Earlier today I posted an argument against authors writing for shorter attention spans. I argued that attention spans weren’t actually getting shorter; instead, readers will stick with a book which interests them no matter the interruption. I still think that is a good argument, but it’s not the only one I could make. An article… Read More »
Recognizing the best in Digital Storytelling
The Wattys are Wattpad’s official annual awards that celebrate the best in digital storytelling. Be it fanfiction, romance, urban, sci-fi, poetry, or short stories, we acknowledge stories of all genres and styles.
Good News for Authors
A new study by Publishing Technology finds U.S. millennials—defined as people currently between the ages of 18 and 34—almost twice as likely to read a print book as an ebook.
That finding squares with similar print preferences Pew researchers found among older readers as well. Among adults 18 and up, 28% read an ebook in 2014 as compared with the 69% of those who read at least one print book.
Results from the Publishing Technology survey also suggests young readers are equally comfortable with digital and analog modes of book discovery. 45% of millennials report learning about new titles by word-of-mouth recommendations, 32% by online browsing and 25% by browsing through a physical store or library.
24 Things No One Tells You About Book Publishing
Ten years ago, my first novel Prep came out. Three novels later, here’s what I’ve learned about the publishing industry and writing since then.
- When it comes to fellow writers, don’t buy into the narcissism of small differences. In all their neurotic c, competitive, smart, funny glory, other writers are your friends.
- Unless you’re Stephen King, or you’re standing inside your own publishing house, assume that nobody you meet has ever heard of you or your books. If they have, you can be pleasantly surprised.
- At a reading, 25 audience members and 20 chairs is better than 200 audience members and 600 chairs.
- There are very different ways people can ask a published writer for the same favor. Polite, succinct, and preemptively letting you off the hook is most effective.
- Blurbs achieve almost nothing, everyone in publishing knows it, and everyone in publishing hates them.
- But a really good blurb from the right person can, occasionally, make a book take off.
- When your book is on best-seller lists, people find you more amusing and respond to your emails faster.
- When your book isn’t on best-seller lists, your life is calmer and you have more time to write.
- The older you are when your first book is published, the less gratuitous resentment will be directed at you.
- The goal is not to be a media darling; the goal is to have a career.
Read the rest of the reasons>
A WRITING RETREAT ON TOPSAIL ISLAND, NC
Winter is a good time to write – less distractions, less daylight and less to do because of the colder weather.
Warm up your writing this winter with a long weekend at quiet Topsail Island in NC at the Winter Beach Writeaway with Mimi Herman & John Yewell.
Because sometimes writers just need to get away.
Spend a long weekend in a cozy house right on the beach, perfecting your poetry or prose with the help of other brilliant writers. The Winter Beach Writeaway is designed for writers of all genres and abilities, from beginner to MFA to professional. $400 per person includes double occupancy lodging, all meals, and wine.
Topsail Island, NC, Feb 27- Mar 2, 2015
Not a beach lover? Give your writing a romantic touch – write in France.
WRITEAWAY IN FRANCE
Is your writing missing a certain je ne sais quoi? Experience a week of great writing, authentic French food, and unforgettable ambiance in a 15th century French chateau, complete with 300 acres of vineyards, rose garden, and world famous topiary. Tour Loire Valley wineries (during la récolte!) and celebrate the equinox (Sept. 23) under a harvest moon!
Writeaways are designed for writers of all levels–beginner to MFA to professional. $2,250 per person, double occupancy, full board (including wine and after-dinner drinks), writing consultations and daily classes.
Chateau du Pin, Champtocé-sur-Loire, France, Sept. 21–27, 2015
“One must be ruthless with one’s own writing, or someone else will be.”
Now have “Breakfast” on the Publisher with a special pre-launch discount of $8.99, regularly $15.99 until Feb. 15, 2015 only from Outer Banks Publishing Group. Order yours here.
It has been two years since the death of his wife, and Frank Watson still struggles with the loss. Every morning, he meets with his friends at the local diner to talk and to exchange gossip, but inevitably must return to his farm that remains undisturbed since his wife’s death.
Then, Pepper Ledley breezed into his life. She was the new waitress in town nearly half his age and offered Frank something he had never before considered, a new beginning. However, it somehow didn’t seem right to Frank.
