The Hard Truth About Publishing—What Writers & Readers NEED to Know

Great post for those who think writers can cover the rent with their royalties!!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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As we careen toward the New Year, many emerging writers have a goal to finally publish that novel and I hope you do! But the arts are kind of strange. We often get fixated on the creative side, without really understanding the business side of our business.

The publishing world is still in massive upheaval and it is a Digital Wild West. Old rules are falling away and new ones are emerging, but still? Knowledge is power.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision as you are building your brand.

All types of publishing have corresponding strengths and weaknesses and this is…

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Review: A Dangerous Game by Ken Follett

Follett’s novel, A Dangerous Fortune, deals with a major London bank at the end of the 19th century. The story starts at an exclusive Windfield School for boys where cruelty and treachery will seal the fate of a small group of boys. The story deals with several themes, but deceit is the most prevalent. Details of the drowning of a young boy, Peter Middleton, by his fellow student at a local quarry is kept secret for several decades. The characters involved never stray too far from the incident during the next 30 years as they either try to cover up or they attempt to find out the details of what really happened.The banking world is presented side by side with the poorer classes of society. The Prince of Wales appears at a posh party in one scene, while another scene depicts goings-on in a slummy brothel. Characters are also presented as being honest or deceitful, greedy or generous. They appeared a little stereotypical but the story was nevertheless a page-turner and a good read.

 

 

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Review: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

We find ourselves immersed in American history in Charles Frazier’s epic novel, Cold Mountain, where North and South face each other in a Civil War between their own countrymen. Three years after the outbreak of war, the characters are presented as disillusioned and in some way damaged emotionally, spiritually and in most cases, physically as well. Neither side is favoured since both are considered self-serving and perhaps dishonest in their motives. Although slavery is a main focus of the war, the story plot itself seems to zero in on the white’s man disregard of human dignity. Crime and cruelty, however, abound on both sides of the fence and neither southerner nor northerner captures all the blame.This is also, maybe more so, a story about two young lovers and their quest towards self-fulfillment through loneliness and isolation. The ending was quick and unexpected and left me wondering how else to close this spiritual journey of love and self-discovery. A great read with abundant descriptions of America’s mountain country.

 

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Review: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese’s heart-wrenching novel, Indian Horse, about racial discrimination against the Ojibway First Nation of northern Ontario in 1960s Canada,is a profound read. The emotions are raw and the pain is real. It describes the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse  of innocent children at the hands of authority figures at St.Jerome’s Residential School, and the victim’s struggle to find a way to survive the pain.

Saul Indian Horse finds a way to repress his abuse by becoming a hockey star—his speed as he skates across the ice gives him a feeling of flight, of being untouchable. To sustain his stardom he must enter the white world where he is subjected to more physical and emotional cruelty from those who think ’hockey is their game’, and where there’s no room for Indian upstarts. His escape from this world of racial slurs and targeted physical abuse leads him to a dark path to self-destruction. To heal, he must confront and let go of the demons that have lurked within him since childhood.

This isn’t only the story of one man’s journey of survival and healing, nor is it strictly about the genocidal attempt to squash the culture of the OjibwayFirst nation—it is the story experienced by all the First Nations of North America and how their respect and devotion of Mother Earth has helped them heal and sustained their spirit to this day. Just as Saul will reclaim his talent as a hockey player by sharing it with the younger ones, Richard Wagamese, in sharing this story, is reclaiming the spirit of all the First Nations peoples who have suffered the evils of discrimination.

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Review: Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan

Considered to be a Canadian classic, Hugh MacLennan’s novel, Two Solitudes, deals with a historic view of Québec’s journey as a French speaking people deeply rooted in the Catholic religion and surrounded by a Protestant English-speaking majority. The two solitudes reference is not restricted to a language dichotomy between the French and the English, but the story also presents the division between Catholics and Protestants, between the rich and the poor, between an arranged marriage and one based on love, between creativity and the status quo.MacLennan’s wordy character and physical descriptions go in hand in hand with the era it was written, which in our modern standards appear a little overdone, but the characters themselves are memorable. The actual story style seems to be divided after Athanase Tallard’s death presenting still another solitude, this time being between father and son—the old and the young, the modern and the traditional.
Certainly an interesting and revealing view of the historic realities of war time Québec.

