Welcome to the A Muse Bouche Review
Welcome to the first issue of A Muse Bouche Review. We are proud to join forces from across the Twitterverse to make one Captain Planet, err.. sorry, wrong story. With luck, each month we will share our passions, learned lessons, and thoughts with you as we strive to better understand ourselves, our craft, and each other.
Our members represent a ridiculous compilation of wonderful people. We have everything from romance to sci-fi and everything in between (like that serial killer waiting in your closet. No, don’t look, it’s better if you’re surprised).
Each of us: Alexandra, Paul, Crystal, Dustin, Jess, Kelly, Melanie, Packy, Renée, and E.G. are proud and humbled to share our first newsletter. We hope you will subscribe to enjoy many more down the road. Thank you for sharing our journey.
We welcome your thoughts and feedback via www.ambreview.com or directly via our personal feeds.
Contents November 4, 2019 A Muse Bouche Review
Feature: Launching Feathers & Fae (Crystal Kirkham) Experience
B.A.D. Writing Correspondence (Paul Grealish) Satire
Can We Talk About: Success (Jess K Hardy) Essay
NaNoWriMo 101 (Kelly Kristensen) Advice
One Last Break (D.W. Hitz) Fiction
Adding Tension (Renée Gendron) Writing Advice
Inside Politics: Dictators (Melanie Reed) Writing Advice
I Write There For I Am (Packy Smith) Essay
Self-Publishing & The Library (Alexandra Gardner) Publishing Advice
#Replicated (E.G. Deaile) Essay
AMBR November Feature:
Launching Feathers & Fae
In the movies, I’ve always seen book launch events look like these fancy affairs with great food, lots of people, and the author getting loads of the congratulations about their new book. Maybe this is the case if you are a big name with big money backing you, but for the rest of us this isn’t how it happens.
On October 13, 2019 I held my first book launch party to celebrate the release of Feathers and Fae. This is the fourth book I’ve written and released, but the first one via traditional publishing. I didn’t have a big name publisher behind me because like many writers who write outside of the narrow line of what is trending, I went with a smaller independent publisher.
For most authors that aren’t in the big time, a book launch party is a money-suck. Unless you have a huge support network that will buy your book, you will lose money doing this. If all you care about is making money, then a book launch party might not be right for you. Between advertising, venue, bringing in the books to sell, and promotional material for the event I think I might have struck even maybe.
Let’s be honest though, a book launch event can be a good promotional tool, but the biggest thing is that it allows you to do is celebrate your success surrounded by friends and family. For me, that was the best part. I was surrounded by people who cared enough about me and my work to take the time out of their busy schedule to spend a couple of hours with me to learn more about what I had written.
So, without further ado, things to consider when you plan your book launch.
You need an appropriate space to hold your event. Sometimes a bookstore will allow you to have a more formal type launch event, but do remember they will take a cut of book sales, especially if they are not charging you for the space. Other places to consider are cafés, pubs, libraries, restaurants—or think outside the box, do something new that fits in with the theme of your book! What is the most important thing to remember is make sure it is appropriate for the type of book you are launching and not outside of your budget.
I cannot stress this enough—decide weeks ahead of time what you are going to read from your book. Practice reading it so you can read it smoothly and with confidence. Yeah, you wrote it and you should know it, but reading to a crowd is a different beast entirely. Especially if you are not accustomed to public speaking. Choose a standalone scene that will entice your listeners to find out what happens next in your book. You want to leave wanting more. Keep it short, three to five minutes at the most. And most importantly, do not choose a scene that contains any spoilers.
This is one of those things I asked a lot of questions about. While I did try to promote the event some, I also wanted it mostly to be a celebration. In the end, there wasn’t a single person in the room that I didn’t know and that was fine by me. However, I wasn’t sure how much all of them followed my social media or knew about my website so I did make “to go advertising”. Little postcards to thank people for attending my book launch and also giving them information about where to learn more about me and my work. I also made little signs that I got laminated to display, one stating my status as a local author and one that was about my book with a little teaser.
