At the Union Grove Distillery in Arkville, NY on April 24, 2016
© 2016 Simona David
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) invites you to a literary arts and community event and celebration we call “Meet the Authors,” the third in our series of annual book festivals. This year the event takes place on Sunday, April 24, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the Union Grove Distillery in Arkville, NY, an exciting new enterprise in the area. Union Grove is housed in a big old barnlike building featuring comfortable spaces fitted with stainless steel and copper and wood, a roaring fireplace, and the percolation of fine spirits—all making for a perfect environment in which to listen to, talk about, and think about books and writing.
The daylong event welcomes all writers and readers, artists and audience, and community members from every walk to brave the mud and chill of early spring and enjoy a warm gathering of successful and fascinating writers, illustrators, editors, educators, booksellers, and publishers from Syracuse to New York City and points between and beyond. This year’s keynote speaker is Rosie Schaap, author of the celebrated memoir Drinking with Men as well as the “Drink” column for The New York Times magazine.
Come by to shop for books directly from their authors, hear readings and peer-to-peer discussions, join in an enticing raffle (books are the prize, of course), and vote in the Best Book Cover contest.
Participating authors include Sari Botton, Robert Burke Warren, Linda Lowen, Ginnah Howard, John Gregg, Susan Wilbur, Craig Sanders, Jo Salas, Nava Atlas, Mary Lou Harris, and poet Danniel Schoonebeek, among others.
The program is as follows:
12:30—Poetry reading led by poet Sharon Israel. Featured Poet: Danniel Schoonebeek.
Danniel Schoonebeek’s first book of poems, American Barricade, was published by YesYes Books in 2014. It was named one of the year’s ten standout debuts by Poets & Writers and called “a groundbreaking first book that stands to influence its author’s generation” by Boston Review. In 2015, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and his second book of poems, Trébuchet, was selected as a winner of the 2015 National Poetry Series and will be published by University of Georgia Press. Recent work appears in The New Yorker, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. A recipient of awards and honors from Poets House, the Millay Colony for the Arts, and Oregon State University, he hosts the Hatchet Job reading series in Brooklyn and edits the PEN Poetry Series. His latest book, a travelogue called C’est la guerre, is forthcoming later this year.
1:30—Group discussion on the latest news and trends in publishing. Leslie T. Sharpe, who taught writing at Columbia University and was an editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and now teaches for Writers in the Mountains, will talk about traditional publishing; writer and consultant Simona David will touch on independent publishing; poet, painter and educator Anique Taylor will address getting published in literary journals; and Lillian Browne, editor-in-chief of The Reporter and editor of the Catskill Country Magazine, will share thoughts about her experience with the news media and travel magazine publishing.
2 p.m.—Rosie Schaap, author of the celebrated memoir Drinking with Men as well as the “Drink” column for The New York Times magazine, will deliver the keynote address. Rosie Schaap has been a bartender, a fortuneteller, a librarian at a paranormal society, an English teacher, an editor, a preacher, a community organizer, and a manager of homeless shelters.
2:30—Carrie Bradley Neves, writer, musician, and editor (with a specialization in cookbooks) will talk about new ingredients in the cookbook scene during the “foodie” era. Other illustrated book authors will be in the spotlight.
3:30—The Bounty of Books raffle, with a prize of ten selected book titles, will be awarded (come early, tickets are limited!), and the winner of the Best Cover contest will be announced.
Throughout the day, participating authors will read from their works and share their stories with the audience. Admission is free. For more information, visit writersinthemountains.org, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writers in the Mountains is a 501 (c) (3) not-for–profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation, and sharing of creative writing.
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) invites you to the Andes Roundtable, Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at 7 pm. The event is held at the Hunting Tavern, on Main Street in Andes, NY. Attendees will learn about WIM’s mission and programs, hear some of the region’s best writers, and have a conversation about the role of arts and letters in the Catskill region.
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) is a literary organization founded twenty-three years ago in Roxbury. Over the past two decades the organization has grown to include more than three hundred writers from all backgrounds, all ages and levels of experience, writing in all genres and styles. WIM offers a variety of creative writing workshops year round throughout the entire Catskill region: fiction, poetry, memoir, playwriting, publishing, business writing, illustration, and more.
In addition to a broad range of workshops and seminars, in 2012 WIM launched an essay contest for middle and high school students in Delaware County. The essay contest encourages young writers to pursue their passion and dare to write – WIM’s motto. This year’s topic is What is your favorite music, and how does it move you?
