Tag Archives: donations

Patterson & Co

Costco currently has a display of trade paperbacks devoted exclusively to James Patterson. I counted at least two dozen titles and did a mental shudder. My thoughts were all over the place. Not a one warm and fuzzy. I have friends who would tell me that I should be celebrating his success because it only helps the rest of us. That I should take encouragement from his achievements.

Right.

I’m not repelled by the success of others, but I find that some authors become too commercial, churning out cookie-cutter variations of their greatest hits. The last time I heard Patterson speak at a book festival many years ago, he had already achieved a healthy ego and was riding the fame wave. How did he turn the corner from writer to book machine? I tried to imagine him setting out, green with grand illusions. But co-writers doing the bulk of writing?

One in four mainstream thrillers bear his name. He has three series that don’t fall under the thriller umbrella, including young adult. He’s no longer a writer alone with his keyboard hammering out his creations. He’s more like the head of a movie studio giving his final stamp of approval on the final product of collaboration.

Perhaps I’m too romantic about writing. I love books. Mainly print books. And the future is not bright for the print book. Even Patterson’s. There is a library in San Antonio equipped only with computers loaded with more titles than any one building could hold. Personally, I like to hold a book, and don’t think anyone should require a power source to read one. I also don’t think it’s humanly possible for one person to write as many as Patterson has his name on.

He’s won more awards than one person knows what to do with. He made the 50 Most Influential People list. He’s changed the definition of bestselling author by producing a staggering number of titles. And his sprawling estate in Palm Beach makes Ernest Hemingway’s Key West home look like a Tiki hut. Most authors I know don’t earn enough at their craft to pay their car insurance.

Jealousy, you say? Nah. I’ve no desire to live in Palm Beach. I used to work there.

Must find the positive. Okay…

Patterson does spend a lot of his time and money promoting reading. He created the first dual book, where the adult book comes along with a book for the child. This guy has done more to encourage kids to read than any author I’ve heard about, donating massive amounts of books to more than 400 schools and the military. That is “putting your money where your mouth is.”

As a writer, I can’t view his huge display at Costco with admiration. I’m not even inspired by it. But I can’t dislike someone who champions literacy in a world where books are vanishing. The more readers he helps to create, the better chance the rest of us have of being read.

Sheila Englehart is the author of Warning Signs, published by Second Wind Publishing, as well blogging on all things paranormal at http://www.sheilaenglehart.wordpress.com

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Trailers For Sale or Rent by J J Dare

I have too many muse-inspired ideas for new books that stay ideas and never develop into writings. Over the past year, these ideas spring forth at least twice a week. It seems such a shame to waste them by letting them sit in bored solitude in a folder on my desktop.

Since I have an abundance of ideas and no true inclination to do anything with them, I’ve decided to find them new homes. I’m trying to figure how best to do this.

1. Ebay is always an option. A while back, a guy attempted to sell his soul online because he “didn’t need it anymore.” If the precious essence of a human can be sold at auction, the skinny beginnings of a book should fare well enough.

2. Donations. I could always donate my ideas to the less fortunate. I’m sure there are a few writers out there who would welcome fresh inspiration and developed characters. Would this be considered a charitable donation? I could use the tax write-off.

3. Craigslist might be a viable solution. Although I’ve never sold anything through this medium before, I know people who have. I’ll have to word the listing carefully since I don’t want any misunderstandings when I try to sell a “middle-aged police detective with a drinking problem, receding hairline and trust issues who leads a double-life as a hitman for the Church.” I will have to make sure it’s clear that this is an idea and not a “services for hire” listing.

4. A Writer’s Stand. Instead of a corner lemonade stand, I could set up a writer’s idea stand and sell my minor characters for cheap. Backgrounds and backstories would be extra, of course. I could sell small, medium or large characters for bargain prices.

5. I could sponsor a contest for a character prize. I’m a veteran sweeper (someone who enters sweepstakes and/or contests on a regular basis). I’ll have to check my state’s laws to make sure it is legal to sell a personality. I live in the South and if my neighbors can sell their snaggle-toothed, gator-wrestling selves to the History Channel, I think I have a shot at selling off excess written entities.

I’ll have to mull on this for a bit and see what solution would work best. Since I’ve never sold or donated an intangible item before, it will be new, exciting territory.

What do you suggest doing with stagnant ideas that have no hope of blossoming under your care? Do you recycle characters, trash them or sell them? Is $5 a good starting price? 😉

Trailers for sale or rent.
Rooms to let, fifty cents.
No phone, no pool, no pets,
I ain’t got no cigarettes.
Ah, but, two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room.
I’m a man of means by no means
King of the road.

© Roger Miller

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and triple digit works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction

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Funny and Sweet – Time’s running out!

My friend Bearman is doing a great thing http://beartoons.com/2009/06/01/beartoonscharitydrive/

Not only is he a very entertaining cartoonist, but he’s also going to donate to the FreeStore FoodBank.

Bearman makes a good point, not just with his generosity but that a lot of people have lost their jobs and a lot of people are grateful they are still employed.

Thanks for everything, Bearman. I needed a good blog! Bearman is only doing the promotion for another week so jump over and help out.

Also, there’s only a week left for submissions to the Murder On the Wind contest.  This is your chance to enter to have a short story posted in a mystery anthology. Read the instructions and email your 5000 or less short mystery story to Tracy@secondwindpublishing.com

Thank you!

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