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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Laughing on the Way to the Bank

If you're interested in humor, you should definitely be getting the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Newsletter. I've plopped the current issue below. I think the links work doing it this way. If not, you can read the newsletter here.

University of Dayton
October 2007
Dear writer:

The Bombeck Workshop is no Hannah Montana concert. Several recent Hannah Montana concerts sold out in less than 30 seconds. The 2008 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop took 77 hours to sell out -- but that was a new record for us. If you'd like to put your name on the wait list,
read this.

Since the last newsletter, I've received a lot of feedback and questions about self-publishing. One subscriber told me she would never recommend our workshop again because self-publishing encourages writers to create poorly written books. (I disagreed and told her most writers can create poorly written books with no encouragement at all. I know I can.)

While self-publishing certainly makes it easier to get a book in print, it doesn't make it any easier to sell. But I'm seeing more and more traditionally published authors go the self-pub route.

Leigh Anne Jasheway Bryant, who's on the Bombeck Workshop faculty, has had experiences with large publishers, small publishers and self-publishing. She says, "With the exception of my books Bedtime Stories for Dogs and Bedtime Stories for Cats, I have actually earned more as a self-publisher. This is because I have many conferences at which I sell books, as well as the fact that I'm fairly media-active--I've always got a comedy show or an event that I can push books at."

Lawrence Fox is another interesting example. Fox is a lawyer and just finished his fourth humorous book, The Confused Lawyer's Field Guide to the Courthouse. The book was self-published, just like his previous three humorous law-related books, Fox has sold 6,000 books and got a 500-copy advance order for his latest book. His books appear in a printed gift catalog sent twice a year to every major law firm in the country. So far, sales of his books have been solid, with total revenue of more than $100,000. Fox says the bottom line is, "If the material is any good, it will ultimately sell."

If you have a story about self-pubishing you'd like to share, shoot me a note at bete@udayton.edu.
Keep writing!

Tim Bete
author of
Guide to Pirate Parenting
director, Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, University of Dayton

Latest news...

Dave Barry appeared on The Horace J. Digby Report to discuss humor, writing, Art Buchwald, International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Harry Potter, Peter Pan, sex change operations, Dave Barry's History of the New Millennium (So Far), why it is perfectly legal for you to mail cash directly to Dave Barry, Dave's snappy answers to listeners' questions and much much more.
Listen now.
John Hershey shares how to promote your writing through shameless name dropping.
Read more.
Ernie Witham, who teaches at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, had his students write a column as a group. Here it is.
Joe Keenan, the Emmy winner and former executive producer for Frasier, has won the 2007 Thurber Prize for American Humor for his novel, My Lucky Star.
Read more.
Kevin Dillon (Entourage) is starring in National Lampoon's 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus Wallace Leonidas, a spoof of swords and sandals movies 300, Troy, Gladiator, and Braveheart.
Read more.
The Web has changed the way comedy is written, says John O'Farrell, by empowering unknown writers to collaborate wiki-style with established names.
Read more.
Thirty years ago this fall, "The Love Boat'' set sail. In this oral history, the Pacific Princess crew fondly recall their decade on a TV classic.
Read more.
How did Tina Fey go from a recent college graduate who moved to Chicago in 1992 to do improv to the reigning queen of TV comedy?
Read more.
Humor writer of the month
Anita Renfroe is a stand-up comic and author of If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother; The Purse-driven Life: It Really Is All About Me; and If You Can't Lose It, Decorate It: And Other Hip Alternatives to Dealing With Reality.
Visit her Web site.

Book giveaway
Each month we give away a book on writing to a few subscribers to our newsletter. If you're subscribed, you're entered to win! This issue's winners are:
* Felice Prager
* Jane Kretschmann
* Jackee McNittengles
Each has won a copy of
Book Proposals That Sell by Terry Whalin.

