Tag Archives: advice

Get Over the Small Stuff and Live Better: #4 Rude/Inconsiderate People

Snow! Please, stop.

If you’re mildly interested in weather news, you’ll know that Boston has endured the ire of Old Man Winter these past two months, especially February. Don’t know what the city did to deserve such an onslaught of snowstorms one after the other. Er, wait a minute, I take that back. This is Boston.

The last snowstorm convinced me that I should indeed leave Massachusetts and seek warmer shores because my blood cannot do the cold, snow, and way below freezing wind chills any more. Neither can my sanity. The only time I enjoy living here is during the late spring and summer. Boston is pretty then. No, really, it is. Take a look.

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Boston Public Garden
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Ah, Spring in Boston. Come back soon!
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Oh flowers, how I miss you.
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I haven’t taken a stroll in the park since forever. 😦

But now it’s winter.

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Stare down into the white abyss!
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The white stuff is everywhere…

With all this snow comes an activity we Bostonians love: shoveling. Not. When faced with my car buried under mounds of snow, I stand and look at it for a moment to figure out what kind of work I’m expected to do. I wake up a little later to deal with the shoveling because I’m a teacher and get snow days. I use these wonderful days off to write my ass off because I have very little time to do so on a regular schedule.

When I stepped outside to shovel my car out for the millionth time, I noticed a huge huge pile of snow behind my car. It was snow created from my neighbor’s snow blower. My temper began bubbling up in my chest at this blatant, inconsiderate move from this woman. Not only did I have to shovel nature’s wintery treasure, but I also had to move a new mountain of snow courtesy of my neighbor. I wanted to swing my shovel against her car. A quick whack to front. Bam!

My car...sigh. Can you find it?
My car…sigh. Can you find it?

I took a deep breath and swallowed by anger.

I told myself two things: 1.) Blowing up at my neighbor would waste a lot of energy that I needed to conserve for snow shoveling. 2.) The world had enough darkness in the world without me adding more to it with my unnecessary rage.

Yeah, my neighbor pulled a jerk move by giving me more work to do, but I decided to let it go.

I went back inside my house to get my cell phone, put my headphones in, and listened to some rocking tunes as I shoveled out my car. And guess what? My neighbor stepped up and joined me. She helped me shovel away the large mound she created with her snow blower. She then helped me remove my car from the driveway.

We exchanged no words about what she had done earlier but it taught me something: one of the best ways to say you’re sorry is through action. And my neighbor apologized by helping me. Also, silence is more powerful than you realize when faced with anger inducing situations like rude or inconsiderate people. Sometimes people expect you to be angry or they want to get some sort of heated reaction out of you. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Hold on to your peace and pile coals on their heads by showing compassion; you’ll be surprised how differently people react to kindness or silence instead of horn blaring anger.

How about you? How do you deal successfully with rude or inconsiderate people? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

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Also check out: Get Over the Small Stuff and Live Better: #3 Road Rage vs. Road Peace

For Writers: Traditional Publishing vs. E-Publishing vs. Self-Publishing! A Pro and Cons List Plus General Advice

Just cracking a door into this topic makes my head want to explode. With so many options out there for writers to publish their work, it takes research and good judgment to choose the path that fits best. I compiled a list of pros and cons for traditional publishing, self-publishing, and e-publishing. I add some general advice after each section.

Let’s take a look:

Traditional Publishing: The Literary Agent 

PROs:

  • Most publishers will not accept manuscripts without an agent. Agents filter submissions and reduce the workload for publishers.
  • Agents have access to editors of large and small publishing houses and are thus better able to put the right story and writer with the right editor.
  • Agents know what editors want, and the writer’s manuscripts receive priority.
  • Agents handle contracts and negotiations so writers can focus on writing.
  • Agents help writers polish and lead proposals in the right direction to help editors sell them to superiors.
  • A good relationship with a literary agent provides an outlet to help generate ideas for the next book concept before time is invested in a concept that needs tweaking or eliminating.
  • Experienced agents know and understand the publishing industry and can get the right contract for a writer.
  • Experience agents understand editor’s needs, know what’s current and what’s not, and are on top of corporate policies.

