Writer’s Block Strikes! What do you do about it?

 

Last night, I got ready to write and then I realized I wasn’t inspired to write. The dreaded writer’s block had struck. I wasn’t inspired and the thought of trying to even type one word out made my head hurt in a truly excruciating manner. So I didn’t write. I allowed myself to relax because I knew that trying to write an article was the last thing that was going to happen, and it would make further attempts harder, the more I pushed against the block. I’m familiar with writer’s block. I’ve experienced it in short doses, and even experienced an extended version of it for five years. When writer’s block strikes, the secret fear of the writer is revealed: Will I ever write again? Certainly I’ve faced that fear when I couldn’t write more than blog posts for five years. There are a few ways to handle writer’s block, which can be useful for helping you get back in touch with the creative juices.

1. Keep writing. Keep writing even when you don’t feel inspired to write. I wrote blog posts for a long time because that’s all I could write. Yet because I kept writing it helped me recognize I would write books again and also gave me a chance to improve my skills at writing blog posts. By continuing to write you teach yourself how to work through a writer’s block and sometimes you can get yourself re-inspired to write (I’m doing that by writing this article).

2. Try writing a different genre. If you feel stuck in one genre, try writing in a different one. For example if you write non-fiction, try writing fiction. The writing doesn’t have to be good writing…it just needs to get you writing and what it can do is give you some inspiration because you are doing something else other than writing what you usually write.

3. Do a different Creative activity. If you don’t feel like writing, make some music or do some art. Sometimes when I feel blocked, I’ll do some paintings, which will do a lot to free up my creative energies, because I’m providing myself an alternative medium to express myself. By doing a different artistic activity, you give yourself permission to enjoy what you are creating instead of trying to force yourself to create something.

4. Take a break and do something non-creative. When I’m feeling really blocked, I find it useful to just give myself a break and do something else altogether. I suggest applying the same idea to you as well. Watch a movie, exercise, lay a game, or go for a walk. Give your brain a chance to rest and refuel so that those creative resources can flow again.

Writer’s block doesn’t have to stop you writing. You just need to recognize it for what it is and give yourself a way to work with it. And remember…don’t give up writing. Give yourself a break if you need to, but then start writing again. It may not always come easy, but as long as you keep writing, you will eventually get back that creative flow that makes your writing so special.

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How to handle Author Publisher Conflict

 

As much as I’d like to paint a rosy picture of author publishers relationships, the truth is that sometimes the relationship is rocky, sometimes it can become toxic, and sometimes it works well. At Immanion Press, we do our best to work with our authors, especially because we are authors ourselves, but occasionally the relationship hasn’t worked out. What I share below are some tips that can be useful in navigating the relationship between author and publisher. These tips can help both parties work through a conflict, however it’s also important to recognize that some conflicts can’t be worked through no matter what is done on the part of either party.

1. Know your contract. Both the publisher and author should know the contract. When the author first gets a contract, and you aren’t sure what some of the wording means, you can ask the publisher, but I also recommend checking with an intellectual properties lawyer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get clarification. Don’t sign a contract until you are satisfied. On the publisher end, it pays to be transparent about royalties both for print and e-books and its important to explain what the publisher is responsible for, and what they will do to help the author. At the same time, the author also needs to understand that just writing the book isn’t enough.

2. Get clear on marketing expectations. Your contract typically covers royalties, rights, distribution etc. What it usually doesn’t touch on is the marketing. Both publishers and authors need to be clear on what marketing will be done and who is responsible for the marketing. Some publishers will have publicists who help the author with the marketing, while some publishers, like Immanion Press doesn’t have that. In our case, we’ve chosen to focus on training our authors on how to market their books (This is a relatively recent addition to our services). Authors do need to understand that lot of the marketing needs to be done by them. Marketing involves promoting the book, but also developing relationships with your community. Marketing can be other things as well.

3. Miscommunication can happen, but don’t leap to assumptions. In any relationship mis-communication can arise, but when it does, its important to take the time to discover both sides of the conversation. Both publisher and author are capable of leaping to assumptions. When that occurs it can create a lot of bad feelings. The best thing to do is state each side’s position and then see what can be done to address the concerns of both sides. Ideally you’ll work the situation out, but to do that it is important to own your responsibility.

4. Be Transparent and Open with everything you do. It’s important that each side is transparent with the other. This means you answer questions, share what’s happening on each end and work together to make sure the book is successful. If and when conflict comes up, be transparent about what’s going and do your best not to take it personally. Remember all of you are trying to make the books successful.

5. Know when to cut your losses. Sometimes, no matter what you do, the relationship won’t work. If you are unhappy with your publisher, you can always leave and find another one or self-publish your work. And on the publishing end, if the book isn’t selling, the publisher can let the author go. The relationship you have, on either end, must be beneficial for both parties. If it isn’t, it is okay to acknowledge that and move on.

