About

The tropical Darrell.
The tropical Darrell.

Just walk through a Barnes & Noble or venture onto the Amazon book site these days, and you’ll realize that the floodgates have opened. The gatekeepers have been overrun.

Given the current technology, virtually anyone who wants to publish a book can now do so.  And that’s a good thing, because I believe everyone has something of value to say and something to teach the rest of us.

But it’s also bad news for individual writers, because the chance that someone will randomly pick up or click on a particular book has decreased exponentially. I chose the name for this blog because getting noticed for a writer in this market — especially a new, unknown writer — is like a snowflake trying to stand out in a blizzard.

This project is designed to help that. Obviously, I can’t force anyone to buy a particular book, or even visit the blog at all. Yet featuring three different books a week will give at least give that author some “alone time” with whoever the blog can attract, and a chance to make his or her case.

Unfortunately, I still have to be something of a gatekeeper, because the success of this depends on our collective credibility and the blizzard doesn’t always discriminate on quality. But I have a broad tolerance for “different,” and a lot of these books will fall outside the usual boundaries of “genre.”

I hope you enjoy it. And if you’d like to be included, contact me at writersbridge AT hotmail.com.

Best,

Darrell Laurant

Note: I am a 40-year veteran of journalism who retired two years to do freelancing full time. My first novel, “The Kudzu Kid,” was published last October, and lots of people are not buying it. A more recent book, “Inspiration Street,” is doing considerably better. Maybe I’m learning something.

 

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21 thoughts on “About”

  1. It’s amazing how many people are not buying our books! Maybe if we Snowflakes stick together, we’ll create a snowball that will be difficult to ignore.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so right! Indy publishers cannot keep paying for ads that do not get readers, and the facebook groups are no better. I am a snowflake with one book that would happily join up wih others to create a snowball that would hit the browsers hard. If it sounds good..BUY IT!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that the answer for indie writers who want to increase their public profiles is to support one another by starting to get word out to friends and family that you and your fellow authors are being promoted on Snowflakes in a Blizzard, which has the potential to be an excellent marketing vehicle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a noble cause indeed! This site will be especially helpful when contributors who have found a measure of success in navigating the maze that is modern publishing share their secrets. We’re all waiting, pens poised.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Snowflakes in a Blizzard,” by author Darrell Laurant, is an excellent marketing project. I see it in no other light, and I’m grateful to Darrell, as are all snowflakes. What can anyone individual writer do to increase their public relations (PR), in the literary industry? Advertising is costly. Perhaps posting comments to websites, such as: Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter, brings a busy world’s attention to see, even for a moment, Darrell Laurant’s website for readers. As one begins somewhere, and every little moment of PR makes a difference. I choose to “Expect good, and it draws more to you.”

    Thank you, Darrell, for being so giving, and in accepting me as a snowflake; together with gratitude to all snowflakes, as we share the literary marketplace experience. I see it in no other light, but am only accepting of an enlightened journey. A journey already positive, successful and, most importantly, joyful. After all, I’m given this blessing as a snowflake, whose opened doorway opens other doors.

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  5. As a ski instructor by trade I am quite at home in blizzards, however my book seems to have gotten lost in the Amazon jungle lately…
    I love this site for its name, which spoke to me for obvious reasons, and giving people like me an opportunity to get back in the spotlight and stand out from the avalanche of books available.
    Thank you Darrell!

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  6. Yep … my book “SKY: Child, Interrupted” not only feels like a snowflake in a blizzard, but a snowflake in that blizzard that has since melted and evaporated away into non existence. Thank you, Darrell, for an opportunity to reappear as a bright, shiny raindrop under a rainbow.

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  7. Thank you so much. We definitely need a guide through this snow storm. It’s tough being a single snowflake in this major blizzard!
    Would love to discuss my book, This Way Up: Seven Tools for Unleashing Your Creative Self and Transform Your Life.

