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Before the Move

 

I’m moving to Minneapolis tomorrow.

That’s right. After a year of substitute teaching, freelance writing, and kicking my stories around on the editorial floor, I’ve decided to take charge of my life in a way unlike I’ve done before.

Sure i’ve gone across the country before. Going to Luther College was a big deal for a teenage boy from the Californian inland. Malta and the Mediterranean was also no short hop and skip from my residence hall either. Heck even driving to Denver was a new experience, since I made the trek with a borrowed car and more than a few cups of coffee. However, each of these was for something certain, something definite. Each time I made these trips, it was because I was looking for an education, or was selected to partake in a massive organization. This time, when I take off from the driveway, i’m going for something that has no end goal, except the one I choose myself.

I mean, that’s what being an adult is all about right? Making choices and sticking with the consequences come hell or high water? Doing something violently out of your comfort zone? Trying to better yourself by becoming more self-sufficient? I hope these are what it takes, because i’m charging ahead with a full tank of gas, my savings, and a burning desire to work in Publishing.

During my travels I’ll stop in many places, some familiar and some very much alien. By this time tomorrow I hope to be in Grand Junction, Colorado, a measly 12 and a half hour drive from my hometown in Indio, California. On the way i’ll drop my parents off, making them the last ones I see before setting off on my journey. In a way it’s thrilling, since I owe them so much. They’ve supported me through every decision i’ve made, even the ones that weren’t so properly thought out, and I couldn’t be more blessed.

So, before I get too sentimental, this is a prelude to my 7 Day Road Trip to Minneapolis Adulthood*. It’ll surely be a wonderful trip, fraught with danger, distance, and more than a few breathtaking moments. At least that’s what i’m hoping for.

May you all be well in your own personal journeys, wherever they are. If you wish to share them my comments are always open for you to enjoy. I like hearing stories, especially long winded ones, so don’t be afraid to share.

Until next time…

___________________________

*Geez… the sentimentality strikes again. Oh well. Can’t help it.

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Posted by on June 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Post Publishing Institute #7: I’m Free! Freelancing! (Part 2)

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Hello and welcome to Part 2 of my discussion on Freelance Writing/Editing. Or as I like to call it, FREELANCE WRITING: THE SEQUEL!

Attack-of-the-Sequels

The ONLY appropriate reaction.

Being a freelance writer, and all that it entails, is very busy work. When one isn’t editing someone’s work, or scribing the latest blurb for a fashion magazine, they have to self promote. I would go into more detail, but I touched on these in the previous blog post.

Instead, allow me to fill your mind with some new and exciting information. As you’ve likely guessed this post still has to do with freelancing, so you may be asking:

“But Zach, haven’t we covered this topic already? Surely you’ve beaten us over the head with all there is to know. How much more could you possibly have to share?”

Well fear not fellow writers and readers, for the world of freelancing is more vast than any Greek epic yet to be read.

"Good, good. Let the long windedness flow through you." -Homer

“Good, good. Let the long windedness flow through you.”
-Homer

Yes, it seems like I covered the gamut but did you know there are freelancers that specialize in what they do? In fact many in this line of work make a living through one type of writing/editing. And since the world of book publishing can always use a more help, these people can take jobs that would normally garner an employed editor/marketer’s attention.

Sarcastic Wonka

I certainly will, Gene Wilder.

Scared Wonka

Now while this may seem like total grunt work, it can actually be a lot of fun. Since book publishing has always been a relatively small market (some businesses having as many as 3 employees) with a small time budget (the yearly budget for most publishing companies is usually 1/10th the budget of one Hollywood movie.) they need all the help they can get planning, editing, writing, and even socializing with the author.

As such, here is a list of a freelance writer/editors many specialized jobs. Check them out and see which ones you jive with the most.

((Disclaimer: As a beginner, chances are you’ll end up doing many of these at once. Like I said before, it’s a busy job that doesn’t allow for slacking.))

