Thursday, 23 April 2015

Life in a Nutshell

 And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

::: William Shakespeare, As You Like It (c.1599-1600), Act II, scene 1, line 15

It's about time!

For what?

Well, for a blog post. I'm surprised I let my posts lapse so long again. Well, maybe not surprised at that, but surprised at the quick passage of time between then and now.

Being an indie author is hard work and time consuming. Working for a living as a freelance editor on top of that is double the fun. And both fill my days and sometimes my nights too.

Not to mention that I'm still refining my PhD proposal. It's funny how a mere thousand words can be such a hassle. An interesting hassle, and a lifechanging journey, but time-consuming, to be sure. I've just emerged from a month's round of reading, contemplating, and revision. Academic proposals make writing fiction and all the attendant frills like cover letters, synopses, and book pitches look like a cake walk.

Keep your fingers crossed for me - I mailed off my latest proposal draft two days ago to the academic committee who will review it , and though I'm not sure it's ready for primetime, I hope to squeeze by for an offer of place. I had two offers from two universities last year, but didn't win a scholarship for either, so even if I'm admitted to a program this time around, I still have the scholarship hurdle to clear.

As if I didn't have a full plate with all of the above, plus family time, I also decided to be a publisher. Whoa. Insanity.

Multiply your indie author publishing and PR worries geometrically. I almost hesitate to reveal this new endeavor, because although adding an author friend's book to my publishing imprint along with my own novel is exciting, I'm not likely to continue publishing new books under the imprint unless the press sells more copies.

So I'm not accepting manuscripts for consideration at this time, even though I work side-by-side with my fabulous editorial assistant Miss Tootie (pictured) at Tootie-Do Press. I know of much larger operations than mine that publish dozens of e-books a year that have closed recently, and I'm doing both print and e-book - and still the titles seem lost in the tsunami of books 'n e-books published around the globe every year.

I have the advantage and the honor of networking with many writing and reading friends and associates around the world - but then, likely so did the publishers who threw in the towel and closed up shop. So my new position as publisher is a dicey one at best. But I'm having fun with it, and try to have a sense of humor about all the time this endeavor sucks up. If you enjoy unusual speculative fiction and creatively formatted print books - or a quick and inexpensive download for your e-reader - then have a look at our Tootie-Do Press titles.

The Ardent Writer Press
I've also quietly assumed some lit agent duties the past two years and have negotiated contracts for two memoir titles due out this summer and fall - Searching for Nannie B. by Nancy Owen Nelson, PhD (The Ardent Writer Press) and Crime a Day: Death by Electric Chair and Other Boyhood Pursuits by Joe DiBuduo (Jaded Ibis Press). Excitement! I hope that Joe and Nancy's readers will enjoy their memoirs as much as I have - they're both compelling adventures.

Jaded Ibis Productions
Like the publishing endeavor, I'm uncertain whether I'll take on more clients as an agent, but I'll keep my antenna up and my mind open. The reason I'm a little reticent to continue is that many publishers pay royalties just once a year, and I need more work that pays upon completion. And more time to do my own writing!

On that note, it's also about time that the nomination for Loretta Lynch as US Attorney General was finally approved. While I don't agree on her position about legal marijuana (I'm pro and she's con), I think she's a brilliant lady who deserves the position. Her greatest challenges will be about the current - and necessary - furor over lethal use of force by police, especially in regard to African Americans and other minorities - and the homeless and handicapped of all colors - who are unfairly targeted by law enforcement.

So, that's life in a nutshell. Trying on hats. Busy doing, busy thinking, busy growing. Just the way a writing life should be.

PS - Happy Birthday, Will! And I hope all of you, dear readers, had a lovely World Book Day 2015

Tootie-Do Press
Tootie-Do Press