Winter, Spring, Winter, Spring… Make Up Your Mind, Will Ya?

Last week, the heater in our house was running non-stop. Yesterday and today, Max and Mason were swimming in our pool. No, it’s not heated. On Thursday, it’s only going to be in the 60’s. Sure beats a blizzard!!

How to Compile and Publish an Anthology – Part I

How to Compile and Publish an Anthology – Part I

I have compiled and published a few non-fiction anthologies over the years and they have all been successful, both from a research and publishing standpoint in the beginning, and a sales standpoint later. There is a right way and a wrong way to collect and publish a book of stories and/or chapters contributed by others. One way contributes to your professional image while the other can destroy it…

More on the Professionalism of Writers (or lack thereof)

More on the Professionalism of Writers (or lack thereof)

Hi Ang:
As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s mailing. Regarding your response to that teenager (or are you tired of hearing comments on that post?) I wholeheartedly agree that your ‘tough love’ approach was the right one. I can always tell when graduation day is coming close for the public relations students at the community colleges up here in the Toronto area of Canada. In addition to my book and article writing, I also have a few small PR accounts that keep the wolf from the door (very few Canadian writers can make a living out of books and freelance writing) and my name is in several publications indicating I do PR work. Every spring, I get employment query letters from graduating students and I make a point of answering every one of them, telling them that I’m a one-person operation. I can’t recall one instance where I haven’t also had to point out that if the person is applying for a job in public relations, he or she should at least send out a query letter that isn’t riddled with typos and spelling mistakes. I recall one letter where the person suggested he just wanted a temporary job until he could get established as a “real writter”. And, by the way, I have NEVER received a follow-up letter thanking me for my advice.
I once taught Media Writing for a semester at one of the colleges. I knew from Day One that I wouldn’t be renewing the contract when one student, not atypical of the rest of the class, put up his hand and said: “Sir, I want to be a PR man. Why do I have to learn how to write?” When I asked him what he thought PR people did, he said: “Take people out for drinks!”
Tom Douglas

A Large Canadian Publisher Owes Me Money. What Can I Do?

Throughout my long freelance-writing career, I’ve used your “deadbeat” suggestions as a template for a demand letter at least three times when companies wouldn’t pay me for my work. It worked every time. Well, almost every time. In one case, I was sent partial payment for my work (one-third); then the company went out of business. But I understand that other writers received zero, so even then, the letter worked.
But, what recourse do I have if the publisher isn’t in the United States? Threatening to report them to the attorney general and other U.S.-based organizations won’t work.
I ask because a Canadian magazine owes me money. It’s part of a pretty large, fairly well-known publishing company with a portfolio of several publications.
After I wrote the story to my editor’s specifications, she decided she wanted a much longer, more detailed sidebar, which took a ton of additional time and research, but I cheerfully complied and didn’t ask for more money for the extra work. She said (in writing) that the pieces were great and she loved them, and I have the emails to prove this.
Nearly four months have passed, but I have not received one penny. My editor has been giving me the run-around, telling me that she put a “rush” on my payment (she said this on January 11), and she has sent me a few other emails telling me that she’s asked the accounting department to “find” my invoice.
Realizing that I wasn’t getting anywhere, I contacted the accounting department directly. I asked, “When will I get paid?” I received this beat-around-the-bush response:
“Please accept my apology for the delay in replying. It has been quite a difficult start of the week for me. We are working hard at meeting all of our financial obligations…”
This sounds to me like there are no immediate plans to write that check.
I then wrote a note to the magazine’s editor in chief, who has not responded.
Do you have suggestions for next steps?

Whispers And Warnings For February 27th

Amazon, Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan – Indie bookstores have filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Amazon and the Big 6 publishers.
Librarians and Lawyers – “With the proliferation of scholarly journals – particularly open-access Internet journals that charge author fees – some librarians consider themselves on the front lines of the fight to preserve quality publishing.”
Meltwater, a firm that monitors media for companies – sued by the Associated Press for (allegedly) copying/reselling AP content.

We Love Comedy Shows!!!

Richard and I spent the weekend in St. Petersburg and we had a blast! We were invited by comedian Bobby Kelton to Rhonda Shear’s Comedy PJ Party, where he was a performer…

Authors Should NOT Begin a Book with an Apology

I was reviewing a novel the other day and noticed one of the first pages in the book was an apology by the author. She apologized for using real locations in her novel. I know what you’re thinking. Why apologize for that? An apologetic author actually isn’t that uncommon. When reviewing manuscripts submitted for consideration to, I have seen public apologies from authors in books for a variety of reasons…

Does Your Child’s School Own Your Child’s Writing?

Hi Angela,
Back in November my son’s school sent me this form to sign and I refused. They wanted claim not only over my son’s work – but mine as well! Everyone laughed at me and called me paranoid, but then you posted your article. Not so paranoid anymore. Thank you!
Here is the language the district used:
“Consent to the use, release, and/or publication by the District of my and/or my child’s name, image (in any form) and creative work through any medium whatsoever, including but not limited to, the internet, written publication, and broadcast for any educational, editorial, promotional, business or other purpose without prior notice or compensation. The District may exercise its rights as it deems appropriate for its productions, for advertising, and for other purposes. By signing below, I intend for the District to rely upon this Release”
Scary stuff, huh?
Best regards,

Feedback, Consider the Source and More – Rich Mintzer

If a writer writes and nobody reads it is he or she still a writer? On behalf of those who have written some remarkable diaries, stories or screenplays that have been neatly tucked away in drawers or saved in password protected files, writing can certainly be a self-fulfilling undertaking. But for many writers the next step is to invite others into their world, to read their work, explore their thoughts and possibly open the door to the wide range of responses, reactions and opinions that we collectively call feedback. It is from such feedback that we can re-think, re-shape and re-rewrite our work, unless of course we choose to simply reject it. Yes, as writers, we do have the power over feedback to accept it, question it, utilize some of it or simply ignore it…

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