Quid Novi Results

OK, bragging rights are in order for Crystal Publishing.

Jo Fontana, an up-and-coming author, won first place for her short story “The Plant Lady.” She has a soon-to-be-released IMG_0669

series of children’s literature — the Turtle Monkey series (art by Dion Weichers)

big move

Crystal Publishing is running a short story contest right now.  The due date is Dec. 15 and the winner receives a $100 cash award. Winning selections will appear in an anthology of short stories from new writers.

Johan Adkins won first place for her book design of Earth 1.  For sale on at Amazon.

Tyler Snyder, who just signed with Crystal Publishing, won second place for his short story “Potions.”  He also has an awesome novel coming out soon, Romancing the Darkness.


“The Plant Lady” and “Potions” will both be featured in an upcoming anthology of new short story writers.

Details can be found on the Crystal Publishing website.


Brave New World Part III

Brave New World Part III

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee. – John Donne

WORLD: In a world of globalization, it is very narrow-minded to think that your audience is your immediate world. Germs travel around the world. We’ve seen flu pandemics and just now are becoming aware of what kind of influence one little germ, Ebola, is having on the entire world, hysteria or not.

It is difficult to find products “Made in America” because so many commodities are outsourced. Asian countries now influence our consumerism; wars and natural disasters influence our economics; child labor, women and minority issues, and even the right to health care influence our sense of humanity.

Do not take things for granted. Yes, English is the lingua franca right now, but that may not always be. Latin was the lingua franca for many years and that was in a world with no technology. Early Modern English was relatively static until the time of Shakespeare. Thirty thousand new words came into the English vocabulary around his time, and William himself was responsible for over 2,000 of those. At one time it took 100 years to change language, then it was 50, and now it is just a matter of months. Nouns have turned into verbs, the apostrophe is disappearing, two spaces after a period is “old school,” and pop culture words from movies and books are now in the OED. I even found an article titled “Harry Potter and the Linguistic Innovator.”

So my point here is to remember that not everyone can read your “bestselling” brainchild in English. Be open to translations and seek out your own translators (and I’d be really careful there) or use an independent publisher who has translators on staff. That really good novel could be just as good in Spanish, French, or Chinese – to name a few. The rest of the world reads too!

Crystal Publishing has a variety of languages into which your story can be translated.  This way you can reach out to the world.


The NaMos are Coming! The NaMos are Coming!

The WordPress.com Blog

November is one week away, and that means NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo are, too!

If you’ve been thinking about reinvigorating your blogging or are finally ready to stop procrastinating on that book you’ve always wanted to write, these two great events (and communities) can give you the jolt of motivation you need.

NaMo what now?

NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo are short for “National Novel Writing Month” and “National Blog Posting Month,” respectively. In the first, writers commit to writing a 50,000-word novel between November 1 and November 30; in the second, to posting every single day in November.

310,095 participants started the month of November as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

NaNoWriMo 2013 at a Glance

Although the two events are separate, they share a history: NaBloPoMo started in response to NaNoWriMo, when a group of bloggers who lacked the time or inclination to write…

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Brave New World Part II

We are the children of a technological age. We have found streamlined ways of doing much of our routine work. Printing is no longer the only way of reproducing books. Reading them, however, has not changed.” — Lawrence Clark Powell

NEW: Not since the days of Johannes Gutenberg in the Age of Enlightenment has there been such a revolution that has changed the way in which we create, distribute, and influence people.

“The future of publishing is entering a new golden era that will make publishing available to more people.” –Joe Hyrkin

Digital publishing has changed the way in which a writer chooses to connect to his audience. Digital publishing is now a mature, thriving industry; authors and creators are now able to use technology to connect directly with their audience. Authors and creators can do what they’re best at, and platforms can enable them to directly connect with their readers.

The print industry has moved toward technological changes whether they are expected by readers or forced upon readers. We can read from our phones, e-readers, and (oh so archaic) even our computers! The LeapPad3 is available for a three-year-old. But whether we have the “paperback novel” in hand or an electronic device, the key to getting your material “out there” is engagement. You must engage your audience, and in order to do that you must use every type of technology available. YOU are responsible for your marketing. So basically, know your user, know the magic, and connect the two: FaceBook, Pinterest, YouTube, Linkedin, Instagram, websites, Tumblr, Twitter, text messages, short e-mails, IMs. There are many modes, and I’m sure I have just touched the surface.



Brave New World Part I

I just finished reading Brave New World for the billionth time. It always holds some special meaning for me. Every time I “revisit” the novel, I find that it has a whole new perspective — maybe because society changes and I change in between readings. This time it has had a dramatic effect on how I view writing and publishing.