Additionally, in 2014 WIM ventured into yet another arena: in April 2014 WIM started a book festival for authors, publishers and booksellers in the Catskills and Hudson Valley area. In 2015 the keynote speaker was award-winning author Jenny Milchman, published by Ballantine / Penguin Random House.
Writers in the Mountains hosts The Writer’s Voice, a weekly radio program on WIOX, broadcast Tuesdays at 1 pm, and produced by poet Sharon Israel.
WIM Board of Directors includes professionals with a wide range of skills and expertise: Simona David (consultant), Sharon Israel (poet), Geoff Rogers (writer), Peg DiBenedetto (publisher), Leslie T. Sharpe (professor, author and consultant), Lillian Browne (journalist), Carrie Bradley Neves (editor), Elizabeth Sherr (professor) – all professionals with a strong vision for what the organization is and can be.
Writers in the Mountains is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide to the general public a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation, and sharing of creative writing. For more information, visit writersinthemountains.org.
I wrote about creativity and tribes for Catskill Made, a lovely quarterly magazine. Read article here.
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) invites you to Meet the Authors, the Second Annual Catskills Book Festival,on Sunday, April 12, 2015 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the Roxbury Arts Center, 5025 Vega Mountain Road, Roxbury, NY. Participants include award-winning writers Mermer Blakeslee, author of When You Live by a River, and Breena Clarke, author of River, Cross My Heart; Stand the Storm; and Angels Make Their Hope Here.
The daylong event welcomes all writers and readers, artists and audience, and community members from every walk to brave the mud and chill of early spring and enjoy a warm gathering of a range of successful and fascinating writers, illustrators, editors, educators, booksellers, and publishers from Cooperstown to New York City and points between and beyond. The venue is an intimate setting that allows for one-on-one introductions, focused dialogue, and a sharing of the love of literature, all in the spirit of local energy, inspiration, and support. Come by to shop for books directly from their authors, hear readings and peer-to-peer discussions, join in an enticing raffle (books are the prize, of course), and vote in the Best Book Cover contest.
The program includes a poetry reading at 12:30 featuring Sharon Israel, Mermer Blakeslee, Peg DiBenedetto, and Geoff Rogers. At 1:30 there will be a group discussion on the latest news and trends in publishing headed by author Jenny Milchman (see below), editor Robert Wyatt, and consultant Simona David.
At 2 p.m., Jenny Milchman (Ballantine / Penguin Random House) will deliver the keynote address, Two Roads Diverged: Publishing a Book in 2015 & Beyond. Jenny Milchman’s debut novel, Cover of Snow, earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, as well as praise from the New York Times, San Francisco Journal of Books, the AP, and other publications. It was an Indie Next List and Target pick, won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for best suspense novel, and was nominated for both the Macavity and Barry Awards for best first novel. Her second book Ruin Falls, also an Indie Next List pick, was published in 2014 to starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, and chosen as a “10 Best of 2014” by Suspense Magazine. Jenny’s third novel, As Night Falls, will be published in June 2015.
At 2:30, illustrators Alix Travis and AnnDuBois will discuss the ins and outs of designing picture books, and cookbook editor Carrie Bradley Neves will talk about new ingredients in the cookbook scene during the “foodie” era.
At 3:30, a raffle with the prize of ten selected book titles will be awarded (come early, tickets are limited!), and the winner of the Best Cover contest will be announced.
Throughout the day, all participating authors will read from their works and share their stories with the audience. Admission is free. Parking is available on Main Street and in the municipal parking lot. For more information visit writersinthemountains.org, or email email@example.com.
FOR FULL PROGRAM AND AUTHORS’ BIOS, GO TO http://writersinthemountains.org/book-festival/
As more and more aspiring authors debate over traditional versus independent publishing, I am weighing in this debate by exploring the pluses and minuses of each option. Herein I will consider the relationship between author and publisher from a historical perspective, I will look at self-publishing from a business and marketing standpoint, I will share statistics and trends, and I will mull over the future of publishing.
Over the past five years or so we’ve talked extensively about self-publishing given tremendous opportunities created by digital technology, but self-publishing is not new. Shortly after the invention of the printing press in Germany in 1450, German painter Albrecht Durer self-published an illustrated book called The Apocalypse, as reported by Hyperallergic and other sources. As a side note, Durer’s godfather, Anton Koberger, one of Germany’s most successful publishers around that time, published The Nuremberg Chronicle in 1493 – that book is on display at Vassar College through December this year.