A lot of authors either do a draw or have swag that they give away as a thank you for coming to their book launch. Not everyone does this and it really isn’t a necessary thing to do. I debated
long hard about handing out swag at my launch. I was already over budget, so I didn’t want to buy something to give away. Even the draw idea was not one I thought I could afford. I am not the craftiest person out there, but I decided to try my hand at making a small bookmark themed to my book to give away. They turned out much better than I had thought they would, but not quite as I envisioned them. People loved them far more than I had expected. Sometimes, it’s all about the little things.
There are many more things to consider, but I will leave you with a few words of advice. Laugh through it. Stumble over a word? Laugh about it. Forget your reading notes (like I did)? Make a little joke about it.
Have fun. We are all only human and if you are enjoying yourself then so will those who come and celebrate this great event with you.
Order Feathers & Fae
B.A.D. Writing Correspondence
by Paul Grealish (T: @paul_grealish)
Thank you for your question! How to succeed in the publishing industry? Well, it’s simple isn’t it? You just have to write for you and the audience will follow. Think about it! You’re young, hip, connected, American.
Okay, I’ve just re-read your message and we may have a problem here. You seem to be the wrong you. That makes things hard. When we say, ‘be yourself’ we mean ‘within reason’. And by ‘reason’ we mean, ‘a very narrow list of things’.
Have you considered being wealthy for example? Or perhaps you could experiment with having gone to the right school? Being unique is all well and good if you’re my butler (He has the most remarkable head, for example; I’ll attach a photo) but writers need to tick boxes. You can’t stray too far from the market, remember that. Have you seen the E! network? Or those YouTube videos where the men kick each other in the genitals over a laugh track? Like that.
As to your manuscript, I had issues. It didn’t remind me of other books, and it didn’t scream ‘viral multilevel intertextual marketing campaign with a shout-out from a face-cream-hawking Instagram influencer’. For a book, that’s a problem. And this place ‘Papua New Guinea’ you’ve invented? Change that to ‘New Latvia’. Snappier, you know? But we’ll get to all of that in time. You’re welcome.
So never fear, we’ll whip* you into shape one way or another. I mean, it’s just writing; it’s simple, isn’t it?
Byron A. D’Ysmal
CEO B.A.D Writing Services**
*I am legally required to state here that this will not be a physical whipping. Interestingly, The People vs B.A. D’Ysmal was featured on a recent episode of ‘Legal Laughingstock’. All publicity is good publicity and all that.
**Correspondence obtained as part of a game of dice by Paul Grealish.
Can We Talk About: Success
by: Jess K Hardy (T: @JessKHardy2000)
Merriam-Webster defines success as: degree or measure of succeeding.
If you noticed the usage of the word being defined in the definition itself and questioned the success of MW in adequately defining ‘success’, you’re in the right place.
So what is success? As a querying writer, this question has a fairly straight-forward answer: landing an agent, getting published, having somebody love your book, getting some rave reviews, having Stephen King tweet how awesome you are, achieving world-wide acclaim, earning wheelbarrows of money… On second thought, maybe it’s not so straight forward.
Success is a moving target.
So what if we redefine success? What if we make it easier to achieve, attainable?
Perhaps your success is small: parallel parking your car without needing to exchange insurance information, getting through your day at work without telling someone to fuck off, not eating chocolate, writing 100 words.
Or maybe your success is bigger: making it through an entire trip to the bathroom without an animal, significant other, or child barging in; getting a raise or that perfect job, having a date night that ends in good sex (not just sex, but gooood sex), getting a full manuscript request from an agent.
And for some of us, success is huge: surviving another round of chemo, sending rovers to Mars, abstaining from having that drink, not jerking your car into oncoming traffic (this is neither a joke nor a judgement, I’ve been there.)
Maybe, success, in its incalculable forms, is ultimately undefinable.