“Writers write to influence their readers, their preachers, their auditors, but always, at bottom, to be more themselves.” Aldous Huxley

What we once thought of as science fiction is slowly becoming our reality. It is indeed a Brave New World for writers and publishers alike.

Brave: In order to write and put yourself out there, you have to be brave. Many may write, but few have the perseverance to see it through. What looks like an “overnight sensation” is really not. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that many of us never see.

JK Rowling may be one of the most famous current examples. From an early age, JK Rowling had an ambition to be a writer. However the confidence to do so was lacking. After a fierce divorce (and supposedly being thrown out of the house with her infant daughter), Rowling made her way to Edinburgh. When the train was delayed for over four hours, her imagination went into overtime. But she didn’t even have a pen: “To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a pen that worked, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one.”

But even after the loss of her mother and having to live as a single mother on state benefits, ideas continued to flow. She wrote – on scraps of paper, napkins, even airsick bags. Often she would go to Edinburgh cafes to work on the book while her child had a nap.

Eventually, she finished her first copy of the Philosopher’s Stone, and sent it off to various agents. She found an agent who spent over a year trying to get a publisher. It was rejected by 12 major publishing houses.

However, eventually, a small publisher, Bloomsbury agreed to take the book on. She was advised to continue her training as a teacher because she was told writers of children’s books don’t get very well paid. She changed her name and sold the first book for a pittance compared to what Scholastic would later pay. But she was brave and persisted. So what we see as any overnight success was actually the result of being brave enough to balk the system.

I’m a writer, and I will write what I want to write.

  1. K. Rowling

101 of the Best Fiction Writing Tips, Part I

  1. Calling characters by their proper names in dialog almost always sounds phoney.
  2. There’s never a perfect time for writing, so stop waiting for it.
  3. Increase the stakes for your characters to prevent sagging story middles.
  4. To write a better book, write your query letter first.
  5. Bigger doesn’t mean better. Use simple words instead of deliberately choosing big words.
  6. Writer’s block might mean you’re trying to write something you’re not ready to write.
  7. Epiphanies are overused in fiction and can be boring.
  8. Try to use all five senses when writing each scene of your book.
  9. Using defense mechanisms can increase the tension between characters.
  10. Less is more when it comes to describing your characters.
  11. In action scenes, vary sentence length and structure to increase or decrease speed and excitement.
  12. Evaluate your story by defining its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  13. In first drafts, you don’t need to know everything. Use placeholders (like X) as reminders to research a detail later.
  14. Sometimes the most important moments in dialogue is what isn’t said.
  15. Avoid overused, obvious symbolism in your fiction.
  16. Dialogue should reveal emotion through words, not adverbs (eg. “she said angrily”).
  17. Know everything about your characters’ back-stories, but write about only 10% of it.
  18. Your protagonist can’t be easily satisfied. He needs to want something badly.

    These tips and subsequent comments are courtesy of:

    Suzannah Windsor is the founding/managing editor of Writeitsideways.com and Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, and an associate editor for Anderbo. Her work has appeared in Grist: The Journal for Writers, Sou’wester, Anderbo, Saw Palm, Best of the Sand Hill Review, the Danforth Review, and others. She is a dual citizen of Canada and Australia.  children.
    Google Authorship: Suzannah Windsor Freeman


Paperback Writer

We recently went to the Paul McCartney concert, Out There.  One of the songs McCartney opened with was “Paperback Writer.”  The song brought back many memories, but I couldn’t stop thinking of how very appropriate the song is today — particularly about the publishing industry.  In case you don’t know the lyrics or just want a ride down memory lane, I have summarized the stanzas so we can talk about them a bit.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Learhttps://wordpress.com/post/68885616/55#
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer.

It’s the dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn’t understand
His son is working for the Daily Mail
It’s a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer.

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few
I’ll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer.

If you really like it you can have the rights
It could make a million for you overnight
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer.

The song reminds me of the kind of query letter every aspiring writer sends off in hopes of striking it rich with a big publishing firm.  If you have written hundreds of those query letters and gotten nowhere, you can identify with the frustration and rejection.

In this case, the author badly needs a job and has written a paperback book based on a book by a “man named Lear.” This is a reference to the Victorian author and artist Edward Lear, who wrote nonsense poems and songs of which Lennon was very fond (though Lear never wrote novels).

Fortunately for all of you aspiring paperback writers, the industry is changing:  you can do it yourself or find small publishing houses that will even provide editing and proofreading services.

The aspiring author in the song, possibly Martin Amis, would have far more options today than just The Daily Mail. So do your homework:  Crystal Publishing is one of those small publishing houses willing to work with you and provide an array of services to help you become THE paperback writer.

Sources:   Writer(s): Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Copyright: Sony/ATV Tunes LLC

Paperback Writer at Wikipedia

 Listen to the Song.