Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Publish or Self-Publish: Another Perspective


Ros Barber offers a sobering, less optimistic view of publishing and self-publishing. She correctly notes that in order to self-publish successfully – i.e., work via Kindle, CreateSpace, et al. – one must devote far more time to promotion than writing. Indeed, she points to a potential 90:10 ratio. On the other hand, she is also one of the lucky few able to get contracts from UK publishers. Interesting reading: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/mar/21/for-me-traditional-publishing-means-poverty-but-self-publish-no-way 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Recommended Fiction

I have recently read two wonderful works, Paul Beatty's The Sellout and Robert Coover's Huck Out West. I enjoyed both so much that I felt obliged to post brief five-star reviews on Amazon.

I sincerely hope Beatty's splendid effort does not slide into the "Black literature" category. It is truly wonderful "literature," above and beyond the ethnicity of the author and most of the characters. The author even mocks political correctness; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn becomes The Pejorative-Free Adventures and Intellectual and Spiritual Journeys of African-American Jim and His Young Protege, White Brother Huckleberry Finn, as They Go in Search of the Lost Black Family Unit, while the "N-word" morphs into "little black euphemism." Suffice it to say things only improve from there, and not before we are instructed by one more choice adage: "People eat the shit you shovel at them"!

Coover breathes new life into the saga of Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Becky Thatcher. We can almost hear him channeling Twain's voice through Huck's sympathetic portrayal of the plight of the Native American peoples. He also develops a new character twist, as Tom clearly succumbs to the notion of "manifest destiny," which Huck simply refuses to swallow. As I note in the Amazon review, there is an ugly irony in the timing of this book, since the Trump administration will clearly ignore the rights of the Lakota. Lovers of Twain will be delighted by Coover's opus, while those who have yet to discover that giant should feel motivated to read his greatest works.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Article on "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" Published -- and Accessible

"An Interpretation of Eliot's 'Prufrock'" has been published by Literary Arts Review. Originally a subscription publication, LAR is now free and online, and I am able to provide the hyperlink:

file:///Users/lennycavallarro/Desktop/ShorterWriting/Literary-Arts-Review/x-Literary-ArtsReview/2-October%202016-LiteraryArtsReview.html

Of course, this interpretation is non-scholarly and quite personal, but I feel it has definite validity. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Short Story Published!

My short story, "Bach's Last Composition:  A Fantasy," appeared in the September, 2016 issue of Literary Arts Review Magazine  (LiteraryArtsReview.com).  The publishers also embedded the second movement of my Sonata for Violin and Clavier in D Minor, Op. 4.  My article on Eliot's "The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is slated for release next month.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Book (and Story) with "Movie" Potential!

I have recently completed (and very much enjoyed!) Goddess, Kelly Gardiner's novel based on the life of Julie d'Aubigny (aka La Maupin).  In her short life (1673-1707) she was a swashbuckling swordswoman, opera singer, duelist, and the lover of various prominent men and women in France.  Julie ran afoul of the law on numerous occasions, most notoriously for setting fire to a convent (for which she was tried in absentia and sentenced to the stake).

If we take a quick look at the core ingredients -- a powerful woman, brawls and duels, passionate affairs (heterosexual and lesbian), triumphs on stage, etc. -- the tale surely lends itself to film.  From what I have learned, the character did make her way to two cinematic ventures.  However, Julie, Chevalier de Maupin (2004) distorted the historical narrative almost beyond recognition, while Madamigella di Maupin (1966) strayed even farther afield.  I hope one day the actual life of this remarkable woman will catch the fancy of some director.

Of course, the cinematic rendition is one thing; the literary may be quite different.  I must commend Gardiner for a wonderfully understated and extremely sensitive presentation.  The narrative indeed unfolds in a manner consistent with its device:  a deathbed confession to a priest.  This is a beautiful novel with powerful writing, artistically strengthened by what is left unsaid.  Brava!

Friday, March 25, 2016

J. K. Rowling Shares Galbraith's Rejection Letters

In a gesture she maintains was made "for inspiration, not revenge," the Harry Potter author uploaded a number of rejection letters garnered by The Cuckoo's Calling, a murder-mystery novel published under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith.  My earlier post (16 July 2013) offered some thoughts on that subject!

Many of Rowling's seven million-plus Twitter followers undoubtedly had a good laugh.  If a few editors and publishers have egg on their faces, so much the better.

The complete BBC article can be accessed through this hyperlink:  http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-35899243?ocid=global_bbccom_email_25032016_top+news+stories.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Article About Meredith Wild Underscores Realities of Contemporary Publishing World

Alesandra Alter’s article, “Meredith Wild, a Self-Publisher Making an Imprint,” appeared in The New York Times last Saturday, 30 January.  Above and beyond the wild successes achieved by Ms. Wild, the piece presented some updates about the state of publishing today.  Here is one of the highlights:

<< As independent authors grab a bigger slice of the e-book market, digital sales by traditional publishers fell by 11 percent in the first nine months of 2015, according to data gathered from more than 1,200 publishers by the Association of American Publishers.

Last year, a third of the 100 best-selling Kindle books were self-published titles on average each week, an Amazon representative said. Some analysts attribute the dip in publishers’ e-book revenue in part to the glut of cheap self-published books, which often sell for as little as $1. >>

A number of Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) products actually sell for 99 cents, a price that seems most attractive to “impulse buyers.”  Admittedly, many of these “bargain basement” products are of poor quality, yet at the same time a number are quite good.  I should certainly like to think some of the titles on my author’s page deserve that description.

Of course, most authors garner little more than the satisfaction of seeing their books “out there.”  It is easy enough to publish on Kindle, yet very few titles actually sell.  Indeed, one must acquire unique skills to market and promote digital titles successfully (a trick I certainly haven’t learned). 

The bigger issue, however, is that the New York literary mafia remains a closed door to most writers.  Without the necessary contacts and/or “credibility” – to say nothing of the author’s “platform” (a term loosely used to encompass websites, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts) – most writers will never get any consideration, while a number of mediocrities are awarded huge contracts.