As he struggles with his new feelings and the memory of his beloved wife, Frank faces the biggest crisis of his life. A large foreign corporation needs five hundred acres of land to build an egg factory and Frank alienates himself from the rest of the town when he, steadfastly, refuses to sell.
What transpires is a web of deceit, manipulation and murder.
Get a taste of “Breakfast” – download a free sample – A taste of Breakfast
or order a full copy from our bookstore.
Outer Banks Publishing Group
Outer Banks Publishing Group Bookstore
ISIS spawned by the People’s desire to control their Destiny
Publisher’s Note: Doug Roberts lived and almost died under the tyranny of a brutal dictatorship in Tehran in the 1970s when he was stationed there as a US Serviceman in Administrative Services office in the U.S. military advisory unit to Iran, ARMISH/MAAG. He knows first-hand what it is like to live in fear of Tehran’s secret police monitoring his every move, especially when he carried out a daring escape for his girlfriend and her mother and reuniting them with their exiled father and husband.
His story comes alive in his dramatic retelling of the events in his book, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, available at our bookstore for $9.99, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and in ebook versions. Here is his POV on ISIS and the current situation in the Middle East.
As the world watches each new horror ISIS creates, I think it is instructive to note that the forces which shaped ISIS and similar movements began a long time ago after the end of World War I when the old Ottoman Empire was carved up to artificially create six brand new nations: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine (now Israel).
As Andrew Torre [mostly] correctly points out in his recent column for The Manchester Journal, the motives were for economic exploitation by western interests. To that end, governments were put in place to foster economic exploitation.
“Clearly, this was not a good deal for the masses of Middle Eastern people, who have predictably been fomenting revolution ever since. Their unceasing attempts to overthrow the exploitative system reached new heights immediately after WW II and have been regularly squelched by Western power ever since. England constantly repressed Iraqi uprisings; Nasser’s Pan-Arabism of the 1950s was successfully opposed; in 1948 Israel was established as a foil against Soviet influence on Middle Eastern revolutionary movements; and in 1952 the U.S. successfully conspired to overthrow and assassinate the first democratically-elected president of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, who had the audacity to claim Iranian oil for the Iranian people, rather than foreign interests.”
(Despite his committing one small factual error, I invite the reader to study his entire column as it is highly instructive. I am including a link to Mr. Torre’s article)
But let me follow up on what happened to Mossadegh. Though he was tried for treason, (a capital offense) he was placed under house arrest, and was not assassinated as many have claimed. His treasonous act? Let me quote from the wiki:
“Mossadegh had sought to audit the books of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), a British corporation (now BP) and to change the terms of the company’s access to Iranian oil reserves. Upon alleged refusal of the AIOC to cooperate with the Iranian government, the parliament (Majlis) voted to nationalize the assets of the company and expel their representatives from the country.”
Heaven forbid Iran actually being in control of its own oil! The end result of all this was the CIA and MIA installed The Shah of Iran as an autocratic repressive leader for many decades. The relationship worked for a while. The U.S. helped Iran keep the Soviets at bay and strengthen Iran’s Ministry of Security. The U.S. got a lot of oil out of Iran in the process and also sold the Shah an enormous amount of weapons.
I lived in Iran during part of his reign. The year was 1971, the 2500th anniversary of Iran as a nation. Unseen to most people, the seeds of revolution were brewing. One reason was because the Ministry of Security began spying, arresting and torturing its own citizens. The Shah’s secret police were notorious. I got a few clues because, while serving in the U.S. Army, I worked in the classified message center of Sitade Buzurgh (similar to Iran’s version of the Pentagon.)
I thought that what I had seen was important enough that I wrote my first novel, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, loosely based on what I had experienced.
By 1979 I was watching on television the rise of Iranian militants against western imperialistic interests, and the overthrow of the Shah by the Ayatollah Khomeini and his extremist supporters. They were not called Islamist back then, but in retrospect that is what they were. What else can would you call a group who overran the U.S. Embassy and took 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days, in flagrant violation of international law? My second novel deals with this period.
