Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Hey All,

I assume most of the people reading this blog are interested in things literary. Why else would you be reading this? All I talk about is books! So let’s talk about books. And publishing. And graphic novels. And acquisitions. And agents. And young adult writing. And…..everything else? I can’t talk about everything and frankly you wouldn’t want me to! I’m not an expert, just a girl with a little obsession.

But there’s a conference next month where experts WILL be talking about these things. Write to Publish, or Oolicon, will be May 22-23. I will be there both days, to check out the local literary scene on Sunday, but mostly to learn from the experts on Saturday.

Here’s the workshops I find most interesting:

Young Adults Trends and Audience (Sara Ryan, two-time Oregon Book Award winner in the YA category): Young adult (YA) fiction is one of the most lively and profitable genres in publishing. Get an overview of current and upcoming trends and tips on writing for this diverse and voracious audience.

Graphic Novels: Publishing and Process (Brett Warnock, head publisher, Top Shelf Productions; Aaron Colter, marketing coordinator, Dark Horse Comics): Graphic novels are more popular now than ever before. The intricacies of the publishing process for this genre are varied and unique, and new technologies have created exciting possibilities for graphic novel writers and readers. This workshop will examine the opportunities and difficulties inherent in the creation of graphic novels. Learn the importance of design and marketing in this medium.

Writers, Conventions, and the Web: A Friendship (Bo Johnson, head publisher, Bowler Hat Comics): Learn about building your presence on the web and how conventions can help you get your foot in the door. This workshop will give you the tools you need to make your next convention visit more productive. Learn the many ways to network and promote yourself as an author.

So, everyone, buy your tickets for the workshops NOW!! Support Ooligan, of course, but really this is for writers –  to help authors learn about the industry from the experts. Be there or be square. Plus, Ursula K. LeGuin will be there – now there’s an author worth obsessing over.

Workshops: HERE.

Industry Mingle and Author Stage: HERE.

I’m going to be honest – at some level, I’m using this blog as my own personal sounding board. I write about what I’m thinking about, what’s bothering me, and what I need to figure out for Ooligan Press, for The Grove Review, for Carol White Marketing, or for my job.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to market The Grove Review’s Issue 5.

Here’s my list so far, in no particular order:

  1. Press Release for Issue 5’s release and party
  2. Create new website, with blog, and get articles from past contributors
  3. Plan a release party
  4. Create a Facebook plan/Possibly also Twitter
  5. Schedule/register for local conferences
  6. Send a mailing to current and past subscribers and contributors
  7. Set up e-issues for online purchase
  8. Schedule/plan a reading for authors
  9. Get reviews (post on website and contributors’ websites)
    (Design ad/link for contributors’ websites)
  10. Create swag for conferences and release party (bookmarks)

And how does that sound? It seems to me like this plan should appeal to those who love online outlets while not leaving out those who still like getting old-fashioned pieces of mail. I’d love some feedback.

The Grove Review is looking for a new distributor, and I’m having trouble finding one. I’ve sent out lots of emails to other literary journals and magazines in the Northwest, asking for recommendations, but many of the responses I’ve gotten are:

Yes, we have a distributor; We use  _______; And NO, we can’t recommend them.

Why can’t anyone recommend their distributor? Are all of these small presses just dissatisfied with their sales, and blame the distributor? Or, perhaps, are distributors just trying to take on too many books and therefore can’t really give each one the necessary amount of time? I wish I knew.

I would really like to use a smaller distributor, one that focuses on the Northwest and independent booksellers, but Baker & Taylor and Ingram seem to be taking over ALL distribution for books in the U.S. – which seems like a bad thing.

So, any suggestions for a distributor?

I recently decided that I’m a coward when it comes to reading. I’m not adventurous, or brave, or intrepid in any way at all. Instead, I often stick to the same genres, same authors, same series, etc. I am one of those people who read the same book over and over and over, but (to quote from You’ve Got Mail) do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave?

In my book marketing class the other day, we were discussing the efficacy of book blurbs on the back cover…do we buy books based on the description? I answered yes, of course, but the truth is that I buy books based on whether I’ve heard of the author, read another book by that author or in that series, and whether I like the genre of that book.

I honestly don’t often venture into the Fiction section of the bookstore or the library. I stick to the areas I know: fantasy and science fiction, YA, cooking, mystery, etc. I like these sections, but I think it’s more because I am overwhelmed by the number of books and authors I don’t know in the fiction section. I’ve been reading the other books for so long that I’m familiar with many of them, and I feel comfortable there.

