Hello all from the 9th Month of Quarantine,
Spending the Thanksgiving break with a very small (3) family gathering this year instead of the extended family of more than twenty has been different but also restful. Although I worry over the ransomware attack on my school system, there is a bit of freedom in knowing there is little I can do but follow directives and stay off my work device and programs.
Each turn sends me back to writing. This time, the writing takes the form of book reviews for my friend and bookstore owner, Susan Ayers Winbrow of Greyhound Books of Berlin, MD. Each book that I review has been chosen from a curated list.
The urge to feature and support the publication of self-published writers by an independent bookstore is great, but it is double-edged. Some of the books offered through self-publishing are unique and enlivening despite not being shopped around traditional publishers, and some are downright drivel. Quite a few good stories are poorly edited or awkwardly set on the page. Self-publishing might have made it easier for writers to publish, but it has opened the floodgates for error.
I speak from experience. Simply shopping my first collection of poetry through a few publishers was time-consuming when I have so little left over from the day job--teaching. Then there are edits and promotion. Book signings and appearances take their own kind of preparation.
Most of my life has been devoted to teaching. Anyone who teaches can tell you that they've written a few novels-worth of pages just translating the curriculum into lesson plans. That is just the beginning.
J D Cooper
Writer and Reviewer