Surprised, I told her I thought all science people really raked in the cash with those grants.
Oh, no, she said. Post-docs, researchers, all sorts of people, they aren't paid very much.
I said, They also exploit young people. Because they're young, employers think they don't have to pay much.
She said, They do it to journalists, too. I said Yes, I know; I worked at a newspaper where goodies like circus tickets were supposed to compensate for pathetic paychecks.
Now I wonder: In how many professions are skilled and dedicated workers being b.s.'ed that they shouldn't be well paid because they have "the privilege of doing it." And like fools we believe and profess and accept that! What a wonderful scam!
(Winner of the June 2008 Artificial Difficulty Award!)
- "The role of the writer in society is to keep us awake."
- "Poetry is like music; talking about it is not experiencing it."
- "Each first line [of a poem] is an argument for the poem's existence." (For example: "About suffering they were never wrong, the old masters. . ."; "You don't remember the hanging, but you do. . ."; "Each lover has a theory of his own . . .")
- "It's rhythm that marches your reader through the poem."
- "You know you're really writing well when you're surprising yourself."
President Mom's cabinet will be working women who know how to juggle everything and get things done. She will award medals to stay-at-home mothers, nurses, cancer patients, and graduate students. Dick Cheney will soon be laughing out of the other side of his mouth. When the Democrats and Republicans have stupid arguments she will say "Cut it out or I'll knock your heads together."
My friend replied, "It can't hurt."
The only thing in astrology that has always, always worked for me is the Moon Void-of-Course (VOC). Anything done during a Moon VOC period (every 2 or 3 days -- can last the whole day or a few minutes) will come to nothing. Moon Void is a great time to have a mammogram. It's a crummy time to make important calls, send manuscripts, start a novel or make a commitment. I've tested this over a period of years. Anything for more confidence!
Astrologer Georgia Nichols follows the Moon Void patterns, and her daily horoscope column will always say when (it's U.S. Eastern time) it's a good time to make decisions or spend money, or when to hold off. It's right at the top, under the heading "Moon Alert." Try it. It can't hurt.
#7. Don’t apologize onstage. If you make a mistake, a slip of the tongue, knock over the mike, etc., ACKNOWLEDGE it by saying “Oops!” or “Let me try that again,” and MOVE ON. Never begin a reading by apologizing for anything. (“Some of these poems aren’t very good” “This is an excerpt from a novel, so it probably won’t make any sense to you”) The audience doesn’t perceive this as honesty or humility. They've wasted their time coming to hear literature that even the author thinks is no good.
#8. People will not remember what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel. (Attributed to Walt Disney)
#9. Heckling is rare, but don’t ignore it if it happens. Always have a response ready. At a reading in a pub, I saw a poet heckled by a drunk. The poet bravely tried to ignore him. Rather, he should have acknowledged the heckler by saying something like Hank Williams used to say: “Somebody get a shovel and cover that up over there.” Dick Gregory, who integrated the Playboy Club, handled a heckler thus (preserved on a live recording): “If you don’t like me, why don’t you just get up, burn your cross and leave?”#10. Is your audience fidgeting, bored, escaping out the exits -- while you're reading? Change your tone. Not your speed, but your tone.
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- If sending out a mass e-mail to 5 million perfect strangers, at a cost to you of $2,359, sounds to you like an effective way to market your self-published book. . .
- If you think establishing an author website or a book website* will make your book sales soar. . .
- If it sounds like a good idea to spend $1,387 to submit the link from your website to 3,000 websites with no guarantees that any of them will post your link. . .
I wish at this time to let everyone know that "self-published" does not mean "rich" or "naive" or "devoid of common sense."
*All authors should have such a site, but such sites aren't sales tools. They are contact tools. When was the last time you bought a book through an author's website?
Also, in comments published on this site and Booklocker's, a self-published author warns that when she attempted to close her account with an Amazon affiliate publisher and switch to another, they "retired" her title. When she protested, wanting the book entirely out of their hands, they said they would fully "remove" her book from Amazon's listings. But they didn't, so it's still there; it's just that nobody can buy it. When closing her account they "retired" the title of a book of hers that was almost in press, a move that made that title theirs; she fought and got it back, but only on a technicality. Now that's artificial difficulty! A crazy-making situation more than worthy of the May 2008 Artificial Difficulty Award.
-Professional copyediting and proofreading of the initial manuscript and final proof. Money spent on this is money well spent. Don't economize by trying this alone. Your readers will love finding the inevitable errors, and you will hate paying the self-publisher to correct and reprint your book.
-Professional layout or setup of the book's interior. This may be called "the setup fee" and is often included in the base price. The self-publisher has the proper software for this.
-Professional cover design. You may supply the photo or illustration, but don't insist on drawing or lettering your own cover. If you don't like what the publisher's graphic artist suggests, ask for another design.
-Register your book with the Library of Congress. It sounds easy: Fill out forms and write a check. But the forms are complicated, rather like patent applications, and with my first book only an 18-month correspondence straightened everything out. Save your mental health and pay $100 to get it done.
Don't waste your money on:
-Independently buying your own cut-rate ISBN number for your book. A self-publishing firm will not be able to use it.
-The pricey package allowing you "unlimited customization" of your book. Why pay your chosen self-publishing firm thousands of dollars just for the luxury of spurning its help and advice?
-Promotional or marketing packages that will compose press releases, send your books to reviewers, and so on. Self-published books do not benefit from these tactics.
May 20, 12 noon: A promotional E-mail from BookSurge (how’d they find me?) offers me 20 free copies of my own book if I self-publish with them before May 30. I’m curious and reply.
May 21, 10:20 a.m.: A deft and polite BookSurge sales rep ACTUALLY PHONES ME. I said I had a 90-page book of poetry, print-ready, in PDF format. Faint hint of dismay (poetry?!) detected. To publish this book in paperback I’d pay them only $299 and get 1 copy. If, like most authors, I had a plain, no-pictures, word-processing manuscript, not print-ready, requiring interior layout and design, I’d pay $499 and get 1 copy.
Honestly, the above two deals are competitive in all details with other good self-publishers. Except Booksurge alone can currently say, coquettishly, “We are one of the few self-publishing, print-on-demand companies that can guarantee availability on Amazon.com always.”
But what about my 20 free copies? I asked the rep. Turns out that Booksurge’s May special isn’t for penny-ante printing like mine, but for their Total Design Freedom Packages: $799 to $2,749. (Note: The traditional publishing industry has never given authors a say in their covers or bindings, much less total design freedom. It sounds good, but you don’t need it.)
Like other PODs, BookSurge has optional promotional tools, but only BookSurge, being Amazon, can pair your book with an Amazon bestseller as a tag-along (“buy this too”) suggestion on the bestseller’s page -- if you pay $1,000 a month.