Can Self-publishing Get You A Book Contract?

Cat's Eye Nebula:  Credit; J. P. Harrington (U. Maryland) & K. J. Borkowski (NCSU) HST, NASA
Cat's Eye Nebula: Credit; J. P. Harrington (U. Maryland) & K. J. Borkowski (NCSU) HST, NASA

Walt Whitman self published his first book of poetry. So did Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. And you can add Mark Twain and Henry David Thoreau to this list of self-published authors also.

And the 20th century saw many self-published writers turnout successful titles. Some of the more noteworthy are Ulysses by James Joyce, Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust,  The Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Peter Beatrix Potter, The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, Robert’s Rules of Order and the  Joy of Cooking.

So how do things shape up for the 21st century. Ten years into the new century and it appears that self-published authors are doing well with obtaining book contracts.

“A successfully self-published book can propel you down the road to a book contract at a commercial publishing house.” At least that’s how Alan Rinzler, a consulting editor, describes the situation over at his blog, the Book Deal. On his most recent post he goes on to list two self-published authors, who have recently received book deals and then goes to list some reasons why self-publishing is a good prelude to a book contract. Reasons include proof that a writer can market the title and a signal that the author has the confidence and courage that is needed in today’s literary market.

So for all those writers who feel obligated to finding a literary agent(that includes yours truly), maybe there are other ways to go.

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Mispelled Wurds and Why Your Cat Might Want To Kill You

Cat's Eye
Cat's Eye by Guylaine Brunet courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

There was a great post today over at BookEnd’s concerning ten words to stop misspelling. I even think misspelling was one of the mispelled words. But the best thing about the 10 misspelled wurds is that they were part of a poster published by the Oatmeal Company. You can see the poster here,; its very funny.

Now for those of you who constantly search the web, you might have encountered the Oatmeal Company, for many places have posted guidelines for submitting ideas to this company. I think they are looking specifically for writers, who could come up with good material for greeting cards, but they have great titles for their posters as well. I visited them today, and my favorite was one entitled, How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You. This web page is definately worth a visit.

And the really funny thing about the whole poster is that it is all absolutely true. Anyone who has either owned a cat or just lived under the same roof with one, will quickly understand that all the examples are truly based on a deep understanding of animal behavior, especially cat psychology.

So, for all your writers, especially those that can handle comedy, and have not fared so well in the slush pile, there is the greeting card market eagerly waiting with outstretched arms. Sounds like fun, think I’ll try writing some jingles tomorrow.

In the meantime godd luck and don’t despair Ground Hog’s Day is just around the corner.

E. Autumn

P.S. Here is a picture of a Galician cat from Spain and a look inside it’s diabolical mind, coutesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Gato_en_Marin
Gato en Marin (Galiza) by Beninho

A Few Worrds About Charles Bukowski

a self portrait of Charles Bukowski at work

Not too long ago, I discovered a stack of about 50 copies of Ham and Rye, by Charles Bukowski, sitting in one of the local bookstores that is located in our downtown area in Portland, Maine. No, this great American writer did not all of a sudden find a surge of hidden popularity, here along the rocky coastline of Maine, but rather his classic novel was required reading at one of the local universities and so this bookstore had found it necessary to stockpile one of “Hank’s” more important works of fiction.

Still, since that great day of discovery, I have found a new fascination with the big boozer, which has been spurred on by two DVD’s of his movies (Barfly and Factotem), along with a lengthy biography (Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life by Howard Sounes) and several readings of his poetry, which have come my way courtesy of “You Tube”.

All in all, it is a fascinating record and literary achievement by one of America’s most loved and eccentric authors. I suppose now the late Mr. Bukowski is reaching that stage in his literary career, where he will be become more of a standard fare among college students and scholars.

From what little I have sampled of his poetry, I have found it to be quite humorous and profound all at the same time. In fact there are some great links on You Tube to various people reading his poems. There are even some video clips of Bukowski reading his own poetry. Here’s one of him reading, “Bluebird”, (audio only). And here’s another link to the poem, “The Tragedy of the Leaves”. Both of these come from You Tube.

Charles Bukowski at work

But unfortunately there was a very dark side to “Henry” or  “Hank” as he was often called. The two films barely scratched the surface, but Howard Sounes, travels far into the alcoholic and sometimes violent world of  Bukowski, for it seems that not only did the poet have a problem with alcohol, he also had a problem of violent fights and feuds with some of his female acquaintances, especially when he was in an inebriated state. Some of these altercations  left Bukowski in the slammer for a few days

His life story is something else. Born in Germany, Charles immigrated to America with his parents, eventually finding a home in the L.A. area. As a teenager he had an extreme case of acne that is hard to fathom and so his main solace became the public library in Los Angeles. From a childhood spent coming of age during the height of the depression Charles developed a wit, an attitude and a style that would eventually make him a much read poet and novelist, known the world over. From what I have read and that is not very much his literary efforts are well worth the time invested.