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  8. THE REJECTION SLIP EXPERIENCE

    Introduction:

    “Though the manuscript you sent has not found a place with ___________,
    thank you for the chance to consider it. Best of luck in placing it elsewhere,” THE EDITORS (No signature).

    “The Editors regret that the accompanying material does not exactly satisfy our needs at the moment. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider it.”

    “Sorry—not for us—Initials.”

    How can that editor be so cold? Why so unprofessional? I spent months working on that piece, and that arrogant person dismisses it with a terse, sardonic phrase and his initials. I wonder if he even read it? Beneath the anger are sadness, disappointment and discouragement. Psychic pain accompanies the ego deflation of rejection. An important portion of his self-esteem is bound up with how a writer’s product is received. There is also shame and guilt for all that apparently wasted time spent writing, re-writing, editing, for nothing (?).
    Every writer no matter how talented, successful or lucky, has received a rejection slip, (RS), or its equivalent. Psychologically, a rejection slip stimulates a spectrum of feelings and inner experiences. For a professional writer, the rejection slip has important implications.
    I began efforts at free-lance writing in January 1999,and since that time I have received 42 Rejection Slips, which provide material for this essay. There were 20 other manuscripts or queries that I never received word about from the magazine. (Approximately 30%!) No response from an editor, I conclude, is unprofessional and worse than a RS.
    What are the different categories of rejection slips? What is the basis for the emotional reactions in a writer receiving a rejection slip? How can a theory of Narcissism help a professional writer understand and deal with “Rejection” of his or her work? Finally, what are some constructive approaches to the rejection slip as a professional process?

    A CLASSIFICATION of REJECTION SLIPS 1. The Polite and Perfunctory RS: is a concise, but civil notice that the manuscript submitted is not accepted for publication. It is better than never getting any notice at all; which is a more common practice than it should be. These RSs are usually on a small typed form of slip that probably is frequently photocopied, and sits in a pile on a junior editor’s desk.
    “Thank you for submitting your manuscript, (unnamed), to the –. We regret that we are not able to make use of it at this time. Signed– -“The Editors”.

    2. The Cold, Truly Rejecting, RS.
    “We don’t publish opinion”—Initials.
    “Not for us”. It was written on a piece of scrap paper.

    3.The Self-Serving, Self-Promotional or “Commercial” RS: is usually accompanied by flyers or advertisements that invite the rejected author to subscribe to the magazine or to attend paid for workshops about writing techniques or skills. Between-the-lines, is the implication that subscribing or participating might mean getting published by the establishment. One such outfit suggested that I purchase and read several books by their cherished authors so, “You can see the bold thinking and writing we regard highly.” A clever marketing maneuver—so arrogant and calculated!

    4. The Thoughtful and Encouraging RS: is carefully worded. It conveys a dignity about, and respect for, the work done by the author and writers in general. I give two examples:
    “Thank you for submitting your work to the Literary Review. We appreciate the effort that has gone into this piece. Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions we receive, even quality work often has to be rejected. Please be assured that your piece was thoroughly read and given careful consideration by our editorial staff.
    We wish you the best in your writing career.”

    “Peter—My mental block concerning telling poets — no thanks— kicked in months ago, and it’s only today I’m attempting to push through it. I hate this part of being a poetry editor. You are a sound poet. Keep at it. Don’t let our magazine’s differing needs keep you from seeking your voice. I’m hoping to see more of your stuff in the future.”
    This RS particularly touched me because it shared a little of the inner emotional world of the editor. It was encouraging, thoughtful and mentoring

    5. The Mentoring, Collegial and Pedagogic RS: is a vehicle to educate a prospective author about the style, desired content and philosophy of the publication. It is done with words connoting dignity and a respect for the author as a colleague in the Writer’s trade.
    “Thank you for submitting your book review. We have decided to turn it down. We accept only material pertaining to the specific topics of our upcoming issues. We usually do not accept reviews or review essays that discuss only one book. Ideally we prefer material more oriented toward cultural criticism in a broad sense.”
    Can you feel a collegial atmosphere between the lines of this creatively crafted letter of rejection?
    Here is the tabulation of the kinds of Rejection Slips I received:
    1. Polite / Perfunctory RSs (41%).
    2. Cold, truly rejecting RSs (2%).
    3. Self-Serving / Promotional / “Commercial” RSs (17%).
    4. Thoughtful / Helpful / Encouraging RSs. (17%).
    5. Mentoring / Collegial/ Pedagogic RSs (21%).