To resume, artists and writers with entrepreneurial spirit have always existed. In the 17th and 18th century Europe self-publishing was fairly common; self-publishers were using subscription models to hook new readers. But moving forward into the 19th century, the advent of newspapers and magazines changed again the way publishers were doing business, by enabling them to publish short book excerpts and popularize novel ideas. It’s worth mentioning the essay published in October this year by The Economist magazine From Papyrus to Pixels: The Digital Transformation Has Only Just Begun, a piece musing over the past and future of publishing from different perspectives.
Granted, the relationship between authors and publishers hasn’t always been a rosy one: in 1849, for instance, Thoreau had a hard time finding a publisher for A Week on the Concord and Merimack Rivers, as reported by Brain Pickings; eventually, he paid out of pocket to print 1,000 copies – only 300 would sell. In 1845 Edgar Allan Poe only made $20 for the publication of The Raven, despite the instant success of the poem. Meanwhile, in 1855 Walt Whitman decided to self-publish Leaves of Grass – Whitman only printed 800 copies, and although the sales weren’t great, the author wasn’t discouraged. Today, we’re looking at traditionally published authors like David Mamet, who is considering self-publishing, and also at successful self-published authors like Bella Andre, who sold millions of copies of her novels, and made The New York Times Bestseller List.
Self-Publishing Is a Business
Self-Publishing is a business. Writers who self-publish are also publishers, marketers, and business managers. Publishing a book is very much like a start-up – it involves everything from product development, the book, to knowing the technology that’s involved, resources that are available, project cost, market research, branding, distribution, sales, and taxes. Successful self-published authors understand the book market – they know what people read, and how they read, know who their competition is, know how to price their books, know how to promote and distribute; they can compare different publishing models, and make a profit. In sum, authors who self-publish are more than writers – they are also entrepreneurs.
Self-publishing and book marketing go hand in hand, because authors who self-publish have to market their books, and build name recognition. Therefore, in addition to being writers, authors today are also performers, communicators, and brands. In that sense, I’m quoting Helmut von Berg, a publishing expert, who said for Publishing Perspectives in January 2013 that: “publishing of the future is networked publishing.”Also Seth Godin, who just published a CD of his bestselling book Tribes, emphasizes the importance of having a tribe, when it comes to marketing and sales: “All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger and enabling new tribes to be born.”
Trends and Statistics
In 2013 there were a total of 458,564 self-published titles, an increase of 17% from 2012; broken down by format in 2013 self-publishers published 302,622 print books, an increase of 28.80% compared to 2012, and 155,942 e-books, a decrease of 1.60% compared to 2012. The source is Bowker Market Research.
In 2013 self-publishers preferred print to digital, a remarkable finding, considering how much easier it is to self-publish digital rather than print content. The ratio print to digital was 60 – 40 in 2012; in 2013 that changed to 66 – 34 print to digital.
Also, another exciting trend, in October 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest book festival, expanded its successful self-publishing German-language arena to include English-language books; the fair hosted this year a two-day intensive program dedicated to self-publishers, thus acknowledging the increased importance of independent publishing.
The Future of Publishing
In recent years we’ve seen a constant increase in self-published titles. But traditional publishers are no stranger to this market either: in 2008 HarperCollins created Authonomy.com, a site dedicated to independent authors; in 2011 Penguin U.S. created a similar site called Bookcountry.com; in 2012 Penguin acquired Author Solutions, one of the biggest self-publishing conglomerates; also in 2012 Simon & Schuster partnered with Author Solutions to create Archway Publishing. Furthermore, in 2013 Bowker, the agency that issues ISNBs in the United States, in existence since 1868, created a site called SelfPublishedAuthor.com, providing resources for authors contemplating independent publishing. In sum, traditional publishers appear not only to have been embraced self-publishing, but also to profit from it.
Pundits looking at traditional publishing models ponder over what changes the future might bring. And editors working in big publishing houses already moonlight as freelancers for independent projects. Meanwhile, Penguin UK is offering online writing courses, thus this major company becomes more than a publisher, and enters the realm of instruction and education. Other pundits wonder whether traditional publishers would unbundle their services, and thus offer authors just what they need, whether be editorial services, design, marketing or distribution.
In conclusion, should you self-publish or look for a publisher? The answer depends on a whole range of factors. It’s important to look at both options, and assess pluses and minuses. Ultimately the decision will depend on the goals and needs of each author, and the nature of each book project – some projects are more complex than others from an editorial, legal, or financial standpoint. Your choice.
© 2014 Simona David