Posts Tagged ‘short story collection’

Vintage Dandelion Wine

July 23, 2012

One of my favorite authors died last month. Ray Bradbury passed away on June 5, 2012, at the age of ninety-one.

His obituary was carried in most major papers. The New York Times said Bradbury was “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.”

The Los Angeles Times credited Bradbury with the ability “to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away, worlds he anchored in the here-and-now with a sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity.”

The Washington Post mentioned several modern-day technologies that Bradbury had envisioned in his writing, such as the idea of banking ATMs and Bluetooth headsets from Fahrenheit 451, and the concepts of artificial intelligence within I Sing the Body Electric.

In reading about his life, I knew Bradbury, an avid reader, was a strong supporter of public libraries. In fact, he once told The Paris Review, “I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries.” Like so many others during the Depression, Bradbury had no money for such an extravagance. “I couldn’t go to college,” he said, “so I went to the library three days a week.”

Bradbury also said something else I agree with: “You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do … and they don’t.” Writers learn to write by writing.

And, although I’m not sure they play the same role they once did, I believe libraries still serve a purpose, if only for the computer access they can give to those without it; a place for young readers to learn the joys of good storytelling; and the quiet opportunity they provide for reading and study that is so often missing in our hectic and “connected” world.

Unfortunately, Bradbury also exhibited skepticism with regard to modern technology by resisting the conversion of his work into e-books. Fahrenheit 451 is the only one of his works Bradbury conceded to publish in an electronic form, when its copyright came up for renewal in 2011.

So, you won’t find Bradbury’s books as e-books for the Kindle on Amazon, or anywhere else. I strongly disagree with that. I think the current generation of readers need the opportunity to read Bradbury’s books, and without electronic access, many of them never will.

“Dandelion Wine” no longer a part of a young person’s literary life? I think that’s a shame.

Why I’m An Indie

June 22, 2012

"Broken Glass" Blog

Screen Shot of My Writing Web Site “Broken Glass”
I’ve collected rejection slips for my writing for more years than I care to remember…and those rejections were the success stories.

Getting a rejection slip usually meant someone at least read your query, or glanced over your manuscript submission for three minutes (five, if it was a personal response, not a Xerox copy of a standard rejection letter), before they pitched it in the wastebasket.

Most of the time, your inquiries are greeted by a stony silence.

I wrote in my workplace: articles, public relations spiels, generic responses to customer questions (yes, we really made up booklets of standard answers). I produced and edited annual reports for a few very large corporations, wrote and designed support material for marketing events.

I even garnered some nice awards for the work I produced. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t always satisfying. I wanted to be an author, not just a writer.

I sold a few stories, here and there, but not enough to make a living. Writing became one of my ‘hobbies’ – sort of like my painting and photography.

So, I thought about writing and I wrote a lot. I never stopped. I counted it as a success when one of my stories or poems made it into print (or these days, online), whether I got paid for it or not. A lot of my friends didn’t even know I tried.

I thought about approaching big publishing houses with my fiction, but most of them won’t talk to you unless you have an agent. Getting a good agent to represent you is another hurdle writers face, and most never accomplish. It’s almost as tough as getting into the publishing house itself.

Then there’s the mind-numbing contracts and paltry pay for your work.

Don’t be fooled by media stories about famous writers like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. Publishers are notorious for their terrible pay to authors. Quite often it’s only ten percent or less of retail sales, which might not sound bad, until you realize how few books most authors ever sell.

On top of it all, publishers do minimal marketing and leave the vast majority of promotional work to the author … unless you’re already one of those big-name folks, with a big-time following, when they treat you like the moneymaker you already are.

A literary ATM machine.

So, I worked elsewhere and dreamed.

Well, I’ve put in my work time to make a living. I sent my sons to college and have watched them become succesful young men.

I want to work now at something I’ve always enoyed, and I don’t want to sit around more years than I may have left, waiting for those agents and publishers to notice me.

And I certainly don’t want to deal with their poor support, lousy pay and their expectation of my gratitude for talking to me in the first place.

It’s why I love e-Books, and the opportunities selling online with Amazon or Barnes & Noble can provide. Being an indie writer, I can write for my readers … and myself. I’ve already received some fabulous reviews for my books (Reichold Street, Zebulon, and Tinker).

I don’t have to write now to survive (at least not yet), and thanks to the growing power of e-Books I can write the things I want; things readers want, not things publishers think they can sell.

The creative side of my being, ever the dominant side, loves that part of it.

 

Next New Book

May 28, 2012

Newest TINKER Cover-RLHerron
© Front cover of my new book, “Tinker”

The first part of this year has been extremely busy. I sometimes think I’m working harder now than when I had a nine-to-five, and I have no one to blame but myself.

I just published my third book, a general fiction short-story collection entitled, “Tinker.”

As a teaser, here’s the first two paragraphs of the lead story:

I was eleven when my dog Tinker died. He hadn’t been sick or anything like that. Far from it. If he had been, I might have seen his passing as a blessing and an end to his torment. But he was only five years old, in the prime of his dog-years life. He’d been chasing a Frisbee, his tongue hanging out and his mouth open in a big, lolling doggie grin when he was hit by a car, right in front of my eyes.

In the days that followed, I was struck by the way grief, relief and guilt could co-exist in such a cozy fashion. I cried my eyes out as I carried his broken body back to the house. “Omigod, Dad, Tink’s hurt bad!”

The e-Book version is already available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The paperback will follow at both venues soon. You can already purchase the paperback on my secure “Books by Ronald Herron” site.

Now, like before, comes the hard part. Marketing. It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately … a lot. I spent my whole working career in public relations and marketing, and a lot of people think it might be something second nature to me by now.

It isn’t.

The more I think about it, the worse my headache becomes.

I’ve come to the conclusion, after reading the advice of all the online “professionals” out there, and seeing where publishing has been heading for the past several years, that I’d be much better off just asking you for feedback.

What have you liked about what I’ve written?

I know that’s a bit presumptuous, assuming you’ve purchased one of my books … but if you have done so – what did you like about it? Perhaps a better question might be, what didn’t you like?

I don’t seem to be getting much feedback here. Comments are posted infrequently.

Perhaps you have negative comments and don’t want to hurt my feelings. Trust me … you won’t. How will I ever improve, if you don’t tell me where I’m making mistakes? How can I make my writing better, if you don’t tell me about the parts you found difficult to follow? Or totally insipid?

The best possible marketing I could do is to find out what you think. I need you to tell your friends about my books. Let them give me some advice, too. Share this post with them.

I just started my fourth book, another novel, so I’ll have some time between brain spasms to actually respond to your comments. Whattaya say? Care to let me work a bit?

I promise to answer. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.

You can post comments here to start a discussion, or leave them on my work email: ron@ronaldherron.com.

 


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