Category: For authors

On writing and empathy

By Midge Raymond,

Having just returned from the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, I’m newly inspired not only in terms of my own writing but by the magnificence of the natural world and the ways in which we can appreciate and nurture it. Spending the week on the water, with deer roaming past our cabins every day, I found it impossible not to think about nature and animals.

Early in the week, poet Ashley Capps gave a wonderful craft lecture on empathy. Among other works, she read Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish” and offered a juxtapoesis — a slide show of images that resemble each other, from a magnified sweat gland that evoked a head of lettuce to the face of a terrified girl next to a calf in a kill chute. Ashley made important connections that highlight the necessity to see ourselves in others and to be empathetic in our lives and in our writing.

I especially enjoyed Ashley’s reading a few nights later, during which she read not only her beautiful poems but an essay she’d recently published with Our Hen House, as a response to OHH’s New York Times call for essays on “why it’s ethical to eat meat.” As Ashley writes in her essay, “In any discussion concerning the ethics of eating animals, it feels important to begin by pointing out a frequently overlooked distinction: that harming and killing animals from necessity is not morally equivalent to harming and killing animals for pleasure…It’s important to realize that, with a few exceptions, when humans kill other animals for food, we’re not doing what animals do in nature. When animals kill other animals for food, they do as they must, in order to survive; they have no choice in the matter. Many humans, on the other hand, do have a choice…”

Most compelling and true was Ashley’s conclusion: “Finally, to harm animals for pleasure is also, ultimately, to harm ourselves. Constantly acting in opposition to our own core values deforms our hearts — and it diminishes our integrity, and hinders our emotional and moral growth….What can it mean for caring people to regularly reject compassionate choices that cost them next to nothing, and to instead embrace unnecessary violence that costs its victims, literally, everything?”


For more of her amazing poetry, as well as her writing about animals and compassion, visit Ashley’s website as well as her blog.

Dispatches from the Ashland Book & Author Festival

By Midge Raymond,

Yesterday was the first annual (yes, there are plans for next year!) Ashland Book and Author Festival, sponsored by Southern Oregon University’s Friends of Hannon Library and SMART. We were happy to be there as both authors and publishers, and especially to meet so many other readers, writers, and publishers.

The festival took place on three floors of SOU’s Hannon Library, with author readings and presentations in alcoves on each floor every fifteen minutes. I had the opportunity to chat about Everyday Writing and to read from Forgetting English, as well as to drop in to hear other presentations. The fifteen-minute format was short but very sweet — and it was great so have so much going on: fiction on one floor, nonfiction on another, and poetry on yet another.

We enjoyed chatting with our festival neighbors at Krill Press and Wellstone Press, and I also participated in a publisher’s panel, along with Molly Tinsley of Fuze Publishing, Tod Davies of Exterminating Angel Press, and Stephen Sendar of White Cloud Press. It was great to hear about the marvelous things these amazing indie presses are up to, as well as talk with participants about everything from queries to distribution to the future of publishing (which, we all agreed, is anyone’s guess at this point!).

It was exciting to hear our own Cher Fischer read and talk about her eco-mystery Falling Into Green at the Writing Killer Fiction panel later that afternoon, led by Tim Wohlforth and including crime writers Michael Niemann, Clive Rosengren, and Bobby Arellano.

And, of course, we loved celebrating Typewriter Day with other fans of the written word…

 Already looking forward to next year!

Happy Typewriter Day!

By Midge Raymond,

Typewriter Day…who knew?

I didn’t know either, until last year when I discovered the blog The Typosphere, that June 23 is Typewriter Day — the anniversary of the granting of the U.S. patent to Christopher Latham Sholes in 1868.

Just in time for Typewriter Day comes this article in Salon about the renaissance of the typewriter — and, of course, The Typosphere is a wonderful resource for all things typewriter-related (we particularly liked this piece about typewriter fashions).

And of course, we’re a little sentimental about typewriters ourselves — from our vintage typewriter notecards to our public service announcement to Save the Typewriters.

On behalf of Ashland Creek Press, we wish you a very happy Typewriter Day. And for all you typewriter fans out there, be sure to visit The Typosphere to share the love and find some ideas for how to spend Typewriter Day 2012.


Ashland Book & Author Festival 2012!

By Midge Raymond,

We’re thrilled to be participating in the Ashland Book and Author Festival on June 23, 2012, from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hannon Library on the campus of Southern Oregon University — and hope you’ll join us!

