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Newsletter Dated: 1/2/2003 9:46:09 AM
Subject: Andrea Campbell's Newsletter Soup's On
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, family member, professional friend of Andrea’s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine. I am excited about this venue because it gives me the opportunity to reach larger numbers of people in a much shorter time. It will also contain more personal content and address things I don’t discuss on my web site.
Have questions, comments, or ideas for future publication? I look forward to your input and never turn down helpful hints. This newsletter is a continued work-in-progress and I hope you will stay around to see new features in every bi-monthly issue.
*** New Year, New Goals ***
I think I read somewhere that 67% of New Year’s resolutions get broken within the first two weeks of the year. So the diet is more challenging than you thought, you slept through the earlier alarm clock setting, and the health club is packed with unhealthy, sweaty, germy people and equipment. You can still regroup and take a smaller step toward fitness—an evening walk perhaps.
For writers though, the first of the year really is a clean slate. We should take a look back and see what progress we’ve made. If we’re short in the one-giant-step ahead category, now is a good time to reassess our goals. Would it be that much harder to send out one or two more queries a week? Was our book proposal too vast in scope? (one of my last year’s comments), can we create work in another area to offset the loss of a newspaper column, a magazine tanking, a newsletter change of command? Instead of beating ourselves up for what’s come undone, let’s renew our work lives and ladle on another dose of persistent attitude. Let us welcome mistakes as one more thing that must be done in order to refine our prose, redirect our energies, restore our focus!
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.
*** A Great Loss ***
The past month has brought us the loss of Carmel Thomaston, she died December 2, 2002. What a wonderful talent and beautiful person we’ve lost! Carmel was the founder and owner of Painted Rock Writers and Readers Colony, a talented romance author, a former court reporter and a good friend to many. I taught several workshops for Carmel and always enjoyed her correspondence and input. She possessed a great attention to detail and, more than once, my husband claimed we were separated at birth because of the common interests and ideals we shared. A prayer goes out to her family from here.
*** The Winner! ***
In the last newsletter I announced a free book giveaway, a copy of Bringing Up Ziggy, to the first person who responded by email with >Book Giveway< in the subject line. An autographed book went out to Rosie Colombraro in Tucson, Arizona, for her quick reply. If I remember correctly, her response came back in less than four minutes after send. Remarkable!
*** Refreshing News ***
The news has no end to its coverage of bad things, murder, corrupt CEOs, threats of war and destruction. But now I can say there is a new online site that provides a fresh breath of air to our weary hearts. Shie Rozow is the founder of a site called The Bright Side—Wings of Support. Rozow’s pages are described as thus:
--Welcome to The Bright Side--
Whether dealing with a crisis, coping with a mental disorder, or just feeling overwhelmed with life, we all go through difficult periods in our life. When life feels like it's too much of a strain, a little bit of support can go a long way towards helping us cope - that is what The Bright Side is all about.
You can visit The Bright Side at: http://www.the-bright-side.org
*** What Pays Off ***
After returning from Bouchercon in Austin, Texas, my thoughts ran to analyzing the mystery conference business and their modus operandi. I was there to promote my criminal law reference book Making Crime Pay and serve on a forensic science panel. Since this conference is nonprofit with worldwide attendance and a heavy fan base, I was, and still am, puzzled by many things: it’s nonprofit status, the fact that the mystery conference industry does not pay for panelists unless they are headliners—read this as best-selling authors—and the actual benefit for authors. In the world of conferences overall (and we can exclude Harriette Austin), as I see it, only writers will pay to teach, present, and share with no remuneration or measurable profit. Will someone please disabuse me of this notion!
It seems to me that by getting yourself there, paying for your own registration, hotel, and other expenditures such as eating, parking, transportation etc., the pay-off is almost negligible. I mean, why does one go to a conference anyway? Well, if you are a newbie writter, you go to learn about craft, the industry, and how to conduct your own business. All very valuable notions and good for the beginner. However, if you are already a selling author, with several titles to your credit, you go to, what? get industry news, gain exposure, network, and meet potential agents?
I really don’t know but I don’t think so. For the most part, I have not been to a conference in the last five years where I have learned anything new in terms of craft, at least nothing that could not be contained in a good, $20 how-to book. And in my mind, the industry, albeit ever-changing, can best be found out by joining a professional organization like the American Society of Journalists and Authors and taking a thorough read of their newsletter, or exploiting other member’s experience through phone calls and email.
Conference-attend to meet potential agents? That’s a slim possibility. Most are so totally swamped at conferences they will not take materials of any kind, and although they are as civil as possible under pressing circumstances, do not get into in-depth conversations with people they do not already know. What about exposure? if a writer goes for exposure, aside from a small cadre of organizers and a handful of readers, are they not selling books to other writers, an already-tapped market by virtue of their studying the business as a basic requisite?