    One editor thoughtfully wrote to inform me that the Magazine was no longer published.

    A THEORY OF RS REJECTION
    All human beings are born with a basic level of self-love or primary narcissism.
    Primary narcissism is expanded, deepened and developed through important affection in relationships, valued work, and admired accomplishments. Writers locate their creative products at varying distances from the center of their self-esteem. When all is said and done, psychologically healthy writers like what they see in the mirror. However, the RS presents an elemental threat to the writer’s narcissistic core of self. This threat lies on a continuum from complete devastation to moments of deep discouragement.
    The more vulnerable writer reacts to a RS with severe narcissistic injury and even a brief disintegration of self. One writer friend of mine has to have several drinks, “To sooth my soul”, before he opens a SASE, or letter from a publisher.
    Wisdom, humor and creative focus are the basic successful reactions to a narcissistic threat or injury. That is why it is so helpful if an editor writing a RS offers wisdom to the rejected author. A sense of humor is also a lubricant for the soul of a writer.
    An RS is a challenge. Can the aspiring writer struggle through narcissistic injury by the use of humor and the acquisition of wisdom. If an editor gives concise feedback, the writer can learn from the experience of an RS. A sample copy of the magazine can help to deepen the writer’s awareness of what the specific magazine is looking for, and how it’s editors approach submissions.
    Most publications claim that they do not have the time or person-power to respond to submissions that they don’t accept for publication. This seems very shortsighted. A publication could develop an efficient system of giving basic feedback to a writer that submits a manuscript. Here is a possible hierarchy—(1) ‘In all honesty the writing you submitted suggests to us that you need to take a good basic course in English that includes grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Think of us again after you finish that course and some additional creative writing courses.’ (2)’You need to take a basic course in creative writing to include advanced writing skills and feedback from peers about your work.’ (3) ‘We have the following comments about the piece you sent us’_______. ‘After you carefully think about our critique, read some recent issues of our publication and show your revised piece to a colleague, please re-submit your work to us.’ For an experienced professional editor, the composition of an RS is not just a boring, perfunctory process, but also a creative challenge. Young editors can benefit from writing RSs with the help and supervision from senior editors. In the long run, the publication will benefit from the goodwill and generativity created. (‘Generativity’ is the valuing, nurturing and caring about the next generation. The process of rejection slip writing, if effective, involves an experience of mentoring and teaching that profoundly influences future generations of writers. But, then again……..encouraging young writers also creates future competition.

    *This essay finally got published in NEW AUTHOR’S JOURNAL

    PAO

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  9. Thanks for inviting me to visit, Darrell. The comments by yourself and the other authors are right on the button. If our books are snowflakes in the blizzard, best we should huddle up for the journey and maybe that will be suffice to warm our aching hearts. Just this past two days, I have received many good wishes and kind words from both fellow authors and readers but also from people who linked to my profile on LinkedIn – a resource whose benefits were a mystery until now. Such words do give comfort after months of watching my books gathering dust among the plethora of new publications on Amazon Kindle and social networking sites. Having a paperback copy in my hand now (thanks to Amazon’s new program) goes a long way to aid my currently buoyant mood…anyone considering following suit should seek out helpful youtube videos of those who have gone before. Certainly made the job easier for my husband and I who, I confess, are both a bit technophobic. Do NOT rush off to pay someone to do it for you – it is far easier than you think and the whole process could be done for nothing if you already have a book cover.
    Sorry, I digressed. Happy to meet you all. I am Theresa Dawn Sinclair…known by most as Dawn 🙂

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