February 21, 2016

The world according to Garth

When considering what a blog should be, I’ve found it helpful to consider some of my favourite blogger role models. Garth Turner’s Greater Fool blog has been predicting a crash, decline, or merely a “slow melt” in Canada’s housing market since March 1, 2008. His timing may be off, but that hasn’t diminished international enthusiasm for his posts. Greater Fool is well written, funny, irreverent, and frequently educational. Garth’s posts cover real estate, personal finance, investing, macroeconomics, and debt management. The most important lesson from Garth’s blog is the value of consistency. Taking the same message and repackaging it over 250 times a year must be acknowledged as an extraordinary feat. Continually pumping out 800- to 1000-word posts most weekdays would be a full-time job for me, but Greater Fool is a side project to Garth’s main gig as financial adviser at Turner Investments. And did I mention he found the time to write 14 books? Dude must drink a lot of coffee. Daily posts lead to conditioning and addiction. How bad is it? It’s embarrassing to admit that I sometimes hover over the site near the usual posting time and jab the F5 key until a new post appears. […]
February 14, 2016

Wayne Jones wants you to know Samuel Johnson

Wayne Jones is the University Librarian at Carleton University, but it’s his writing life we’ll discuss today. He’s written novels, short stories, and non-fiction books that are available on his website, Kindle, Amazon, and Smashwords. Currently, he’s working on a book about Samuel Johnson and another about comedian Greg Giraldo. Interview OM:  We have an ongoing disagreement about the value and necessity of gatekeepers in book publishing. Yes, it’s never been easier to self – publish, but I still feel you need a big publisher, a well-respected small press, or the guidance and support of an agent to increase your odds of actual exposure. Do you still disagree with me? WJ:  I agree that a big publisher or a respected small press or the influence and advice of a good agent can help to get a book noticed and read. I would make two comments though. One, what does an author who can’t find a big publisher or a small press or an agent do? Does he just consign himself to writing only for himself, his family, and friends who genuinely support him, or does he try another model that could help as well? It used to be that the […]
February 2, 2016

A close encounter with Goose Lane Editions

Last November, the good folks at Goose Lane Editions responded to my query package by requesting the full manuscript of No Call Too Small. I told a few people but kept it from most. Why? Is it because I’m a semi-psychotic secret squirrel when it comes to personal information? Perhaps, but if you don’t tell someone about a potentially positive development, you also don’t have to tell them when it blows up. Past disappointments suggest my policy has some merit. When I was younger, a story I’d written with a friend was accepted by Blood & Aphorisms, a literary journal out of Toronto. We were very excited and waited for our story to appear in print. The lag time between acceptance and publication can often be months (sometimes years) when publishing with literary journals, so we weren’t overly concerned by the delay. Eventually, after many months had passed, we contacted the magazine, but they said they had no record of ever receiving the manuscript. When my first book was accepted by Turnstone, the paranoia knob was set to ten and I didn’t take anything for granted. I received an acceptance letter, signed a contract, spent weeks revising, but I didn’t […]