Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 10/30/2015

THE NOAH WEBSTER LEGACY – PART V

THE LOVE OF WORDS led Noah Webster, Jr. into a life of writing and authorship. While he is known as possibly the most important lexicographer of his time, who author S.C. Roberts (The Story of Doctor Johnson) defined as “a writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge,” Webster is also an example of confident tenacity. His passion for developing word definitions and pronunciations that FIT the New World—our United States of America—went beyond “the common passions” to an absolute need to complete his work and be part of something bigger than himself…the birth of a nation. It is my belief that you would not be reading this blog today unless you, too, held that love, that passion, that wakes you up—or doesn’t let you sleep—in order to write one more sentence and make a difference.

local author

Are you re-creating words? Are you developing extended definitions for the words you’re using in the dialogue of your characters? Most writers I know would say, “Certainly not.” “Specific words and their specific definitions are the only way to clearly communicate what writers want to say.” However, I challenge you keep this question in the margins of your thoughts as you write. Words and additional definitions are being added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary every year and no one else would be happier about that that Noah Webster who deeply understood the concept of language as a living thing. Just a few examples of his work include transforming such words as:

  • defence to defense: “Anything that opposes an attack; The Almighty is the defense of the righteous.”
  • gaol to jail: “A prison; place for confinement; also, something written very improperly and as improperly pronounced.”
  • musick to music: “Melody or harmony; entertainment; the science of harmonic sounds;”
  • nabor to neighbor: “One who lives near another; an intimate or confidant; a fellow being;”

In the Preface of Webster’s 1828 Dictionary he writes: “It is not only important, but, in a degree necessary, that the people of this country, should have an American Dictionary of the English Language; for, although the body of the language is the same as in England, and it is desirable to perpetuate that sameness, yet some differences must exist. Language is the expression of ideas; and if the people of one country cannot preserve an identity of ideas, they cannot retain an identity of language.” Webster’s two-volume work of more than 70,000 entries became the first truly American dictionary. He eliminated Old English words that were not useful to Americans and included words specifically used in the U.S. such as squash and skunk.

Building and enhancing the world of words is now in our hands and the editors of the Merriam-Webster dictionary invites our participation. Their website www.merriam-webster.com tells us that they “scour books, newspapers, magazines, electronic publications [and more] in search of new words, new usages of existing words, variant spellings, and inflected forms–in short, anything that might help in deciding if a word belongs in the dictionary, understanding what it means, and determining typical usage. Any word of interest is marked, along with surrounding context that offers insight into its form and use.” It is also made clear that for a word “to be included in a Merriam-Webster dictionary, a word must be used in a substantial number of citations that come from a wide range of publications over a considerable period of time. Specifically, the word must have enough citations to allow accurate judgments about its establishment, currency, and meaning.”

SO, Dear Author, write your book, your articles, your blogs and tweets and BE CREATIVE. Who knows, one of your uniquely developed terms may just be added to the next edition of The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Just think of the publicity you could glean from that in the promotion of your work! And, don’t hesitate to self-publish. Make Noah Webster, Jr. proud! ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT 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.

Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 10/23/2015

THE NOAH WEBSTER LEGACY – PART IV

Following Webster’s legacy path, we discover that ESSAY and ARTICLE writing are a great way to exercise your creative muscles while dropping bread crumbs that will encourage Readers to discover the books you’ll write. Noah Webster wrote many such pieces which he says (in the preface of his Collected Essays) will naturally allow the writer to “give himself up to his feelings and his manner of writing will flow from his manner of thinking.” How might that translate into today’s world?

 copyright

  • Webster took a season of his life to edit periodicals—the American Magazine for one year (1788–1789) and the pro-federalist American Minerva (1793–1798). Is this a skill you have, a natural talent that could build your portfolio? Seek out both paper and Internet magazine formats that interest you and begin submitting articles (400-700 words in length) to them. Follow their guidelines to a “T” while maintaining your natural and unique manner of writing and thinking to flow.
  • Webster continued to write and publish (self-publish) pieces that he knew to be valuable to the general public. Between 1802 and 1806 he issued the first three volumes of Elements of Useful Knowledge, schoolbooks to enlighten and educate the growing population of the United States of America. What subject matter interests you to the level of being passionate about it? Have you accumulated a level of knowledge about it that you could be labeled an “expert?” Too many people shy away from writing on a topic because they cannot see or accept themselves as a knowledgeable person in that subject matter when, in fact, their unique perspective is needed to advance deeper understanding.