The festival, sponsored by the S.M.A.R.T. (Start Making a Reader Today) pre-K through 3rd grade literacy group and the Friends of Hannon Library, will feature authors of all genres including poetry, fiction, and drama, as well as health and wellness. Storytelling and a special tour for children and families will include how books are made and restored, samples of ancient books, and talks with artists Betty LaDuke (“Children of the World” paintings) and Meera Sensor (Nobel Peace Prize winners sculptures).

In a sort of literary Antiques Road Show, book restorer Sophia Bogle will give estimates on restoring treasured antique books to those who bring in a favorite book. Art books and fine art letterpress works by Cathy DeForest and Demecina Gray will be on display, as well as award-winning modern book designs by Sabina Nies.

Hear live Middle Eastern and Chinese music featuring Ronnie Malley of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Afternoon panel discussions will include the critical role of independent publishers, crime fiction writing with Tim Wohlforth (this panel features Ashland Creek Press author Cher Fischer and her eco-mystery, Falling Into Green), and a panel on health and fitness.

There is no charge for admission — and parking is free! For more information, click here.

Better yet, do you want to be a festival volunteer? The festival is hosting a volunteer sign-up coffee on Wednesday, June 6, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Hannon Library cafe (at the entrance to the library). Contact Laura Baden at 541-482-0654 for more information on how to be a volunteer.

Seven ways authors can make the most of Goodreads

By John Yunker,

So you’re an author and you’ve just registered with Goodreads.

Now what?

From both sides of the fence, as both an author and a publisher, I’ve got 7 tips for getting started and making the most of this amazing social network for readers.

1. First, claim your books. When you’re new to Goodreads, you first have to let Goodreads know that a book is your book. It’s a simple process — you look up your title and then let Goodreads know that this title is written by you. It takes a day or so for Goodreads to verify this and then you’re all set. And make sure the book data is correct. As an example, below is an excerpt of the book profile page for our title Out of Breath:

2. Next, fill out your personal profile. Naturally, you shouldn’t feel compelled to divulge everything about yourself — particularly any information that is better left private. But I do recommend that you include a link to your book’s website, your Twitter account (if you have one), your favorite books and genres, and a bio. If you write a blog, you can connect your blog feed to your Goodreads profile (a very good idea to expand your reach). I also think including a photo is important so people can be sure that you’re actually the same person who wrote the book they love. (Hat tip to Deb for noting that you need to claim your book before you can input additional bio data).

3. Invite your friends. Goodreads already has more than 7 million members, but when you compare this against Facebook’s 900 million members, there’s still plenty of room to grow. By inviting your friends, you can not only introduce them to Goodreads, you might also create your own virtual book group. Also important is that your friends are likely to be among your biggest fans, so encourage them to rate, review, and chat about your book with their friends.

4. Rate and review books. You need to review about 60 books for Goodreads’ recommendation engine to get a feel for what books and genres you like. So dive in and get a feel for how the engine works. Not only will you get a better idea for how the engine works but also for how it can benefit your books.

5. Join groups. Goodreads members have created groups ranging from We ♥ YA Books! to Ladies & Literature to Nora Roberts Groupies. And odds are good that you’ll find a group that might be interested in your book — or at least share common interests. Here’s one group that I’m a member of:

6. Sponsor a giveaway, or two. Authors are eligible to give away free copies of their books for up to six months after publication date — and I recommend taking full advantage of it. You can give away one copy of your book, or you can give away several during that period — either way, this will go a long way torward raising awareness of your book. Check out the Goodreads giveaway page for a list of titles being offered.

Here is one of our titles currently being featured in a giveaway — and there’s still time left to register!

7. Make a list. Add to existing lists. Listopia is a mini-site that includes lists upon lists upon lists. From best urban YA vampire books to best Argentina travel books, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Lists are great ways to make your book more discoverable to others — and to discover books yourself.

There’s plenty more on Goodreads to explore — from favorite quotes and trivia to author interviews, but these 7 tips should get you off to a good start.

Finally, be prepared to hit a few speed bumps along the way. That is, Goodreads is growing quickly, and sometimes web pages load very slowly or not at all. Over the past year I’ve noticed fewer hiccups, but they still appear now and then. The good news is that the Goodreads staff is very responsive, so if you have problems or suggestions, let them know.

And if you have any tips to add to this list — please add your comments below…