Seattle Writergrrls, a co-host at several Book Publishers Northwest events, decided to close down their email list in November. As a parting message to subscribers, Jenny Hayes and Jenny Neill shared the following local and regional resources for everyone interested in writing and publishing.
“ Our main criteria for inclusion was that one or the other of us had a personal tie to [to the organization], and that we found some value in our associations with them,” wrote Neill.
Along with Book Publishers Northwest’s website, they recommended:
Hedgebrook – hedgebrook.org (nonprofit literary organization)
Hugo House – hugohouse.org (classes/meetups with a headquarters reopening next year)
Lit Crawl Seattle – litcrawl.org/seattle/
Mineral School – mineral-school.org (Founded by Jane Hodges)
Northwest Independent Editors Guild – www.edsguild.org (A great place to find editors and project managers for publishing projects)
Northwest Science Writers – nwscience.org
Pacific Northwest Writers Association – pnwa.org
Seattle Writers’ and Readers’ Network – www.facebook.com/groups/seattlewritersnetwork/
Society of Professional Journalists, Western Washington – www.spjwash.org
Society for Technical Communication, Puget Sound Chapter – www.stc-psc.org
Surrey International Writers’ Conference – www.siwc.ca (Annual conference featuring diverse program and opportunities to pitch editors and agents)
Unchaste – unchastereaders.com (Reading series in Portland founded by Jenny Forrester)
Other members of Seattle Writergrrls recommended the following:
WritersConnection.org – www.writersconnection.org
Seattle7Writers – www.seattle7writers.org
EPIC Group Writers.org – www.epicgroupwriters.com
Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) –
Entre Ríos Books, a BPNW member, has released three new poetry books this fall. Like their other books, their focus is on collaboration and the books come with audio to listen to the authors read their work.
Flowers & Sky: Two Talks by Aaron Shurin
This volume brings together two lectures and a suite of unpublished poems by one of our finest lyric and gay poets. These intimate talks use Shurin’s own work to illustrate the power and practice of image-making at the deepest level and contemplate a life made by and for art. Laura Moriarty says of the book, “Old poets thinking to write their memoirs and young ones to assert their own poetics should take notice.”
Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts by Maya Jewell Zeller & Carrie DeBacker
A full-color collaboration on the politicalization of women’s bodies. Spokane poet, Maya Jewell Zeller, and Seattle artist, Carrie DeBacker, crafted a work of anxious poetics and eco-feminism, much of it created after the election. This book includes a film response by CWU student, Rebecca Starkey, winner of the first ERB Emerging Visions Filmmaker Award, given to women filmmakers in Washington State secondary or college programs.
Mary’s Dust by Melinda Mueller with music by Lori Goldston
The long-awaited return by one of Seattle’s most intriguing writers, Mary’s Dust collects and reimagines the stories of Marys throughout history. From the Annunciation to Mary Wollstonecraft, from Typhoid Mary to September 11, 2001, this staggeringly intense and honed work is her first full- length collection since the ALA and Washington Book Award winning, What the Ice Gets. It ships with a digital download of a new cello suite by celebrated Seattle cellist, Lori Goldston.
About Entre Ríos Books
Entre Ríos Books is a small press in Seattle, Washington, with a focus on collaborations between West Coast poets and artists.
Beth Chapple of Granite Peak Publications recently returned from Portland’s book festival Wordstock. For the first time in several years, Book Publishers Northwest participated. Two other volunteers, Jill Kelly and Kim Bouchard, met Beth at the table shared with the Northwest Independent Editors Guild.
Since Book Publishers Northwest had limited space, it was decided only to take the books previously displayed at the PNBA Fall Trade Show. With mysteries, poetry, and nonfiction titles on display, the table showed off the range of books published by BPNW members. Also available were the bookmarks and other sales literature provided by the publishers for PNBA.
“We spent time carrying, displaying, and discussing people’s books. Lots of attendees took the free bookmarks and postcards, so I hope BPNW members are happy with the exposure,” said Chapple.
Wordstock granted attendees a $5 “certificate” to be used at the displays. As decided earlier, books were swapped for this certificate. Approximately a dozen books were taken by Wordstock attendees. Money earned was used to reimburse volunteers for having to purchase their ticket into Wordstock and defray the cost of display. Splitting the table with the Northwest Independent Editors Guild helped keep costs down but BPNW still spent far more than exhibit than was earned through sales.
“I had fun, but I have not decided if I personally will participate again,” said Chapple. “Nor am I sure I will recommend it to Book Publishers Northwest unless the publisher can attend or send an author to be on a panel.”
Remaining books and sales literature will be brought to the November 28 meeting for pick-up. Unclaimed books will be donated to the Friends of the Seattle Public Library.
Sometimes, independent authors and small presses come up against a legal question that can’t be answered easily. It may be determination of copyright in a project with multiple participants, how to protect intellectual property in estate planning, or when it is “fair use” to quote another person’s words.
