Saturday, March 05, 2011
HUBS and I have been talking about taking a class together at our local community college for about a year now, but we didn't have the extra funds to sign up until recently.
I got a little thrill in spending money on something we'd wanted to do for a while that wasn't strictly necessary. In early January I signed us up for three classes, one for each of us to take alone and one for us to take together. Thank God for the continuing education options, because all of our classes were one day seminars that cost less than fifty bucks. Genius!
My class, on publishing non-fiction books, was last Saturday. I had to get up early, but still managed to not wake up quite early enough to eat breakfast or make coffee. Plus, I had stomach trouble, so I was none too happy. But, luckily, the class changed that.
Man. Can I just say how nice it was to get out? Just like with the interviews I've started doing again, it felt good to be a person who leaves the house to do things that don't involve errands. I even asked questions and interjected thoughts! Thoughts, people!
This little adventure led, I believe, to HUBS and I going to a park we've never been to before to play frisbee and taking neighborhood walks twice this week. Look! We're doing new things! And accomplishing goals! And getting exercise!
Our next class is later this month (Fuck. How did we get to March already?), when we learn about Irish legends and myths together. What new opportunities will that bring our way? Who knows?! Sky's the limit!
Now, if any of you out there are writers, here are some things I learned in my class:
Insider Publishing Secrets
1) Your royalties aren't based on the price of your book, they're based on what the seller pays for it. For example: If your books costs $10, the seller (B&N, Borders, Amazon, etc.) probably pays around $7.50 for each copy. If you get a 10% royalty, you only get 75 cents from each book sold.
2) Most publishing companies pay twice a year, around January and June. But? They pay late almost all the time, so you won't actually get your royalty check until 3 to 6 months after their pay schedule.
3) There are two sets of rules in publishing (like in life, really), one for already famous people and one for the rest of us. Advances are really only for the famous.
4) Smaller companies usually sell less, but will give you bigger royalties; while the opposite is true for larger publishing houses.
5) If you write for everyone, you'll sale to no one. Make your topic as specific as possible.
6) Anybody can reuse your title and it's totally legal. Also? No matter how good the title you've chosen may be, the publisher will almost certainly change it.
7) Any title with "how to", "secret" or the number "7" always sells.
8) If you want to know who might be interested in publishing your book, read the acknowledgement section of books like yours. Writers always thank their editors and agents there. But...
9) Stay away from agents if at all possible. It's easier to get through to editors at publishing houses, plus agents tend to reject 85% to 95% of all ideas.
10) Last but not least? The contract publishers send to writers once they've agreed to publish your book is non-negotiable. You can have a lawyer look over it, but if they change anything that company will not be publishing the fine work of non-fiction you've poured yourself into.
Those are just a few of the insidery things our instructor let us in on. I'd highly recommend a class like this to anyone interested in writing books!
Monday, February 28, 2011
This better conveys James Franco's expression for most of the Oscar show than any photo I could find. I am quite the artiste!
I used to be all about watching The Academy Awards when I was a kid. And not just the actual show either, nuh uh. I'd watch all the prep shows and the Barbara Walters Special and the pre-show and then the Oscars.
Now that I look back on it, no telecast ever registered as good or bad or exciting or boring. I was a kid, and as someone not even remotely involved in the industry, many would posit that I shouldn't have been interested at all at, say, eight-years-old. But, interested I was, so watch I did. Every year, it was a given.
I believe it was my Sophomore year of college when all that changed. I had to work or study, or something, so I decided to tape the event. When I tried to watch later that night, I realized that my VCR (I know! Remember those? Fuck, I'm old.) wasn't in prime condition anymore. The picture was wobbly and the audio was almost non-existent. No amount of 'tracking' could fix this.
I distinctly remember thinking Oh well, fuck it. And that was literally the last time I tried to watch an entire Oscarcast. This brings us to last night.
Now, we all knew it was possible that this little young-beautiful-actors-with-no-heretofore-seen-comedic-hosting-talent experiment could backfire, right? many of the reviews have praised Anne Hathaway and the obligatory opening host-in-nominated-movies pre-recorded madness, and blasted James Franco.
At first I felt like everyone else, Anne is working her butt off and James couldn't give less of a shit. He's nervous or stoned or bored or has decided (roughly five minutes into the show) that he's either above this bullshit or made the worst decision of his life and has decided to just let those feelings fly. But, I think we all may have missed the point.
James Franco did exactly what the hell James Franco meant to do last night, but none of us (not even the show's producers or his co-host) were in on the joke. Let's imagine that you were a solid actor who's won some recognition in TV and movies. Let's also say that, after a long string of co-starring movie roles, you decide to take a part on a soap opera to possibly showcase your performance art skills to a national, unknowing audience with a character that's named after you; and let's say that this is for a class at one of the two universities you currently attend.
Now, would it not be possibly the greatest performance art piece of all time, to take a gig hosting the majorist of award shows, pretend to be dead serious about it and then, when you get there, act like you're stoned/scared/would rather be having a colonoscopy non-anesthetized?
Someone hand James Franco his A+, already.
Anyway, here's something more upbeat for you!