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saturday, february 27, 2010

So Where Is Everybody?
"So Alva Press is a concept."

"Yes. But it is also a reality."

"So where is everybody?"

"Well, it's complicated.

"You see, when I started Alva Press, Inc., most people involved lived here in New York. Jolt was yet to be published so there was no need for a designer and printer. Also, there were fewer of us. Joan Schweighardt, Jolt's editor, lived in New Paltz. As did Lorna Tychostup.  But things have changed.

"For starters, Joan Schweighardt moved to Albuqueque, New Mexico. From there she who recommended Kathi Massaro, Jolt's designer. Kathi lives Downstate in New York.

"Then finding a printer for Jolt was a challenge. They're few and far between. And there is the question of price. So the printer I use wound up being in Ohio.

"As to Jolt's acknowledged readers, they, too, were once local. But Nancy Means Wright had relocated to Vermont. Same with John Harris. He lives in Durango, Colorado, and travels regularly in Mexico and Central America.

"Then a couple of days ago I learned that Lorna Tychostup got the assignment she'd been hoping to get. Tychostup is the photo journalist who took my picture for the cover of Jolt. As it turns out, the job is in Bagdhad, Iraq. (I'll follow her on her blog. If you'd like the link, let me know.)

"Lorna's passion to understand and contribute positively to resolving the Iraqui situation is not new. That's how I met her in the first place. She was presenting as a photo journalist on her recent trip to Iraq. Her pictures were poignant and human. Her purpose was to open our minds to the Iraquis as a people who shared the same wants, loves, and needs as we.

"I felt what Tychostup was doing was important so I made some effort to get her more invitations to present. But that was six or seven years ago. Now she's there again.

" So everything changes and nothing changes.

"And people move."

2:10 pm est          Comments

wednesday, february 24, 2010

Taxes, Talks, and TOCS
Tax time. Worked on the books and submitted Alva's papers with the numbers to my accountant. Oddly enough, I always look forward to meeting with her. She's articulate, personable, informed, and very human. And she probably knows the ins and outs of my life better than my family.

Also, I made sure the numbers and records are in order to date for 2010. That includes the inventory. 

As soon as the weather warms, I need to schedule some readings and book signings. That should help with sales and encourage the local paper to do a review.

Yesterday I sent off a solicited copy of Jolt: a rural noir to a local reviewer. That gave me a nice feeling. Two questions remain however. The first has to do with whether or not she will still want to review it after reading it. (I think she will.) The second is: Will the review be positive? And I think it will. I say that because to date, not only have most of Jolt's readers report liking it, but also because their comments share some themes.

First of all, despite the fact it talks about post-nuclear event survival, they find that Joltis readable . . . not scary.  Second. although they seem may prefer a different sets, they like the characters. One liked the Matters boys. Two women friends liked the lovers. Those who are into art, liked the discussions of art and the story of Thaw's struggle to become a recognized artist. Me, I like them all . . . although I do have a special place in my heart for the young Matters boys.

Well, you'll have to order a copy and let me know what you think of Jolt: a rural noir. I keep expecting people to use the comment buttons below the blog entries to let me know, but, so far, there have been only a few takers.

I should hear soon about how Kristen Henderson is progressing with the organization of her book of poetry, Drum Machine. She was well on her way to completing the table of contents or, as we refer to it, the TOC. Recently Kristen sent me an email named 'Nervous Tic' in which she listed the likely categories as being: Death, Family, Confessional, Writing, and Life. Definitely intriguing.  

RMR in Po-town
12:02 am est          Comments

monday, february 15, 2010

On Inspiration

Sometimes a writer is carried to the keyboard by an idea. Other times it's to the keyboard expecting inspiration. Right now, it's half one, half the other.

Carried here to talk about the difference between marketing and publicity, it's a little embarassing to realize that I recognized the foggy dichotomy only today. Turns out marketing is what you pay others to do for you. Publicity is up front and personal. It's what you do yourself. And, I guess, in between lies blogging. Foggy.

So how does one know whether one is marketing or doing publicity? Well, my guestimate on the scene is this: Marketing gets the name out there. Publicity sells the book.

But how did I know before I started it that blogging would turn out to be primarily marketing? And since Alva Press just doesn't have the funds to send Roberta M. Roy out on a bus tour across the United States to do publicity (public appearances and book signings) for her book, Jolt: a rural noir, it's doing the best it can. 

As for Roberta M. Roy, the author, working full time as she does to support her idiosyncratic life style, she just doesn't have the time and means to publicize Jolt herself.

So what does one do? Keep PayPal and hope the website will work? Stack the nine hundred remaining copies of the Jolt under the bed and wait for fame posthumously? Look to blog-readers to order their copy? Hope money from another source dribbles or rushes in to support a summer off and Jolt's 'Grand Tour' featuring Roberta M. Roy?  Or continue to go along with Alva?


RMR in Po-Town, Truckin'

7:09 pm est          Comments

thursday, february 11, 2010

So Who Reads This Blog?
Very steadily Alva's blog readership is increasing. Readers of the Writer Publisher's blog usually check in about twice a month. This month the number is expected to reach about three hundred. Probably not terribly impressive on the scale of things, but definitely three hundred more than I might have guessed six months ago when, as my dad would say, this blog was not even a twinkle in its creator's eye.

Although most of Alva's readers are American, about ten represent seven or eight European and Asian countries. Although their numbers are small, it's nice to feel one is an active part of the larger world.

As I have a map of the world hanging on one wall in my living room, I think I'll begin marking where my readers are. on it My oldest grandson and I could do it as a learning project. He's nine and knows where most of the states here are as well as many countries in the world. 

But what would really be fun is if more of my readers were to blog back under the comment button. I say button for lack of a better word, but it really is just the word Comment under each blog entry.

That said, here's an idea: It's 9:30 p.m. here and if you'd be so kind, perhaps you'd comment on what time that would be or is, your time--just to remind us of how large the world is.

And how small.

RMR in Po-Town, Chillin'
9:32 pm est          Comments

sunday, february 7, 2010

On Power Plants and Loss

My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Middletown, Connecticut, power plant explosion reported today. At last report there have been five fatalities and about a twelve persons injured in the blast. This means there must be many blunt trauma injuries, the least of which might be a broken bone and bruising. The worst of which might result in brain injury and life long changes for those so affected. Very sad.

As publisher/author of the sci-fi novel Jolt: a rural noir, when I heard the news, my first thought was of a nuclear meltdown. How would they handle it? How many were lost? How many were endangered? Would any develop radiation sickness? All topics I had explored to some degree in Jolt

But the plant was under construction. When done it would be gas-powered. So it had been a gas explosion rather than a meltdown. And even as I read the bitter numbers, I experienced relief: whatever they were and would remain, capped in the moment with no growth in time forward. And so, in these worst of times for the people of Middletown, the word arrived tempered. I was only grateful it was not worse.

But how could it be worse?

RMR in Po-Town

8:26 pm est          Comments

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