So make of it what you will. Got a rocking haircut = success! Didn’t drunk text or tweet something embarrassing = success! Did drunk text or tweet something embarrassing but totally owned it = success! Ate a banana = success! Sent your grandma flowers = success! Didn’t succumb to crippling doubt = success! Donated to NPR = success! Made a killer pancake = success! Got a like on Twitter from your favorite author = success! Got a six-figure advance = success! Advocated for your pronouns = success! Binged both seasons of Fleabag in one sitting = ultra-success!
Success is nebulous, fleeting, capricious, ephemeral, (another thesaurus word), and completely in the eye of the successful. So when a win comes your way, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant or momentous or petty or profound, do the world a favor, take a beat, smile at yourself in the mirror, and take that motherfucker!
by Kelly Kristensen (T: @KellyKEditing)
Happy November, writers!
It’s that wonderful time of the year when we get to cozy up with big sweaters, thick socks, and hot coffee… and bang out 50k words in only 30 days for NaNoWriMo!
You may be a long-time NaNoWriMo participant at this point, nodding your head at me while you work on your outline (go, you!), or you may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. For all of you “NaNo what?” people, I’m here to break down my favourite writing challenge for you.
What is NaNoWriMo?
National Novel Writing Month is a yearly opportunity for fiction writers to buckle down and spend 30 days writing their novels. It starts on November 1, following what Plotters like to call Preptober (more on this later!). The goal is to write 50k words, which amounts to around 1667 words a day. Participation is free.
How Do You Join?
Head over to NaNoWriMo.org and create a new account. From there, you can customize your profile and project pages.
How Do You win?
Officially, you win when you pass the 50k word mark by November 30. Unofficially, I think you win if you write more than you would have if you hadn’t joined the contest.
Do You Have to Upload Your Manuscript to Win?
No! To keep track of your official word count, you can either upload your manuscript or manually input your count. When you “prove” that you’ve passed the 50k word threshold, you’ll be able to print out an official winner’s certificate.
Plotter? Pantser? Preptober? A Guide to NaNoWriMo Lingo
You’ll see these words on social media throughout November. A Plotter is a writer who takes the time to outline and plan their novel. Sometimes they do this during Preptober. A Pantser flies by the seat of their pants, writing whatever comes to mind. I’m a Plantser. I have a loose outline but allow my WIP (work in progress) to call the shots, and trust me, my characters can be BOSSY.
NaNoWriMo on Twitter
Follow the action on Twitter @NaNoWriMo. You can also follow @NaNoWordSprints to participate in fast and furious writing sprints throughout the month.
Some active hashtags to check out: #NaNoWriMo2019, #NaNoWriMo, #WritingCommunity, #AmWriting #WritingSprints, and #NaNoSprints.
I’ll be sharing event news and hosting writing sprints all month long on my Twitter @KellyKEditing.
You can search the event website and find a writing group in your region. My local group meets for breakfast write-ins every Saturday.
What Happens When NaNoWriMo is Over?
You celebrate, take a breather, and then revise, revise, revise! To help you with that, I’ve included a printable self-editing checklist below.
Writing events are great motivators for writers and are a lot of fun. If you’re participating this month, good luck! You’ve got this!
Click here for Self Editing Checklist
ONE LAST BREAK
by D. W. Hitz (T: @dustinhitz)
Jason’s gut burned, as did his soul. He stared at a starless night, his back stabbed by ground debris. His head sweat beside a pyramid of fiery sticks, and his feet shivered.
Good. This is good. Let Death come.
On the flat rock at the edge of the fire, gristle and bone glistened from the center of Jason’s iron skillet. He had known the meal was a gamble. The smell gave it away, but he hadn’t cared.
Pressure swelled inside Jason’s chest, boiling upward. His eyes bulged as he tumbled onto his chest. Knives of pain cascaded from his temples, circling his skull. His dinner’s claws compressed his insides, forcing the meal back through his lips and into a puddle next to the fire.