Conflicts happen in any relationship. These tips can help you work issues out with your publisher or author. What’s important is that both sides are clear about why they are in the relationship with each other and use that to determine what they will do if and when conflicts come up.

One of the Realities of Publishing

 

One of the realities that authors may not know about the publishing industry is that when a book is published, the publisher pays a fee to publish the book. And this fee is paid each year by the publisher. The reason I mention this is because if you wonder why a book goes out of print, that fee is one of the reasons. Because Immanion Press is a small press and we run on tight budget, we keep books in print for as long as we can, but when the book sales don’t support the fee getting paid, we pull the book from our lineup. This is one reason its important for an author to market their books. Books don’t automatically sell. What sells a book, more than anything is the author, because what people are really buying when they buy a book is access to the author.

When a book gets published, an author might be tempted to believe that the heavy work is done. After all the book is written and surely that was all that needed to be done. The reality is that the heavy work is just beginning for the author. There are no hordes of readers eagerly awaiting your book unless you have already established your presence enough that people want more of your work. In order for your book to sell you’ve got to do the work of promoting it, as well as promoting yourself. The reality of being an author is that you essentially start your own business when you write and publish a book. Unless you treat it like a business, chances are your book won’t sell.

Some authors are turned off by the idea of marketing their book. They feel that marketing takes away from the artistic aesthetic of the book, but if anything I’d argue that any successful author will tell you that marketing is part of artistic aesthetic of the book and just as importantly part of what calls a person to write. You likely aren’t writing a book just to write, but to actually share what you are writing with someone else. So if you are writing for that purpose, then marketing your book and yourself shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for you. What it involves is telling people about the subject material of the book and related topics. It’s not complicated and if you love talking about those subjects then it provides you the perfect opportunity to do so.

Of course marketing isn’t just on the author. The publisher should do their part to market the book as well. At Immanion, we’re in the process of trying a couple of marketing ideas out and we’ve recently found a designer who can help us with the advertising. We want our authors to succeed and we want to help them sell books so that their audience can read and appreciate the work the author put into the book. More than anything we want to keep the books in print so that people have access to them. So the marketing is on us as well. And if the author and publisher can work as a team the marketing that occurs can make the book stand out and help the author get the recognition they deserve.

 

Why we think its important to publish controversial topics

 

In both our non-fiction and fiction lines up we publish books that address controversial social issues. The reason we publish these book is because we feel its important to address these issues head-on. We don’t want to bury our heads in the sand and we think our readers also don’t want to bury their heads in the sand. I’ve been told, on occasion, that someone is surprised we’d publish a book a given topic and my response to that is: “Why wouldn’t we publish that book?” Reading a book, any book, should challenge a person to think, and to act. It should make you uncomfortable or do something that prompts you to want to make a change in the world.

We love controversial topics because such topics get people talking. And speaking only for myself, I want people to talk. I want them to do more than talk, but talking is a good first step and that won’t happen if we aren’t willing to bring up the social issues that are uncomfortable, but are that uncomfortable precisely because we don’t face and acknowledge them for what they are.

Controversial topics are topics that some people want to ignore or pretend don’t exist. Not us! And not our readers! We know those topics exist and we want to bring them out into the light where they can be seen for what they are. We aren’t scared of those topics and in fact we think that by publishing them, our readers will be inspired to examine those issues as they show up in their own lives, while also giving the authors the chance to speak up and be heard. We want our authors to be heard. We want them to speak up, not just in the book, but on their blogs, in workshops and wherever they go because what they are saying NEEDS to be heard. And as publishers we support their need to be heard and want to encourage them in whatever way we can.

Controversy makes a book stand out. You might love it or hate it, but you have a response to it, and that’s a good thing because it means the book moved you. A book doesn’t really become a book until the reader responds to it…then the book has performed its function. Controversial topics move people and that’s what we want. We want our books to mean to something. We want our authors to feel like they have said something which has struck a chord with their readers and gotten something to happen.

We publish controversial topics because other publishers won’t do it. I have yet to see other publishers publish books on some of the topics we’ve published. Perhaps they will eventually, but we’d rather be at the forefront, helping much needed conversations come about now, rather than catching up later. By doing so we’re helping authors speak out and get heard and helping readers learn more about the issues that need to be addressed now.

