Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Editorial Romance

Once upon a time there was a fair damsel named Lenore who lived on the western edge of a great country, beyond the Rocky Mountains on the far side of the Salish Sea in the old city of Victoria. Lenore was a hardworking editor. Her computer keyboard often clacked ceaselessly into the night. She was renowned throughout the state, and even beyond its borders, for her diligent editing, but she realized she was lonely. So she joined the guild of local editors and there encountered many wonderful people. Lenore and some of the editors, with whom she became firm friends, met over tea and coffee every Saturday morning. They never knew who would appear at this social affair, but over the course of their first year, at least three or four editors would gather. One cold, blustery November day, Lenore arrived and sat alone until Chris, a writer and editor, joined her. He lived on the far side of the Malahat Mountain and was an infrequent visitor to the Saturday morning gatherings. No other editors braved the weather that morning. Lenore and Chris discovered they liked each other. After fate put them together that day, they started to keep company. Chris wooed Lenore with his poetry and warm eyes, and Lenore captured Chris's heart with her beauty, her winsome smile and her wisdom. They fell in love, and three months later Chris asked for Lenore's hand in marriage. Lenore accepted. In June Lenore and Chris will hold a nuptial celebration, where guests will include such fellow editors and writers as will abound like commas on a page.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Young at Heart(?)

Love poetry is probably one of the first modes that inspires us to put pen to paper. We connect with our interior selves and with another in a meaningful, almost spiritual way. We need to express that 'feeling' and so write it down.
Love poetry is often the genre for young writers who are in the throes of passionate energies that older adults do not permit to flourish in such an unbridled manner, yet love poetry has an honourable tradition.William Shakespeare's sonnets are revered, and none can doubt the romantic works of Donne, Shelley or Brooke and hosts of others.
I never expected to revisit this genre except as a reader, but recently the Universe has smiled on me and put in my path a wondrous female. I was moved and so was she. I had to write about it - that's what writers do. My poem was selected as a monthly winner at: and she liked it too!

Return to Diamond River Books website.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Desperate Authors

I recently heard from an author who has several books in manuscript form ready for readers. His woeful story of getting the books into his readers’ hands is quite typical. By the time I received his query, he'd already exhausted the established route of procuring an agent, and he’d received a drawerful of rejection slips from traditional book publishers. In desperation, he'd subsequently sought out “vanity” publishers, who demanded a lot of money for their layout and printing services and a large print run, and other print on demand (POD) publishers, who will print whatever the author presents, unscrupulously insisted he purchase a minimum 1000 copies of his titles.

He was persuaded to go with a POD publisher, but was badly burned. He invested over $3000 and was left with boxes of unsold, and unread, books.

His despair is not unusual.

It seems that too many commercial operations prey on writers. Each book project becomes a commercial transaction. If you can pay they will put your words into print. The author's sensibilities and painstaking and diligent work are subsumed in the process of transforming the manuscript into a product.

The designation “vanity press” has shades of depredation in its title, or perhaps more truly reflects a poor history. In the infancy of the vanity press, too many poor books were produced. Manuscripts were not edited, books were poorly designed and riddled with grammatical and spelling errors and covers looked cheap. No discussions occurred over a layout that might reflect the intent of the author. It was a service that failed to produce a quality product.

Unfortunately, the vanity press earned a long-lasting reputation, and now even the media often rejects POD books for review, regardless of their quality.

Authors believe that writing the book is the most difficult part of their project, but they are not told of the incredible stamina they need to market, promote and sell their book. Writers are rarely marketers.

If they struggle through the tangled marketing maze on their own, they are beset at every turn by commercial promotional companies who offer representational services -- for large fees -- but will not guarantee results.

At Diamond River Books, I cannot solve all authors' problems, but I do care about the quality of the books I produce. I was gratified to hear recently that a university book store took some of my published books because they didn't look like tasteless POD books.

I can personally guarantee that each book I produce is of high quality and that every effort is made to market the author, the book and the author's point of view.

Return to Diamond River Books website.