“God!” He collapsed beside his dinner, rolling away from the flames. “Just let me die!”
When no answer came, Jason’s hands covered his eyes. He was no longer in the woods. He was back in the school parking lot. His ears rang. Smoke and ash clouded his sight. Tears pried his eyelids apart.
A gust of cold wind teased Jason’s face. He could hear it saying, It’s not over yet.
Jason clenched his teeth, embracing the thorns inside his brain, bathing in his abdomen’s cramps, and watching the sky as stars peeked through a hole in the clouds. The void crawled across the heavens until a near-perfect moon gazed down, and a howl beyond the pines called out.
Jason smiled. He hadn’t heard wolves in years. If this were his last night, it would be a glorious send-off. Maybe they would come and gnaw on his bones and take a piece of him on their mystic path.
Crackling tickled Jason’s ears. He ignored it. A snap of a twig and rustling of ground-cover pulled his eyes to the blackness outside his fire’s sphere.
“Is it you? Wolves?” Jason pulled himself into an aching sit and watched yellow light dance on the bark at the edge of his fire’s reach. “Come and get me! I’m ready!” Sweat streamed down the sides of his face.
A surge of pressure forced liquid from Jason’s lips. He twisted and spat it to his left. Wrenching pain compressed his gut and drove through another swell. Below the bile, Jason tasted blood. He wiped it from his mouth with his sleeve.
“Come and get me already!” Jason flopped onto his back.
Crunch, crunch, crunch.
That’s not a wolf.
A figure stepped through the trees. Black pants, black shirt, a hood, boots. It had no face, or none that could be touched by Jason’s light.
“Who’s there?” Jason called.
The being lurched forward with a heavy man’s gate. He didn’t answer, but a glint from his right hand did. It reflected a thick line of orange and red.
“Who?” Jason watched the shiny thing. “What the hell?”
The stranger raised his right hand above his head. His left hand wrapped around his right.
Jason’s eyes twitched. Pain blurred his sight, but he refused to remove his eyes from the intruder. His hands raced down his torso, fumbling and searching his right side, his belt, that’s where it should have been. But it wasn’t, he’d lost his knife.
“Get out of here!” Jason shuffled backward along the ground. His limbs trembled. A searing burn screamed at him as his right hand pressed against one of the fire-ring’s stones.
He roared from the pain.
The figure stepped closer. His joined fists plummeted, diving toward Jason’s face. Four inches of razor-sharp steel led the way.
Jason lifted his throbbing hand. He pushed it toward the falling stranger and felt the coolness of steel inside his palm’s flesh. The warmth of his blood tapped against his face as a stream rolled from the back of his hand, along the blade, and rained onto his cheeks.
The stranger pushed. He pressed the knife down, inching closer and closer to Jason’s face.
Jason thumped his left hand on the stranger’s chest. He wailed as he shoved his wounded hand upward. But the knife inched closer, tearing the laceration wider across Jason’s palm.
The eyes of the stranger shined. Yellow and orange flickers reflected a glossy red stare.
Cramps rolled across Jason’s gut like waves in a faraway sea. They tugged against his sides, and his right arm fell limp.
The blade sunk despite the left arm’s effort. But it’s angle veered into the right side of Jason’s chest. The steel ripped through his shirt and his skin. It pierced his flesh below the collarbone, pinning his hand to his body.
Jason howled again.
The stranger released the knife. He swung his closed right fist into the side of Jason’s skull. He pulled back and swung again.
Jason felt a crack in his nose. His sight flashed white, then gray and white and black, in squares and dots of vibrating static.
The stranger struck again.
Another flash of white. But as it faded, there was no static. There was only the school. Jason stood next to his brown delivery truck, rocked by heat and deafening noise. Smoke billowed from the crater where the office had just been, where he had just left a small brown box. Jason blinked and found himself inside a collapsing hallway, tossing away rubble. He was face to face with a five-year-old boy, but the child’s eyes didn’t blink. They stared into nothingness through dirt and blood.
