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Archive for June, 2014

Over dinner with a few writers the conversation evolved to a discussion of agents. Two present had met agents through local writers conferences. Both were invited to submit writing samples. Neither heard from the agents. It’s not the first time I’ve heard the story.

Here’s what I’ve gleaned about the matchmaking business that occurs at writers conferences. Organizers know they can draw more registrants if they’re enticed with the opportunity to meet literary agents. Everyone has dreams. (more…)

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It usually starts like this. “I’d really like to read your work.”

This comes from a casual acquaintance, someone who wants to read what I write. Me in particular. I don’t know why. They know me from the office or the gym. They aren’t people with whom I feel a deep spiritual kinship. They’re casual friends. Acquaintances. (more…)

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A friend recently suggested that I look at Evan Williams’ new enterprise, Medium. He’s the guy who started Blogger, which was absorbed into Google, after which he moved on to create Twitter. I took a quick look at Medium and decided to pass. (more…)

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Anyone else out there a little bit weary with literary fiction written in the first person? I’ve wondered if I were the only one tired of the “me” voice. (more…)

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A couple months ago I attended the Portland Roadster Show. Yeah. I’m only just now posting this. The show was held at the Expo Center, which on that day was conveniently hosting a Gun and Knife Show. We limited our visit to the cars. (more…)

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This past weekend I was at the Oregon Coast for a small workshop sponsored by Oregon Writers Colony. I had the pleasure of meeting Laura Stanfill, the publisher of Forest Avenue Press, a Portland-based small press focusing on literary and “quiet” fiction. This was my introduction to the challenges and opportunities facing small presses.

The challenge publishers face isn’t in just selling books, it’s in reaching the readers, and connecting the books to the readers. I came home inspired to identify ways to support small publishers. Yes, buying books is a good start.

More is needed, specifically a far greater awareness that the mega-publishers and distributors that dominate mainstream publishing are also the gatekeepers to what we read. When we limit our reading to books purchased on behemoth on-line websites, we’re working against those like Laura who seek to publish regional writers – this while working on a shoestring budget. I came away with tremendous admiration for Laura’s vigor and vision.

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Yesterday I went to the Jewish Community Center where I often work out. As I was climbing onto a piece of cardio equipment an aging gentleman started a conversation. I got the vibe immediately. I haven’t had it in a long while owing to my age, so it’s no surprise that, as always, the guy attracted to me was at least 15 years my senior, which means that he’s at least 70. (more…)

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