Learning to be a Writer

Learning to be a Writer

By Yen Ooi The journey in becoming a writer neither starts nor stops at writing itself. Of course, producing copious amounts of stories, prose, poetry, and text is vital for a writer, but there is also the much ignored fact that in becoming a writer, one must be like a writer. Don’t worry—last I checked, writers are not a different species or a specific sub-species, but there are two important characteristics of a writer that I believe are key. These characteristics are probably true across all creative types, all artists. Neil Gaiman famously said that, “If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.” So, I twist his words and say, pretend to be a writer and just behave like writers would, and slowly, you will be one. But what is it that makes a writer, a writer? In the last few years, I have met many people in various creative careers—writers, artists, designers, musicians—and I realised that everyone is creating something, and that we are all passionate about our own creations. I also realised that there are those, like Gaiman, who are a cut above the rest. I believe that this is because of two characteristics. Good artists are: 1) humble 2) proud.   Yes, I know. It sounds like the above makes all artists hypocrites, but hear me out. All artists, people who create, know that their skills and quality of their creations can always be improved upon, and that there are always people out there who are better than them. This keeps them humble. This also is how they are able to accept criticism at a level that no other jobs require, whilst giving them an open heart and mind to be able to work with others collaboratively. However, to be a good artist in today’s world of social media, self-publishing, and accessible technology, artists need also to be proud. Proud enough to believe in their own work and sell it. The solitary writer is a dying breed, preserved only by the archaic functions of traditional publishing houses. A writer needs to be able to approach future readers and say, “I know you’ll love this!” and believe it. Writers and other artists have a difficult job to do today. Humble and proud are antonyms of the other, but they go hand-in-hand in creating a good artist. It is the balance of the two that we all seek, in order to survive in a very harsh environment that destroys all who fail, and makes celebrities of those few who shine. So, if you are thinking of becoming a writer or if you are in a transition to do so,...

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An Interview with SPMG’s CEO, Eric Staggs

An Interview with SPMG’s CEO, Eric Staggs

By Judy Spring Behind the scenes here at SPMG there are many gifted people dedicated to offering their best to our authors to achieve their publishing goals. As a segmented part of our newsletter, we would like to bring you an inside look at this enthusiastic and committed group of people. To start things off, we presented a few questions to Eric Staggs, CEO and co-founder of Spectacle, to better understand from his perspective what SPMG has to offer, as well as his vision for its future.   Can you share the progression in your life that led up to Spectacle Publishing Media Group? Like many writers, I’ve had a slew of jobs in a vast array of industries. I found them all interesting, but my true passion has always been story. Following that to its logical conclusion, a well told story is one of the things that defines a civilization: The Grand Myth. I’ve always wanted to be part of helping our civilization experience the great stories and myths that are being made.   As CEO and co-founder of SPMG, what was the inspiration behind its creation? The concept was simple: the industry doesn’t make it easy for struggling authors. Agents, Publishers—it’s all a big self-serving mess. Can’t get an agent until you get a publisher and can’t get a publisher until you get an agent. Pay your meager wages to contests in the vain hopes you might gain some recognition. Throw your ideas out into the void for less ethical or inventive vultures to scavenge. It’s a tough proposition for anyone. My high school guidance counselor told me “you’ll never make money as an artist.” In the old paradigm she grew up in, yes, it was hard for artists. But these days, we are not bound by those old ideas. We don’t have to give 70% to the publisher, 15% to an agent. SPMG is designed to bring the new and talented voices of literature to the fore without exploiting them. We work extensively with our authors to help them create the best, most marketable story they can while maintaining trueness of vision and integrity of story. Has the vision changed since the beginning, and how so? Yes, very much, and no. We intended to create online media only, eBooks and the like. We quickly found that to maintain and increase our reputation and integrity as a publisher we needed to print books as well. This meant adding new skill sets, and preparing for another battery of associated and unexpected costs. Our business model had to change, but we learned from the Six Sisters and their dinosaur ancillaries. That said, our primary advantage over competitors—technological awareness and...