Also, Webster wholeheartedly believed that writers—and the ideas presented in their work—needed protection from “theft.” He had experienced firsthand, and witnessed the works of other writers become plagiarized, misrepresented, and “hacked to bits” too often. In the fledgling United States “national copyright protection” for Webster’s SPELLER was limited to a period of fourteen (14) years. Although that seems like a very short time, it worked out well for him because at the end of that interval he sold the entire rights to the American Spelling Book (for its third copyright period 1818 to 1832) to Hudson and Company of Hartford, Connecticut. Those finances allowed him to focus on his major work: An American Dictionary of the English Language, which was published in New York in 1828.

ALL AUTHORS need to keep themselves informed about current copyright law. Best source: www.copyright.gov. Copyrights DO expire after the death of the author (—plus 70, 95 or 120 years), so our heirs need to be aware that when that time comes, they may be able to sell that copyright as income to support our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Our friend, Noah Webster, Jr. continues to teach us about this challenging author/writer career. His persevering work ethic not only kept him and his family fed and housed, it has sent ripples into all future generations. Your work is just as valuable! Whether you’re creating textbooks or books of poetry—cookbooks or photography books—car manuals or political speeches—the words that you are placing together in concise structures of communication are necessary elements of life. Keep writing! Then…PUBLISH! ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT 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.

Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 10/16/2015

THE NOAH WEBSTER LEGACY – PART III

WHEN we publish our books we are wisely advised to promote them in every venue we can access—to even pre-promote to the Readers we know will be interested in our topic and/or genre. When Noah Webster was writing his book A Collection of Essays and Fugitiv Writings on Moral, Historical, Political and Literary Subjects, he promoted it right into the office of President of the United States.

webster

  • First he talked to his friends and acquaintances about his soon-to-be-published book and enlisted them in “subscribing” to it. It is understood that many of these people financially supported (subscribed) the work.
  • Secondly, he published their names on the first several pages of the book—in alphabetical order. These scribers included: Vice President John Adams (indicating that he received two copies of the book), as well as many Senators, Representatives, Aldermen, Attorneys, Physicians, Merchants, Judges and ordinary folks from every location he’d visited.
  • Then, following the list of “subscribers,” Webster addressed this book as if he were writing a personal letter to: “The President, The Vice President, The Senators, and The Representatives of the United States of America, The following PUBLICATION, designed to Aid the Principles of the Revolution, to Suppress Political Discord and to Diffuse a Spirit of Enquiry, Favorable to Morals, to Science, and Truth, Is most humbly inscribed as a Tribute of Respect for their Characters, of Gratitude for their Public Services, and a Pledge of Attachment to the Present Constitution of the American Republic, by their most obedient and most humble servant, The Author.”

Now THAT is marketing—book promotion with flare! Certainly everyone was talking about this book and the boldness of the author. For Webster, the reality was that his often abrasive and know-it-all attitude kept him from being IN the “in-crowd.” However, it is widely accepted that Webster’s passionate nationalism was a major influence on the Founding Fathers. Reading his essays, newspaper articles, and dictionary word definitions gave them much food-for-thought in their daily lives and formation of our country.

So, where are you in pre-production planning for the book(s) you are writing? In today’s publishing world the group of supporters (subscribers) that Webster had would be called a Tribe. These are the folks who know you are writing—know a little about the story—and could be Tweeting about it or posting Facebook comments about how much they are anticipating the book’s arrival in their hands.

And, if you need financial support I know of several self-publishing presses who offer GIFT CARDS that family and friends can purchase to be applied to the publishing process and marketing of your book. The teams of marketing experts in these self-publishing houses can be a great help in connecting with Readers through the Internet and other media which takes the burden off your shoulders giving you the time to write your next book.

May the writing legacy left to us by authors such as Noah Webster give you encouragement and inspire you to accomplish great things with your writings. ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT 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.

Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 10/09/2015

THE NOAH WEBSTER LEGACY – PART II

Noah Webster was (as the saying goes) a complicated man. After graduating from Yale with a B.A. degree in 1778 he couldn’t seem to hold a job. He was qualified to teach the basic liberal arts studies (back in a one-or-two-room school house) but wanted to study Law so he resigned. In order to go back to school—being instructed by Oliver Ellsworth (the future Supreme Court Chief Justice)—he needed financial income so again began teaching full-time. However, the load of teaching and law studies was too much to handle. History tells us that he fell into a depression when quitting both positions.

blue book speller

How many writers have experienced this emotional component of reaching for their dreams only to discover the heaviness of the challenge as they’ve balanced full-time jobs while developing their book or book series? This is rarely discussed, and yet Webster is an excellent example of fighting his way back—tapping into his educated, emotional and passionate self which he expressed in writing.

