Exciting news! One book ready for orders, the other nearly ready!

When my husband checked the mail after Rosh Hashanah had ended, he found a couple packages for me in our mailbox from Createspace. In one, we found the proof of the anthology that I’ve been working on, Sliding Doors and other stories, and the other package contained the proof of Mazal’s Luck Runs Out. 

I’ve been spending the last couple days proofreading those books. In Sliding Doors, the font size suggested by the template was so small, I was afraid no one would be able to read it. I went back and increase it. I also had do a lot of clean-up on the italics. The stories in the collection were from different magazines, with different policies about how to handle foreign words. With so many Hebrew and Yiddish terms throughout the text, punctuating these terms consistently was a big job, and I didn’t catch them all before uploading files to Createspace.

Mazal had some similar issues, but I also discovered that I didn’t like the cover I’d designed. I spent a lot of time tinkering with it to get it right.

Sliding Doors is still not quite ready for release, but duh-duh-dah:

Here’s the link to Mazal’s Luck Runs Out!

It’s available already in paperback via Createspace and Amazon. If you order it now, you should receive it by Sukkos! And if you buy it…please post a review on Amazon! And tell other prospective readers if you like it!

The target audience is Jewish kids 8-11, the kids who like the stories in Mishpacha Junior, Binah Bunch, and so on. The main character of this novella is Mazal, a Persian girl living in Los Angeles. The average Orthodox girl will identify with her misadventures, but it was especially important to me to represent a strong Persian Jewish character, something rarely seen in kids’ fiction.

I hope to have news about the other book soon.

becca with proof 2

Here’s me, with the proof of Sliding Doors and other stories. It’s not quite ready yet for ordering.

Is poetry as we know it dead? Goldsmith speculates the “meme machine” has taken over.

This week, The New Yorker book blog published a post by Kenneth Goldsmith about the proliferation of rather un-poetic  “poetry” spreading across the internet. He writes:

[T]he Canadian media scholar Darren Wershler…has been making some unexpected connections between meme culture and contemporary poetry. “These artifacts,” Wershler claims, “aren’t conceived of as poems; they aren’t produced by people who identify as poets; they circulate promiscuously, sometimes under anonymous conditions; and they aren’t encountered by interpretive communities that identify them as literary.”

…It’s not uncommon to see blogs that recount someone’s every sneeze since 2007, or of a man who shoots exactly one second of video every day and strings the clips together in time-lapsed mashups. Continue reading

Don’t get taken advantage of!

Recently, I’ve had a few friends who have approached me about sketchy sounding publishing deals they were being offered.

This is not a new problem. For example, for years, there have been people who advertise that they are compiling a book of poetry. They request submissions, but in order to be included, you have to pay. Then, you must pay additional money to receive each copy you might want to own or distribute to friends.

However, with the advent of self-publishing, the problem has escalated. It can be very hard to tell the difference between a self-publisher that’s genuine (like CreateSpace or Lulu or many if not all the major Jewish ones) and someone like Publish America who doesn’t charge you up front, but then demands extraordinarily high prices for any “needed” services (like editing) and then overcharges on shipping every copy you want and sets prices so high that buyers are turned off. Not only that, but the wrong publisher (even some traditional ones that are big names) can sneak things into the contract that limit your rights regarding overseas sales, translations, ebook or film rights, and so on.

Additionally, even many legit self-publishers will forget to tell you that the average self-published book will never sell more than 100 copies–so it is highly likely you’ll never recoup your investment unless you study book marketing and prepare to premote yourself like crazy.

If you want to be taken seriously as an author, there’s another concern: there’s less prestige associated with self-publishing than going the traditional route. (By the way, this is less true in the Jewish world, where it has always been common to self-publish, co-publish or to pay for publication through donations.) However, self-publishing isn’t the no-no it used to be so long as you are sufficiently informed about the process.

The lesson from all is this is do your research BEFORE submitting to a publisher or agent, and certainly before signing any paperwork. These two sites are must-sees for anyone contemplating a book or article submission:

Writer Beware

Preditors and Editors