Author, Poet, Writer, Businesswoman, Carol Adler Interviewed

Jan 8 21:23 2006 Norm Goldman Print This Article

Norm Goldman, Editor of the book reviewing and author interviewing site, bookpleasures.com interviews the President of Dandelion Books, Carol Adler

Today,Guest Posting Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com is excited to have as our guest, Carol Adler. Carol is President of Dandelion Books, as well as being a poet, author, businesswoman and teacher.

Good day Carol and thank you for agreeing to participate in our interview.

Norm:

When did your passion for writing begin and what keeps you going?

Carol:

Norman, it’s a pleasure to talk with you about “my passion”: writing, and editing… which led to the business of publishing. I’ve been writing since I was three years old, snatching my older sister’s chubby pencils she brought home from school, and copying Robert Louis Stevenson poems into wide-lined notebooks!

My father restored an Underwood manual typewriter for me when I was six years old, and I started publishing the family newspaper, “The Monthly Moon.” (!!) My first published works were short stories that appeared in a number of literary journals, when I was 22. I’m totally dedicated to the art and craft of writing fiction, poetry and non-fiction.

I’ve written reams of experimental fiction (I publish under a pen name) and I’ve written books and articles in almost every “non-fiction” category. Poetry is my special love, but my track record for getting published became “almost too good” to the point where I was getting suspicious that journals were accepting my work because they had accepted it before. So I trashed most of what I’d written and started over ultimately enrolling in an MFA program for Creative Writing/Poetry. It was the perfect thing to do, since it broke certain patterns, got rid of a lot of inhibitions and allowed for a fresh start.

Norm:

Could you tell our readers something about Dandelion Books and your role as President?

Carol:

I founded the company in 2000, as a cutting-edge publisher that accepted books other companies may reject. Censorship and outrageousness are two of my criteria for books I want to publish, and that many more conventional publishers stay away from mainly because these companies are either controlled by a corporate board, or they feel a need to stay regimented “inside the box, or within the dotted lines.”

Norm:

Is there anything in the publishing world that is not well received to-day?

Carol:

Yes. For one, truth-seeking books that force people to take an honest look at “what’s really happening.” These books generally get hit with a media blackout, so people have a difficult time believing they’re worth buying when they do find them (often by chance) and they listen to the majority voice that tells them the material is “conspiracy” and the authors are “conspiracy nuts” who are not to be taken seriously.

We publish a number of books by outstanding investigative reporters whose work is reliable and presented with integrity. [Check out our bookstore]

The market for poetry is poor and has always been in this country, I’m sure. Most Americans don’t read it because they don’t feel it’s a necessary part of their life, or their literary diet. I happen to feel it is!!!

Poetry is my air, water and food, as are music, and art. Experimental fiction is also skeptically received. Most people don’t have the background to appreciate it. That may sound elitist, but in order to really “dig” experimental writing, you have to have a frame of reference… you have to have been saturated in the classics…and you also have to love words and love to explore new styles.

It’s no secret that TV and film, and other forms of multi-media have influenced our literary tastes and habits. I happen to feel that cultural diversity is exciting and valuable, but not to the exclusion of one form of media for another. I love ’em all.

Norm:

What is your sense in the market for first fiction today?

Carol:

Very poor. Authors have to push the book themselves, and establish a loyal following. Publishers cannot expect to market first fiction books in today’s competitive marketplace. The book industry is saturated with new publications, especially now that self-publishing has overtaken traditional publishing. This has created a serious marketing and promotion dilemma for first fiction.

Norm:

I noticed you have worn and probably still do many hats, which one do you prefer and why?

Carol:

I’m a writer first and foremost… because, as I said, I cannot not write… it’s in my blood. But you have to have something to say, so I’m also an avid reader, researcher, and “life experience nut.” I’m eager to know and do everything life has to offer!!

Adventure is more than a pastime… to the point where some of my friends have cautioned me about discernment! Creativity in the business arena would be the second hat. I have just finished developing a business plan for a fantastic new enterprise which I believe is going to “evolutionize the book industry,” in terms of addressing the issues I discussed above.

This enterprise will support new writers, inspire more people to read and love poetry, and it will deliver uncensored information right into the laps and minds and hearts of those who will be shocked to discover they’ve been living in a vacuum. I can’t say more about this exciting new enterprise until it’s launched, but it has surely captured a major part of my time… it is the result of five years of gestation as patiently I waited for the digital industry to catch up with my plan. The technology has not been there until now… and I should stop talking about it right now, before I give it away!!

My third hat is again directly related to writing: helping authors write better books helping them write their books if they can’t do it themselves or if they don’t have the time… I’ve ghostwritten more books than I can count and doing a lot of book-doctoring or counseling and mentoring, when people come to me with projects half-started or only hatched in their minds without any clues about how to write it down.

Norm:

Can you tell us what editors typically look for in a book query letter proposal?

Carol: It’s all on the Dandelion Books website in the submission form: Who are you (bio information), why did you write this book, or, what does it mean to you, what is the major theme of the book, what do you want to tell your readers, who do you believe is your readership, how do you feel this book can be best promoted, and how can you help promote this book.

