Author, Editor, Publisher, Coach

Category: Uncategorized (Page 3 of 3)

Why Are So Many Snarks Circling the Internet Waters?

“The reputation through a thousand years may depend upon the conduct through a single moment.” – Ernest Bramah

I’ve been seeing quite a few heated conversations on the internet lately.  Of course, certain subjects lend themselves to such warfare more than do others, as do certain venues.  Nonetheless, I’ve been surprised by a few of them.

Who would have thought, for example, that posting a job opening at LinkedIn would generate snarky, combative responses?  Do potential applicants think that will leave them any chance of acceptance?  Really?  Who goes into a job interview, for example, and blurts right out, “Okay, Mr. Hiring Official, so what are you going to do for me?”  Yeah, there’s a recipe for success.

Well, once you realize that some of those snarky comments come from potential competitors, it’s easier to understand their attitudes, at least.  What I don’t understand is why they would they engage in that sort of activity on a site dedicated to professional advancement.

Seriously, what could such behavior possibly do for their reputations?

That brings me to the overall point of this post.  In the new internet environment, it seems to me that one must be careful not to weave a web of discontent and anger at every opportunity.  I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t be honest; of course, we should.  I am suggesting that sometimes it’s simply best to walk away.  Be polite.  Be quiet.  Don’t pick fights.

I doubt anyone wins those fights, in the end.  I suspect both parties are damaged, to some degree.  That naturally begs the question: What should I do if someone attacks me?  Should I not respond at all?

Well, sometimes yes… and sometimes no.  Perhaps a simple “Oh brother” or “Good grief” will make your point, and throw the dirt back on the muddy snark.  Perhaps you’ll require a larger response at times, but exercise caution.  Remember your mother’s admonition when you were in the third grade: “Just because Billy wants to jump off a bridge, doesn’t mean you have to jump off a bridge.”

In an electronic medium, where we never meet face-to-face or engage in coordinated physical activities, we have only our posted words to build and protect our reputations.  Furthermore, that reputation will be the primary means by which we build our business, whatever that may be.

It sure is difficult, at times.  I’ve encountered circumstances in which I wanted to unleash a barrage of 4-letter words.  Yet whom would that harm more?  My target… or me?

To quote the bard, “Aye, there’s the rub.”

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Authors – To Blog or Not To Blog

Blogger and soon-to-be-published author, Roni Loren, has posted a blog that’s already drawing some interesting comments.  I’m happy to recommend that you pop over and participate in the conversation.

Tell her Diamond sent you.  🙂

Is Blogging Dead?

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‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard.  To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).

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Flash Fiction

Let me first say that I’m not a fan of flash fiction, particularly the 55-word variety.  In my experience, 9 out of 10 pieces are not worth the reading, even if it does take only a few seconds.  People don’t tell stories; they write anecdotes, ask questions, set up a possible story.

Yet I entered a flash fiction contest.  Go figure.

I found Austin Briggs’ contest on Twitter, liked what he was doing (Hey, I love any opportunity for a writer to make money!), and decided to both spread the good word and enter my own piece.

He provided this prompt: “Eccentric Woman.”

His essential guidelines were clear: 55-words max (includes the title), must contain a setting and at least one character, and must present a conflict and resolution.

Those are ambitious guidelines for a 55-word piece, and that’s ultimately why I decided to participate (my entry, Sipping, took 2nd place in July).  Did all entries adhere to those guidelines?  Did all the winners?  Hmmm….  As I said before, flash fiction so rarely gives us a story.

Nonetheless, Austin is doing a good thing for writers.  If you like flash fiction, and you’d like an opportunity to make a little money in a contest, please check it out.  You’ll find the July results here: Austin Briggs’ Flash Fiction Contest.

‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard.  To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).

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Is Time Even Real?

I watched The Science Channel yesterday while having breakfast, a show hosted by Morgan Freeman called Through the Wormhole, and the subject was time.  The essential argument related to the properties of the so-called fourth dimension.

One scientist went so far as to argue that time is an illusion, not real, a construct of the human mind.  Only space exists, and it does so whether or not time is real.

I responded with a literary metaphor, and I think I should copyright it right here and now, before it slips away from me.  So here it is.

Time is the page upon which the story of space is written.  Burn the page, and the story is lost.

Someday, I think, we’re going to throw out the rest and decide that there really is only one dimension: space-time.  We’ll see.

‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard.  To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).

