with a gun; and didn’t know what to expect from the others. Yet, from that very first day, she saw potential in each and every student. Her dream to “be a teacher” became her hope to help them find a FREEDOM they never dreamed possible—through writing!

The next school year—now a full teacher—she was assigned a sophomore class. That was the year of student “walk-out” protests because of political unrest. She listened to her students, and asked them to keep journals and write about the similarities of the “family feuds” they experienced at home or knew of in gangs to the families of Romeo and Juliet. She also gave reading assignments of books written by other teenagers in times of war: Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank, Zkata’s Diary by Zlata Filipović and Night by Elie Wiesel. Writing these journals helped many of the students as they anonymously passed copies of pages around the classroom and shared their thoughts. Slowly, these students, who once refused to even speak to someone who looked different, became like a family.

You may have heard of this woman—teacher, encourager, speaker, writer. Her name is Erin Gurwell, and she and her students created the book, The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them. The book was published in 1999 and remains a “go to” assignment for many teachers, today. I must admit that when I read book, some of the words made me feel uncomfortable; yet, I learned much about the circumstances of these wonderful young people. The movie Freedom Writers was released in 2007. And, there is now the Freedom Writers Foundation that encourages the Freedom Writers method of writing around the world.

freedom writers erin gruwell

OUR COUNTRY, and that Declaration of Independence document, set the stage for Erin Gurwell to dream of and become an amazing teacher more than 200 years later. Her education was filled with the writings of professors, poets, novelists and memoir authors. And she—like the American Revolution patriots—became an unforgettable example of how hard work, courage and the spirit of determination can change lives, and writing was the main tool she used.

Are you an out of the box thinker and writer like Erin Gurwell and the authors of the Declaration of Independence? If you answered, “No, not really,” please consider the following:

  • Do you enjoy brainstorming plot ideas? I have a neighbor who loves to read mysteries. So when my plot runs into a wall, I sit with her a while, and ask what she likes best about the plot of the book she’s reading. Those 30-60 minutes kick my brain into gear and my own plot comes to life again.
  • Do you like to re-write the endings of your favorite TV shows or movies? My husband (who has done some acting) and I really enjoy discussing “how we’d write that story.” Almost without exception those ideas find their way into my notes for an article, short story or novel.
  • Are you learning new things? Each and every time we research background information for our stories we are stepping out of the box of our genre and into the realm of new ideas.

Without exception, every writer I’ve ever met and/or worked with has enhanced my own abilities and given me new ideas—enriching my personal freedom to write new and better works. May we all appreciate and grow in our FREEDOM WRITING, and FREEDOM PUBLISHING, too! ⚓︎

 


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Self-publishing vs. Independent Publishing

Guest Post: The Book Doctor on Self-Publishing vs. Independent Publishing

Q: When you spoke at a conference recently, I heard you refer to self-publishing. Isn’t “independent publishing” the correct term now?

A: Yes and no. An independent publisher is a small publisher that may or may not publish the works of the owner, but it always publishes the works of other authors, as well. When you publish only your own books, you are self-publishing. I know the distinction is vague; in either case you have to set up a company and be a publisher, but an independent publishing house accepts the works of others, as well as the works of the owner.

Also, when you use a firm that helps you publish, so that you don’t have to set up your own company, you are a self-published author, as opposed to a traditionally published author.

In the end, we are simply talking semantics. If you spend any money at all toward the printing of your book, you are self-published. Being self-published used to carry a stigma, and perhaps that’s why some people don’t want to use the term, but the market has changed over the years, and people’s attitudes have changed with it. At a time when selling a book to a traditional publisher is almost impossible, yet printing your own book has become easier than ever, self-publishing has taken on a whole new character and lost much of its prior poor image. Nowadays the only stigma comes from a poorly written or unedited self-published book. If the book looks good, reads well, is thoroughly edited, and sells well, who cares who paid for the printing?



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Guest Post – Ask the Book Doctor: Self-publishing

Q: When you spoke at a conference recently, I heard you refer to self-publishing. Isn’t “independent publishing” the correct term now?

A: Yes and no. An independent publisher is a small publisher that may or may not publish the works of the owner, but it always publishes the works of other authors, as well. When you publish only your own books, you are self-publishing. I know the distinction is vague; in either case you have to set up a company and be a publisher, but an independent publishing house accepts the works of others, as well as the works of the owner.

Also, when you use a firm that helps you publish, so that you don’t have to set up your own company, you are a self-published author, as opposed to a traditionally published author.

In the end, we are simply talking semantics. If you spend any money at all toward the printing of your book, you are self-published. Being self-published used to carry a stigma, and perhaps that’s why some people don’t want to use the term, but the market has changed over the years, and people’s attitudes have changed with it. At a time when selling a book to a traditional publisher is almost impossible, yet printing your own book has become easier than ever, self-publishing has taken on a whole new character and lost much of its prior poor image. Nowadays the only stigma comes from a poorly written or unedited self-published book. If the book looks good, reads well, is thoroughly edited, and sells well, who cares who paid for the printing?



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Bobbie Christmas is a book doctor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, and she will answer your questions, too. Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at http://www.zebraeditor.com.

4 Myths about Book Publishing Today

There is a lot of confusion, controversy, and questions surrounding the terms self-publishing, vanity press, print-on-demand, etc. As you decide the best publishing path for you, let’s clarify some misconceptions some may have propagated.

1. MYTH: Whoever owns the ISBN owns the rights.
FACT: This used to be true. Nowadays, it is no longer true. Good self-publishing options assign the ISBN for the authors’ convenience, but still allow authors to keep 100% of the rights to their books. Be sure to check the contract.

2. MYTH: Independent self-publishing is different from publishing with an established organization because that publisher owns the ISBN.
FACT: It is true that the ISBN identifies the publisher of record. With reputable options, authors can supply their own ISBN as an option. Of course, if an author prefers the publisher to assign an ISBN for them, that should be an option too. And that’s what self-publishing is about – author choice and author control.

3. MYTH: New York publishers promote and market all their books.
FACT: New York publishers usually devote the lion’s share of their marketing budget to the top 1% (Harry Potter, for example) of the books they publish. The other books published during that season are victims of the sliced marketing budget. The majority of traditionally published authors are referred to as “mid-listeres” and don’t get much support from their publisher at all.

4.MYTH: Printing a book with an off-set printer is the same as self-publishing it.
FACT: Printing a book is one facet of publication. Before a book can be printed, it needs to be designed. Then it needs to be printed. Then it needs wholesale distribution through Ingram and availability online with retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Then it needs fulfillment of orders and invoicing.

Printing a book with an offset printer accomplishes one of those steps. Publishing a book with a leading self-publishing option accomplishes all of them. Almost anyone can “print” a book, but what about all the other stuff that is required?



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