Present Tense Tension

"Jo Joe" cover for print galleysA bit over a month ago, I was just finishing up what I thought was the last edit of my novel Jo Joe. All my years of writing, rewriting, submitting for critiques, responding to muy editors’ edits/suggestions/critiques, followed by still more rewrites were finally coming to their logical conclusion. My baby would soon go off into the “real” world on her own, to sink or swim, depending on the currents: i.e. publishing vicissitudes and reader responses. The next step would be bound galleys (and ePub galleys) for reviewers. Yes, I would have a chance to make changes after that, but only small, critical ones.

In other words, it was nearly that time when I would have to let go. Parents who send their children off to college probably experience the same mix of dread and elation that an author has when sending their novel off to be published. While I found find it difficult to no longer eat, drink, sleep and dream Jo Joe, I was looking forward to closing the book (literally) and moving on. I have other projects waiting in the wings – another novel plus my ongoing American Hands narrative portrait project. And after all the wonderful feedback we’ve gotten from my editor and Beta Readers, I was very much looking forward to finding out how reviewers and readers would react to Jo Joe. (Hope springs eternal in an author’s breast.)

On the morning of the day that I fully believed I would be saying “so long,” to Jo Joe, not expecting to see her again until I receive my copies of the printed bound galley, Daniel made an apparent off-the-cuff comment over the breakfast table. “I wonder what it would be like if Jo Joe were in present tense.”Read More

Songs Unheard, Books Unread: If Not for Readers

When I was fresh out of college, the only thing I wanted to do was sing. I knew that eventually I would want to write my stories, but first I ached to sing them. After several years of struggling in the New York scene, and singing only occasionally in various clubs, I came to realize that creating music meant that there had to be ears to hear it. Otherwise, my songs were nothing more than abstractions created in isolation, floating in the air with no place to land, to be made real.

I left New York, and in a round-about way (too complex to go into here), I finally ended up creating my stories in words and in pictures. But, like my music, my stories need Read More

Barney Rosset: Literary Pugilist

Barney Rosset by Sally Wiener Grotta

Today, as Daniel and I drove home from Philadelphia, we were listening to NPR’s “All Things Considered,” when they announced that someone from the literary world died — not a writer but one of the most important publishers of our time.

I knew before they said any name that, sadly, one of my heroes – Barney Rosset – had passed away.

I first met Barney Rosset whenRead More

Turning Up the Volume on eBook Profitability

Yesterday, at the Digital Book World conference among the various sessions I sat in on was “Doing It on Their Own: Self-Publishing Authors Find Success.” Three of the speakers were Bella Andre , Elle Lothlorien and Bob Mayer, all of whom have had enviable success in ePublishing. In fact, Bella earned seven figures last year. Yes, you read that correctly. She earned over a million dollars from self-publishing her e-Book romance novels. Yikes!Read More