Monday, July 12, 2004

Learning magazine speak

I received my first bid for printing Living Voices and I realize I don't know anything about card stock and weights. There are so many choices in cover finishes: lacquer, glossy, UV, etc. All pages have to be figured in multiples of four because there are four sides to a folded sheet of paper. I don't know how many stories I will have or if there will be any stories at all. The printer offered a bid based on 24 black & white pages with full color covers inside and out. I'm not even sure I want to go with something the size of a magazine like Writer's Digest or The Writer or if I want to go with something more like a literary magazine. I asked for further information, but I am a little out of my depth yet. It's like swimming for the first time when your feet don't touch the bottom. There is that instant of breathless shock and momentary panic before you remember you can actually swim and you're not going to drown. I'm still feeling for the bottom.

Beanie sent me the first draft of her essay about Dad and I marked it up in color . . . my usual mode of editing. She wrote things I didn't know and it was an interesting essay, but she needs to work on run-on sentences and the use of ITS versus IT'S, not to mention removing the ubiquitous THAT from her sentences, but most people have that problem. All in all, I'd say with a little judicious pruning and refining she'd have a very publishable essay where the wonderful story doesn't get lost in the grammar shuffle.

Then I received an SOS from a former colleague at R&T. She was given an August 1st deadline to finish editing an essay from someone I edited in the summer issue. No big deal. The essay was pretty clean and in the author's usual style of tongue in cheek comparisons of writing to food, which is always fun to read . . . like looking thru someone else's mind for a moment or two. It took about 20 minutes to edit and I sent it back. I guess I'm on an editing jag, but hopefully I am done for the day. I need to focus on my own writing and I'm on a writing high right now. Must be the nightmare I had last night and the energy that galvanized me into action.

I finished my essay for Parabola and got the confirmation they received it and would notify me in a month whether or not my words would appear on their pages. Strangely enough I have had several queries accepted by them, but this is the first time I have been able to break thru the block/barrier that kept me from being able to write anything at all. I just dried up on the vine as if the acceptance was some sort of cork to my energies and words. It has been very difficult for me to break thru the barriers for a while and I despaired of being able to break into print in Parabola despite my fondness for and study of myth and tradition most of my life. I'm sure you have read my thoughts and mental wanderings on these pages (and if you haven't then you should if for nothing else than a quick laugh) so there is no lack of desire and volubility, but when push came to shove and money was a possibility from my writing I froze. The thoughts swirled and drifted but I was unable to catch them and put them into any kind of coherent form until the deadline was long past. I pray that I have reached the end of that stop-gap.

I sent out queries to editors of several print magazines, some that I respect and to whom I have submitted my work, and received an answer from one of the founders of Glimmer Train. They are far too busy to respond fully but offered to answer specific questions and that is good news. I really respect the two sisters who created and run Glimmer Train. Lord knows I have entered enough of my writing in their contests and have submitted for publication. Haven't broken thru that barrier yet, but I think that time is coming soon. I am getting closer to their tone and type of writing.

I also received a positive response to a query for an interview. I snagged James Redfield of The Celestine Prophecy fame. I want to know about his self publishing and how he feels about the self published to mass published success he has attained, how he got there, and some info about the movie being made from the book which is finishing principle photography at this moment. I guess that means he will grace the cover of the debut issue of LV and should attract a sizeable bit of attention and readership, if for nothing else than his celebrity status.

If my luck continues, I should be able to line up quite an impressive cadre of well known authors to tell their stories and give us all a peek inside the publishing world. They can show us all what it really looks like to be a successful author living on the fruits of their literary labors. Who knows? I may take this is as a good sign and go after John Grisham, John Updike, and a few of the other notables, although Ray Bradbury is at the top of my list. I would love to have him on the cover of the debut issue of LV, but I'll settle for having him on any issue.

Now I have to figure out how to entice subscribers to buy something they won't be able to read until December and that what they're buying is worth the price of admission. I also have to figure out a price. Any hints or suggestions? There are also advertisers to approach and convince they are buying into a promising and lucrative market and I'm thinking about airlines who service the destinations where the stories and characters in those stories, essays, and articles live and have lived. Nothing like giving a place a bit of character, a place where life has been lived and continues to be lived in every day obscurity.

Oh, well, I'll shut up for now. But I'll be back.

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