Women are Changemakers: My thoughts on the Women’s March, Jan. 20, 2018

March 3, 1913, one day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, was the dawn of a new movement for women. On that day, more than 5,000 women descended on Washington D.C. to fight for legal rights for all women. Following activism spurred by this demonstration, it was seven years later, in 1920, that Congress passed the 19th Amendment, extending voting rights to women, nationwide.

xxIn 1913, my maternal great-grandmother was a little girl with choices to make in growing up to become a woman. By 1920, she was 16 years old, and likely saw opportunities unheard of in generations before her. She went on to become active in any community she lived, and then influenced my childhood.

Managing a transitional home for unwed pregnant women, writing an advice column for women, and owning a business were among her contributions. She instilled self-confidence, perseverance, and rightful thinking in me, thanks to the women who influenced her.

In 1970, my great-grandmother was in her sixties and a successful entrepreneur, when one of the more noteworthy rallies took place. It was the Women’s Strike for Equality, where an estimated 50,000 women marched in New York.

January 20, 2018 saw another large turn-out in fighting for women’s rights. My great-grandmother has since passed away. Her birthday had been on January 20.

Many cities nationwide participated in marches yesterday. In Cincinnati, more than 10,000 people marched. Different from the marches of 100 years ago, men too are coming out in droves to support this fight. 

xxx

Yesterday, those who marched and those who supported marches did so for a variety of reasons.

Some are fed up with sexual misconduct. Some were hoping to create an enduring political movement that will elect more women to government office, and some want to encourage voter participation. No matter what our reasons are, it all means one thing: we demand equality.

If my great-grandmother were still alive, she’d be outspokenly angered by our current American politics, and so very proud of those who are fighting to make a change, to ensure women are treated respectfully, fairly, and with equality.

With a belated wish, Happy Birthday to Nana, my maternal great-grandmother, Marie (Conner) Schmidt, nee Gosney. -Elle-

xxx 

 

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Persistence — Power — Positive Attitude…. (New Year’s WIP Update)

WIP (Work in Progress) Update

I’m starting this first month in the new year with my publisher. We’re working together in my latest manuscript revision. I’m assured I have a story to tell. My goal is to tell it well.

GOALS:

Scene

Scene development is key. I must bring readers into three scenes (on average per chapter), showing my perceptions, motivations, and feelings. How I’m doing this: outlining (again) to decide which plot points to keep and which to let fade. Infusing these points, I’m also letting go of any ramblings which follow.

Clarity

Poetic, and sometimes archaic language, tends to weasel its way into my unfolding story. (“Thanks, Nana”, I say in response to this.) To fix this, I’m replacing certain words with short punch lines to instill opportunity for my readers to have their own “ah-hah” moments.

xxx

Understanding Action

My publisher brought forth a few questions, “Why?” or “Didn’t this happen because of this?” There, I need to clue the reader in. This can be challenging. As a true story, the “why’s and “why not’s” can seem illogical. My homework is to show how chaos evolved into a new way of thinking or a new set of actions.

WHAT I’M DISCOVERING:

Purging unnecessary crap leaves room to fall in love with the must-have and must-keep scenes.

Persistence gives me an incredible high, nearly indescribable. Words of wisdom from my late nana are showing their true face as I work toward my goals.

Power. My story is about choices and consequences and what these make of us. Overcoming obstacles are a part of my story. Describing through rich scenes show how I overcame, and like my late Nana had influenced me, my story is influential.

Positive Attitude. At times, I can allow myself to feel daunted by the current problems in our American society and other world-wide injustices. Yet, by sharing my voice, my concerns, and my answers, I know change is possible.

WHY?

I have a story to tell. You may, too. If you feel your story in your heart and bones itching to get out into the world, check out this recent past blog post: Writing Changes Things. Writing experience not required.

Join me in this journey. What are your thoughts in overcoming challenges? How are you influenced by others’ experiences? And how do you—or can you—influence others?

Please let me know in the comments.xxx

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Writing Changes Things

As writers, our stories, whether fiction or true, causes readers to feel emotions, form opinions, and become informed.

Since the latest political shift in our American society, people are taking a stand in unprecedented numbers.

Whether for or against our cultural changes, this latest wake makes it difficult to remain neutral.

Take for example, in January 2017, our Capitol’s front steps saw the largest political demonstration in fifty years; a plea for human rights and equality. Our country hadn’t had such a large turnout since the days of the Vietnam War protest, back in the days I was born.

As writers, we hold the power to influence and persuade our families, communities, and lawmakers as we live through this turbulent time.

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote a daily column for a syndicated newspaper. Her writing ranged from women’s issues to general humanitarian causes. She was not just another First Lady. She was a changemaker. Likewise, we needn’t be just another concerned community citizen. Through our chosen venue, we too can influence others through our writing.

My passions include equal rights, advocacy for the homeless, and support groups which don’t isolate members based on individual differences. I’ve been adversely subjected to these problems in society, yet overcame them through action. Not many people can say the same, but many people are affected by these concerns.

For example, the neighborhood I work in is in the heart of a big city, saturated with homeless folks. I put this concern in writing and it is now published in the inaugural issue of One Person’s Trash Literary Journal. I am also published in a national news magazine—even without any journalist credentials.

 

Like Eleanor Roosevelt, I believe I can make a difference, and I see differences all around me, thanks to my writing.

 

Here’s how to write for a difference:

1. Which “hot topic” do you find yourself “quick-tempered” over? Start here. This is your subject.

2. How has this concern personally influenced you? Write freely, in your own space and without forethought. Then revise to convey your emotions to readers.

3. Research. Which details in your personal essay could and should be backed up with supporting facts, numbers, and statistics? What suggestions can you offer for positive change? Are there certain organizations or support groups you can recommend to your readers? Transition this information into your written story.