Since 1976, Washington Lawyers for the Arts has served the performing, literary, media, visual, and interdisciplinary arts. While best known for the pro bono or reduced cost services that they provide to arts organizations, WLA also will help individuals when they are operating on a very limited budget and cannot afford to secure the services of an attorney. Local attorneys, who volunteer or offer their services at reduced cost, will provide specialized legal expertise when such services are not available elsewhere for the artist.
Earlier this year, the locally produced play That’swhatshesaid was served a “cease and desist” notice by publisher Samuel French Inc. Seattle playwright Courtney Meaker had pieced together bits of dialog and stage directions from the several hit plays to show how female characters are commonly presented on stage.
As noted an American Theatre article about the project, the result might be seen as “fair use” of the quoted material as the author was making a critical point about the portrayal of women in contemporary theater. French, and later the Dramatists Play Service, argued that the play infringed on the copyrights of the authors quoted.
Jeff Nelson, a Seattle intellectual property attorney and chair of WLA, represented Meaker pro bono. The WLA also offered a free panel discussion this month with Meaker, members of her creative team, and Nelson to help others in the community understand the intersection of fair use and free speech.
Artists of all types can become a WLA member for $25. This entry level of membership provides regular updates via email, special offers from other community organizations, and a 15% discount on all regular workshops.
Regular legal clinics are offered throughout the year for those with intellectual property and entertainment legal questions.
WLA’s referral program connects artists needing ongoing representation or have legal topics beyond intellectual property or entertainment law with attorneys in the WLA network.
Helen Gilbert, managing editor of Red Letter Press, reports that her company recently lost $1900 worth of books when a Canadian distributor destroyed the stock that they were holding. According to Gilbert, the company took over the Red Letter Press inventory in 2003 from another Canadian distributor they absorbed.
“To our shock, we discovered early this year that Disticor had decided to no longer carry books. Although they claim to have notified publishers that they should make arrangements to have their books returned, we never received any notice,” said Gilbert. “So they destroyed books worth $1900 at the price they would have paid us for sales.”
Gilbert would like to hear from anyone else is in this situation and what steps that they have taken. She has contacted the Better Business Bureau but said the case was closed when the distributor failed to respond.
Contact information for Red Letter Press can be found at their website: www.RedLetterPress.org
Book Publishers Northwest’s February 2016 meeting was a meet-up of local publishers and authors to discuss what works and doesn’t work for them. For many, the major task remains marketing. Here’s a few suggestions made during the evening and at earlier meetings in 2015.
Advertise In Ebook Reader Newsletters
One of the largest e-newsletters out there for ebook readers, BookBub drives sales for publishers by allowing them to advertise ebook deals to their readers. This is not an inexpensive advertising option. BPNW members suggested this marketing tactic works best for publishers of genre fiction, particularly romance, and also mentioned that it can take several months to get a slot in a popular newsletter like BookBub. Several similar enewsletter sites are listed below. Each has different requirements for the type of book that they will advertise. Some required a minimum number of reviews on Amazon. Others will only take new titles. Read directions carefully. One tip from a publisher is to spread out ads on such sites so you never have more than one ad running during a set time period. This allows easier tracking of impact than running several ads simultaneously. All of these sites depend upon an ebook version being available via a major seller such as Amazon:
Create Box Sets or Anthologies
This topic will be explored in-depth for BPNW’s March meeting. Largely used by publishers of fiction, “box sets” allow authors to partner with several people to present several ebooks sold together as a “box set.” For those with short fiction or essays, an anthology serves the same purpose. Whether single author or multiple author, box sets are priced so that readers spend less than if they had purchased each book in the set individually. Anthologies also serve as a way that authors can reprint stories or essays previously appearing in several different publications. This technique is used to build word-of-mouth as well as better results in sale site search engines for authors. Such sets work well for “deals” in the ebook newsletters listed above.
Send Out Review Copies
A variety of websites offer ways to get digital review copies, aka galleys, into the hands of readers, librarians, and booksellers. The best-known and, according to some, most expensive is NetGalley. Unless publishing multiple titles per year, BPNW members suggested joining with other authors or publishers to defray costs. Another site that offers “giveaways” of galleys is GoodReads. GoodReads suggests running a giveaway about one month prior to publication but the timing is up to the author or publisher. Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association runs a program for publishers to send review copies to interested booksellers called Northwest New Title Preview. Information about this and other advertising programs is available on PNBA’s website.
Show Off Photos On Instagram
Instagram is all about posting images via smartphones or tablets. It can be viewed but not accessed through laptops or desktop computers. Nonfiction publishers with photo-heavy books can tease a topic with selected pictures or using pictures that didn’t make the final printed edition. Several mentioned that using hashtags (#flowers or #Seattle) are essential for building a following. It was suggested that for each photo posted that people should put three or more hashtags in the comment section.
Reader Magnets To Build Newsletter Lists
The idea of creating “reader magnets” to build a newsletter following for an author or publisher comes from a site called www.yourfirst10kreaders.com. A free copy of his tips are available from author Nick Stephenson by emailing email@example.com or you can watch his webinars on his site. His methods rely on building value for the reader to encourage them to sign up for an enewsletter. Said one BPNW member: “He does simple step-by-step graphics for building an email list that I really like.”
Got a tip that you’d like to share? Post it in the comments section.