Wednesday, February 10, 2016

IMAGINE THIS - writing and publishing a book

In this email Gene sent a list of places his recently published book can be found online.
Here are the links to Gene’s eBook listings:

I am excited for Gene. He was my student for a year while we worked on this book. Together we worked on all the basics of writing because Gene had never taken a writing class. I was impressed. He was a quick learner and practiced what he learned in his revisions and re-writing. 

Gene has a terrific imagination and can create a story in a few minutes. His stories are not the usual subjects one might find in today’s magazine. They grab the reader and keep her turning the pages.

Imagine This is the tale of two grandparents who are feeling the void of the empty nest. Their children are grown and live far away. The grandchildren come and leave too soon while Papa and Mema stand with tears running down their cheeks as they wave goodbye. Mema, the nurturing mother and grandmother, hurts the most when she enters her suddenly quiet and lonely house.

Gene Vickers with Bear and Lilly

It is not that the grandparents don’t keep busy. Papa is a woodworker who has a shop in his garage. He goes fishing and visits with his friends for coffee each day. Mema stays busy with church and her friends, but both have lost their inner child, their playfulness that children bring out in all of us. When we lose our ability to create, to imagine, we become old, feel useless, and lose our spontaneity and sharpness. Mema found a way to imagine, and to believe as well, with the help of a little stuffed bear. This book is unusual because it appeals to children and to adults. The best way to enjoy this book is to read it to the children, I believe. Grandparents should have a copy for when the kids come. 

When Gene came to me for help with his writing, he said he wanted to publish this book for the public but more importantly, for his family, his grandchildren. 

As I tell all of my students, I said, “You will have to be willing to have the book read by others and edited by others to make sure it is the best it can be.” 

Before it left my hands, it was copy edited and content edited by two competent people other than me. Today’s authors speak of beta writers, qualified people who read a manuscript from front to back and give constructive critique. An author who has excellent contacts with other writers often finds beta writers among his friends, in his writing groups or online. An author can also pay for beta writers, but the best authors have many pairs of eyes read their manuscripts before sending them to the publisher. 

I could not advise Gene as to where he might find a traditional publisher for this book that was not just a children’s book, but was written with grandparents in mind. I knew if he began trying to publish traditionally, it would be a long, drawn out experience that could be very disappointing. For one thing, he didn’t have a readership. Publishers today want an author to already have a following. His best chance was finding a small press, but they won’t publish a book that they don’t feel will sell well. Unless an author has been writing and reading his work to the public, or publishing his stories in journals or magazines, he will have a hard time marketing a first book. In today’s literary world, most small presses will want an author to have an online presence with followers. 

Gene contacted Georgia Mountain Publishing, LLC. He worked with Barbara Harkins who continued the editing process until she and Gene hammered out the final copy. Gene had to face some difficult truths about publishing, things new writers always have to accept. He had to listen to an experienced publisher who had to convince him of what was best. I was not surprised. Other students of mine had to learn to put their trust in strangers; editors or publishers who know the ropes. Those professionals can make a huge difference in the outcome of a book.

The Hard Work Begins

Once a book is published, the author is in the writing business. The hard work begins once the book is printed. Marketing is not in the DNA of writers. We sit alone and pour out words, tell our stories, and feel good when someone likes what we write. 

That is why in recent years I have begun to hold workshops on publishing and marketing. In May we will hold a three-hour workshop on publishing and on another Saturday, we will discuss marketing. 

Tara Lynne Groth will teach at Writers Circle in August. She will share her vast knowledge of online marketing and using social media to promote our writing. 

Beginning Tuesday, March 1, I will teach a six-week course in creative writing at Tri-County Community College in Murphy, NC. 
This class is for people, like Gene Vickers was, who would like to write, have not taken writing classes but want to learn the basics of what is needed to complete a story, poem, or true stories about their lives. Even those who have published a poem or short story will benefit from the class if they want to move forward. 

My students say at first they were afraid to take a class, but once they came in and found all the other folks felt the same way, and no one was going to make them feel bad, they suddenly began to enjoy the class. Few people drop out of my classes once they have attended a couple of times. Most people repeat the classes several times to stay motivated and to learn more and more.

To register for my class beginning March 1, 6 – 8 p.m. Tuesdays, contact Lisa at the college. Fee is only $35 for twelve hours of instruction. Great deal.
To Register: Contact -Lisa Long 
Director of Community Outreach
(828) 835-4241

Nothing pleases me more than the success of my students. I love to help a fellow writer on the way to reaching his goals. If that was not so, I would sit home and write all day every day instead of teaching and inviting instructors to come and teach at Writers Circle. If I had found classes and writers in the state and town where I used to live when I was younger, I might have begun publishing much earlier than I did. Don't put off something you have always wanted to do. Do it now.


Joan Ellen Gage said...

I wish Gene Vickers all the best with his book.It is not a simple task, as you say.

You are the hardest working poet I know, Glenda! You keep us informed with your articles and classes. Kudos to you, too!

Gene Vickers said...

I appreciate you mentioning my book on your blog. And especially a "big thanks" for your willingness to help others improve their writing skills. Your classes are very helpful to new writers like myself. The atmosphere is relaxed and friends are easily made who share similar interest.

Gene Vickers

Glenda Beall said...

Joan and Gene,
Thank you for leaving your comments. I appreciate my blog readers.