4. Proofread, edit, and revise, as you feel is best. Then, be cognizant that your passionate message needs to be shared with readers.

5. Learn how to get your writing noticed by familiarizing yourself with community papers, regional and national literary journals, and your local newspaper. Magazines can be hesitant with “new” writers for feature articles, however many open their running columns.

Church bulletins and the newsletter with an organization you belong to are plausible. Self-publishing through Amazon and other venues are also viable options. Think outside of the box– do what you have to—get your work into your readers’ hands.

6. Be proud. By sharing your experience and concern, your are empowering readers  to create positive changes.

How will you influence change?

What will you write about? Let me know in the comments.

 

This post has been revised and was first published on 8/27/17 at Blogging my Writing Journey, found at NovElle.blogspot.com.

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Choosing Your Publisher

My friend asks me, “You’re publishing with who?”

I tell him.

“Who?” he asks again, with a squinted wrinkle protruding from his left eye socket.

What he isn’t hearing is that there are countless publishers – than just The Top 5 for publishing our manuscript into a book.

Publishers come in all sizes and shapes. It’s our responsibility to vet these publishers before choosing who can vet us. ———-

There are plenty more publishers than Simon & Schuster, which Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, and Mary Higgins Clark are published by.

Notice I didn’t say “published with” but “published by”. This is one of many differences among the varying types of publishers.

Luckily, there is an easier way to think about this. Publishers can be divided into categories, each with “pros” and “cons.” What these pros and cons are can vary from author to author. The key is to determine which is likely the best fit for you.

Breaking it down, these are the categories:

 

COMMERCIAL PUBLISHERS

 

Traditional

Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hatchette, and MacMillan.

This is like winning the lottery—but we hear of lottery winners nearly every day. To win the lottery, you have to first get a lottery ticket. To try your luck with these big name publishers, you have to first get an agent to represent you.

Like with other publishers, a vetting process is used by these top 5, yet based on platform and not just merit. These publishers buy exclusive rights to the author’s work with advanced royalty payments. Rights go beyond who owns the books; rights include all facets of decision making in the process to create the published work and then market it. Hence, an author is published “by” and not “with” these publishers.

Of interest, author’s royalty rates after publication are low, at an average of 9%.

Much like being patient in playing the lottery, so is the process with these publishers a lengthy one. Authors wait a year or more for their acceptance letter, then a year or more for their book publication.

Traditional Small Presses and Publishers

Hundreds (if not more) of these publishers exist, many with a broad range of genres, and some which specialize in genres.

But a few are Brandt Street Press, Ink Smith Publishing, and Melville House.

There are also subcategories to small traditional publishers, including:

Boutique Presses: Specializing in a narrow subject, commonly with expertise, and limited marketing demand.

Business-Collaborative Publishers: Here, two or more businesses work together to produce a published work. They hire a publisher, much the same as they hired their legal team or their marketing consultants. All parties work together to benefit the businesses.

Regional Publishers: Specializing in a narrow geographic interest, again often with expertise.

Textbook Presses: Focused on publications for educational institutions. Convergent Publishing is one.

University Presses: Sometimes this is the same as a small publisher, but handled by a university, making it different from a Textbook Publisher. Sometimes, these are scholarly reviewed, and sometimes marketed solely to educational institutions; sometimes not.

These small publishers work much the same as the above Top 5. Often times, but not always, an agent is a must. Again, the publisher owns the rights to the published works and the author receives royalties. Rather than years of waiting, though, an author can usually see their book published in about a year, on average.

 

HYBRID PUBLISHERS

(Also called “Indie Publishing”)

 

This is a class all on its own, and gaining momentum in only the last five years.

Built on a traditional model, from manuscript vetting to publication, makes it by definition traditional publishing. Publication rights revert to the author, which by definition classifies it as self-publishing. These two publishing criteria create an anomaly, thereby deeming it a Hybrid Publisher.

Hybrid publishers tend to cater to and favor the unknown or emerging writers. Publishers take a risk on these unknown writers, but alleviate this risk through the author’s investment—usually at a flat fee. Extras or ancillary items not required to publish the works may incur extra fees. The financial investment on the part of the author offsets the royalty rates, driving rates up from the average 9% to an average of 70%.

The time spent from querying the publisher up until publication date can vary greatly on several factors, but the turn-around time is normally quicker than with Commercial Publishers.

Essentially, it is a vested interest by both the publisher and the author. At times, an agent is involved to help the hybrid publisher and author meet. Whereas, some hybrid publishers don’t require an agent.

A few Hybrid Publishers to choose from are Boyle & Dalton, Hugo House Publishers, and She Writes Press.

 

SELF-PUBLISHING

(Also called “Indie Publishing”)

Vanity Publishers

No manuscript vetting is needed because the author is hiring the publisher rather than the publisher accepting the author.

Essentially, this is self-publishing with someone (the publisher) doing the work for the author. While a flat fee may be incurred, the expense is usually a pay per service, from editing to design to marketing, and everything else—each to-do-item comes with its own price to be added to the bill of sale.

Dog-Ear Publishing is one Vanity Publisher.

Self Publishing

In this case, you, the author is the publisher. You are in control and responsible for managing everything. There is no publisher to hire or to accept an offer from, other than yourself.

I hope this helps you build upon your knowledge. Alongside writing my manuscript, I’ve invested time, energy, and even at times money (classes, webinars) to become as informed as I possibly can. I’ve also gained friendships among writers, editors, and those in the publishing industry through this investment.

As an informed writer, I am confident in my choice of which type of publisher to enter into a relationship with. How about you? What could be your best fit out of the wealth of choices afforded us?

xxx

 

This post has been revised and was first published on 10/29/17 at Blogging my Writing Journey, found at NovElle.blogspot.com.

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