Starting this month and for every issue after, IN presents INside Authors, a look at authors from around the world who have significantly caught our attention and deserve a little space and recognition.
The following two authors are this month's choices. Our hope is to provide a glimpse, a snapshot, an overview of some of the finest writers of our time making waves both tidal and ripple.
LOU HARRY, President of Indy Men's Magazine
Personal INfo: "I've always been in the writing industry I've been very fortunate that way. I landed a steady-if-small column (500 words a month) at a magazine while finishing up college. After tempting for a year after graduation, I scored an editorial job at Philadelphia magazine and have been day-jobbing at magazines and writing books ever since.
"But I donít think thatís necessarily the best way to go. I think there are far too many writers who haven't done much besides write. Ultimately, you have to have something to write about and a perspective different (at least, slightly) then the mob of other writers out there. For me, that means spending a decade as a professional stand-up comic, working in theater, and teaching part-time."
Influences: "As founder and editor of Indy Men's Magazine I realize most writers face obstacles when trying to have their articles published in magazines.
"The biggest challenge is trying to put yourself in the shoes of your potential editors. Your job is to make their work as easy as possible. In the case of Indy Men's Magazine, that means delivering heartfelt, honest, funny-when-appropriate copy that catches us by surprise and fits into our monthly departments."
Advice: "First, volunteer to read from the slush pile of any magazine or book publisher that accepts fiction. You'll get an education. Second, the desire should not be to get published. The desire should be to create something worth publishing.
Third, if you are part of a writing group and you know in your heart that you are the best writer in the group, then find another group. The goal should be to improve, not to be validated."
The Future: "The best thing about the Internet is the speed in which writers can access sources and the way readers can access writers. For a recent book, I needed to use bartenders from around the country as sources. I was able to find the right people in one hundredth of the time it would have taken twenty years ago to do the same thing. Worst are the vanity presses, which have sprouted up like weeds and are convincing authors that thereís an easy way to becoming a published writer.
"Too many good people are finding themselves stuck with lesser bank accounts, cartons of books, and the need to hawk them to friends and family because of companies playing on their desire to take a short cut to being published." Coming out this fall:
The High Impact Infidelity Diet Random House/Crown/Three Rivers Press
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Penguin/Chamberlain Brothers
In the Can (co-writer Eric Furman). From Emmis Books
The Little Black Book of Shots and Shooters (co-writer Eric Furman) Peter Pauper Press
Itís Slinky!/It's Mini Slinky!
Paranoid's Survival Kit
Therapist In A Box
Voodoo Kit/Mini Voodoo Kit/Little Book Of Voodoo
Office Voodoo Kit/Mini Office Voodoo Kit
Love Voodoo Kit and Mini Love Voodoo Kit
Murder Mystery Party Kit
The Game of Life
As Seen on TV (Quirk, 2002)
The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures (Quirk Books, 2004)
Dirty Words of Wisdom
You Lose Some, You Lose Some (Emmis Books, 2005)
Strange Philadelphia (Temple University Press)
PHILIP GULLEY, Harmony Children's Book Author
Personal INfo: "I began writing the church newsletter for my small Quaker meeting and found I enjoyed it. I had never intended to write books, but in 1996 a friend sent a publisher one of my essays, which led to a book contract. I've been writing ever since."
Influences: "I'm heavily influenced by my Quaker community of faith. I also live in the same small town where I grew up, and many of my Harmony characters had their genesis in folks I've known most all my life."
Background: "The Harmony Herald is the local newspaper. HarperCollins thought it would make a fun monthly e-newspaper, so we began doing that in 2004. It's been great fun. Your readers can check it out at http://www.harmonyherald.com"
Advice: "I used to have a strict writing routine. Now I find that with my other obligations (father, husband, pastor, speaker) I have to squeeze the writing in wherever I have time and space. I do make one exception. I devote the winter months to writing. Start at eight in the morning and don't stop until one, when I eat lunch with my wife, Most writers have a day job, so they'll just have to squeeze the writing in when they have time. It isn't the 'when' that matters anyway. It's the regularity that's important. Try to write something every day."
Websites: "Not as important as we're led to believe. Though it is a useful device if you want to inform your fan base about author appearances. I would advise writers to devote their time and attention to writing, and let their publisher worry about a web-site. Why have a website pointing people to your work, if your work isn't good. Work on your work!"
Future: "The folks I work with in publishing still love ideas, love books, and are thrilled when good books reach the level they deserve to reach.The worst is that the success of a book sometimes has little to do with its quality and more to do with its marketing. Just out this fall I have:
A Change of Heart - A Harmony Novel This sixth book in the series is now on sale.
Front Porch Tales
For Everything A Season
If Grace Is True (with Jim Mulholland)
If God Is Love (with Jim Mulholland)
Home To Harmony
Just Shy Of Harmony
Signs And Wonders
Life Goes On
Christmas in Harmony
A Change Of Heart
The Christmas Scrapbook
Diego X. Jesus is a Dominican-born American freelance journalist and associate editor of IN who makes Toronto his home approximately half the time. Otherwise, we don't know where he might be. email Diego Jesus
Mark London is a Toronto based freelance writer and associate editor of IN who has been with the FWO-Int'l from the early years volunteering much of his time in assisting young writers' careers. email Mark: email@example.com