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Job 1: Editor

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Figured i’d get the most obvious out of the way first. Being an editor means you will edit. Simple as that. However, how you will edit, what you will edit, and when it’s due, are completely up to the whims of your employers.

When taking on these tasks, always ask the basic questions: How much am I editing? What format is this editing under? (typically fiction is done under Chicago Manual of Style, but it never hurts to ask.) When will you need this done? What are you paying me?

Job 2: Coaching, Consulting.

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Another job that’s pretty easy to grasp. Rather than editing, this job means you’ll be working with the author to make the story better. Typically this falls under the workload of Line Editors, since they’re tasked with working out the fundamental ideas within the story.

Keep in mind, this job is highly personable and requires a great amount of tact and empathy. As many of my friends can attest, writers are not machines made to churn out epic novels for others amusement. They have feelings, wants, hopes, and dreams like any other human being. Understanding this, and being adaptable to your author’s needs, while finding the right way to discuss and motivate, is paramount in this line of work.

Job 3: Book Doctoring

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Sometimes an author falls way behind on a deadline. Sometimes the planned publishing process gets muddled or distorted. Sometimes a book needs a massive overhaul, but it’s too much work for even the most skilled editor on staff. So what do you do? You call a book doctor.

This tends to be the most stressful job for a multitude of reasons. First, you can likely expect whatever it is that’s handed to you will be a monstrous affront to all things literature. Second, it will likely be riddled with issues that need fixing, most of which may be so minuscule that only a keen eye can fix. Third, you’re likely not given nearly enough time to fix all these issues (I mean,heck, they needed a book doctor for a reason.)

It’s not a pleasant job, and half the time you won’t be able to make something half as good as you wanted it to be. Yet it does have its merits, and can be the most rewarding for both the gratitude and paycheck you’d receive.

Job 4: Collaborating and Co-Authoring

GearHeadsCollaborating

There are many reasons an editor/writer becomes a co-author to a work. Maybe your works inspired the author in question. Maybe your previous workings are a significant part of the writings. Maybe the author likes you a lot and thinks you should be signed on. Whatever the reason, Co-Authoring and collaborating connects you to the work on multiple levels, and can be a major boon to your publishing cred.

However, what this job makes up for in bragging rights it takes away in time. Anyone who has ever written a book can say that it was a major emotional, physical, and mental investment. Working with a second author can lessen the physical portion, but the emotional and mental investments are doubled to compensate. Plus, with two authors you may end up writing something twice as long, meaning the physical effort is doubled instead of halved. These assignments can also eat into your other projects as well. So proceed with caution when presented with these opportunities.

Job 5: Ghost Writing

ghost writing

I honestly couldn’t have found a better picture to describe this process.

Ghost writing is when an unknown/unannounced author writes the story, but another author’s name is signed onto it. Examples of this include many James Patterson novels, in which his many understudies write his books while he puts his name on them.

Now, before we jump the gun and say “That’s not fair. Who would be dumb enough to do that?” keep in mind the reason ghost writing exists. Often times an author will want to make a point, but feels their name is associated with too many things. Case in point, Mel Brooks wrote and directed The Elephant Man, but kept his name out so no one would mistake the movie for a comedy. In another example, M. Night Shyamalan allowed Will Smith to take credit as director for After Earth’s production so people would think it was a good movie.

In a way this is what ghost writing does: allow the author to make something they wish to write, but not have their name associated with it. Or, alternatively, it allows a new writer to get their start, but under a more famous person’s name so it’ll sell. No matter what happens, the one writing will always be appropriately compensated and, if you do a good enough job, it could mean greater opportunities and connections.

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That concludes the lesson on freelance writing/editing. Hopefully by now you’ll have amassed enough knowledge to get your start in freelance writing.

Remember, it’s a tough business out there, and requires a considerable amount of time and effort. However, if you keep at it, you’ll find a very rewarding career managed by no one other than you, yourself, and thee.

