Skip to main content

In the Company of Walt, Beatrix and Benjamin (Session on Self Publishing with Dorothy Hagan)

For those of you who are Houston area residents, I just wanted to give you a heads up about an upcoming professional development session at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. The session is with self-pubbed novelist and teacher Dorothy Hagan about "self" and "indie" publishing. Something that strikes me about what she says in this video is the sentence "the changes in technology have made it virtually possible for anyone to see their work published professionally now." I know that we've discussed the options available for writers now and the pros and cons of epublishing versus other types of self publishing, as well as traditional or "legacy" publishing. And as Joni has said before, just because someone has a story, doesn't mean that they will automatically have the skill to tell that story. So then the question becomes, just because it's possibleItalic to see your work published professionally, does that mean it's ready to be published professionally, or that readers will actually want to read it? In this video, Hagan does say that she will discuss the concept of making sure the work is as polished and professional as possible before putting it there, which I think is good. But I must admit that I'm a bit skeptical about the "gold rush" of self publishing in general. I think it's great for both readers and writers to have options, but what does it mean to be a professional writer now? What will it mean in the future?

If you're interested in meeting Hagan and having breakfast with her and hearing more of what she has to say, her session is part of UHCL's "Small Talk, Big Ideas" series on Tuesday morning, April 17 from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the University of Houston's Clear Lake campus. The session costs $12 for UHCL students, alumni and staff, and $15 for the greater Houston community. Seating is limited, so you'll need to RSVP by next Tuesday (April 10). You can reserve a seat at the breakfast table either by calling Kris Thompson at (281) 283-2040, or by visiting

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
7:30-9 a.m.


Dorothy Hagan said…

First of all, my sincerest thanks for mentioning my session on Boxing the Octopus. Ironically, I just saw this post while preparing for it, because the absolute first place I will send my attendees is this blog. I was fortunate to find Joni and Colleen in 2009, and have followed their careers and sage advice ever since.

What I have learned from this site is immense, but the most important lesson is that the highest degree of literary professionalism is essential, no matter what publishing vehicle you chose. I will stress this importance in every venue available to me.

As my career comes on the heels of others, so now new writers are coming behind me. This session is intended to help those with stories that are crying out to be told.(I want to scream when I think of the career and validation Emily Dickinson was denied, after being told her style of poetry, with its unusual rhythm and rhyming was not commercial. What tragedy if humanity had been denied her gifts.)

Again, my thanks to you and the amazing authors at Boxing the Octopus. I am honored to be mentioned on your blog.

Dorothy Hagan
Dorothy Hagan said…
And yes, holy cow, I did misspell "choose." Color me red.
Glad you stopped by, Dorothy, and as for me, a day without typos is a day I haven't written anything!
Dorothy Hagan said…
Thanks, Colleen. I will breathe now!
Dorothy Hagan said…
Morning, folks.

I wanted to let you know that my newest blog post addresses specifically my thoughts regarding the title of this session.

Thanks again for the mention on your great blog.
I know--it's incredibly sad about Emily Dickinson! And I totally agree that it's great that people have OPTIONS now. I also like that you emphasize professionalism in whatever literary endeavor you're taking. I think that it's great that self-publishing is catching on; my only concern with it is that people may publish when they are nowhere near ready and need room to grow. But then again, look at Amanda Hocking. Agents didn't think she was ready, and yet look what happened with her work. So maybe the whole question is an issue of what readers are willing to accept as well as what the writer is willing to stand by?

Oh, and ha--please don't apologize for typos!!!!!!!! :)
Dorothy Hagan said…
Hi, again, Kathryn.

The breakfast was wonderful. There was one woman there who has written five novels over many decades, yet never received a "Yes" for publication. Her work is very good and if I have helped her find a way to hold one of her novels in her hands, and to leave her literary gifts to my heart I believe that is a very worthy thing.

I just uploaded the entire indie publishing handout on my blog: Five pages with many great links.

The last thing I gave the participants was a certificate for a Pledge to Excellence if they choose to move forward. They all understood the importance of professionalism.

Thank you again and thank you to all the great authors at Boxing the Octopus. I have benefited from you all mightily.

Popular posts from this blog

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button": Did you love it or hate it?

Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ

APATHY AND OTHER SMALL VICTORIES by Paul Neilan is only good if you enjoy things like laughter

The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. Usually on a Greyhound bus, right before his life falls apart again. Just like he planned. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord's wife, and the bizarrely appealing deaf assistant to Shane's cosmically unstable dentist. When one of the women is murdered, and Shane is the only suspect who doesn't care enough to act like he didn't do it, the question becomes just how he'll clear the good name he never had and doesn't particularly want: his own.