People can tremble at the thought of ISIS making good on its threat to become a bona-fide nation state of radical religious extremists, but that is exactly what happened in Iran in 1979. To appreciate it fully one needs to understand that the extremism we saw from the militants who overthrew Iran was fueled by a deep resentment of western meddling in its affairs – a fact all to easy to forget in the heat of the moment.
Had anyone bothered to ask the question if such a thing could happen in any of the nations artificially created by western powers after World War I, the answer of course would be a decided ‘yes.’ And in fact that is exactly what we see today in Iraq and Syria.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq as a response to 9/11 in 2001 to overthrow Saddam Hussein, those who were against it correctly warned of unleashing a Pandora’s Box of unwanted consequences. With the repressive dictator gone, old ethnic rivalries were unleashed which, added to the the deep resentment of how Iraq was artificially created in the first place, and this only compounded the chaos.
When the United States invaded in 2003, Shiites made up nearly two-thirds of Iraq’s population of 25 million. But members of the Sunni minority had ruled Iraq since its independence in 1932. That is until the U.S. created a Shiite-led government, which was famously corrupt and repressive in its own right. Not a recipe for success, I think.
So complete is the chaos in Iraq today, one could argue that Iraq as we knew it no longer exists. The civil war in Syria, and the following disastrous collapse of law there allowed Sunni militants from Iraq to regroup and set up a safe haven from which to gather their forces. In its current form we know it as ISIS/ISIL.
Though the entire world, including every known Muslim group, sees ISIS as a threat, including most ironically, Iran – the U.S. response has been to drop bombs on ISIS in Iraq – over a billion dollars worth and counting. But wait. ISIS is actually headquartered in Syria, where the U.S. “supports” ISIS efforts to overthrow the Assad regime. Say what?
The folly of this approach seems obvious to anyone willing to ponder it, I think. Dare I say, that if continued, it will have an impact on the 2016 presidential election?
A better approach, in my opinion, would be to do everything possible to strengthen the one remaining island of stability remaining in the region: the area we call Kurdistan. The Kurdish army is known for its fierce fighters and the Kurdish population has a vested interest in keeping this stable and prosperous area (rich with its own oil reserves), stable and prosperous.
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
Outer Banks Publishing Group
BISAC: Fiction / Espionage
Outer Banks Publishing Group Bookstore
Inspire your writing in romantic France, Italy or the Outer Banks
Writeaways founder John Yewell tells about the writer’s retreats he and business partner Mimi Herman provide in France, Italy and the Outer Banks and how they inspire writers to find their muse.
By John Yewell
Go to our Writeaways web site, with its pictures of a centuries-old French chateau and an Italian villa, and your initial reaction is likely to be: What a great vacation! And it is, of a sort. But it is so much more than that.
We created our writing getaways in exotic places to get you as far from your daily life as possible, to set you free from care while giving you the guidance you need to unlock, or unblock, the writer within. We welcome writers of all levels and genres, and now have programs in the Loire Valley, Tuscany, and North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
“I didn’t know until I got busy how essential to the process being removed from my regular life would be. John and Mimi took care of all the necessities, creating a space for us to write and indulging us along the way. The food was amazing!” – Charity, North Carolina
We take care of everything. Each morning in France, you are greeted with a complete breakfast, including fresh croissants purchased before sunrise at the local boulangerie. In Italy, our hosts Patrizia and Paolo serve you continental style.
Afterwards, we engage in our specially designed workshop and private consultations for two hours. Whatever your level of experience, you’ll find the constructive help you need to produce your best work in a cooperative, but rigorous, atmosphere.
“I first met Mimi and John at their writing retreat at Chateau du Pin. While I had a very interesting story I’d thought about writing for years, I did not think of myself as a writer. Thanks to their thoughtful guidance, I finally began writing that story–and I’m still at it. John and Mimi made me believe I could do it, and gave me the tools I needed. I can’t thank them enough.” – Regina, North Carolina
After lunch – buffet-style in France, Tuscan-style in Italy – you are free to write or explore. In France, the chateau is surrounded by 300 acres of topiary, rose gardens, meadows and vineyards. In Italy, you can wander in the olive orchards, sit by the pool, or explore Tuscany as widely as you like. In both locales, we offer tours of the surrounding region, including tastings at local wineries. All of this is included in the program.
