Thank you Park Forest Book Club members for a truly great day and your support. The book clubs of Park Forest, Englewood, FL and other interested residents gathered March 2 to hear Florida author DL Havlin. Mr Havlin spoke about his book, The Cross on Cotton Creek. His presentation focused on Civil War history, writing techniques and the message within this book.
Lake Buena Vista, FL—On August 4, the Florida Authors & Publishers Association (FAPA) awarded its prestigious annual President’s Book Award to DL Havlin for novel “The Bait Man”. The event, which took place at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, recognized outstanding books by awarding gold, silver, or bronze medals.
Fortyfive book categories ranging from children’s books to adult fiction, from memoirs to self-help, and from business books to e-books were evaluated. FAPA recognizes both
independent and traditionally published books. All medals are awarded based on a points system in the judging of books. The judges for the program are librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.
“The 2018 President’s Book Award winners exemplify excellence in the publishing world. This year we had the largest number of books ever submitted! FAPA is proud to recognize and celebrate these dedicated and talented authors,” said Angelina Assanti, FAPA President.
The Florida Authors & Publishers Association, Inc. (FAPA) is an organization for authors,
publishers, illustrators, editors, printers and other professionals involved in the publishing
industry. It focuses on providing information, resources, and professional development to its members. FAPA is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization and is affiliated with the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the Association of Publishers of Special Sales (APSS) and the Florida Library Association.
# # #
Has your life ever inspired you to write? Then come to check out the Gulf Coast Writers Association. Our guest speaker DL Havlin, will be letting us in on how he weaves reality into a world of fiction. The meeting will be held Saturday, June 16 at Zion Lutheran Church, Fort Myers 33919. First time guests are free. If you want more info please call 770-906-7885 or go to gulfwriters.org.
“Is it really that hard to get published, traditionally?” one student asked. I answered, “You ever heard the newspaper reporter’s answer to a girl named Virginia when she asked if their was a Santa Claus?” She smiled and said, “Yes.” I told her, “Then my answer to you is, sorry Virginia, there is no publishing fairy. That’s not to discourage you … it’s to impress on you the huge effort you’ll need, rejection you’ll face, and perseverance you’ll require to reach your goal.”
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Dayton State College where I participated in the program titled “Bloom where you were planted.” This mini seminar was the inspired concept of Dr. Lynn Hawkins, PhD. and Director Mary Custureri of publisher Taylor and Seale. They’re speaking of making this an annual event; I certainly hope they do.
The cross-section of students who attended from DSC and Bethune-Cookman encouraged me. They weren’t the kooks and and rabble so often shown on television these days. IF they are representative of their generation, we don’t have to be nearly as concerned for our country’s future as many would have you believe. They were attentive and asked great questions.
My experience was enhanced by sharing a break-out discussion table with Veronica Helen Hart, a truly talented author, who knows the secret of an engaging novel is in its story. I strongly recommend you try one of her books. You’ll be captivated by her stories and writing quality. Amazon is probably the quickest and easiest way to obtain one. Look her up by author name.
As I stated, it was a joy to engage in discussion with these students. A couple of things struck me as we shared conversation. This generation IS concerned with the future, most are willing to work to achieve their goals, and light bulbs go on as you speak to them … they comprehend. Most of these students are great candidates to join organizations like the Florida Writers Association and to attend writers conferences like the Unicorn Writer’s Conference both of which I recommended.
Lynn and Mary, thanks again for “inventing” this great event.
PS – Hooray folks — The book I recommended to you is now on Amazon! Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, is available!
# # # # #
One of the writers who requested my opinion about the work they produced and requested I read, had what I consider valid reasons to write. First, she loved the effort. Second, she wanted to use her writing to help others avoid mistakes she’d made. She’d chosen a plot and story that weren’t threadbare from overuse. The passion she wrote the novel with was palpable. …. However, the result was disappointing. The work wasn’t cohesive. There were errors in continuity I wouldn’t have expected. Grammar was strange … good in portions … errors made in sections of the book that were correct in others. Why?
The answer came out when she proudly told me, “And it only took me 90 days to write it.” After gagging and struggling to maintain a straight face, I understood part of her problem. She’d succumbed to the mindset that there is some great virtue to writing at a pace designed to win a 100 meter sprint in the Olympics. Unfortunately, this is cultivated by some literary folks. I’d already discussed the vital need for her to rewrite her novel. It could end up as a salable book. I added this piece of advice, “Few (if any) of us can produce a “finished” manuscript on the first pass. The need for rewrites, or polishing if you prefer, is universal, and taking the time to produce a better quality starting point will pay dividends when the rewrites are made. A finished, waxed, and shined product is required to send your work to agents and publishers.”
