In Passing

The teacher who originally inspired me to major in print journalism has passed.

I hadn’t thought of the man in years, then I saw his obituary in yesterday’s newspaper. I did the math to make sure it was the same man I remembered and verified that I was one of his pupils the year he retired from teaching (but not from sports writing).

Farewell, Coach Johnson. you’ve more than earned your rest.


Chugging Right Along

The latest news on the re-release of the Waves of Darkness books: I’ve chosen 5 or 6 potential cover designers from to contact. My next step before doing that will be to revisit my original manuscript and reformat it for print with possible revisions and at least a new forward. The designer I finally pick will need the actual page count in order to get the spine the correct size.

I will probably pick one of the designers who offer an ACX version along with ebook and print cover sizes. I really want to get the books out in audio format, too.

My art commission is almost done for the 1st phase. I’m shading the last pencil sketch. Next up will be inking them. Color may or may not happen. That has not been decided yet. I will ask my commissioner if it’s okay to reveal what this project is. More on that later.

Sometimes It Pays …

Sometimes it pays to be paranoid, or at least highly skeptical.

Today, I received a call from a “senior acquisitions specialist” for “the only award winning hybrid publisher” about evaluating my book to present to one of their “book investors” and possibly add it to this year’s portfolio. (I was just sitting down to eat before getting ready for work, so I let the machine get it.)

To her credit, the woman, identified only as Sunshine (no last name stated), did pronounce my first name correctly. She failed, however, to actually identify the publisher she represented. I found out from my caller ID it was called Stratton Press. The call back number matched the one she called from, which seemed to add a touch of credibility.

The thing is, I haven’t sent out any queries since early last fall. I keep a board of who I’ve queried and when. This publisher was not on it. I am assuming the fact I’m an author, and my contact info was culled from my FB posts on various author and book promotion groups, then Google-fu for my phone number, which I don’t believe I’ve posted.

So, I did a little Google-fu on my own. Sure enough, there was a post about this publisher on SFWA’s Writer Beware.

Yeah, I’m not calling Sunshine back.

I’ve been a published author for 9 years and a regular attendee of the writing tracks of several conventions, so I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about naive new authors and even veteran authors falling prey to the somewhat dubious business practices of some vanity and/or fly-by-night publishers. (Yep, the terms acquisition specialist rather than editor and hybrid publisher had images flashing in my head of Robbie the Robot flailing its arms and repeating “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”)

So my advice to my fellow authors out there is do your research when looking for an agent or publisher, be suspicious of unsolicited offers to help you publish, especially if the one’s offering want money from you, and don’t be afraid to ask more established authors for advice or recommendations.