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SPMG and You—Online

SPMG and You—Online

By Joy Shearer To contend in today’s publishing environment, you must consider how many digital outlets you can get your work into. Spectacle will help you develop your online presence to get the attention you need for your audience to notice your work. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are all simple, effective ways to be a part of the online writing world. They are all free and easy to start and are phenomenal media to write brief notes or longer pieces showcasing your particular style. These are also wonderful ways to connect with your audience, communicate with them, and contact them when one of your works is being published. Other forums for this kind of interaction include Goodreads (which is particularly popular with readers and authors), LinkedIn, Google+, and other social media platforms. The numbers show that while some readers are still choosing print books, these books are often textbooks or long-ago published favorites. More and more readers are choosing eBooks for pleasure reading. This is why it is important to consider publishing your work in a format that will appeal to your audience best. SPMG specializes in digital publishing and online marketing, even for print editions. In the publishing world today, it is vital for you to engage in a variety of online forums. Spectacle is the vehicle to your success in the digital world.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Why SPMG?

Why SPMG?

by Joy Anne Shearer   Looking for a publisher? Spectacle could be the answer. The following are advantages to working with this dynamic and personalized publishing group. At SPMG, the author and their work come first. One of the biggest indicators of this is that no agent is necessary. You can request assistance in putting together your query and you will be apprised of every move along the way. From access to staff by phone or email any time you might have a question, to workshops for your piece when it needs a few improvements to be the best it can be, Spectacle will walk you through the publishing process. We’re writers too, so not only do we understand where you’re coming from, we’ll help you take advantage of each step so that your work will be given the attention it deserves. SPMG is experienced in and prepared to assist you with what’s new, including eBooks and audio books. The number of readers on digital devices increases all the time—readers who the people at SPMG want to help you reach. Traditional book printing is also available. Before your book ever hits the stands, our Public Relations and Marketing Department will work with you to develop your brand and get your name out there. All in all, at SPMG we truly support what writers are doing and want to promote your art. You can find more information at http://spectaclepmg.com. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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The Advantages of Traditional Publishing

by Joy A. Shearer When considering whether to self-publish or to use a publishing company, think of time, money, and credibility. A self-published author must provide all three, while when using a company, the efforts are shared by a team which spends their time to polish the work, invests their money to get the work off the ground, and delivers the credibility necessary for a product to hit the shelves.   A self-publishing author cannot simply be an author publishing their own work. They must be an editor and attempt to look over their own work with an objective eye. They must be trained in layout and act as graphic designer to ensure their book looks its best. After the book is printed, they must find bookstores willing to carry a self-published book. They must market the book widely and publicize themselves. The self-publishing author must fill several roles at once, while an author publishing with a company has a team of editors, designers, printers, marketers, and publicists who all have the goal of getting the author’s work out and appreciated. An author published by a company can afford to simply focus on their writing.   In addition to playing all the parts, an author without a publishing team behind them financially has several hurdles ahead.  If they decide to hire an editor, they must pay from their own pocket. Also there are the costs of production and marketing. Additionally, self-publishing authors must spend time and energy on printing their books, taking orders, shipping, and any returns.  An author working with a publisher can allow the company to invest in these activities.   Another hurdle to overcome as a self-publisher is the reputation of self-publishing.  Right or wrong, self-published work will be deemed of less quality than that which has been approved and polished by a publishing team. There is more credibility lent to an author publishing through a company—their work has been vetted, edited, and approved, and is therefore attractive to stores who need quality-verified work to sell. A self-published author will struggle to find stores to accept their work while an author with a publishing team has marketers who will use their established networks and know-how to get a book to readers.   If you’re an author considering whether to self-publish or submit your work to publishing companies until you find a good fit, trust that the wait is worth it. Self-published authors don’t have the luxury of being an author focused on writing. Instead they must sink their own time and money into the publishing process, then try and market and publicize their work when the vast majority of sellers will reject their work solely based upon the fact that it’s self-published. ...

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