I can assure YOU ALL that you won’t get agents or publishers to accept your manuscript because you wrote it faster than a speeding bullet. There won’t be an extra 40,000 copies sold because you wrote it in 60 days. No one who reads it will proclaim it a masterpiece because it was vomited onto the printed page at an unparalleled rate of puke. (colorful to make the point) People will brag about your novel or non-fiction because you have executed all the authorship skills required to a level that exceeds the thousands (literally) of your competitors.
Writing every day to hone your skills to the point you are a razor is important. Hemingway set a goal of 300 to 500 words of PROPERLY WRITTEN, MEANINGFUL PROSE A DAY. Speed helps you win races. It doesn’t do much for you when writing.
# # # # #
Question – “Why did you decide to write your novel, xyzxyzxyz?”
Answer (After a long pause) – “I’m tired of getting paid $xx. an hour. I want to make some big money and not have to be a slave to my work to do it. I can’t think of a better way than writing to do that.”
I got this answer, or some variation of it, when I asked the “why” question of five of the eleven would be authors I’ve been writing about in my last couple posts. One lady, unpublished, with a first time novel, explained that she expected she would to have to write two or three additional books after “this book” was printed to meet her objective of buying a small island in the Bahamas and retiring. I guess reality is something that you can be ignorant of, or blissfully ignore, convincing yourself it doesn’t pertain to you.
Lets discuss reality. I’m trying to keep my posts short so ……
Making large dollars from writing is normally achieved from an enormous volume of effort through the traditional publishing route. Do self-published authors become rich and famous? Yes. BUT, as a percentage, they’re harder to find than hen’s teeth.
Unlike my friends pictured above, successful authors don’t decide to slide out of bed if the inspiration strikes them on a particular day. Vomiting on the keyboard, sending your visionary words to an eagerly waiting publisher, who will assign hordes of editing staffers to polish your Socratic wisdom, which the editor-in-chief will send a limo to pick up … isn’t going to happen. No one is going to beg you for your manuscript. Cancel your Porsche.
Writing is an everyday grind … your breaks are normally spent in research … most writers, if they took the time to calculate, would be ebullient making minimum wage. I average seven to eleven rewrites for each of my books. Rewrites are tedious and intense WORK. If you love what you’re doing it’s worth it. If you’re looking for a hammock and a Mai Tai way to make a living, writing isn’t for you.
If you work your rectal area off, your chance of becoming a name author is miniscule. This is particularly true when writing fiction. Read my post back on April 14, 2015 titled, “Publishing to Enterprise – Beam me up Scotty – from where-ever I am.” It details that reality word. (less probably than making an NFL roster by many, many times).
After all that, for those beating the odds and becoming traditionally published, today’s reality is that you’ll be out promoting your book(s). Even “name” authors like Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) are out hustling their work. I shared a signing area with her at a small book festival last April. YOU ARE A USED CAR SALESMAN – LIKE IT OR NOT.
If you believe being a successful author is going to work in your undies, while sipping wine, eating lotus, and having Brinks Armored delivered sacks of cash to your door, you may wish to revise your thoughts.
# # # # #
I decided that I’d put aside the books I’m working on during the weeks prior to going into surgery and post carpentry recovery. People request that I read work they’d done; most times they’re manuscripts … two of these were printed novels. All told, I read eleven books … ten fiction, one historical work. When I finished it was my opinion that three of the works were well written, marketable, and with a piece of the author contained in their pages. They had a fighting chance. That left eight that varied from “needs work” to “really?” After contemplating these less-than-magnificent-eight, I assumed the fault was in me … I must just not have “gotten it.” I went on a quest. How did I miss their message. I asked. What I found is sobering. They really didn’t have one.
Each of these conversations – that started with objective, plot, story, characterization – ended with this question, “Why are you writing?” The answers weren’t always forthcoming; it took quite an effort to get to the unvarnished truth. While I’d never share any details about individuals or their work, the writer’s answers to the question are enlightening. They explain why there are so many books being written, produced, and why the bulk of it is a waste of paper and computer storage.
After a great deal of unwrapping packaged answers, I was able to state eight reasons given by the eleven folks who asked for an opinion. My next series of posts will deal with these. If you read them, ask yourself, “is this me?” Try answering honestly. The first one I’ll be discussing is this answer, “I can’t find any other work.”
# # # # #