So what do you think? Have any of you done a job such as these? Have any ever needed someone to do any of these jobs? Do they sound like something you’d be interested in doing?

If you have questions, concerns, critiques, or compliments be sure to leave them in the comments below.

Until next time.

 

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Publishing Institute Post #5: Publishing in The Name of ________

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You’ve probably seen them in your hometown: Bookstores that sell a particular niche. A particular religious niche. A particular religious, but more often than not, Christian niche. These are the bookstores where you can’t help but wonder “Out of all the countless books that are published, how the heck do they find all these?”

Well, my dear readers, the answer is simple: Just as there are publishers for Fantasy, Mystery, and Paranormal Lovecraftian Romance, there are publishing houses that specialize in Religion books. No i’m not talking about people who reprint The Holy Testament or The Bhagavad Gita, but rather books that have an overt, observable religious theme to them.

(And yes, Paranormal Lovecraftian Romance is a thing. No I don’t want to look it up.)



(Fine here is an example, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

As with every facet of publishing, DPI had a fantastic slew of women and men who took time out of their busy lives to educate us bright eyed would-be publishers. For this lecture, the man in charge was none other than the great Joel Fotinos. Say hello Joe:

Joel_Fotinos_Web
Look at that smile! With such an attractive picture you’d think he’s been all over the Religious publishing world. And you’d be right! This man held jobs in various Christian publications across the Midwest and even dabbled a bit in other religious houses (those stories, however, are not mine to tell). In fact, he is so well rounded he was the first to win “Spiritual Hero of the Year” from The Science of the Mind Magazine due to his magnanimity and outreach efforts.

For us at DPI we were fortunate to have such a splendid man lecture us on the Religious Publishing world. Though it may seem like a small time genre, religious publishing has never been stronger. In fact, Religious publishing has great potential for growth, and is more varied than you would think.

So, dear reader, if you plan to work for, or publish something of religious intent, allow me to provide you a handy reference list, taught to me by the man above (Joel, not the other one) with a little self added information. That way you may be a little more prepared in your future endeavors.

THE FIVE RELIGIOUS PUBLISHING MARKETS:

1) Christianity:

-Due to this being the most prevalent religion in the USA, this group actually is split into four.

A) The Christian Books Association (CBA): Conservative Christian Market, publishes books like Heaven is for Real and is a very black and white industry. Usually for Christian Tracts and Evangelical books. Examples include: CSPA and Thomas Nelson Inc.

B) The Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit (RBTE): Liberal Christian Market, for more “Spiritual Christians” or books with redemptive endings. Anne Lamott’s books are published here, as was Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. Examples include: Riverhead Books and Knopf Canada (the latter does more than just religious publishing.)

C) Catholic Publishing: This one overlaps with both the CBA and the RBTE, but as you could guess most of these books have a Catholic perspective to them. The books they publish tend to be sold in Cathedrals Catholic retreats. Examples include: Ignatius and TAN Books

D) Mormon Publishing: Also overlaps with the CBA and RBTE but with a Mormon perspective to it. Very insular, most books in these markets sell only in Mormom cathedrals and Mormon bookstores. Examples include: Eborn Books and Signature Books.

2) Judaism:

– The second largest market in America, this market is responsible for giving us amazing works of literature such as The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank), Everything is Illuminated (Jonathan Saffran Foer), and The Book Thief (Markus Zusak). While they’re not as big as the Christian market, this section makes up for it by being available anywhere outside of religious events and Jewish communities. Examples of Jewish Publishing Houses include: KTAV, Feldheim, and Gefen Publishing

3) Islam:

– I’ll be honest when I say I haven’t done much research on this sect of Religious publishers. However, I can say that they’re a growing market dedicated to dispelling the myths and misconceptions regarding their beliefs. If nothing else I say give a few of their books a shot, and maybe you’ll be surprised at what you discover. Since it’s small in America it’s difficult to find a list of notable publishing houses. However, the wonder blogger at Muslim Writers has compiled a list of useful places to start.

