Tues. Feb. 14, 2012: Valentine’s Day & Surprising/Disturbing Information

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold
Happy Valentine’s Day!

First of all, you are all my valentines, and I treasure each and every one of you. Thank you for being here.

Second, I’m over at Savvy Authors, blogging about spicing up your writing with Sensory Detail.

Busy day yesterday. Had to catch up on a lot of admin work, bills to pay, and I even got a few letters to old friends tucked in there. Not emails — letters. So that was nice. Worked with my students, worked on the HB edits, worked on my long short story (I’ve got a short story to knock out this week, too), worked on the outline for the second harpy book. Finished the assignment for Confidential Job #1, sent if off, and realized I thought it was due today, when it’s due on the 24th. Well, better early than late, right?

One of my students, who’s part of a writing team, brought me some disturbing news. It seems like WRITERS DIGEST MAGAZINE, who supposedly champions writers and is still the go-to source for people starting out, has partnered with a vanity press. Not only that, the vanity press is approached them, gave them a hard sell about not even trying the traditional publishing route, and they should PAY this organization to publish the book. I checked the website — yup, they’re “a Division” of WRITERS DIGEST.

This team has already completed the draft of a novel, is well into the second, and will probably be deep into a third novel by the end of the year-long class, WHILE keeping up with the short stories in 5 in 10 and even some additional stories they got inspired to write. In fact, one of the pieces they developed in class is already published.

They don’t need a vanity press.

That is so many ways of disgusting it made me want to froth at the mouth. WRITERS DIGEST is supposed to champion writers, guide them into making good business decisions. Instead, they’re lining their own pockets with desperate aspiring writers. This is a huge conflict of interest, and totally hypocritical on their part. We are professionals. We are PAID to work. We do not PAY to work. If you want to do it yourself, hire an editor, a designer, and get a good deal from a PRINTER. Not a POD, not a vanity publisher, but a printer who knows how to bind books. Order an actual print run and act as your own distributor. Instead of the $15/book POD places charge, you can charge $7 or $8 per copy and still have a profit margin of $4 or more per book. I know people who do it — the quality of their titles is great, and they’re in all the local bookstores. It’s a lot of legwork, but it’s truly THEIRS.

I’d stopped reading WD several years ago, because they only have articles for newbies, and they recycle their content about every 14 months or so. Pull out an issue from ten years ago, it’s not going to have much more new information than the current issue, just maybe some references changed for the digital marketing and a different byline. And the article from ten years ago will be much better written than the one in the current issue, nine times out of ten. There’s very little for a working writer except a few market listings and conference listings. But this? Talk about a combination of disappointment, anger, and a really bad taste in my mouth.

On a happier note, I ran errands, stocked up on cat food and groceries, and bought a jasmine plant. It was so pretty, I couldn’t resist. I had to repot it right away (it was potbound), but fingers crossed that it will be happy here. I’m on my way out now to meditation — there’s a Tuesday morning sit not to far away, and then it’s off to return books at the library and do a few more errands, before buckling down and concentrating on student work all afternoon, polishing some lectures, and writing my Writers Vineyard piece for Thursday. I got some tarot cards scanned to give my students some ideas, and have to get a few more of those done today. Working on the business plan, figuring where and how to tweak this and that, so it’s a case of working smart, not just hard.