How Does a Writer Balance Sunlight?

Balancing Sunlight by Pink Sherbet Photography / D. Sharon Pruitt
Balancing Sunlight by Pink Sherbet Photography / D. Sharon Pruitt

It’s been 8 weeks since I changed jobs, leaving Digital Book World to join Library Journals, LLC., and one of my primary goals during the transition was to carve out some time for a few personal projects before I got completely sucked into the new job. I have a habit of diving in deep to anything new and losing sight of anything unrelated, and often one of the first victims is my own writing.

Blogging has been my primary writing outlet since I left the poetry scene back in 2003, and I’ve been lucky enough to parlay it into a few interesting “side” projects, including a couple of years writing and editing for PopCultureShock, and most recently writing and editing for Digital Book World. The former was an unpaid gig (not counting the healthy discount on comics), and the latter didn’t actually have “editor” or “writer” anywhere in my title, despite it being ~50% of the job.

Now, with a new job serving a new community that doesn’t officially (or unoffically) require my writing skills, there’s an exciting light at the end of the tunnel and I’m seizing the opportunity while trying to find the right balance to ensure it’s all sustainable. *cough*Spindle*cough*


[NOTE: FVM has been shuttered for now as too many other things are going right now. Sunlight, indeed!]

One of my latest projects is Free Verse Media, partly an extension of my interest in transmedia combined with my marketing background, and partly a response to a fair number of requests for consulting services, especially during my recent job search. While I have no interest in being a full-time consultant, ever (no offense to my consultant friends; it takes a certain personality and you’re the good ones!), I liked the idea of carving out a dedicated niche for the possibility that I can let evolve organically.

For now, it’s a foothold while I figure out exactly which angle I want to take with it, but my first focused initiative there is “Storytelling in the Real World,” a weekly recap of transmedia-related articles from a non-fiction perspective. I’ve become very interested in how transmedia principles can be applied to worthwhile causes, and have been fascinated by the success Waiting for Superman has had pushing a subversive message (privatization of public schools) by focusing on great transmedia storytelling, while teachers’ unions and advocates like Diane Ravitch play by old media rules.

For those whom think transmedia is only for fictional storyworlds, I’d suggest dreaming a little bigger.


The publication of Handmade Memories was high on my to-do list because I knew there was a very limited window for getting it done before it fell back to the bottom of the list. I actually published it under the “Free Verse Media” umbrella, though what that means exactly is still up in the air.

Sadly, in the three weeks it’s been available, I’ve not become the next Amanda Hocking, with a total of 25 sales:

  • 19 copies
  • 1 copy
  • 0 copies
  • Barnes & Noble: 5 copies
  • Goodreads: 0 copies

Of course, my “marketing campaign” for it has been less than exemplary, though I did do a couple of interviews, had a few great mentions, and got one amazing review on Goodreads. (I’m maintaining links to all of that good stuff on the books’ main page.) While it’s mainly intended to be a long tail product, the primary goal for which was to go through the digital self-publishing process and get some first-hand experience, it would be nice to see my “platform” have a slightly better conversion rate!

Where’s my 1,000 True Fans at?!?!

*hint*GO BUY IT!*hint*


While Free Verse Media and Handmade Memories were already on the to-do list, Gaslight Salon kind of came out of left field, but it’s likely to become the new home plate very quickly; aka, Wednesdays are the new Mondays!

It’s a new weekly series that I’m co-organizing with my old partner-in-crime, Lynne Procope, in a spot co-owned by Thomas Sullivan, aka, the owner of Bar 13, Monday night’s home for a little bit louder / louderARTS. Our other co-organizers include the supremely talented Elon James, Tish Valles, and Syreeta McFadden, and it will feature artists from variety of disciplines, including poetry, storytelling, comedy, cabaret and music.

*ahem*transmedia, anyone?*ahem*

Syreeta and I will be spearheading the storytelling night, “What Had Happened Was…,” every first Wednesday, and I’ll be posting more about that soon. That, too, will fall under the Free Verse Media umbrella, though how it all fits together will evolve over time.


One of the coolest aspects of these side initiatives is that none of them are an “escape” from the day job because, honestly, the day job is going swimmingly and I can’t think of a community I’d rather be helping to serve than librarians. (Teachers, maybe, but there’s a Free Verse angle there, I think.)

It’s like I’m getting to harness all of the energy and optimism I had for Digital Book World in the beginning, and directing it towards a community that does important, meaningful work and is facing serious real-world challenges. Not to spit on publishing, but seriously, what to do about ebooks and slim profit margins pales in comparison to the cultural impact libraries have and the financial challenges they’re currently facing.

Listening to myopic pundits predicting the death of libraries because ebooks are becoming a larger piece of the publishing pie is sillier than accepting a cable news pundits’ take on the latest political dustup.

Maybe it’s just the weather, but right now, the light at the end of the tunnel that often seemed to be an oncoming train over the past 18 months, now appears to be pure sunlight. The trick will be balancing all of this good stuff into something sustainable and personally rewarding.

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