I don’t know why I’m so reluctant to venture forth from my tidy little hobbit hole of reading habits. One of my favorite things about the library is that I can bring a book home, read five pages, and then return the book if I dislike it. Part of it, I think, is that I started reading very young and read several books that I shouldn’t have read until I was older. I read The Color Purple, for example, when I was in fifth grade – way too young to be reading about the subjects covered in that book – and so now I have this fear of somehow reading something that will traumatize me.

Which is just silly for a grown woman. I read a fantasy book recently where the main character has a very vivid nightmare about being raped, and I stopped reading. Apparently I’m one of those people who cannot handle the harsh realities of literature. Fiction is too “real” for me.

But I’m going to try harder to venture out of my comfort zone, to try and read books by authors unknown on subjects as yet unexplored. I owe it to myself, and to the authors, and to the art of writing – books aren’t always meant to be cozy and happy. Sometimes we all need to read something unfamiliar and uncomfortable, and it’s those kinds of books that help us most to grow. I don’t remember a lot of the books I read in childhood, unless the plot disturbed me in some way, and I think I remember those books because they taught me something or made me think. Which isn’t a bad thing at all…so why have I been avoiding it?

As I mentioned before in an earlier post, I am now the Managing Editor of The Grove Review, a local literary journal, and I’m very excited about it. I started working with The Grove in October, as an intern, but it quickly became apparent to me that The Grove needed someone who was a little more willing to take charge and get things done – so I did.

But I was impressed right from the very beginning with the warmth and friendship at The Grove. Matt, the publisher, invited everyone who wasn’t going home for Thanksgiving to come to his house; Gregory, the fiction editor, invited me to a Doctor Who marathon, and our meetings are often sidetracked into fun and crazy subjects that Matt calls “entertaining, but not useful.” As busy as I am, I think I make time for this publication mostly because I like the people.

Sadly, several of our group are leaving us – one accepted a job in Eugene, one is going off to grad school at Columbia, and one is graduating and hoping to focus on her own writing projects. So we’re looking for new volunteers. And I’m hoping we can get a few great people to complement the already great group we have.

Here’s the official blurb about our volunteer recruiting:

The Grove Review, one of Portland’s finest literary journals, is looking for new volunteers and interns for the spring/summer seasons!

The Grove Review volunteer group creates a meaningful exchange, where volunteers work to print the journal and gain valuable publishing experience, while contributing their own new and innovative ideas. In return, participants are given the opportunity to interact with a wonderful group of professionals in the Pacific Northwest publishing industry and the larger community of Northwest writers.  Volunteers leave with valuable skills in a range of areas, and the knowledge that they have left a mark on the development and trajectory of a first-rate literary magazine.

Currently, the Grove is looking for several individuals with interests in marketing, social networking, poetry, and/or art. We publish art, fiction, and poetry and our latest issue will be out in June. To that end, we want to publicize the release, host a launch party, and generally let the Northwest literary community know more about our amazing journal. To do that, we need submission readers, marketers, and people interested in writing and publishing to come help us. We meet every two weeks or so.

While there is no monetary compensation available (The Grove Review is a non-profit publication), you will receive publishing experience and meet great new people. College credit is available for students. If you have any questions, contact Maureen@thegrovereview.org.

If you are interested in working with us, please submit your areas of interest with experience (and resume, if applicable) to matt@thegrovereview.org. Visit www.thegrovereview.org for more information about the journal.

I love YA and kid’s books, and so I’m always excited when a writer that I’ve grown up with is in Portland. I read Louis Sachar’s Wayside School books when I was in like 3rd grade – the fact that I’m excited about his writing (I enjoyed Holes and plan to buy this new sequel) FIFTEEN years later just shows what a great writer Sachar is.

Official blurb:

Louis Sachar (Central Library, @1:00pm): The sequel to Holes, Louis Sachar’s National Book Award and Newbery Medal winning novel, is coming to the Oregon Children’s TheatreSmall Steps is the continuing story of life after Camp Green Lake. Upon his release from the camp, Armpit decides to improve his life — one small step at a time. Join us before the world premiere for a discussion with this engaging author and the play’s director to learn more about the fascinating book-to-stage adaptation process and the further adventures of the story’s funny and down-to-earth characters.

Friday Font 4/16