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Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Well-Fed Writer Packs Fairborn Community Center

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Local News, Media, National News, State News, Uncategorized on December 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Award-winning author Peter Bowerman speaking to members of the Western Ohio Writers Association at the Fairborn Community Center.

FAIRBORN, OH – On December 29th, aspiring freelance writers packed the Fairborn Community Center for the opportunity to meet veteran commercial writer Peter Bowerman, author of the award-winning book, The Well-Fed Writer. The Atlanta-based author and business coach spoke Thursday evening about the perils and promise of breaking into the lucrative field of commercial freelance writing.

A commercial freelance writer is someone who his hired to write material such as marketing literature, human resources documentation, and ghost writing projects.  “In today’s downsized business world, companies of all sizes outsource many writing tasks to well-paid freelancers,” Bowerman says.
Bowerman’s appearance was sponsored by the Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA), a creative arm of GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing in Jamestown. The group provides networking and educational opportunities to writers of all genres, living and working in southwest-central Ohio.  Writers attend monthly critique sessions to hone their writing skills through peer feedback, networking opportunities and educational presentations.

For nearly two hours, and to a full house, Bowerman shared his experiences about commercial writing; what it is, why it makes sense to embark on a career in this industry now, how to build a portfolio, how to find work, what to charge, and much more.

“The work is out there and a talented writer could earn anywhere from $50 to $125 per hour,” he says, with his passion for the job clearly visible in his presentation style. He cautions aspiring freelancers, however.

“Freelancing is not a get rich quick scheme or a multilevel marketing scam; this is hard work that you have to do yourself.” After the presentation, Bowerman spent the remainder of his time signing books and talking with the audience.

Western Ohio Writers Association meetings are held from 7PM until 10PM on the first Thursday of each month at the Fairborn Community Center. Meetings are $2 per person to attend and open to the public, but RSVP’s are requested.

The next session is scheduled for Thursday, January 5th. For more information, visit www.westernohiowriters.org or call (937) 902-4857. The Fairborn Community Center is not responsible for the management or content of events hosted by the Western Ohio Writers Association.

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Mayan Doomsday Prophecy, the End of an Era

In Economy, Entertainment, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Uncategorized on December 27, 2011 at 12:09 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

Over the next couple of weeks media outlets of all stripes will be running the usual, incessant of year-end retrospectives. Without question, 2011 was one of the most eventful years since the beginning of the millennium.

In the last twelve months the people of the world saw the death of Osama Bin Laden. Libya was finally freed from a dictator’s reign. Americans serving in the Iraq War are finally coming home. Suddenly, Wall Street was occupied by people other than thieving billionaires. And now, a couple of hairdos named Newt and Mitt have risen to become serious contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.

Rather than a retrospective, however, perhaps it would be better to focus on the future. Or would it? According to some, 2012 may be last time the ball drops in Time Square.

Every few years, evangelical Christians stampede to any available microphone and do their best to frighten people into joining their congregations (and offering up their cash) in preparation for the beginnings of events depicted in the Book of Revelations. Of course, they’re not alone. Similar doomsday predictions have been delivered repeatedly by the Chinese, the Egyptians, even Native Americans. Each and every time, they have been wrong.

However, nearly one thousand years before the first words of the New Testament had been scribed, the Mayan culture ofCentral Americaused intricate calculations and primitive astrometrics to create a primitive yet precise calendar. Their culture began to emerge around 1000 A.D. in large areas ofMexico,Guatemala,Belize,HondurasandEl Salvador.

In the 1960’s, archeologists unearthed a stone tablet depicting what could be compared to the Mayan version of Revelations – the return of their god to earth and the end of the world. According to the Mayan Long Calendar, the end will come on the converted Christian calendar date of December 21, 2012. (In case you’re interested, that’s a Friday – good day for the world to end; TGIF, and all that.)

Public fascination with apocalyptic predictions may seem strange to most, but, in this case, it might also prove profitable, both locally and south of the border. Cincinnatiauthor Liz Coley has just released, Out of Xibalba (pronounced shi-bulb-a), a young adult fantasy novel about a modern-day girl thrown back in time to an ancient Mayan civilization. Through a fictional story, the book offers readers a unique look at the Mayan culture and their doomsday prophecy.

In southernMexico, officials are planning year-long celebrations intended to attract tourists to the heart of Mayan territory. According to ABC News,Mexico’s tourism agency expects to draw more than 52 million visitors to the Mayan regions alone. Ordinarily, entire country averages only about 22 million per year. Such an influx of foreign visitors will provide a significant boost to the country’s struggling economy.

