Friday, November 14, 2008


Authonomy is a web site from Harper Collins (UK) where authors, aspiring writers and bibliophiles can keep up with new releases and show off their own work. This is from their own site:

"Get Read. Get Noticed. Get Published.

authonomyTM is a brand new community site for writers, readers and publishers, conceived and developed by book editors at HarperCollins. We want to flush out the brightest, freshest new literature around ...

If you’re a writer, authonomy is the place to show your face – and show off your work on the web. Whether you’re unpublished, self-published or just getting started, all you need is a few chapters to start building your profile online, and start connecting with the authonomy community.

And if you’re a reader, blogger publisher or agent, authonomy is for you too. The book world is kept alive by those who search out, digest and spread the word about the best new books – authonomy invites you to join our community, champion the best new writing and build a personal profile that really reflects your tastes, opinions and talent-spotting skills.

The publishing world is changing. One thing’s for sure: whether you’re a reader, writer, agent or publisher, this is an exciting time for books. In our corner of HarperCollins we’ve been given a chance to do something a little different.

We’d really love your help."

It's a win win situation for both Harper Collins and those in the industry. They can find the latest hidden talent and the gifted writer can be discovered. It's a new era in the publishing industry where, within cyberspace, like minded individuals can find each other and do what they love doing. Millions of books, millions of writers and only thousands of publishers. Anyplace that can facilitate the meeting of the two can't be bad.

Friday, November 7, 2008

National Novel Writing Month

We're well into November and if you haven't already started, get out your pens or keyboards and start writing. In their own words: "Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30....Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly."
They have a youth category too. The youth category does not have the word limit. So, tell your kids about it. They might actually find it fun and helpful. My 10 year old son (who is 11 now) tried it. He wasn't sure about it at first. Then, he approached the paper as if it were infected with some horrible disease. Cautiously, he touched it, didn't die, then wrote a sentence. Realizing that nothing remotely fatal was going to follow, he wrote another, awkward sentence. Then another, and another, until, much to his chagrin, the process began to elicit his hidden creativity. He could no longer hide his pursuance for plots, interesting characters and the ultimate provocative finale. He completed his contribution. In the process, he discovered something about himself that he had not know before. He was capable of writing for fun. He had the ability to apply pen to paper and create a tale from from the resources of his own mind. That, he had previously assumed, was something "authors" did. It wasn't something he was capable of. Since the average person couldn't perform surgery, the same held true for writing...or did it? Even the surgeon had to start somewhere. He had to have the interest in order to go to school and study his trade. Without that, nothing else would matter. And so it was, another inner writer was unleashed, if only for a few weeks. Isn't that what its all about?
My daughter, who is in her 20s with her own son, is very creative, but too busy at this stage in her life to stop and write anything for any period of time.
Since there are no expectations other than word count and time constraints, the pressure is minimal. And, who knows, you might find that next great novel hidden within the recesses of your normally confined imagination. At the very least, you'll be writing and contributing to the greater good. Maybe, just maybe, you'll find your inner Faulkner, Alcott, Bradbury or even Shakespeare.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Writing, history and promotions

Promoting a book is a bit like hitting the campaign trail. You have to forget your modesty for a moment and let people know why they should actually buy your book. It isn't always easy for someone who is not comfortable in the spotlight. Eventually, however, you learn to shift into a different mode when you're at a book signing. You must let go of your inhibitions in order to focus on your product. What does this book have to offer? Why should a person put down their hard earned money on this particular book?
One thing this presidential election can teach us is that anyone can succeed. Anyone who is brave, determined, intelligent and confident enough can persevere amidst all adversity. You must keep your eye on the prize and never pay attention to the "dream killers". Sure we can learn from constructive criticism but we have to know the difference. If we stop believing in ourselves, no one else will believe in us. So, here's to dreams in all its wonderful forms. If we follow an honest and harmonious path, the journey will truly be worth the destination.