Independent Publishing Retrospective

January 5, 2008

A retrospective and a look forward seem called-for in this issue of the Port Gamble Publishing newsletter. Since last I wrote, I attended several conferences, speaking on self-publishing. Although my trips off-island have been severely curtailed by the time crunch in getting the weekly newspaper that I edit to the newsstands (my days “off” are Sundays and Tuesdays), in September and October, I traveled to the mainland four times to attend five book publishing and/or book selling events: Book Publishers’ NW “Business of Books” conference at Discover University in Seattle The Whatcom Association of Writers monthly meeting in Bellingham Pacific NW Booksellers Association in Bellevue Write on the Sound conference in Edmonds La Conner Quilt Festival At the BPNW Business of Books conference, (where my assigned topic was “Genre: memoir or novel”), I engaged in one of my favorite pastimes – predicting the future. Here’s what I see as upcoming trends in books: Travel morphing into multi-cultural consciousness a la Marty Essen Cool Creatures, Hot Planet, written “to entertain and enlighten my readers and to defend animals who aren’t considered warm and cuddly;” and Small World Productions’ new video series, Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose Little books Animal stories, building on the Marley and Me phenomenon Tom Master, author of Blogging Quick & Easy: A Planned Approach to Blogging Success presented recent innovations in publishing, with strong emphasis on Internet “inventions” such as book trailers, widgets, blogs, RSS feeds, as ways to approach new readers and build an audience. He suggested exploring such sites as Digg (for web content) Lifehacker and Techno Easy (for managing websites), and blogs such as Frank Warren’s postsecret.blogspot.com and grammargirl.com.
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A Season of Nostalgia

August 28, 2007

This has been a season of nostalgia, as I attended a family reunion and a school reunion and worked on my memoirs, The Wild and Holy Child, (you can see its progress at www.WildandHolyChild.blogspot.com).

Summer began with my purchase, at Jennie Pederson’s Darvill’s Bookstore in Eastsound, of Lincoln’s Sword – as in “the pen is mightier than.” As a journalist and author as well as publisher, I was inspired to read that Lincoln could return immediately to his train of thought after being interruptedWeeding out interruptions is for most of us a vital part of writing discipline, but it’s both reassuring and inspiring to know that as masterful a writer as Lincoln could, either naturally or by training, turn back to the task at hand after being interrupted. (He also apparently was a comma addict.) I can never learn enough about Lincoln, and it always arouses new admiration for him.
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Fulfillment of a Lifelong Dream

May 31, 2007

For the past six months, I’ve been challenged in managing my time like never before, with the fulfillment of a lifelong dream – I’ve become the editor of the community newspaper. With this position, I knew my marketing time and travel would be severely cut, but I resolved that my two oldest friends, writing and singing, would not be abandoned. I was warned that my new job would “eat me up” and I determined to set benchmarks to prevent that from happening. The first was to eat one meal a day with my husband. Three months later I added the “privilege” of taking two days off in a row at least once a month.
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An Earnest Winter

January 12, 2007

Our winter started in earnest late November, with a heavy wet snowfall that broke the limbs off our huge grandfather evergreens, followed by a day of fierce northeasterly winds, and then a day of temperatures in the teens. In the middle of December winds hit down Sound the week before Christmas, and many were without power for a week. Finally on December 21, winter officially began. Today, after another snowfall, temperatures are below freezing, the wind is howling again and it’s as grey, vicious and gloomy as it can get. People have been grieving the sight of many stripped, broken, and uprooted grand trees, as if one of the few things we could count on was missing. The storms did set many people back in their holiday bustle, which may be a good thing. People had an excuse for not decorating to the hilt, or sending out cards “On time.” As if there’s an exclusive period to wish each other peace, cheer and good fortune. I’ve been hearing more about the “Season of Peace,” the 64 days from Jan. 30, the date of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, to April 4, the date of Martin Luther King’s murder. This observance began in 1998 by Gandhi’s grandson, and has been organized by the Association for Global New Thought in Illinois. Sydney Salt, the national coordinator for the Season of Nonviolence said, “It’s not just about honoring those who are working to make peace, but also about actually taking the action in your own hands and doing your part to live a nonviolent life.”
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The Gypsy Life

November 5, 2006

I’ve presented The Fisherman’s Quilt, and now, the first volume of Port Gamble Publishing Newlsletter, (you can order it by email to pub@PortGamblePublishing.com) at a variety of shows this fall: the La Conner Quilt Festival, the Seattle Singles Yacht Club NW Harvest benefit dinner, and the Pacific NW Booksellers’ Association. Maybe my mom was speaking the truth when she said she got me from the Gypsies, for I do love the traveler’s way of life. Living on an island, as I do, presents a distinct lifestyle, especially in terms of commuting. Where I once spent four hours a day commuting to my day job, now I can walk into “town,” the village of Eastsound, in ten minutes. But the logistics of getting off the island can be daunting and unavoidable, as I experienced in attending the fall tradeshow of the Pacific NW Booksellers Association in Portland on October 14. I arrived at the ferry landing an hour early, so I’d be sure to get on the boat to Anacortes. Earlier in the week, one of the ferry’s engines started acting up, so my ferry was going at nearly half speed, and running an hour late. Then the fog, which had just burned off around noon, started rolling back in. I boarded the ferry over two hours past the sailing time. Then the interminable voyage began as we drifted through the haunting fog. When in doubt, sleep. I spread out on one of the padded benches on the ferry, and dozed off for about twenty minutes. I woke up and we were still surrounded by the thick mist, gliding slowly through the water, sounding a horn occasionally to locate ourselves in the fog. Finally a ferry worker announced, “Now arriving Anacortes,” but it was another long spell as we eased into the slip. Five hours after first arriving at the island ferry terminal, we found land again, on what was usually an hour and a half trip. I could have driven the length or the width of the state in that time! And I was still a five-hour drive away from Portland. While living on the island has presented me with the gift of slowing down, sometimes ….
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Quiet Saturday Afternoon

July 15, 2006

The first quiet Saturday afternoon in ages, I look back on the past six weeks at the publishing and musical activities that have consumed my time. It feels like a forest fire has swept over the landscape of my life. It’s nice to know that back home, I can still crawl back into bed on a sunny summer day at noon to read and doze, and once again recall some of the book publishing and musical activities of the past month and a half. Continue reading

A Gnarly Spring

June 1, 2006

This has been a gnarly spring; a mudtime of growth and grubbiness. But now the gentleness of early summer is on us.

Prior to the release of the movie, “The DaVinci Code,” we had the copyright infringement trial and not-guilty verdict of DaVinci Code author Dan Brown, who was challenged by Baigent and Leigh, authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail. It was highly interesting to me that Brown’s wife, Blythe Brown, had conducted the majority of the research for his novel, and that she was “unavailable” to testify at the trial as to whether her research included Holy Blood, Holy Grail.
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