“No!” Jason raged at the stranger. He wrapped his trembling left hand around the intruder’s neck and rolled with the man into the fire.
Flames engulfed the stranger’s chest, surging around his head, as Jason straddled him.
A clarity pierced through the moment, elevating Jason’s thoughts beyond his body. His pain was gone. His fear was gone. His sickness and discomfort were gone. Only the rage remained. He smeared the stranger’s face across white-hot coals while ripping his hand from his chest and tearing the knife from his ribcage. He gripped the knife’s handle between his teeth and slid his hand free of the steel.
The stranger squirmed as his face seared.
Jason’s right hand took the knife from his mouth. His bloody grip wrapped around the handle in a solid pulpy mass. He held his arm outward, and swung the blade down like a pendulum, crushing through flame, ash, skin, bone, and brain.
The figure froze. He relented, falling limp.
Jason gripped the knife as he studied his adversary. After seconds of stillness, his hands lifted above his head and quivered. A chuckle slipped from Jason’s lips, and tears gushed from his eyes. He fell to his back and wept without opening his eyes until dawn.
At the warmth of sunlight resting on his skin, Jason rose from the dirt. He packed his skillet, his sleeping bag, and his cooler into his pickup and drove.
by Renée Gendron (T: @reneegendron)
I recently posted a survey on Twitter asking fellow authors how they address sagging scenes and chapters. An overwhelming 92% of respondents indicated the need to add more conflict. I’d like to explore this a little more.
Adding more conflict can increase tension and improve scene and chapter pacing. More conflict can add depth to the characters. Let’s say the heroine is trying to save her kingdom and must overcome a foe. That’s the central conflict in the book. But that doesn’t tell us much about the heroine. In her journey to save her kingdom, she must face obstacles and challenges that test her mettle. In those tests, she will have to confront internal and external conflicts. Maybe she must overcome the fear of heights to cross a rickety bridge to rescue a friend who has been captured by the antagonist. Perhaps the heroine had to confront a friend who is betraying her. The heroine can only face the betrayer when the heroine sees the
writing on the wall (internal conflict of denial and external conflict of how to address the betrayer). Only once the conflict with the friend is resolved, will the heroine have the skills and courage to address the antagonist.
All these conflicts advance the plot. They provide insight for the main character and make her interesting for the reader. If you layer in these kinds of disputes, you’ll push the plot forward, and the reader will continue to flip through pages.
Let’s look at the flip side. Let’s say your hero has set out to rescue his kingdom. Along the way, he bumps into a childhood friend who says: ‘Let’s go rescue my kingdom,’ and your hero (being a hero) agrees.
On the road to saving kingdom #2, your hero battles some trolls and loses. The trolls force the hero to save the troll-kingdom. And the hero goes off to save the troll-kingdom. His quest is again interrupted when the hero meets another life-long friend who is having difficulties in her marriage and asks the hero for help. The hero being the hero, cannot deny such a request and goes to help the friend save
her marriage. The hero enters an argument with the husband until they catch a whiff of smoke in the air. A barn is burning, and the hero must rescue the horses in it.
And it goes on. Conflict for the sake of conflict not only drags down the plot but confuses it.
Conflict can and will add tension only if the conflict advances the plot. To improve the pacing of your story, add relevant disputes that hinder the plot (but keep the main character working towards it). Complex characters will hook readers, and tight plots will keep them reading.
Inside Politics: Dictators
by: Melanie Reed (T: @melaniereeds)
Have you been staring at the computer screen for hours? Questioning your ability to write the evil dictator needed to make your hero save the day? Does it seem like the minions in your story are thoughtless and not actually accomplishing anything?
