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January, 2008

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Neubauer's Nuggets
No problem is too big or too small for our Joan
By  Joan R. Neubauer

ach month, award-winning author Joan R. Neubauer will answer questions from you, her readers. She will answer questions about writing, promotion, publishing, and any other aspect of the publishing industry you can think of. Send your questions to her emailbox at SUBJECT Neubauer Nuggets and maybe yours will be the question she answers next month.

Table Space Investment

Q. Dear Joan,

I'm a self-published author, my first book, and go to book festival after book festival. I sell a few books and even make back the money I invested for table space. But I don't see much point to these things. Can you tell me why I should continue to go?

Mary Spence
Los Angeles, CA

A: Dear Mary,

Think a little outside the box and ask yourself why you self-published in the first place. You probably did so for three reasons: one, you had something to say, two, you wanted to share it with the world, and three, you couldn't convince anyone else of your genius. Book festivals give you the chance to share what you have to say to the world. You sell your books and put them in the hands of readers. If they like your work, they will look for other books that flow from your brain. If you accumulate enough of those people, you will have them clamoring for more, which will persuade other publishers to invest in you. So by selling your books, you are establishing a fan base. Good for you!

However, there is another very important reason to go to book festivals: networking. Take the opportunity to network with the other authors. Meet them. Learn about their publishers, their agents, their efforts at marketing and promotion. Expand your friendships in the literary community. Also, bear in mind that publishers, editors, and agents also attend many of these book festivals. Seek them out. Meet them. Get acquainted. Don't try to sell them something the first time you meet them, just offer friendship and good conversation. Offer a cold drink and talk about the weather. Make a positive first impression and start a relationship. Then, at some future date, when you send a manuscript, they will know who you are and give your manuscript the consideration it merits.

Good luck, keep writing, and keep attending those book festivals!


Switching Editors Mid-Stream

Q. Dear Joan,

About a year ago I met an editor at a conference. We talked about the manuscript I was working on at the time, a mystery. She encouraged me to send it to her when I completed it. By the time I finished it, she had moved to a different house and no longer develops mysteries. In an odd sort of way, I almost feel abandoned. What should I do?

Don Stevens
Chicago, Illinois

A. Dear Don,

Don't feel abandoned. Editors often move from one house to another. That's just the nature of the industry. I often tell students that editors play musical chairs. They all know each other and they routinely rotate jobs. That's the reality, but now that it's happened to you, you have to deal with it.

Since you have established first contact with this editor, I would first send her a note congratulating her on her move to her new job. This tells her that you're keeping tabs on the heartbeat of the industry, the mark of a professional. Then tell her that you've finished the manuscript that she had an interest in, but since she's no longer working with mysteries, ask her if she could recommend another editor to send it to.

At first blush, you might think it's a matter of just sending your manuscript to the new editor, however, having the recommendation of another editor, will give your manuscript a bit of an advantage. Name drop in your cover letter. Tell the new editor that Editor so-and-so recommended that you send it. This is what we call a "warm referral," and these are so much more effective than any "cold call" or out of the blue query you might make.

Good luck and keep writing.

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Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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