 

 

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Review: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Kim Edwards’ captivating novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, shows how one lie told on the spur of the moment, can greatly affect the lives of those around you. Nora’s labour starts during a snowstorm and her doctor can’t make it on time for the delivery. Her husband, Dr. David Henry, with the help of his nurse, Caroline Gill, go ahead with the delivery. Nora gives birth to a beautiful baby boy, but when her labour pains start again, her doctor sedates her to ease her pain. When he delivers the second child, a baby girl with Downs Syndrome, he instructs Caroline to bring the child right away before his wife wakes up to a home for children with special needs. He then tells his wife that the child was stillborn. This is the lie that will forever alter his marriage, his relationship with his son, the life of Caroline Gill, and the life of the baby girl he has rejected.This is a story of deceit, of troubled relationships, and of how love and determination can overcome the intolerance faced by those with disabilities. It also brings us down memory lane when pregnant women were sedated on the delivery table and couldn’t participate in the birth of their child. A great read!

 

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Military Uniforms During the War of 1812

Wonderful post about Canadian military uniforms!

All About Canadian History

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.

Three War of 1812 uniform examples. From British Forces in North America 1793–1815 by René Chartrand. Illustrations by Gerry Embleton. [Source]

Getting back on track with the historical fashion posts, we left off in the 1810s. However before we can look at the clothes Canadians wore during the Regency Era, there is a little matter of the War of 1812. As with any war, uniforms varied greatly on the battlefield to distinguish rank, unit, whether you were part of the infantry, cavalry, or navy, etc. This post will be looking at uniforms worn by British and Canadian soldiers during the 1812-1815 conflict from a general perspective, as well as how military uniforms reflected the overall trends of men’s…

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Strength in Numbers: A Two-Part Portrait of the Filles du Roi (Part 1)

Great post on Québec history.

All About Canadian History

Arrival of the Brides by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (c. 1927)

If you were a French woman in the 17th century, packing your bags, uprooting your life, and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World was probably last on your list of things to do.

Yet from 1663 to 1674, 770 women did just that.

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Review: A Polish Woman’s Struggle to Survive in Nazi Germany by Christoph Fischer

Christoph Fischer’s historical novel, Ludwika: A Polish Woman’s Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany is a riveting page-turner that presents human drama at its best.In this World War II novel, Ludwika Gierz, a young beautiful Polish woman, suffers the loss of all the men in her life. She is still in mourning of her brother, Franz, who has drowned two years earlier when her father goes missing in action in the beginning of the war. Her mother, her sister Stacia and her young daughter Irena are left to fend for themselves on

the farm while the German invaders force their neighbours off their land. Manfred, a handsome SS German officer, falls in love with Ludwika and the family is allowed the special privilege of remaining in their own home on condition that she accompany him to Germany. She is forced to leave her family behind but she believes her sacrifice will guarantee their safety. Her decision begins her horrific journey of pain and suffering as she lives first hand the humiliation of being a young innocent woman at the mercy of cruel oppressors.

Another touching historical drama by an author who writes with the heart.

 

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Review: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Ken Follett’s gripping, and extremely detailed historical epic, The Pillars of the Earth, takes place in England during the twelfth century. The backdrop is the continuous battle for the English throne between King Stephen and the Empress Maud. Tom Builder, a poor mason, insists on following his dream of building a cathedral. Times are hard and jobs are rare—he ends up starving and freezing with his family in the forest. His wife dries from childbirth and, unable to feed his newborn son, is forced to leave his infant son to die on top of the mother’s grave. Unbeknownst to him, the crying baby is rescued by a monk who brings him to his monastery. Enter the evil Hamleigh family aided by the corrupt Bishop Waleran, the beautiful and independent Aliena who is raped by her suitor, and Jack Jackson, the talented master-builder who finds a way to fulfill Tom’s dream, and the great page-turning saga begins.This story takes place during the era in England when Church and state walked hand-in hand to govern the land and its people. Priests and churchmen were often corrupt because of the power they had. Women were second-class citizens no matter what class they were in. But in the midst of all the cruelty, the betrayals and the injustice, we find moral, passionate characters that confront the status quo, i.e. Prior Philip, Tom Builder, Aliena, Ellen, Jack Jackson, to name a few. These characters follow their dreams and refuse to give up no matter how bleak their future appears. It is because of these characters that this brilliant epic is such a great and memorable read.

 

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