Writing the dictator is actually a lot more complex than most would make it seem. It requires research into not only the time period that your writing, but the realistic quality that can sometimes be missing from the storyline. Giving your dictator purpose and a strong will can also help develop your hero in to developing and fighting the villain.
Adding elements of reality can ground your dictator, and make the politics that’s in your book relatable. Here are three questions that can help you.
1) WHAT MOTIVATES THEIR PARTY?
As a writer, we can sometimes get caught up in the motivations of our hero. That’s not a bad thing, but it can cause the villain to become flat or stereotypical. It also will help to give a strong support for their followers.
There has to be a motivation. Whether it is money, or the belief that they’ll be heard by the government, every dictator has a strong backing due to motivation. Not only is it a personal motivation, but also a motivation that moves the country or world that you built.
2) WHO IS THE US? THE THEM?
Whether your character is part of a rebellion, or watching as things occur, there is always an us versus them aspect. It helps to build on the motivation, but also creates a realistic anger that can reverberate through your novel.
It is a move that actual dictators use to create a division. They take their motivation, and blame the problems on the person who they are against. It’s a quick and simple way to develop tension and keep in line with a realistic dictatorial development.
3) WHAT DID THEY PROMISE?
Even with a strong motivation, and creating an enemy, it won’t be enough. There has to be a promise that is given. Whether it is spoken, or unspoken, the promise that they will do something to change the environment they’re in.
Most dictators come in a political vacuum, and will form promises to build a trust between them and the followers. It’s the things that the followers want to hear during a time of uncertainty. But they will also have to maintain that promise, or replace them with stronger promises.
The dictator is a complex character that can be hard to write. While this doesn’t go in depth into the other needs required, this will give you a strong baseline of how to begin. With a stronger dictator, better connections can be made for the journey. I originally started research in to this for understanding on how dictators work, but over time came to realize some basic connections that they all had.
These three connections have made it easier for me to develop the dystopian societies that I work in. It became an understanding that one thing, an easily created trope, actually needed to be in more depth. That meant understanding the politics of why people do what they do. The first major step to understanding that? Understanding the leader that drives them, and the politics that shape the world they’re in.
I Write Therefore I Am
by: Packy Smith (T: @packysmith)
I write, therefore I am.
I am not writing, therefore I doubly am.
Confused? So am I. Probably best if we both just roll with it and see where it takes us. Look, it’s all really quite simple. I am writing a post in order to tell you the reader that I am not writing, even though I had to write in order to convey the words that would make you understand that I am most certainly not writing at all, which in fact I had to write in order to prove that I wasn’t writing in the first place. Clear as mud.
Truthfully, I’ve been going through a malaise, a grand ennui of sorts, and the words I would normally find myself looking for just don’t want to spring to mind like they rightfully ought to. I want to write creatively in the worst way but cannot find a way to make that desire a reality right now. I’ve spoken to some about this premature word evacuation that I’m having, and they’ve urged me to keep writing, but all that did was land me in front of a screen that I stared at wordlessly frozen in horror as I realized I didn’t actually want to write.
There, I said it. I don’t want to write, at least not on one of my multiple novel projects right now. And you know what? I’ve convinced myself that it’s OK to not want to write, and if you are going through something similar, I think you should too.
There can be a sort of stigma around writing and how serious of a writer you are if you aren’t writing, editing, redrafting, or thinking about writing, editing, and redrafting all the time. This can be especially true around certain social media circles, where you can witness tweets from the writing community showing off hundreds of writers who’ve seemingly just typed twelve thousand words in one sitting, and you’re staring at a monitor that indicates you’ve typed all of twelve words total. It can be disheartening to keep going to that social media well for nourishment, only to not find inspiration in everyone’s productivity but instead to get frustrated by it, as it only serves to illustrate how hard you are failing at clicking the keys on your keyboard.
So I’m taking a break.