While writers, film makers and travel agents cash in on this ancient mythology, fortunately, for the rest of humanity, there is evidence that dates beyond 2012 were recorded. Scientists are baffled, however, as to why people seem to simply ignore it, preferring instead to insist that the end is, in fact, nigh.

In any case, it’s probably a good bet the world will still be here on the 22nd of December so it might be a good idea not to quit work or cash out the retirement account just yet.

Scientists can certainly make mistakes. But, so far, there is no evidence to support any sort of pending global catastrophe predicted by the Maya or anyone else.

Mathematicians and related experts have analyzed the Mayan data time and again. The end of this period of their calendar is no more significant than was the change of the Christian millennia. The best advice is to sit back, enjoy the books, movies and television programs about the Mayan culture, and relax. Oh, and Happy New Year.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. For more visit http://www.gerydeer.com.

Beware Sunny Government Statistics

In Business, Economy, Jobs, Local News, National News, Opinion on December 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

According to government reports, unemployment and foreclosure figures are showing all the signs of an improving economy. In November, USA Today reported the national unemployment average fell to 8.6 percent, down from 9 percent in October. Similarly, according to government accounts, foreclosure filings appear to have decreased over the last year as well. Those numbers seem to vary, depending on the source.

The problem with these statistics is that they often ignore important information showing that, what looks like economic recovery is actually a lie of omission. Take the unemployment reports, for example.

As the economy worsened and more people lost jobs those already unemployed became less hopeful of finding work. Many simply stopped reporting their unemployment status for whatever reason and at that point were no longer included in the statistics.

Over time, more and more people who have been out of work for a long period of time stop going back to the unemployment office. As benefits come to an end and with no job potential on the horizon, people either just stop filing or take part time work to put food on the table.

The underemployed are also omitted from the statistics. Underemployed people are those who have taken whatever work they can find but who may have once earned a higher salary in a more suitable position. An underemployed person could be an architect, for example, who takes a seasonal, general labor job on a construction crew.

Housing statistics can be manipulated in a similar fashion, to show improvement where none yet exists. Listen carefully to how this data is reported. Generally the wording is something like, “The White House reported today that foreclosure filings were down last month …” and so on. The number of filings may have decreased but there are many reasons for that.

According to the real estate website, RealtyTrac.Com, an average of one in every 500Ohiohousing units is in foreclosure. In most states, foreclosure filings are expected to increase, not drop, as the government stats seem to report. Some homes, purchased as foreclosed properties over the last couple of years are in foreclosure again, adding to the problem.

Additionally, within a given region, usually there is a finite number of pre-existing homes, and a particular segment of those whose mortgages have fallen into default. At some point, the market hits a peak where there are no more homes to foreclose on and the number of filings actually drops, but the problem still exists.

Then, while the White House reports “fudged” housing figures, one of the government’s pinnacle villains in the housing crisis is talking out of the other side of its mouth. Freddie Mac reported a noted increase in foreclosure filings in November. The agency estimates that it will take more than 15 years to relieve the burden of foreclosed property inventory.

The point here is that, especially in an election year, government officials will “spin” facts and figures to paint as positive a picture as possible to help keep everyone in their offices. “Spin,” is when the communications officers and public relations directors word the facts in a way that benefits the originator in some way.

Everyone wants credit for making things better and getting people back to work. Unfortunately, short of drafting people and creating more beaurocratic offices, the government doesn’t create jobs – only private industry can do that.

For the public, the only way to be certain of the facts is to go look them up at the source. Looking at the data in its raw form can help shed light on the facts, without the media hype and government spin.

Gery L. Deer is an independent business writer and columnist based in Jamestown, Ohio. Read more at http://www.deerinheadlines.com.

 

 

The Well-Fed Writer, Peter Bowerman to Speak In Fairborn

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Local News, Media, National News, Uncategorized on December 20, 2011 at 12:03 am

Award-winning author Peter Bowerman will speak at 7 p.m., Thursday December 29th at the Fairborn Community Center.

FAIRBORN, OH– In today’s downsized business world, companies of all sizes outsource many writing tasks to well-paid freelancers. In his award-winning book, The Well-Fed Writer, veteran commercial writer Peter Bowerman offers insights to potential freelancers on how to develop a thriving and profitable career writing for the business community.

On Thursday, December 29th, aspiring freelancers in the Miami Valley will have the opportunity to meet the author and learn from Bowerman’s experience, in his own words, when he comes to Fairborn as a special guest speaker of the Western Ohio Writers Association. The Georgia-based author will speak and sign books from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Fairborn Community Center,1076 Kauffman Ave. Fairborn, Ohio45324.

