Monday, March 30, 2009

Print-on-demand magazines!

Have you always wanted to launch a glossy print magazine, but been daunted by the start-up money needed to fund it and to print it? well, there's nothing holding you back now.

Hewlett-Packard has been developing futuristic ideas for a long time. They've now announced MagCloud, a facility to print magazines, glossy high-color gorgeous magazines, on demand, just like print-on-demand books we all know have become commonplace.

Read today's New York Times article and view the MagCloud video demo here:

Book Review: "Other Colors" by Orhan Pamuk

I first read Pamuk's novels after returning from a visit to Istanbul in 2000. I continue to read, and re-read his work, for his lyrical prose, introspection, and beauty. If you're new to this author, Other Colors is the perfect way to get acquainted.

You can read my full review here:

Book Review: Other Colors: Essays and a Story by Orhan Pamuk

"The starting point of true literature is the man who shuts himself up in his room with his books."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Royalties or Fairy Dust

One of the things I discuss in publishing workshops is my concept: "The Myth of Royalties." I do so to set realistic expectations for authors. I explain the math to help them decide on their path to publishing. Successful print-on-demand books pay royalties from the first book sold, and many authors, like myself, receive a check monthly, yet sales of Release Your Writing and Computer Ease, are well under 3,000 copies.

I know it is true that some books do earn out their advance, and begin paying royalties to the author. But the math indicates few reach that level, and that the royalty may result in only one or two dollars per book. As an optimistic friend of mine said over breakfast one day: "Yes, but a book can sell 100,000 copies." That's the only way the dollars add up, but it does happen, and that sparks hope in every writer.

On March 20, 2009, Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times wrote:
"The power of President Obama’s pen is $8,605,429, and counting.

"Four years ago, Mr. Obama became a millionaire through the popularity of his autobiography, which was quickly followed by a second book, “The Audacity of Hope.” It is a gift that keeps on giving: $3.89 in royalties for Mr. Obama for each hardcover, $1.03 per paperback and $4.50 for an audiobook. (emphasis added).

... "When Mr. Obama wrote “Dreams From My Father,” which came out in 1995, he did not sell enough books to pay back the advance of $30,817. But when it was reprinted after his speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2004, sales flourished, which led to another book deal worth $1.9 million…"

Full article

Friday, March 20, 2009

Book Review: One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft

Susan Tiberghien returns to Chicago for a day-long writing workshop, sponsored by the Intl. Women Writers Guild ( on April 25, 2009. She'll also be appearing at The Book Stall at Chestnut Court that evening.

If you haven't read One Year to a Writing Life, here's an excerpt from my recent review.

In One Year to a Writing Life, you might dive into the section that piques your interest, and enhance your skill at your genre, or begin as many of us do, with journal writing - meaningful journal writing, which Tiberghien calls "the most natural opening into a writing life."

Tiberghien invites readers to work through One Year to a Writing Life at their own pace. The "year" metaphor can keep you motivated, delving into one chapter each month, or like me, you can buzz through the book and the generous resources, come up for air, and be a better writer, on the fast track.

Full review

Susan Tiberghien's works

Monday, March 16, 2009

Creative Chicago Expo: April 4, 2009

Several members of Midwest Writers will be manning the MWA booth at the Creative Chicago Expo held at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, on Saturday, April 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Expo is a free event that connects writers, artists, musicians, actors, dancers, and other individuals and organizations that are part of Chicago’s arts community. More than 3,500 artists attended last year.

Support independent artists & writers. Stop by and say hello.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Garrison Keillor on writer's rights

This from the March 11, 2009 issue of Salon

excerpt from Garrison Keillor's essay: "Where's my disability check?"
"The Authors Guild, of which I am a member, has done zilch to secure disability protection for writers. In my line of work, disability comes down to two things: memory loss and something else, I forget what. You lose the vocabulary retrieval skills you had when you were 30 and interesting words such as "parietal lobe" and "sedimentary rocks" flocked to your brain, and now you sit inert at the laptop for a number of horrendous minutes trying to remember the word for the thing that if you picked it up and dropped it on your foot it would be very, very bad -- anvil! This is a disability, and a writer should be able to receive payments, and also for the other thing, whatever it is."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book review: A Writer's Paris

A Writer's Paris, a guided journey for the creative soul, is by Eric Maisel, the prolific and thoughtful writer, a San Francisco-based creativity coach and author of more than 25 books.

This soft, lovely, illustrated book reminds us why we love Paris. In part, it is the allure of the intellectual traditions, of the time when George Sand, Gertrude Stein and Jean Paul Sartre roamed the cafés, when the life of a starving artist in a garret, eating one small café meal a day, was a reality for many famous writers. "Virtually any idea you can think of has been birthed or batted about in the studios, classrooms and cafes of Paris – it is the birthplace of the humanistic tradition," writes Maisel.

Read my full review at BlogCritics Magazine

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Using Google Alerts to find your work online

If you've read "Release Your Writing," or are generally web savvy, you already know that setting up a free Google alert lets you find any reference to your book, or your other writing online. You'd be surprised where you might turn up.

Today I receive this Google alert:

I followed the link and was pleased to see it is imported from my publisher, not reprinted locally.

I was delighted to find my books, and those of some of my clients there. Set up a Google alert for your own name or that of your books, and request a daily email. You never know where you might turn up next.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Online Journaling Class from UIC

The University of Illinois at Chicago is offering an online Journal Writing course. Topics include areas that take you far beyond ordinary journal writing, including:

* Understanding Your Journaling Goals
* The Basics of Modern Journaling
* Discovering the inner you through "Letters That Can't Be Delivered"
* Naikan, a Japanese practice that blends meditation and gratitude
* Haibun, a Japanese practice that blends journaling with poetry
* Keeping a "DiVinci" Notebook, a multi-purpose journal and scrapbook
* Theme Journals, keep a separate journal to track a special occasion, situation or hobby
* Future Journaling, turning your journal entries into something more

Registration information is here. Let me know if you want the full invitation, with more information. Cost of $260 includes a $65 discount, and runs March 9 through April 10, 2009.

View a preview of "Letters That Can't Be Delivered" an online lecture by instructor Cynthia Gallaher.

Speaking of turning journals into something more, (unrelated to UIC), Susan Tiberghein will be speaking April 25 for the IWWG on this topic. Her workshops are always amazing.