As the Revolutionary War continued, George Washington passed through the New Haven area and Webster (who played the flute) joined a group of supporters/students who serenaded Washington and his troops. Shortly thereafter, Webster, his brothers and father tried to join the Battle of Saratoga in New York but by the time they got there, the battle had been won by the American troops.

  • Thus it happened that Noah turned to writing as a way to channel his patriotic ambitions and he began writing a series of articles for a New England newspaper encouraging citizens and their American Revolution resolve.
  • Between 1783-1785 he also wrote his “Blue-Backed Speller” spending most of his time getting it published and announced. (It was later published in 1824 as “The Original Blue Back Speller: A Patriotic Textbook Series.”)
  • At the same time he was writing these books, Webster was also working on copyright legislation to protect the works of all writers.
  • His relentless book promotion pioneered now common techniques like the author tour, the fabricated blurb and the aggressive stoking of manufactured controversy,” says New York Times book reviewer Jesse Sheidlower, the editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary and the president-elect of the American Dialect Society.
  • Webster was known for writing constantly under various pseudonyms. Doing so he would often praise his own works and deconstruct the arguments of his critics. This is still being done today on the Internet under the label of “sock puppetry.”

So here is what I’ve learned from Noah Webster today: (1) write myself out of melancholy; (2) focus my writing efforts on subjects that tap into my passions, compassions, interests and ambitions; (3) don’t hesitate to self-publish; (4) use every avenue available to promote my books; and (5) if necessary, be willing to face critics with straightforward discussion.

Webster strongly promoted what he called American-English building an American linguistic style of spelling and pronunciation that lives and continues to grow to this very day. Without intentionally setting out to do so I believe he has given all writers permission to utilize our language in new ways; to create new words and combined words and related definitions; to write beyond our current skills, develop concepts for generations yet unborn, and publish in paper books, on the Internet and venues yet to be discovered. ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT 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.

Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 10/02/2015

THE NOAH WEBSTER LEGACY

It was a gift from a friend—the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster.  Somewhere in my memory I recalled that Mr. Webster’s name appeared in a list of our nation’s Founding Fathers, however, I remembered nothing about the details of his life or legacy. The dictionary that has always resided on my shelf is the Merriam-Webster version and any association of the hyphenated name to Noah Webster had escaped me.

american dictionary of the english language

Yet, over the last decade of my writing endeavors (after receiving this gift), my appreciation of Mr. Webster continues to grow. Without his push toward education and his extensive work in defining words my abilities to develop such pieces as this blog would be sorely strained.  Here are a few facts to chew on…

  • Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Noah Webster, Jr. was raised in a very active environment, being homeschooled by his mother in spelling, math and music and observing his father’s activities beyond farming as Noah, Sr. was always intellectually curious and a supporter of education for everyone. He even mortgaged their farm so that Noah Jr. could attend higher education classes.
  • By the age of six, Noah joined neighborhood children in a dilapidated one-room primary school which could have dissuaded him from seeking further education because of teachers he later referred to as “the dregs of humanity.” (Are children today faced with that, too?) However, this experience only fortified his later desires to improve the educational experiences of future generations.
  • At the age of fourteen he was tutored in the languages of Latin and Greek preparing him for enrollment in Yale just before his sixteenth birthday.
  • This timeframe was also the season of our country’s revolution. Food shortages and the threat of the British invasion of mass military forces caused the president of Yale to scatter teachers to various towns where classes could safely be held.
  • Attempting to keep up with his classes, Noah still joined the Connecticut Militia. He believed that American nationalism was superior to Europe because American values were superior. Thus began his pamphlet writing career publishing them under the pen name “A Citizen of America.”

My hope in sharing this information with you today is to encourage you to KEEP WRITING even in the midst of life’s challenges.  The living (survival) conditions for folks in the late 1700s early 1800s left little time for “learning letters” let alone studies at “higher education” levels.  However, Webster (and many of his compatriots) knew that unless people were given the opportunity communicate with words (spoken or written) that carried a specific definition—a distinctly American definition—many more battles would be fought and lives needlessly lost.

Yes, word lists were being produced 2300 years ago in regions of Samaria. Yet many believe that it wasn’t until approximately 400 BC that a “vocabulary list…with meanings of rare Homer-style words and other words from local dialects” was produced. You and I live in an AGE OF WORDS with access to online dictionaries from around the world—times past and times present. How marvelous to enjoy such finger-tip definitions giving us the ability to creatively exercise our writing skills and produce the books that will inform and bring enjoyment to future generations. ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT 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.