4) Eastern Doctrines:

– These are actually a bunch of different “umbrella houses” that kind of get grouped into one due to their size. Religions included in this market are :Buddhism (including Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana), Taoism, Hinduism and the Baha’i Faith. Famous books from these publishers include, among many others, a The Tao of Pooh (Benjamin Hoff), Siddhartha (Herman Hesse), and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert M. Pirsig). Popular Eastern Doctrine Publshing Houses include: New Directions and Wisdom Publishing

5) New Age:

– This is also a catch all term for a rather large group. It includes anything that’s gained a major following within the last century/half century. Usually includes anything involving Pagan, Wiccan, Near Death Experiences, Acupuncture, Tarot, etc. It’s a rather open ended market but it’s really picking up steam in America. Popular Publishing Houses include: New Leaf Publishing Group and Sounds True.

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Should you wish to pitch a book to any of these companies, keep this in mind:
Religious Publishing isn’t about publishing books, it’s about publishing content. The heart of the book, from the words on the page to the theme of the narrative, are what they consider when taking on a book.

So before you send your manuscript, ask yourself: Is my book on the level with this publishing house? Do I speak to the audience they wish to reach? Or will my book do better somewhere else?

Sure that seems obvious, but content matters. The heart of the story matters. No one at in the CBA  would consider taking a story about chakras, even if the protagonists are deeply religious. Chances are your manuscript is fine the way it is, but only needs the right house to publish and distribute it.

If you have any further questions or comments you’re all welcome to speak your mind below. Until next time.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Advice, Publishing Institute

 

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I LIVE!

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Hello my readers! Sorry to have kept you waiting. You would not believe what i’ve been through this month. First there was a giant snow storm that trapped me and my family for weeks. We tried digging our way out but came upon an ancient Elvin city where I was crowned King. Unfortunately King of the Elves also meant “he who sits atop a throne of thorns all day and gets his love life determined by a senile sage.” That didn’t jive with my 21st century American ideals so we ran away. We ended up making our way across volcanoes, deserts, tundra, and even a maze the size of North America. Eventually we hitchhiked home and here I am, relaying the story to you now.

Of course, if you believed any of that, you were probably born yesterday. Considering all of you who tolerate my blog are smart enough to fight your way out of a paper bag, I really should stop talking in circles and get to the point.

And that is I’m sorry for not updating. I promised I’d get around the finishing the Publishing Institute by August, yet, low and behold, it’s the 31st and I still have 6 more entries to write. As such I will try to make up for lost time and publish as many of these as I can. It’s the least I can for those of you who waited patiently for another blog post.

So without further ado: I’m back! And I’m not going anywhere anytime soon!

For those of you who are still steamed, here is another blog I found that lists fantastic writing resources:
http://tyjohnston.blogspot.com/2012/01/100-web-sites-for-fiction-writers.html?m=1

Check him out, he’s got some great stuff.

If that doesn’t make up for it, then here: have some cute animals.

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Kittens-Sleeping

And my favorite:
RED PANDAS!

They’re like little bear foxes!

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Nominated for the Liebster Award! – Fun Facts About Me.

In a shocking turn of events someone found my blog interesting enough to nominate!

Emily Ramos, who writes the fantastic blog Adventures in Fantasy, sent me this nomination. As I understand it, this award is to help recognize new, smaller blogs of people with less than 200 followers. In addition there are a few rules to being nominated. They are as follows:

1. Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.

2. Post 11 facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

4. Display the Liebster award logo.

5.  No tag backs.

—-

11 PERSONAL FACTS

1. My dad still has the first picture I ever colored for him in his office. It still brings a smile to my face everytime I see it.