Now there is one conference I will try to attend with certain regularity, and that is because it also suits another purpose; since it’s in New York, I can meet with my agent, visit a few publishers, and create and renew professional relationships. Last year I used the trip to tape a television show in Hartford, stay with a family in New Jersey, have lunch with my agent, and stop in to meet my publicist and staff at one of my publishers. This year I hope to at least tape a radio show, visit another author from West Nyack, and touch base with supportive colleagues in addition to working at the open-to-the-public portion of the conference on Saturday.
In my experience with being a lurker on several writer’s networks, I also am privy to tales from authors who spend large amounts of money to promote themselves and their products, that, in most cases, seem there will be no measurable payback. One very dear new friend/author confided to me that she had spent the equivalent of a new car (I don’t know what size car) in order to gain some recognition. And now there is a huge industry of what could in some instances be called bottom feeders feasting off authors under the pressure to get published and noticed. Vanity presses, p-o-d publishers, expensive editors, costly private workshops, printers, web site creators, publicists, genre magazines, and so forth, all want a piece of the desperate-to-succeed author. Was this always so? Feedback on this is welcomed, I am always open to be proven wrong and will readily admit to stupid errors in judgement.
In addition, I am definitely not anti-conference and agree that many good things can come from attending. Writers just need to assess their >success-ratio-to-expense< before and after such an event to evaluate intended goals. Some of the reasons for attending conferences are:
• To renew your enthusiasm for writing
• To touch base with others whose work is similar to yours
• To renew friendships or make new ones
• To listen to new/different agents and publishers
• To distribute promotional material
• For a change of scene
• To research the city you’re visiting
• To promote in the city you’re visiting
• To shake off cabin fever
• To receive an honor or featured recognition
• To make a new book announcement
• To be a speaker and create audio tape about you and your topic
• To sign books--check their availability before going!
• To cultivate a new audience/fans
• To report on the conference for a newsletter
• To spend money
There is an interesting article written by Chris Gavaler for WritersWeekly that helps to put the publisher’s position on this topic into focus. For a read go to:
*** Break Your Diet For This ***
CHOCOLATE CHIP CRUNCH COOKIES
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.*** -- Rack in the middle position
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups corn flakes
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
2 beaten eggs
Melt butter, add the sugars and mix. Add soda, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well. Crush corn flakes with your fingers. Add crushed corn flakes, flour and chocolate chips, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Place walnut-sized scoops of dough on a greased cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Flatten dough with a floured or greased spatula.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes. (***If cookies spread out too much in your oven, reduce temp. to 350 degrees F. and do not flatten before baking.) Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then remove to a wire
rack to complete cooling.
Enjoy while reading the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series:
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MURDER, STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE MURDER, BLUEBERRY MUFFIN MURDER and LEMON MERINGUE PIE MURDER by Joanne Fluke
Visit Joanne at: http://www.MurderSheBaked.com
*** Funny Signs ***
In An Office: Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday please bring it back or further steps will be taken.
In A Health Food Shop Window: Closed due to illness.
Notice In A Dry Cleaner’s Window: Anyone leaving their garments here for more than 30 days will be disposed of.
Outside A Second Hand Shop: We exchange anything—bicycles, washing machines, etc. Why not bring your wife along and get a wonderful bargain?
On A Church Door: This is the gate of Heaven, Enter ye all by this door (This door is kept locked because of the draft. Please use side entrance.)
In Another Office: After the tea interval staff should empty the teapot and stand upside down on the draining board.
Spotted In A Safari Park: Elephants Please Stay In Your Car
Seen During A Conference: For anyone who has children and doesn’t know it, there is a day care on the first floor.
Notice In A Field: The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the bull charges.
Message On A Leaflet: If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons.
In A London Department Store: Bargain Basement Upstairs
Quicksand Warning: Quicksand. Any person passing this point will be drowned. By order of the District Council.
*** ASJA Conference 2003 ;=)) ***
I am pleased to announce that I am moderator for a panel at next year’s American Society of Journalists and Authors’ East Conference to be held May 2-4, 2003, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Most sessions are an hour, my groups has an hour, forty minutes!
The name of the session is: Writing That Works: Connecting With Your Reader. Trade secrets from top authors on how to create compelling turn-the-page writing. Advice on craft, structure and style that will take your work to a higher level and attract the attention of the best agents and editors.
My panelists are the best! Roy Peter Clark is a writing and journalism expert affiliated with the Poynter Institute. Philip Gerard creates in many different mediums from nonfiction to novels to radio essays, as well as writing scripts for Public TV. His book Writing Creative Nonfiction and Writing A Book That Makes A Difference are both in my library. Rebecca McClanahan has had published three books about writing including Word Painting. A poet extraordinaire and expert in personal essay writing, we are happy to have her. Patricia T. O’Conner has been an editor at the Des Moines Register, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, where she spent 11 years on the Sunday Book Review section. She’s the bestselling author of three books about language Woe Is I, Words Fail Me, and You Send Me, and appears monthly on public radio as WNYC’s "language maven."
For more information visit: http://www.asja.org
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters I hope to answer reader’s questions, share a new story or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area of my life or work you would like to discuss, from autopsy to monkeys, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. : 0 )
Copyright©2003 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.