I distanced myself from my Twitter account, showing up occasionally to tweet a silly thing here and there, or to to talk about my other loves: food, film, games, and comics. In the meantime, I’ve been taking time to focus on the other aspects of my life, like my new job, spending more time with my family, staying up way too late baking food I shouldn’t eat (for reals, I make BOMB-DOT-COM cupcakes), and watching weird arthouse and foreign films on the Criterion Channel app. Somewhere along the way, I started to realize an important fact: it’s good to take a break. Do something different. Change up your routines. Take up a new hobby. There’s more to this life than social media and slaving away in front of a screen in order to get your word count in every day. When writing ceases to be your passion and becomes more like the crummy day job you desperately want to quit, it’s definitely time to take a break.
I think at this point, it’s important to note a simple fact: I only said take a break. Do not quit. I am not quitting my dream of becoming a published fiction novelist, and you should not quit trying to achieve whatever writing goals you may have. I am merely suggesting that it is 100% OK to take a moment to slow things down, get off social media for a bit, switch gears, and recharge your brain. Sometimes the words you want to write just aren’t there. They disappear into the ether and no amount of forcing yourself to stare at a screen will make those words appear. When that happens, take a break and read, watch a film, take a walk, play a game, get involved in something else that might help you find your way back to the words you want to write. It might take a few hours, or a few days, or even a few months, but eventually your passion for writing will illuminate the words that left you and you will be reunited in glorious prose once more.
Unfortunately, I’m still not there yet… this piece notwithstanding. The creative juices are simply not gushing like a circa 1990’s Fruit Gushers TV ad. However, I know that this funky malaise I’m going through is only temporary. I’ve gone through it before and even though it always takes its sweet time leaving, it does eventually go away. Watch out world, because when I’m feeling up to it again, I’m gonna churn out some seriously rad stories. I can’t wait to be there creatively again. In the meantime, I think the timer on my oven just went off. Must be time to eat more cupcakes again….
Self-Publishing & the Library
by: Alexandra Gardner (T: @agardner_author)
So you’ve published a book, and now, you want to get it into the hands of the public. Specifically, you want to get your book into the library system, but the task seems impossible. It will be a process, but not necessarily impossible. Collection Services Librarians are always on the lookout for new and interesting reads.
Here are a few things to consider when pitching your novel to the library:
The library has a “Collections Policy”
When you pitch to the library, they will consider your product in regard to the standards set in place by the Collection Services Librarians. If your product meets their policy (which is often fairly liberal in regards to content but not the quality of the product), then they will consider purchasing your novel.
The library has a budget
This is self-explanatory, but a lot of times, we take for granted that libraries don’t purchase books at cost price. They get generous discounts through the distributor they work with. Ergo, if your novel is only available on Amazon, B&N, or iBooks, the price of your print novel is at least double what they might pay through their vendors. Not to mention, cataloging and processing your novel with barcodes and labels costs time and money.
The good news is, some publishing portals, like KDP, allow you to select a checkbox giving vendors access to your novel. The bad news is, anything that’s not sold directly through your main source (Amazon, in this case) returns pennies in royalties because you’re allowing it to be printed and distributed–possibly at a discount–through a third-party vendor. It all depends on your publishing portal and their agreements with individual vendors.
Now that you’re aware of the two biggest reasons a library might decline to purchase your novel, here’s how to go about pitching your novel to your library:
Contact your local library system’s ADMINISTRATIVE office.
A lot of libraries do, in fact, have a home office. Those are the people you need to reach–not the library staff in the branch. Library staff have little influence over the Collection Management team, especially in large library systems, and are just as subject to the selection policy as you are. Therefore, please do NOT bring an already printed copy of your book into the library.
Even as a donation, it costs time and money to pay for everything that goes into cataloging your novel. Creating a MARC record takes time, and most libraries will opt not to use their resources on creating a record for a product when they’ve got plenty of other options available to them and they’re working on a budget.
Email the Collection Librarian or their department the following information:
A brief intro to yourself and the book
Tip: If you’re a local author, absolutely play that up! Libraries LOVE including local authors in their collection when they can afford to.
