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Saturday, April 30, 2011


I still argue that in the brouhaha that is publishing, we
often forget about the reasons that traditional publishing
existed to begin with, and why writers didn't just publish
themselves from the outset.
Traditional publishers fund works out of their pockets,
and they beat a dead horse in terms of preparing a book
for release. This has been true since Gutenberg printed
the first Bible. So I believe traditional publishing will
continue for many years to come.
Yes, I tend to lean to the . . . traditional side. (Bet you
thought I was going to say right or left, huh?) However, I've
self-published as well. I've seen good self-publishing and bad.
I've seen good agents and bad. I've marveled at good traditional
works and bad.
Nothing in publishing is perfect.
However, two items get overlooked, in my opinion, when it
comes to do-it-yourself publication.
1. Platform
2. Editing
The Steve Laube Literary Agency has quite the informative
blog, and lately they've run a series called, "A Defense of
Traditional Publishing." The latest post of April 26 addressed
"Content Development."
A reader cursed me (yes, I'm a "biatch") for advising her to
slow down, complete her book, and edit it to death before
considering the publisher, the movie, or the television
appearances. The point I tried to make was that editing
isn't a simple proofreading job before you forward the file
to a publisher.
Steve Laube explained the multiple editing tasks under a
traditional roof.
ACQUISITIONS EDITOR - Finds, acquires, negotiates the project.
LINE EDITOR - Performs the actual content edit (also call the
"line"  or "substantive" edit).
CONTENT EDITOR - Reads for accuracy, balance and fairness,
cogency of argument, adequate treatment of the subject matters,
and conformity to the original book proposal.
COPY EDITOR - Scours the manuscript for accuracy in grammar,
citations, and factual content.
PROOF READER - Fine tunes punctuation and other nit-picky details.
Yes, there's room for self-publishing, especially if you
have a platform to die for, and a following that would
purchase anything you held up in your hand. But if you
are venturing into the publishing world alone, wouldn't
you want these people in your court?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Books by our authors

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Meet the Author"

Went to a "Meet the Author" in Philly on Saturday. The guest author was Hector R. Ortiz, author of "The Creative Energy of Positive Thinking."  It was a very interesting and informative evening.  I'm considering asking him to speak at my conference!  I bought a copy of his book and he autographed it.  I also had the opportunity to introduce myself and network with the president of Taller Puertorriqueno, and another lady that was head of another Latino organization.  I handed out business cards and received very positive comments about the conference.  Now I'm looking forward to next month's event, "What it means to be Afro-Latino in Philadelphia: Stories from El Barrio."  This is going to be a photo-documentary by photographer Sandra Andino, and it promises to be interesting as well.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Writing talent isn't something you're born with. You might
like it more than the person next to you, but you weren't
birthed ready to pen a bestselling tome. Writing is work.
There's nothing accidental about it, and the sooner you
understand that, the sooner you'll tackle a realistic 
writing venture - with less disappointment.

I've counseled people who've decided to do an about-face
and write. They've decided to do what they love for a
change. My concern is, have they been writing all along and
just now took it serious? Or have they decided they like
the idea of writing and want to take up the craft?

Either is admirable. However, writing becomes worthy,
improves, and grows only with use, critique and study. It
doesn't just happen. A writer isn't an actress discovered
beside a dime store soda fountain by a Hollywood director.
A writer earns his way, starting at the bottom and working
up. These days many decide that when they are going to 
write, that means publish. Who wants to write and not
publish? However, writing isn't synonymous with publishing. 
Publishing is what you do once you've learned how to write.

With practice, study, review and repetition, a voice takes
root. You aren't born with voice. It evolves with each 
word you pen. You don't look for it. You don't develop
a plan and create it. It comes with the confidence of telling
a story, after many attempts and a lot of backing up and
starting over.

I'm often asked in conferences or online chats, "If you 
could give one piece of advice to writers, what would
it be?" Without a doubt, it would be to write more
and publish slowly. I've seen too many people hurt by 
doing the opposite.

When someone asks for a consult with me, I always ask
for their educational, publishing and writing background.
Some have never published, yet are writing a book they
think is the next King, Rowling, Clancy or Patterson.
I admire their determination. But then I wonder how
many realize that they are talking about a multi-year 
venture? Most don't. I can usually tell which ones are
deceiving themselves. I always pray I'm wrong.

I want you to succeed. I want to see your name on the
top 100 lists, the top 10 lists, the bestseller lists.
Who doesn't love seeing people they know rise to the
top? But it pains me to see people sabotage their
writing future by writing one piece then decide it 
can be published without an editor, without rewrites,
without critique.

Coca Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken didn't become
household names using the first formulas they tried.
It wasn't until after following countless tests that they
found a flavor the public loved. Cologne, clothes,
cars, recipes and architecture are all the same. The
first, second, or even third drafts are just steps in
a journey. That way the end result is more predictable,
more likely to win consumer approval.

Practice makes perfect.