CONs:

  • Lack of autonomy in terms of handling negotiations and selling of work
  • Sharing the profits of books sold; Most agents earn 15% of author royalties.
  • The trap of new agents out for him/herself and not the author; new agents have little to no previous contacts with publishing industry.
  • Scammers: agents or impostors who make money off the writer by charging reading fees; not members of AAR; other hidden fees: manuscript critique, editing services, additional services, connecting clients to fee charging publishers, etc
  • Writers must do careful, extensive research on agents to ensure they find the right agent.
  • Query letters and Synopses (enough said)
  • And the waiting and rejection letters

General Advice:

  • Author Michelle Buckman: “Getting a bad agent is worse than no agent, but a good agent is precious to your career.”
  • Ask agents smart questions: Material they represent, length of contracts, fees charged, prior representations, willing to represent more than one book, willing to nurture careers, etc.
  • Meet agents at writers’ conferences because connections can be established and an agent might express interest in work unlike in cold contacting.
  • Agents are interested in writers who are familiar with the publishing industry and have been in the field for a time. Get informed.

Non-Traditional: Self-Publishing (Print)

PROs:

  •  Autonomy: control price and cover; control changes, decisions, etc
  •  Autonomy over the creative process
  • Self-publishing writer can receive 40-60% of selling price as opposed to author in traditional route who receives 10% of selling price.
  • Instant publication
  • Writer controls marketing details of book.
  • “The accomplishment of building something from the ground up.” – Sally McGraw

CONs:

  • No free professional editors, people to handle layouts or format book, cover art, printing, sales people, etc: All this must be done alone or seek help, which costs money.
  • Most likely to sell fewer copies than if with a traditional publisher who prints and distributes books
  • Writer must figure out how to negotiate payment and ensure contract matches typical publishing contracts (writer to editor without agent).
  • Writer is responsible for promotional costs.
  • Print route is risky in the midst of popularity surrounding e-books and digital publishing.
  • Money is invested before received and there is no guarantee a return.
  • Writer must find a distributor because most book sellers will not buy directly from an author.
  • Building brand and garnering audience might take some time.
  • Very stressful and time consuming

General Advice:

  • Create meaningful connections with other writers; promote self through bloggers in terms of reviews, giveaways, and promotional incentives.
  • Work with a small press that specializes to the book’s genre.
  • Organize or host local events to promote self and bolster sales.

E-Book Publishing

PROs:

  • Writer controls the rights of his or her work; can choose the cover, the editor, etc.
  • Writer controls pricing and examines novel sales as they’re happening, which offers insight to markets tactics that work and don’t.
  • There’s no need for a middle-person or company who takes portion of proceeds.
  • Speedier process as opposed to the one or two years wait that results in a hunt for an agent and editor and wait-time for book printing and availability in bookstores.
  • Potential for increased readership
  • Market for E-Books is growing.
  • Potential to make a small fortune
  • Easier to produce subsidiary content for your work
  • E-Books can never go out of print so opens up new opportunities for new readers.

CONs:

  • Investing money before making money: paying for custom cover art, professional editor, formatting, etc
  • Lack of standard formats available for readers using a variety of systems; can lead to reader confusion
  • Writer must take sole responsibility of marketing side; invest time in learning marketing strategies.
  • Sales have ups and down. Unpredictability
  • Quality must be high to compete with other E-Books.
  • Amazon’s algorithms for suggesting author’s works to readers does not always work to the favor of the author.

General Advice:

  •  Aggressively, but intelligently market book online. Take time learning about marketing strategies through social media.
  • Invest time in building an audience and targeting readers.

What do you think? Think something I should add something or remove anything? Let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Stay amazing,

Sammy

List of Sources:

  • Jennifer Reed: How To Decide If You Need a Literary Agent. And How to Find a Literary Agent (http://bit.ly/QU5Yjv)
  • Ali: Book Writing and Publishing FAQ – Do I Need a Literary Agent? The Pros and Cons of Having Literary Agent Represent You to Publishers
 (http://bit.ly/cpEcoX)
  • Writer’s Nook Club: Creating And Selling E-Books: The Pros & Cons For Creating Electronic Books (http://bit.ly/TTl4Wi)

 

Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen

One day I asked my facebook friends what advice they would give to their younger self. A good friend of mine posted this as a response. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this video moved me to tears. Although we have to deal with a lot of ugliness, pain, and loss, life really is beautiful and there’s so much we can learn–such as how to love more and look beyond the pain. I hope you this video moves you as it did me. Stay amazing.