Thursday, April 16, 2009

First Self Publishing Book Expo planned in New York

Whether print on demand can truly be called self publishing is to some a contentious issue - but, love it or loathe it, where traditional presses are making cutbacks on both sides of the Atlantic, this aspect of the publishing industry is booming.

To this end, publishing veterans Diane Mancher and Karen Mender are launching what they term as Self-Publishing Book Expo, an event that will focus on self-published books and the companies that produce them. Unlike exhibitions such as the forthcoming London Book Fair, which are closed to the general public, SPBE will offer attending authors a place to exhibit and sell their books to the book buying public, as well as agents and publishers whom the organisers hope will attend. In this way, the expo will serve as a showcase for both authors and publishers to showcase their work.

Mancher is working with Mender, a former Vice President, Associate Publisher and Marketing Director at Atria Books, Dell/Delacorte and HarperCollins, to produce and develop the Expo. In addition to acting as a showcase for self published books, the SPBE will include panel discussions and lectures on the challenges of self publishing, and an “Open House” for would-be authors, which will be open to the public and hosted by representatives of various self-publishing companies.

The Expo is scheduled to take place in New York on Saturday, November 7 and if successful, will become an annual event. Authors may register at

Some quotes about writing

In the same way that a woman becomes a prostitute. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and finally I did it for money.
Ferenc Molnar ... after asked about how he became a writer

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to those who are not yet born.
Joseph Addison, 1672-1719, English Essayist

Books are the quietest and most constant friends, they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W Elliot, 1834-1926, American Educator

We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.
Ursula LeGuin, b 1929, American sci fi writer

All that mankind has done, thought or been is lying in magic preserved in the pages of books.
Thomas Carlyle, 1785-1881, Scottish Essayist, Historian and Philosopher

Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness.
George Simenon, 1903-89, Belgian novelist

The shelf life of the modern hardback writer is somewhere between the milk and the yoghurt.
Calvin Yrillin.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Life, the universe and everything in between

The April edition of the village newsletter that I edit, contained an insert from the PCC (Parochial Church Council), in the form of a questionaire, to try to get to the bottom of why so few people in our village go to church. I cannot speak for others, but for my part, it is because there is nothing there that really interests me - the Christian concept of God as a being which is outside of oneself is totally at odds with my own more Gnostic beliefs.

There is evidence to suggest that Gnosticism, which along with modern spirituality teaches that God is within, and that we ourselves are aspects of God, was the original form of Christianity that Jesus (if he existed - that is a whole other subject) taught, and this is one of the main tenets of my own book, Genesis of Man, orginally published in 2006. Yesterday, when I was tidying up my work room, it occured to me that it has been well over a year since I picked up my own book and actually read it, but when I tried I could not bring myself to even open it. This led me to ponder on why this was.

The conclusion I reached was because I have changed so much as a person since I wrote those words (the book may have been published in 2006, but I began work on it back in 2001), that a large chunk of it no longer represents who I am. It is not the message behind the words, but the way in which they are presented - there is a lot of anger in there, and therefore ego.

On Wednesday, my partner and I went to the Inner Journey group that we attend each week, where we discussed the questionaire regarding church attendance in more detail. One of the ladies that was there commented that she felt the church was being under used and should be for everyone - not just Christians, and that it would be the perfect venue for our own little group were those who run it (the aforementioned PCC) not so closed minded. Whether or not this is the case, when I thought again about my own book and the words that it contains, and where I was at the time that I wrote those words, I detected a large amount of mirroring.

I have observed that many on the spiritual path become quite irate when discussing mainstream religion, stating as my friend did, that if only they could see beyond their beliefs, they would find a whole new world that would expand their minds to take in so much more. This may be true, but it comes across as a critisicm, and criticism is nearly always borne from ego. The ego, in its fight for survival, has to have an identity, and for many that includes our belief systems - hence we label ourselves as Christian, Muslim or in my case, Gnostic. This is fine as long as recognise it for what it is, but most people do not; they become so completely identified with the mind and the labels that it attaches to the various things it identifies with, that we believe that we are those things, and so when those things (in this case, our beliefs) are attacked, we believe that we are being attacked. This is the reasoning behind nearly all the atrocities to have committed against humanity, since history began. Belief and identification with a particular set of beliefs, are seen as more important than life itself.

There may be different degrees, but when my friend made those comments, they were really no better (or worse) than Christians stating that it is their duty to "save souls" so that non believers will not spend eternity in hell. They do not see the inherant goodness that goes beyond belief, but only that which seperates, where in reality, it is comments such as these that cause (and maintain) the real seperation.

This is not meant to be a judgement, but is really more of an observation. There is a lot of ego in me, and in the words that I wrote back then - but those thoughts no longer reflect who I am. As I began to research and learn more and more about Church history (particularly after I attended an Alpha course - the anger is rising just thinking about this), this brought up a lot of anger, which comes across in the words. Where this comes from I do not know - possibly from past lives where I was persecuted and killed for my supposedly heretical beliefs (I am almost certain that I was one of the 200 plus burnt at the Cathar fortress at Montsegur, and may also have been an Inquisitor), but wherever it does come from, it is in the past, and needs to remain there.

Part of the process of letting go will involve re-reading that book, which contains a vast array of information on a myriad of fascinating subjects - Atlantis, Ancient Egypt, Mesoamerican civilisations, crystal skulls, and of course religion - as the subtitle says - life, the universe and everything in between ... It will be an interesting journey.