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Going Hybrid

A great look at the realities of hybrid publishing.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

35 miles per bale

On Tuesday, we talked about publishers soliciting authors in the guise of a publication offer.

That’s not a book deal. That’s a (slick) commercial for their services.

But for some authors, “hybrid” publishing works. Could it be right for you?

Old-school vanity publishers know their terrible reputations, and many have rebranded as “hybrid.” They charge authors a “contribution” that pays their costs and a healthy profit margin. They don’t care if your book sells—they already made their money. You may end up with cartons of unsold books, text badly or not-at-all edited, dreadful covers, crappy page design.

True hybrid presses offer a legitimate package of publishing services. It costs more than self-publishing—they still profit before selling your book—but you’re not doing it all yourself. Hybrids can provide a smoother publication process, bookstore placement, reviews, and some of the legitimacy of an imprint.

Is hybrid right for…

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Fiction Southeast – “Why Is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?”

Just wanted to share this most recent publication, an amusing essay about the foibles of the writing life. Other artists might find themselves in these anecdotes, as well!

Here’s the opening, followed by a link to the full essay:

The life of an author can be peculiar. Certain experiences ought to be grand events accompanied by trumpets and elephants, or at least a little snowfall of confetti and cake served up by your bestie. Moments like winning an award. Or signing with an agent. Or plunging into a writing career possessed by a passion that surely will mulch any obstacle in the wood chipper of artistic devotion.

Sometimes, however, you fall down the rabbit hole and discover that the Duchess’ baby has turned into a pig. The first two weeks of my writing career, for example, were spent curled up under my dining room table.

Source: Fiction Southeast – “Why Is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?”

Free Short Graphic Stories

For several months, I have been delighted and moved by the short graphic stories produced by artists and author Dasha Ziborova. Once a month, she produces a graphic story about a part of her life, something that spurred her thoughts, or a fiction…usually one that is moving and funny at the same time!

To check out her stories for yourself, go to her page on RealTimeInInk. There you can get a glimpse of the kind of artwork she produces. You can also follow the link embedded in the page to sign up for the subscription yourself.

Here’s how she describes her work:

Real Time In Ink is a series of graphic stories by artist and author Dasha Ziborova. It covers a broad range of topics from people, places, parenting, art, music, cats, food, travel, to occasional politics and scary crazy Russians.
https://www.realtimeinink.com

Dasha Ziborova is a graphic novelist, picture book illustrator and a muralist. She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and came to New York in 1991. Since then Dasha illustrated five children’s picture books including the award-winning Crispin the Terrible published by Callaway Editions, and In English, of Course and The Numbers Dance by Gingerbread House. She is currently working on developing short graphic stories about New York and it’s inhabitants.
https://www.ziborova.com

Book Review: Between Two Fires by Mark Noce

Here is a repost of a book review from last year. I’ll have a review of the second title in this series posting on December 8, so be ready for the latest on this historical series!

Writer's Resource Blog

Release date: August 2016 from Thomas Dunne Books

This power-packed historical novel is the first in a series…and it’s going to have readers beating on the publisher’s door for more.

Look, I’ll be the first to tell you that historical fiction can be a real slough. In the wrong author’s hands, novels set in any time period earlier than maybe 20 years ago can bog down in details…what folks wore, how they acted, the mores of their society, what their culture told them was right, how they rebelled…endless, really.

But in a strong author’s hands, historical fiction is a true delight. And that’s what Noce has delivered with Between Two Fires: a work that moves along briskly while providing everything they need to know to dive into the period. Never once will readers be left wondering, “What. What? Who? How did that happen?”

Part of the strength of this work…

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Cutest Dual-language Picture Book!

English-Spanish Hardcover resizedJuvenile author Wendy Gilhula has sent me a copy of her debut work. Pika Bunny and the Thunderstorm has some of the sweetest illustrations I’ve seen in a long time!

Gilhula and I worked together some years ago on prose and poetry she had written. The ideas she had just would not let her go. One of them was a series of stories about a bunny named Pika.

Pika Bunny explores the world and illustrates the most touching elements of the parent-child relationship. After Gilhula put her ideas down on paper, she found a publisher who wanted not just one of the works, but several.

Today she is celebrating because Pika Bunny has found life in several formats. The debut story is available in paperback and hardbound versions. There are also English-only and Spanish-English editions, for a total of four versions!

When I received my copy, I reread the story that had demanded the author’s time and focus. Pika Bunny is frightened by a thunderstorm. Then he learns all the good things about rain and thunder. Pika Bunny triumphs over his fear!

PikaBedWashFrom the first page, I really was taken in by the illustrations. Adrianna Allegretti is the illustrator here.

Like most children’s books, the illustrations stay focused on the characters. In a few places, however, Allegretti opts to draw only the storm or other elements of nature.

The combination of the characters in nature, in their cozy interior spaces, and the ones that allow nature to roam free across the page lend this work a particular feeling readers will love.

One of the coolest things about Pika Bunny is that the work is available in a dual-language version. The story is told in Spanish and English, with the same text running in both languages on the same page.

The work has been nominated for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator’s (SCBWI’s) Golden Kite Award. 

Of special note is the dedication in the front of the book. Gilhula thanks a number of individuals, all by listing their first names and the first initial of their last name. These are all kids who were her beta readers!

She wanted to honor the contributions of these dedicated fans. And here she has, while also preserving their identities and therefore their safety.

Want more of this cuteness and sweet words? Tune in next week for an interview with author Wendy Gilhula!

On seeing and being seen

Yesterday I came across a New York Times article about a guy who listened to all the records on NPR’s list of greatest music by women. Whenever he talked about his dedication to hearing all the music on the list, people were shocked that he would be listening to “women’s music.”
Now, “women’s music” is, according to him, a genre that (as he describes it) is one woman and a guitar. Folksy, perhaps. But specific. And not the kind that is widely popular.
Even though he constantly said no, he was listening to “music by women” rather than “women’s music,” the misunderstandings continued.
It reminded me, painfully, of the idea in publishing and among readers (and reviewers, and art organizations that provide awards) that fiction about women is “women’s fiction” (i.e., chick lit or romance or fill in the blank with whatever genre is currently considered the lowest of the lowbrow). Or, on the wildly mistaken far end of that opinion, that fiction written by women is also always women’s fiction.
Then my partner, who is a woodworker and is reading the book of a woman who has made a name for herself as a woodworker, shared this article.
Let’s change publishing, fiction, and reading (and thus the world) by having parity for women in publishing options, review options, marketing deals, and awards opportunities.

Lost Art Press

PWNov09CVRrevised2 A knockout indeed

I’ve lost track of how many times people have written “So great to see a woman in the magazine!” following the publication of a project feature. For years I’d roll my eyes and think Never mind my gender. WHAT ABOUT THE WORK?

It’s thorny, this issue of gender representation in woodworking. You can say pretty much the same about race. When you’re the odd one out, it’s easy for readers to see only what makes you different. Which is galling when, for you, what matters is the work.

While I was on hold during a recent phone call, I glanced at Instagram and found myself tagged by Sarah Marriage at A Workshop of Our Own. She was commenting on a post by Phoebe Kuo. “Have you heard about our woodshop drinking game?” asked Sarah. “You take a shot every time you see a woman depicted working…

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