Norm:

In the last year or so have you seen any changes in the way publishers publish and/or distribute books? Are there any emerging trends developing?

Carol:

Yes. And yes again. The industry is going through major changes right now, and I’m happy to say we’re part of the change. Traditional distribution is getting hit hard by digital printing, on-demand distribution, and direct sales on the internet. No one wants to wait a year and a half for a book to emerge, or print large runs of books that may need to be revised shortly after the book emerges.

Also, the distributors’ deferred payment system sucks. So does the bookstore consignment/returns system. Ask any independent publisher and they’ll tell you how they’ve been bled by the wholesalers and distributors. The book industry was not set up for small publishers to make money.

Today it is a huge corporate cabal you can quote me on that. I don’t mind being outspoken about an industry that has tried to hold back truth-delivering books to the point of “soft censoring” them, banning and even burning them. One of the Dandelion titles has been both banned and burned because certain interest groups that have a lot of power in the media and book industry intervened.

One of our celebrity authors couldn’t believe how powerful this cabal really was, until his book, which had all the potential for being a best seller and in fact, sold 10,000 copies in less than 90 days, was suddenly “soft censored.” By “soft censored,” I mean, deliberately yet anonymously removed from bookstore shelves and databases, and deliberately removed from mainstream media review and interview lists. I think you can see you’ve hit a pressure button!

I feel so strongly about these industry controls, as I said, I’ve devoted five years to creating a new book distribution model that I know is going to successfully address these issues. Do we need money to do this? Yes, we need money and we are seeking investors. This is an announcement! We are also seeking grant money… we have a 501-c-3 non-profit foundation, to underwrite the costs of publishing and promoting outstanding works in the areas I mentioned above: uncensored books, unfettered fiction… and also to preserve the ancient history and lore of our native populations, here and abroad. We’re also looking for funding to translate our books into many languages.

Norm:

What's your advice to achieve success as a writer?

Carol:

Success is a personal matter, and I would probably wish to address that issue separately… both philosophically and metaphysically. My advice: write, write and write… re-write. A professional writer knows the value of re-writing. Take yourself seriously. Consider writing a business. Self-publish your books or work with a publisher that supports your goals, and if they are inundated at the time and tell you they cannot take on your book because their budget is not large enough to accept more works at that time, tell them you will pay them to get your book published, just to get it out there and test the waters. Learn everything you can, about marketing and promoting your book. Do not expect anyone else to do the selling for you. Do not be embarrassed to blow your own horn. That era is gone.

Norm:

Describe the typical process that ensues after you receive a query letter from an author.

Carol:

We ask them for sample chapters, which we read. Then if we like what we read, we ask to see the entire manuscript, which can be sent to us electronically. We study their submission form, as well. That’s an important part of the process. Evaluation includes form, content, technical skill and marketability.

Norm:

How can a self-published author get a traditional publisher’s attention?

Carol:

Today the two markets are blending into one. Simply submit the work, whether or not it has been previously self-published. Submit it. If no one sees it, no one knows it’s there. Shyness in this industry is a hazard!

Norm:

Once you take on a book, do you personally get involved editorially?

Carol:

Absolutely. I am involved in all aspects of the process of publishing and promoting every book we accept. That’s why we call ourselves a boutique publisher. I never want to be so large, people cannot get to me.

Norm:

What do you feel about today’s publishing world in general? Are books being published more on quality or because they’re perceived as potential good sellers? Are there any trends you think will be around for a while?

Carol:

I’ve answered the first question already. Good sellers are books that authors can sell well themselves… sorry, but that’s the honest and bitter truth today. The marketplace is whimsical. Quality books are often by-passed. Self-empowerment is the growing trend, and that’s healthy.

Authors need to know how to promote themselves and their books. If they don’t know how to do this instinctively, they should learn. They must believe in themselves and be ready to do whatever they need to, to get sales. No one has the time, energy and money to deal with today’s competition in the marketplace, if the author is not a willing, major participant. That includes a full understanding that authors’ books are their children. There’s nothing wrong with authors investing in their children’s well-being and success. There’s nothing wrong with nurturing them and giving them the best possible opportunity for exposure, so they can have a chance for those top sales numbers.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Carol:

I love what I’m doing, and I think you can see that! I would not have changed any portion of my life each has supported my growth and understanding of who I am and what I intend to achieve in this lifetime. And yes, you can read all about it in The Woman with Qualities and Come as Your Are, by Sarah Daniels. I want to also say, I’m extremely proud in particular, of one of my creative achievements: the poem, We are the Echoes, which is the lead poem in Symphony Number Five, a work by that title composed by my ex-husband, Samuel Adler, who was, incidentally, a Holocaust survivor. This poem tells of the eternal human struggle to be heard, to express oneself, to ask questions, to refuse to be a victim, and to know there is a Higher Power that is benevolent and supportive of freedom, growth and joy.

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your endeavors.

You’ve very welcome!

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About Article Author

Norm Goldman
Norm Goldman

Norm Goldman is the Editor of the book reviewing and author interviewing site, bookpleasures.com
Bookpleasures.com comprises over 25 international reviewers that come from all walks of life and that review all genre. Norm also offers his own personal express review service. For more information about the express review service CLICK HERE

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