2. I love coffee, especially espresso.

3. I have read 7 books in the last 4 weeks because that’s how I roll.

4. My favorite videogame right now is Xenoblade Chronicles

5. I prefer writing in pen even though I always have something that needs erasing.

6. I love learning about other religions and beliefs.

7. I’m seriously craving tacos right now.

8. I miss my friends in the mid-west a lot.

9. I have set foot on 4 continents and 10 countries.

10. I believe the most important thing in the world is empathy.

11. I can snap all my fingers at once.

11 QUESTIONS FROM EMILY

1. What is your ideal weather?
Bright blue sky with massive white, fluffy clouds.

2. What is your favorite genre for books?
Drama. Fantasy comes in close second.

3. What is your favorite genre for movies/TV shows?
Drama or Action. I tend to not like most Fantasy movies I watch.

4. Do you speak (or are you learning) any foreign languages?
Spanish (poorly/rudimentary) and Latin (write, not speak). I hope to be fluent in both someday.

5. What was your childhood nickname?
Wack. Or Zach the Legomaniac.

6. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
I have a page for that now! But if I were to pick it’d be Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.

7. What is your favorite band?
Explosions in the Sky.

8. Do you like the candy Milk Duds?
Yes. Very much so.

9. What is your favorite candy?
Reese’s Fast Break.

10. If you write, is it typically the same genre you prefer to read?
Yeah. Fantasy and Drama are my jam.

11. What has been the best part of your day?
Seeing the steaks in the fridge have finally defrosted.

MY 11 QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINEES

1. What’s the first word that comes to mind right now?

2. Beef, Chicken, or Tofu?

3. What is your favorite song right now?

4. What is your favorite book right now?

5. What is your favorite movie right now?

6. What is your favorite video game right now?

7. Coffee or Tea?

8. What is one place outside of your home country that you would want to live?

9. How did you feel about going from Elementary to Middle School?
Or (for non US) How did you feel about going from primary to secondary education?

10. What is your favorite season?

11. Can you make a few words using the letters of your name?

And now, the nominees (of which I don’t have eleven, sad to say):

1. A Journalist’s Fantasy

2. The Literary Omnivore

3. Plotting Bunnies

4. Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom

5. Tales of Lyelle

6. A Place That Does Not Exist

Happy writing!

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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First Contact – Hello from Zach

Hey everyone, this is Write-Minded Razo, a blog managed by a recent college grad with a degree in English Writing.

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Typically I introduce myself to internet strangers by talking about my life and things I love. Seeing as I have an About page for that I suppose that won’t be entirely necessary. Still I feel it would be a complete waste of my reader’s time if all I did was ramble in circles about things I do or don’t want to do.

So let’s start afresh shall we? Ahem.

Writing is my passion. I know the phrase “X is my passion” get thrown around a lot but for me I can honestly say this is completely true. Last night I awoke about  2 in the morning simply to write down a sentence that came to me in my sleep. Nothing gets me going on a conversation like writing techniques or story telling. You could call it an obsession of sorts, but it hasn’t caused too many problems with my outside life. However, like a good book or a recent, mindblowing experience, writing is always at the forefront of my mind.

So that’s where this blog comes in. A friend of mine, who runs the blog emilyramos.wordpress.com, told me I should set this up as an online journal with which to share my ideas. She was but one person who encouraged me to make this blog, and as such I feel i’d be doing a great disservice to myself if I didn’t engage the writing community in some way. So that’s where we are now.

Now, i’m not conceited enough to think my ideas and thoughts are a godsend to the writing community (i’ve met enough of those people to know that). I am but one writer with opinions, thoughts, stories, and feelings in a sea of people. However, if my thoughts could inspire more people to pursue their passion, or intrigue others enough to learn more about this life, then I will be content.

I hope this was a satisfactory introduction. I will update every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday with my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and ideas. I hope it is as beneficial to you all as it is to me.

In closing: thank you for checking out my blog. I hope you stick around for the adventure.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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