Title of your work
Why it would be a good addition to their collection
Links to professional reviews of your product
Wait for a response
Collection Services is one of the busiest departments in the library system. Give them time to see and consider your pitch. If they choose to purchase your novel, they’ll let you know.
Through it all, be kind and patient.
Just like with anything, there is a rhyme and reason for their tried and practiced policies and methods. Libraries are held to a standard of providing quality and lasting products to their customers. While every library system is different and will have different policies and procedures, one thing remains true: they are all working on a budget–some of which are much smaller than you think.
To reach your local library, go to their home website and browse their policies. When in doubt, email the “Contact Us” address provided or call one of the branches for the information you need. Library staff are more than happy to find the answers to your questions.
by: E.G. Deaile (T: @egdeaile_writer)
Last Christmas, I fulfilled the promise of Star Trek and brought into my home the first iteration of machines that will one day be true Replicators.
A replicator on the show is a device which takes raw matter and assembles it in almost any configuration to make both organic and non-organic items. That juicy steak, cooked medium rare with a side of Terellian Horseradish? Replicate it. You need a part to fix the warp drive from the last time you swapped polarities on the warp nacelles? Replicate it. Some damn kids got stung by a plant in the Arboretum where there wasn’t so much as a warning sign? No problem, find the file for the cure and Replicate it.
And the show makes clear that replication patterns are stored as user-input files based on their individual tastes. And they can share these files with shipmates and guests.
Additive manufacturing, specifically, the humble 3D printer, is here to stay. 3D printing at this stage is still in the hobby stage, but it has proven itself more than a gimmick. One of the often-tossed denigrations of 3D Printers is: “All you make are figurines, what can you make that is useful?”
Well, us nerds like figurines. But fair enough.
3D printing videos featuring Dungeons and Dragons figurines, or dice, or comic book heroes are abundant. Our creations, though, are as boundless as our imagination. Lose a keyboard key during the annual cleaning? Replicate it. Need a mouth-plate for a puppet? Replicate it. Need a really cool skull to give away to your Twitter followers? Replicate it.
I have always been a science fiction lover and dream of exploring the stars. To do this, we must look to on-demand manufacturing techniques to provide us the flexibility to carry raw materials and make them assume the forms we need rather than guess all the different items that might fail.
Need a computer card for a module they retrofit from a 1972 space shuttle inertial navigation system? Replicate it. Need a liver to transplant into your crew mate who fell down a Martian ravine? Replicate it. Need a clip to keep your space coffee straw from wandering around your cup in artificial gravity? Replicate it.
This concept lies true at the heart of every piece of technology that we humans have. It’s not about what we are currently doing with it, but it is about how far we can push it. With 3D printing out of its infancy, we basically have an impressionable teenager with the potential to become great and wonderful. There truly is no limit. We test and explore these boundaries in our own homes.
Everyday, people are finding ways to replicate more and more items from increasingly exotic materials. Examples include: jet engine turbine parts, human bladders, lab grown food, and dental crowns.
As consumers and producers of fiction, we should be aware of the implications for current and near future uses. Crime genres may see more untraceable or unique weapons. A plastic dagger is not durable, but I may only need one. Space faring peoples should be aware of on-demand manufacturing techniques for repair and survival. Steam Punk almost certainly could include additive manufacturing. How would it hurt that romance if your main characters fell in love after bickering over who had the better design for a replicator? Maybe he’s been making a secret sculpture for months out of a special material for that special man in his life, and the print fails mid-build. Talk about conflict and tension.
3D Printing Resources:
I started my journey with Mr. Joel Telling, aka, the 3D Printing Nerd. His YouTube videos are amazing, and his enthusiasm and imagination are limitless.
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/3dprintingnerd
Also, if you find yourself wondering what can be printed, please visit https://www.thingiverse.com.
Want to start designing your own printable objects? Visit https://www.tinkercad.com