Titled, Goodbye Starving Writer! Breaking into the Lucrative Field of Commercial Freelancing, in the presentation Bowerman asks, “What if you could write and make $50 to $100 per hour, or more, and give yourself the time to pursue your ‘passion writing’?” Participants will learn from the author’s experience what commercial writing is, why it makes sense to embark on a career in this industry now, how to build a portfolio, how to find work, what to charge, and much more.

The event is open to the public. Attendance is $2 per person and RSVP is required online at http://www.westernohiowriters.org or by calling 937-902-4857. In the spirit of the holiday season, books and CD-Roms will be available on-site at a 25-percent discount.

Gery L. Deer is the director of the WOWA and a professional commercial writer. “Our organization is about education and enhancing the skills and opportunities available to writers in our region,” he says. “I have used Mr. Bowerman’s book, The Well-Fed Writer, for nearly a year and it has provided me with a great reference for my commercial writing business so when he contacted me and expressed an interest in speaking, we did everything possible to make it happen.”

The Western Ohio Writers Association is based in Greene County and provides networking and educational opportunities to writers of all genres, living and working in southwest-central Ohio.  Writers attend monthly critique sessions to hone their writing skills through peer feedback, networking opportunities and educational presentations. Regular meetings are held from 7PM until 10PM on the first Thursday of each month at the Fairborn Community Center.

The WOWA is a creative division of GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing with facilities support provided by theFairbornCommunity Center. For more information or to RSVP for this event, visit http://www.westernohiowriters.org or call (937) 902-4857.

 

 

Self-Published Authors Making Their Mark

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Local News, Media, Opinion, Uncategorized on December 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

Once upon a time, writers who chose to publish their own work were thought simply as “not good enough” to make it as an author. Today self-publishing is rapidly becoming, not only a viable alternative to the snail-paced publishing process, but also allows authors to keep more of their money that once went to agents and publishers.

As one might expect, the talents of the writer play the most valuable role in getting a book from concept to publication. However, in mainstream publishing, there is also a fair amount of luck and back-door politics involved in an author’s success or failure. Generally unknown to the general public, or to beginning writers, traditional publishing is one of the most subjective processes in business.

In traditional publishing, often referred to as “royalty-based publishing,” getting a book to the shelves is a very long, disheartening endeavor. Once a manuscript is completed, the author must spend a great deal of time researching agents and publishers then send queries to each, hoping for a positive response or at least some feedback.

This is done over again many times – sometimes for years – until either the author gives up or they get an offer from an agent or publisher to move forward. If the manuscript is finally picked up by a publisher, it can take as long as two years to get it to market. In the meantime, the author will receive some kind of advanced payment against potential sales of the book.

The author also loses a great deal of control over the manuscript. Drastic changes can occur in editing, cover art or even the story itself, all of which are necessary evils in the business of publishing – if the author wants to be a commercial success and write for a living.

Even though many people have never heard of self-publishing, the concept has been around for hundreds of years. Over the last century, business professionals and corporations often self-published books and other literature designed to demonstrate expertise in a particular business, product or industry. Authoring a book generates a certain level of public credibility, in turn, building the potential for greater earning power.

Originally referred to as “vanity publishing,” self-publishing provides authors with a faster route to getting their work out to the public while also giving them complete control over the product.

Writers who choose the self-publishing method have some major challenges to accept above and beyond completing a polished manuscript. The first challenge they face is the editing process. A lack of good editing is a major mistake made by many self-publishers, particularly those who are unwilling to allow anyone else to review or critique their work; which is one reason some writers choose this way to publication in the first place.

Critical editing is vital to gaining credibility once the book is marketed. If it looks amateurish, the author will not be taken seriously. If that is done well, then the author must choose a printing method, either online or using a brick-and-mortar press house. Printing the book is one of the greater expenses, averaging around $2,000 for about 100 copies of a typical paperback.

Next comes the ‘business’ end of publishing, an area where most writers have little experience. Self-publishing also means self-marketing and promotion. The author will have to become the person who actually sells the book. It will be his or her task to develop a marketing plan and promote the book through advertising and public relations activities.

If all of that comes together, the author might be able to grow a grass-roots following at the local level and start selling their book. Many self-published authors are now getting the attention of large publishing houses and major book deals. Supporting local authors by purchasing their books can help the economy and encourage literacy in the community.

As independent writers gain credibility and build a following, they also generate millions of dollars in revenue for themselves and on-demand publishers doing short print runs. So this holiday season, buy local and read local.

 

Interested in local authors? Visit http://www.gerydeer.com and click on the Bookstore link.