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What of 2011?

 

I keep thinking back to the first months of this year - how they led me, and time rolled on, to new things: new, new new.

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image via getjanet.com

Much of what's happened around me has affected my reading habits, my writing, the publishing industry. Often history happens without a notice in the present - only in retrospect do we see the significance of the ride. Here are a few high points of the year for me. 

  • The year began with print publication of a novella of mine, The Blue Bicycle, already on Kindle. I found that readers have been much more open to the Kindle version than the print one so far. The book is written in four parts, each in a different point of view, about one man's difficult life. A New York agent had seen the mss, had liked it, but claimed that because of the short length and the variation in points of view, he couldn't sell it. So, after some months of concern about its future, I self-published. The tough part now, of course, is being noticed in the crowd.
  • I began the year deeply involved with the Appalachian Author's Guild, headquartered in Abingdon, VA. The Guild was preparing to become a chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, and we reworked the Guild to properly fit VWC. That mean a new set of by-laws and, thanks in large part to president Darrell Fleming, the Guild became less Board centric, more member-oriented. I decided during the fall to leave an active role in the Guild and work with writers near my North Carolina home.
  • I finished a collection of connected short stories, having something of a promise of publication by a small northern publishing house. At the moment, the collection is lying fallow, but I still have the opportunity to pursue publication of the stories individually. As of today, three have been accepted in some form for publication.
  • I began reading on a Kindle, some 20 books to date. I like the digital approach and, while the Kindle has handicaps, I'm comfortable with it.
  • Late in the year I began work on a memoir, segmental pieces about family members. I've blogged about that here already, so I won't repeat myself. Now, I'm entering some of the pieces in contests and submitting to litmags. My writing pal, Lyn, will see some of them soon, for her sharp eye toward fine tuning.
  • I've recently allowed two of my Kindle mss to be included in Kindle's Lending Library. Already, some are reading.
  • I've finished research on a historical novel, which takes place in  and around the year 1000. I'll begin writing in about a month. 
  • In the meantime, the iPad, the Nook, and the Kindle Fire are selling madly, and some authors are leving print behind altogether.
  • And a late-year talk with a NY agent demonstrated how tied to old mindsets the pub biz remains.

All in all the year has been one of slow, interesting change, for writing, for publishing - and for me. We'll see what it sets in 2012's lap.