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Writers Need To Make a Living Too

A recent online article by C. Hope Clark, Are we speaking for free, too?, prompted me to dust off a piece I wrote long ago at www.Writing.com. I’ve decided to reprise it here, since I have a primarily new audience.

What’s a writer?

I once installed a new kitchen sink and garbage disposal in my condo. That doesn’t make me a plumber. I once built some shelves for my closet. That doesn’t make me a carpenter. I once watched a meteor shower streak through the night sky. That doesn’t make me an astronomer.

Writers are professionals. Professionals are paid for their work. Hence, writers are paid for their work.

Everyone else is an “aspiring writer,” or a hobbyist.

As an example, if you write short fiction and you’ve looked around at print markets for your work, you’ve no doubt discovered that more outlets don’t pay than do pay. Sure, they may offer “2 free contributor copies.” Oh goodie! Now I can eat something besides PB&J sandwiches and macaroni & cheese. Oh wait! Never mind.

Just in case that’s not bad enough, you might subsequently have this conversation:

MAGAZINE EDITOR: I discovered that you posted your story on a website where people have access to it.

ME: That’s right. It’s an interactive writer’s site. We review each other’s material and offer some constructive feedback, perhaps a little encouragement. We can all use more of that.

EDITOR: Sure, but people can read your story there.

ME: Yes, this story has had 138 views as of this morning, primarily by other writers, no doubt.

EDITOR: See, that’s what we consider “previously published,” and we expect “First-Time” rights.

ME: But it’s 138 people.

EDITOR: That doesn’t matter.

ME: 138. That’s 138 people in the whole world. How many of those do you suppose are part of your 1,200 subscribers?

EDITOR: That’s not the point. We pay for first-time rights.

ME: Really? What do you pay?

EDITOR: We pay 2 free contributor copies.

ME: Oh goodie! Now I can pay the rent this month!

(Pregnant pause)

Imagine calling a plumber to install your new water heater:

YOU: I’d like you to remove the old water heater, install my new one in the same spot, and dispose of the old one.

PLUMBER: Okay, that will require three hours of labor, which costs $270. Additionally, there’s a $50 fee for disposing of your old water heater.

YOU: Well, I don’t actually offer money for plumbing services, but I will pay “2 free written references.” Man, that’s gonna look good on your resume!

(Pregnant pause)

Yeah, how’s that new water heater working out?

It’s amazing how many magazine editors think we writers should feel “honored” that they want to publish our material… absolutely free. Yep, we should be thrilled that their 1,200 readers (Oh joy!), or 800 readers (How wonderful!), or 300 readers (Are you kidding me?) are going to read our story.

Let’s close out that first conversation:

EDITOR: You know, this would be a good job if it weren’t for you damned writers!

Yeah, it’s so nice to be loved and respected.

I’ll give you a little hint, Dear Writer: You create this problem for yourself… every time you agree to work for free. The sooner we all stop doing that, the sooner we’ll get paid for our work. You have the power. We have the power, and it’s time for a little peaceful revolution.

‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard. To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).

Re-Engaged

I’ve been working for the past week or so not just to establish this website, which is getting there, but also to update accordingly all of my other online presences.  In the process of doing so, it has occurred to me just how disengaged I’ve been, at least at most of those sites, over the past year or so.

I was so distraught over the state of the publishing business—specifically, the old mainstream, brick and mortar publishing business—and the sheer folly of trying to break into that as a first-time author of thrillers, I just checked out.  I told myself I would re-engage when the market recovered.  Sure.

Now that I’ve concluded that the old mainstream market wallows in the throes of slow death, and now that I’ve decided to move forward in the e-Publishing arena, I feel positively reinvigorated.

Yes, I have re-engaged.  Feels good.

I still have plenty of work to do, not the least of which is a final polish (I swear it’s my last one!) of my manuscript.  I just wanted to take one last spin through, and should finish that by the end of April.  I also have to finalize the plans I’m kicking around to develop a team, an e-Publishing Group, to maximize the likelihood of success.  I’m a bit apprehensive, simply because this is a new arena, yet I’m fired-up for the same reason.  I love putting on my troubleshooter’s cap and brainstorming new possibilities.  Fun stuff.

I’m a couple weeks away from announcing my full plan (I should say our plan, as I’m working it out with my first teammate) to some select individuals, and possibly opening it up to potential participants (primarily writers with similar goals), but I can’t keep my brain from running a thousand miles per hour.

Man!  I should have listened to my own advice, which I offer at the end of all my blog posts:

‘Til next time, and as always, remember:   To write well, you must work hard.  To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).

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