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram – a 21st Century Grimoire now available

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The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram – A 21st Century Grimoire  is the most comprehensive examination of this foundational Magickal ritual as originally taught within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.  In this work, author Michael Benjamin extracts deeply from his two decades of experience as a practicing occultist, mystic, and esoteric scholar.  Drawing from such erudite resources as Eliphas Levi, Israel Regardie, W.Y. Evans-Wentz, Alexandra David-Neel, and various charter members of the Golden Dawn, the author adds his own insightful perspicacity gained from several years of habitual daily performance of this ritual.  In addition to holding a B.A. in History, and advanced black belts in four different martial arts, Michael is a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Freemason, was a formal initiate and 12-year student in Dr. Paul Foster Case’s order, the Builders of the Adytum (a historical successor to the Golden Dawn), and is a former member of the Thelemic fraternity, the Ordo Templi Orientis.
In this book the author presents an expertly crafted practical handbook, as well as a historical record and academic analysis, of why this ritual was rightly described by Aleister Crowley as, “The Medicine of Metals and the Stone of the Wise.”  Utilizing both Western and Eastern philosophical sources indicative of the Right-Hand Path, this unprecedented study offers an in-depth and integral understanding of the esoteric insights provided within, as well as the psychological development facilitated by, this paramount occult exercise.
Drawing from such varied Occidental systems as Rosicrucianism, Qabalah, Tarot, Alchemy, Astrology, Thelema, Theosophy, Freemasonry, and Wicca, along with such Asian schools as Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, Kundalini Yoga, Vedanta, and Karate, The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram reveals the universality of this practice as a potent means of encouraging mental self-discipline, facilitating personal evolution, and spurning spiritual awakening.  As such, this tome will prove itself to the reader as no less than a pragmatic modern grimoire, a veritable 21st century Book of Shadows.  Today’s occult practitioner of any school or system will find provided in its pages a clear window into the wisdom fostered by the Magi and Sages of various cultures and locales throughout humanity’s spanning age.

We have a Cafe Press Store

Did you know that Immanion Press has a Cafe Press store? Well we do and we’re looking to expand what’s in that store and we’re open to your ideas. Would you like to see the cover of your favorite book on a T-shirt or  mug? Let us know. We’ll also be using some of these items in giveaways, so share your ideas with us…tell us what you would like to see.

How Immanion Press works with authors

 

In my previous article I alluded to the fact that we never assume that our authors’ will want to publish their next book with us. The reason we don’t make this assumption is because we take a unique approach to working with our authors. That approach is based on a for us, by us model. Immanion Press is run by authors, and as such we know what authors go through with most other publishers, which includes everything from multi-book contracts to rights of first refusal to holding on to the rights to the book in order to use those rights against the author. At Immanion Press, we don’t do any of that. When you first become an Immanion Press author and you get the contract for your work, there’s a few things you’ll discover:

1. The author retains the rights to the work. While we publish the book, the author keeps the rights to the book at all times. All we ask is to be able to publish the book for a set period of time. I’ve heard horror stories where authors have books they’ve published, which have gone out of print and the publisher won’t give the rights back. We don’t believe in holding your book hostage. We understand how hard you worked to write that book and we respect that work and you so that if you ever decide to stop publishing with us, you have the rights of the book, instead of the publisher.

2. Our contracts are for one book at a time. We don’t do multi-book contracts, because we don’t want to pressure authors to write books. We want the best, quality work of the author, so we prefer to focus on the book the author came to us with. By doing that we can help the author put together a quality book, which speaks to their expertise and talents. We also prefer not to force the relationship with the author and a multi-book contract does exactly that. We figure that if the author is unhappy with how we do with the book they bring to us, the last thing they want to do is publish another book with us. We want our authors to want to come back to us because they feel respected and valued as equal members in a partnership, instead of feeling pressured to produce.

3. We don’t do rights of first refusal. Many publishers like to have the choice of first refusal. This insures that they can keep the author’s future intellectual property, but the problem with this approach is that it puts the author into an unequal partnership. We don’t have rights for first refusal because we want our authors to choose to send a book to us. We also know that not every book is a good fit for us and the author may want to write something different than what fits our lineup.

4. No hard deadlines. While we obviously want to publish a book that has been accepted by us, we also know that some books will take a while to write. e don’t set hard deadlines to pressure the author, but what we will offer is some helpful coaching if they feel stuck. Occasionally a work has taken a couple years to get published and its always been worth the wait. The author has always felt supported and believed in, instead of pressured to produce.

5. We don’t change your work. When you send a book to us, we’ll edit it, but not to the extent that you no longer recognize it. Our editors are instructed to respect the voice of the author because the author has a distinct voice that needs to be respected. We don’t want to sanitize your work to make it more acceptable. We want you to write and publish a book that represents your authentic experience and vision of the book.

The relationship we have with our authors is paramount to us. We want our authors to feel respected and honored. While I can’t say every relationship is perfect, what I can say is that we do our best to work with our authors. We believe in them and their work and we want them to feel proud to be an Immanion Press author, because being an Immanion Press author is choosing to write a book that truly represents your voice.