First Meeting of the year

The Desert Writers Guild will meet Thursday, January 4. 2018, from 1:30 to 4 PM at Lutheran Church of the Desert 6336 Hallee Rd, Joshua Tree, CA 92252.Visitors are always welcome, and if you’ve written something (short story, novel, poem, screenplay) you’d like to share, bring it to read.

Interesting dream


I was in a room with a crowd of people I didn’t know. A guy stepped away from the crowd and pointed his finger at a book, leaning on edge against a wall. He waved his hand and the book slid behind a piece of furniture, hidden.

“Wow. Telekinesis!” my dream self thought. “I can do that.”

I walked over to the wall, looked down at the book behind the furniture, waved my hand and the book slid out, visible again.

My takeaway: there are obstacles to getting my book published, but I will overcome them.

Social media 101

Here’s a chart showing the importance of the most influential social media–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–as related to search engine visibility. Of course, if you don’t have a blog, it’s of little importance to you. But it might encourage you to start blogging.


by johnmnelson.
Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

BookExpo cont’d

Day 3. So many books! The publishers are waving them in our faces as we cruise the aisles, probably because attendance is down 20% from last year, and they don’t want to haul books back to wherever. Also, NY publishers don’t (apparently) want to come to Chicago, and a lot of other vendors didn’t either, so fewer of them had booths here.

A lot of digital publishers were here, although ebook sales are down, and print book sales have grown.

But lots of opportunities here for DIY publishing if you want to go that route. I was invited to a reception by Archway publishers, and talked with a few writers who were clients. One author had paid $7000 to get his book published and had, in the several months since, sold 71 copies, with only 6029 to go before he breaks even.

But the authors I spoke to — all first-timers — were happy to get their books out there.

Money aside, I’m reluctant to do that. The big pitfalls of self-publishing are the lack of publicity and promotion. I will keep querying agents.


View from my AirBnB host's apt.
View from my AirBnB host’s apt.

I am in Chicago at the big book event, BookExpo. I plan on looking up agents and publishers as well as collecting a book or two.

Membership? Feh!

Some might have noticed that the whole ‘membership’ aspect of this site is gone. It was really hard to set up correctly and no one was joining anyway. Membership was free to begin with, but now it’s even free of membership requirements. Enjoy!

The Hunt for an Agent, Part 1

The Story Store is done. As I used to tell my writing students, That’s the easy part: now comes the hard part, selling it. And, unless you want to self-publish via Amazon, XLibris, or any one of the hundreds of vanity presses out there, you have to get an agent.

Publishers will not look at an unsolicited manuscript because there are liability issues involved, and because (I suspect) most submissions that come in “over the transom,” in the lingo, aren’t worth reading. If you know an author who’s actually sold a book or two, you might request a look-see from his/her publisher, but if the publisher doesn’t like it, you’re back to square one.

So: how to get an agent? Here’s my approach. Your mileage may vary.

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