Who's publishing what?
Gordon Kirkland appeared on BookTelevision's "3-Day Novel Contest."
John Kachuba's new book, Ghosthunters: On the Trail of Mediums, Dowsers, Spirit Seekers and Other Investigators of America’s Paranormal World combines his case reports of actual hauntings, discussions with leading figures in the paranormal world, and stories about related subjects—buying ghosts on eBay, buying and selling haunted houses, ghost tourism—to present an intriguing and witty look at this interesting phenomena in American pop culture.
BOLTON AND DICKSON: Seasoned comedy writers
Martha Bolton and Brad Dickson take an unconventional, refreshing look at the over-forty Race You To The Fountain of Youth. Instead of heaping on the pressure to exercise more, eat less, manage your time, and save all your money for retirement, Bolton and Dickson offer a take-it-easy approach to aging with chapters like: "If Menopausal Women Ruled the World," "How to Calculate Your Real Age," and "He Died of What?"
Gwen Petersen has published How To Shovel Manure and Other Life
Lessons for the Country Woman.
HOW TO WRITE FUNNY: Gene Perret has published the NEW
Comedy Writing Step by Step.
FEELING ILL? Dennis DiClaudio has written the perfect guide for people who think they may have a horn growing out of their head.
The Hypochondriac's Pocket Guide to Diseases You Probably Already Have is a look at all the crazy stuff people do to try and stay young.

Markets, contests and more
STAY-AT-HOME MOM SOUL: A mom is a cook, housekeeper, teacher, laundress, facilities manager, chauffeur, psychologist and nurse. And she is on call twenty four hours a day.
Read more.
CATHOLIC SOUL: Chicken Soup for the Catholic Soul is collecting true stories sharing the power and promise, hope and happiness of being Catholic.
Read more.
RADIO HUMOR WRITING CONTEST: Write and perform something original that is intended to he heard on radio. Cash prizes.
Read more.
HOSPITAL STORIES WANTED: Brenda Elsagher, author of If the Battle is Over, Why Am I Still in Uniform? and I’d Like to Buy a Bowel Please, is asking for submissions for her third book: Bedpan Banter, funny and inspiring stories from the hospital. Please limit submissions to 1500 words or less. Stories must be unpublished and fit into the descriptive title. Deadline for stories is April 1, 2008.
Read more.
GREAT COURSE: Gene Perret is offering an online Master Course in Joke Writing.
Read more.
SEX IN THE CEMETERY AND OTHER BIBLE STORIES: Susan Reinhardt and DC Stanfa are seeking submissions for an anthology contest:
Contest Deadline: November 21, 2007
Prize: Two $200 Grand Prizes will be awarded and all entries chosen for the book will receive $100.
Story Length: 750-2,500 words
Point of View: First-person or third-person (no second person).
Style: Narrative nonfiction, creative nonfiction. But, it must be a story. The theme of this anthology is relationships. Think men, women, and messy meanderings. Essays will be considered, but the Author must have a story to tell, not just an opinion.
Tone: Stories must be humorous. They can be poignant and touching, but above all, they need to be humorous. Irreverence is a plus, as is the uniqueness of the tale.
• Stories must be original, true (license to exaggerate greatly, but essentially true).
• Previously published material is acceptable, as long as the Author retains the copyright.
• A publishing agreement will be mailed to the Author of each story selected as a finalist.
• Due to the volume of submissions anticipated, we cannot report on the status of individual submissions (with the exception of finalists, who are notified in writing). The grand-prize winning story and the list of contributors will be posted on the Editors’ websites (
www.susanreinhardt.com and www.dcstanfa.com) upon publication.
• Authors may submit multiple stories.
How to Submit Your Story
Email submissions, in an attached Word file, to
dcstanfa@fuse.net with anthology submission in the subject line
Each submission must include the following:
Your full name
Your mailing address
Your phone number
Story word count
Story title
Title of original publication—if in a larger body of work
Brief bio of author—100 words, or so.

NETWORK WITH OTHER HUMOR WRITERS: Network with other humor writers. Join the e-mail discussion group for past attendees of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop and those who would like to attend in the future.
Join now.
SUGGEST A RESOURCE: If you have a favorite book or Web site, let us know at bete@udayton.edu.
Copyright 2007, University of Dayton


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