In the evening we reconvene for cocktails and wine, then sit down to a spectacular dinner prepared by professional chefs. Afterwards, relax with a digestif or cocktail of your choice in relaxed reflection, surrounded by five-hundred year old walls.
Our program in Southern Shores, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is a weekend intensive class designed to jumpstart a dormant writing project or launch a new one.
After people began coming to us and asking if they could put together their own groups of friends and families, we began organizing self-organized getaways. We expect to make the first such trips a reality in France and Italy in the spring of 2015.
We are also developing a Master Class intensive program, which would be limited to two students for a week in Beaufort, NC.
Writeaways is based in Durham, North Carolina, although our students have come from all over: Texas, Wyoming, Virginia, Canada. Our long-term plan is to create writing getaways in the kinds of places people dream about going, so that we can pair that dream with their own desire to become better writers.
Mimi and I are both writing professionals with complementary backgrounds. Mimi Herman has taught over 20,000 students to fall in love with writing, especially their own. A Warren Wilson MFA graduate, her teaching style captures students’ imagination and creates a supportive learning environment. As one student said of her time with Mimi, “It is an experience that I will hold with me throughout my whole life.”
I am a writer and editor with an MFA in fiction from San Francisco State University and twenty years of experience in journalism. I teach a memoir class in Durham and consult as a private editor and writing coach.
It’s nice to say you are a green company, but doing it effectively is another story.
With digital printing we don’t have thousands of books sitting in warehouses waiting to be sold – spent resources that may or may not be purchased and read.
We print books only when an order is received.
The majority of our book sales (85%) are electronic as manufacturers of ereaders have opened their walled gardens allowing their books to be read on any device, any platform, anywhere, anytime.
Think printed books will go away? No way. Did movie theaters close when home theater systems became mainstream?
The Association of American Publishers reported that the annual growth rate for eBook sales fell during 2012, to about 34% – a sharp decline from the triple-digit growth of the preceding four years.
But that doesn’t mean ebooks are going away. A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that adults who have read an e-book increased from 16% to 23% in the past year. It also revealed that 89% of regular book readers said that they had read at least one printed book in the last year.
Ebooks are merely another channel, another technology to promote, sell and enjoy books. It compliments printed books. Printed books won’t go away – there will just be fewer printed.
Fewer printed books is not good for the big six publishers, but it won’t bankrupt them – just lower their sales volume and profit margins.
That’s why they won’t fully embrace ebooks and why they charge artificially high prices for their ebooks close to the full price of their printed books.
They want to revive the same high profit margins they enjoyed with print books for so many decades.
But they will never convince their customers or the general public that ebooks cost as much as print books to edit, process and distribute.
Ebooks are a disruptive technology and like all disruptive technologies is condemned, rejected and deemed catastrophic for society by those who stand to lose.
The market will determine the accepted price of ebooks, not the publishers and there is nothing they can do to stop it. The tsunami has already hit land.
Shelf Unbound’s second annual writing competition had over 1,000 entries with 100 titles chosen as winners, according to Shelf Unbound’s publisher, Margaret Brown.
Mary’s book was featured in the December-January 2014 special edition of Shelf Unbound magazine (Page 35).
“Thanks to the Internet, artists can be discovered by a global audience-and in some cases even be funded by philanthropic strangers. The challenge, of course, is the discovery part-how do the indie artist and the indie audience find each other? That’s what this special issue of Shelf Unbound-honoring the winner, finalists, and notable entries in our second writing competition for best indie book-is all about,” wrote Ms. Brown.
Congratulations to Mary for her notable achievement!
A prominent newspaper columnist kills the man mostly likely to be the next Governor of Kentucky – and gets away with it. Ten years later, the death of his mentor brings him back to the scene of the crime.
Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody has completed the last novel in the THEO trilogy, When THEO Came Home, available in November 2013.
This riveting story takes the reader through San Francisco to the canyons of Manhattan to the mountains of southern Appalachia where snake-handling cults still thrive.
The action takes place mostly in Kentucky’s fabled Bluegrass section and in Frankfort, the state’s capitol city, which is in turmoil in the midst of policies put in place by the new governor that are crippling the city.
What happens when Theo comes home is not what anyone expects – most particularly Theo.
Pre-order your copy at a special pre-launch price of $12.99, list $15.99, now through November 1, 2013.
“The characters are richly drawn. The action runs at a riveting pace. What happened When THEO Came Home is a helluva read and a fine, fine story.” – Ian Kellogg
When THEO Came Home is the concluding novel in the THEO Trilogy. The other books in the series are: THEO’s Story and THEO & The Mouthful of Ashes, both available on Amazon in print and ebook format and in fine bookstores everywhere.
Black & White on Cream paper
Outer Banks Publishing Group
BISAC: Fiction / Suspense
Reprinted with permission from Michael Johnson
By MICHAEL JOHNSON
Novels about love affairs outside of marriage are a genre unto themselves and I try my best to avoid them. John Updike made a career of these stories anyway, so what’s left to say? Yet once in a while a new writer emerges with such sharp sensibilities, such descriptive powers, and such a rich story that I am forced to reconsider.
Mary L. Tabor is such a writer, and her new book, “Who By Fire” (Outer Banks, $17.95), launched a few weeks ago to a full house in a Washington, D.C. bookshop, kept me turning pages to enjoy the careful prose, the fascinating digressions and most of all the unspooling of the story.
To my mind, the story is the fire in the relationships. The ice is Ms. Tabor’s masterly control of the complex plot. The reader begins to suspect what is to come as hints are dropped along the path toward the climax. This book is hard to put down.
“Who By Fire” is a near-surgical dissection of the turmoil and pleasures that straying couples experience – and the effect on the betrayed.
Ms. Tabor takes the time to develop characters so that you care about what they are going through. She finally kills off Lena, the woman who succumbed to her lover’s charms, and she does it abruptly after setting the scene: “And then she died.”
Mary Tabor is a writer who likes to say it is never too late. She started publishing her prose at age 60 and already has to her credit a frank memoir of her life and marriage entitled “(Re)Making Love: A Memoir.” Her best short stories are collected in “The Woman Who Never Cooked.”
She takes stunning risks in her new novel, the most impressive being her decision to write from the perspective of Lena’s husband, Robert, the man who suffers as his emotions of widowhood and awareness of his dead wife’s affair mingle in his thoughts.
Jay McInerney tried the gender-swap in “The Story of My Life” but he never let you forget he was trying to sound like a girl. Ms. Tabor glides into the male perspective effortlessly and stays there.
As the narrator “Robert” reconstructs the story of his life, Ms. Tabor makes him recall what he had failed to see before his wife’s death:
“If I’d seen them on the street, I’d have known because they would have done the sorts of things that reveal: They would have passed between them a bottle of water, their hips would touch, as if by accident, when they walked; they wouldn’t touch with their hands the way safe lovers do, but an observant eye could catch both the intimacy and the caution—and know. It was when she was dying that I knew. It was the way he touched her head before he left her bedside. What I thought was an obligatory visit from a colleague changed with one gesture.”
I was propelled through this book most of all by the taut language, the dialogue and the perfect sentences, honed in the author’s years as a teacher of creative writing at George Washington University, Ohio State and University of Missouri, among others. From the outset, you are in the thrall of a confident storyteller.
Her digressions take the reader into worlds she clearly knows — the detail of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the art world, the finer points of classical music, quantum physics and the business of psychology. She has her psychologist character Evan say at one point:
“I’m beginning to think I give more comfort than cure. Not such a bad thing but not what I expected. I feel like an old broom—cleaning up, moving around the messes in people’s heads, never sure if that’s all I’m doing.”
She will throw odd words at you and expect you to understand. The apple trees are espaliered. The plants are pleached.
I was drawn into the suspense when the lovers realize that the betrayed wife is returning home early. With cinematic realism, the lovers find themselves about to be discovered when they hear the key in the lock:
“A familiar sound, merely a click, but they thought, almost as if their minds were one, that they heard the separate mechanisms of the lock moving, tumbling like thunder.”
This reader quickly turned the page to watch them awkwardly lie their way out of trouble.
Mary L. Tabor tells me she is at work on a new novel. Somehow she finds time to do a weekly internet interview about writing, broadcast on Rarebirdradio.
It is never too late, as she would be the first to tell you.