Help an Artist and Get Cool Stuff! WOOT!

Click to embiggen cramazingness!

Hey kids,

If you’ve been paying attention (and I know you have, because that’s just the kind of splendiforous dears you are), you know that I belong to a non-profit organization designed to support artists to support the arts. The goal is to pay artists for the time they spend putting beautiful, wonderful, silly, and cramazing things into the world — so that they can continue putting beautiful, wonderful, silly, and cramazing things into the world.

The artists get resources and the means with which to live, and communities all over the world get fantabulous works of art.

EVERYBODY WINS.

In keeping with this, ’tis my pleasure to recommend to you the Kickstarter campaign for author Aaron Pogue’s The Dragonprince’s Heir (Book 3 in The Dragonprince Trilogy).

Kickstarter is a fundraising platform for creative projects. If a project meets its fundraising goal within the allotted time, then the project is fully funded. If a project doesn’t meet its goal, then none of the donors are charged for the amount they pledged.

Each donation amount has a reward attached to it. For instance, if you pledge $20.00 toward Pogue’s The Dragonprince’s Heir, you’ll get digital copies of the entire Dragonprince Trilogy, as well as Pogue’s dragonswarm short stories. Pledge $55.00, and you get a signed paperback copy of the trilogy as an omnibus edition. A pledge of $250.00 garners you a visit to The Consortium offices and an afternoon of picking Aaron Pogue’s brain. And so forth.

But, alas, no one gets any of these nice things if Aaron’s project doesn’t get fully funded by Thursday, June 21, 2012.

The funding goal is $30,000.00. There are nine days left.

Why $30,000.00 for the publication of one novel?

Because once the $30,000.00 goal is met, Aaron intends to release the novel into the public domain. Any money the book earns beyond that will belong to The Consortium and to its artists — who, if you recall, are making more beautiful things for you. Once again, everybody wins.

To see the rest of the rewards and to read the full story behind all of this, visit Aaron’s Kickstarter page. The hows and whys of donating are all there and easy to follow.

Support this artist to support the arts!

35 Hours ‘Til the End!

You! Yes, YOU! Diligent, lovely reader of my blog! I have an opportunity for you. Trust me, you don’t wanna miss this.

Whatsit?

It’s a Kickstarter.

What’s a Kickstarter?

Well, it’s a starter the operates by a downward kick….

Wait. No, we’re not talking motorcycles here. We’re talking Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects.

Artists get to present their projects.
Beautiful people like you get to help bring those projects to life.

My friend and fellow writer, Aaron Pogue has a best-selling indie fantasy novel: Taming Fire. It’s a fun, rollicking adventure story of magic and dragons and love and redemption and some surprisingly gritty moments that make ya think.

The Dragonswarm is the sequel to Taming Fire, and lemme tell ya, this book is gonna be a read-and-a-half. I’m helping to edit it right now, and it’s so epic-fantasy-yummy, it’s addictive.

What would you say to throwing a few bucks at The Dragonswarm to help get this novel into your happy reader hands? Aaron’s got a Dragonswarm Kickstarter just for you!

Here’s what Aaron has to tell you about it:

The goal of the campaign is to pay the production costs of publishing an indie novel. I won’t beg and plead with you to share your hard-earned money, because I’ll be publishing this book even if the campaign isn’t funded. I’ve been covering the costs myself for more than a year now.

No, this campaign (and every one that will follow) is an opportunity for those of you who want to be a part of it.

For those of you who want to see me (or any of our other writers) getting to be a full-time writer instead of holding down a day job to pay the bills.

For those of you who want to support a community that creates art as a thing of worth (not a thing of commercial value).

In short, if you want to help me keep doing what I’m doing, KickStarter gives me an easy way to accept your support. And it lets me respond with some very cool rewards. If you want, you can just look it as a way to pre-order your signed copy of The Dragonswarm, sent straight to your door.

Did you catch the part about rewards? Oh yeah. There are rewards. And they’re all book-related. (And some of them involve this [by lil ol’me!].)

So click on over to Aaron’s Kickstarter, watch the video, and help make some cramazing art.

And hurry! The Kickstarter ends in only 35 hours!

Support the artists to support the arts.

The Consortium

The Grooming Habits of Agents

Or: A Brief History of My Journey to Indie Authordom

Photo by Julie V. Photography


Once upon a two-years-ago, I met a real live acquisitions editor.

I’d let my mother talk me into attending an Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. Conference at a hotel in south OKC. Introvert and publishing world n00b that I was, I required a lot of convincing. The carrot that got me was Mama’s offer to pay for the whole thing. So, off I went to the writers’ conference.

After I got over myself, I had fun. Some neat people talked to me, so I tagged along with them all three days of the conference. One of them had published a few novels with a Christian publishing company, and he introduced me to his acquisitions editor.

My face was all polite smiles and wittiness. Inside, I was thinking,

“Hmm. Acquisitions editor? Foot in door? Is this it?!?”

Eventually, during a break between lectures, there was a little circle of conversation at the hotel coffee shop. I don’t recall how it happened, but something I said about my in-progress novel led to this editor’s turning to me and asking, “So, Courtney, what is your book about?”

Inside, I said, “Um.”

Back Story

Before the conference, I’d signed up to pitch my epic high fantasy novel Triad to one of the agents who’d be at the conference. Now, I had with me a carefully crafted cover letter and the painstakingly polished first three chapters of said high fantasy novel.

I had not come to this conference prepared to talk to anyone about my Christian fantasy novel, Colors of Deception, which was then in first draft stage.

Fast-Forward

So, when Acquisitions Editor Attached To Christian Publisher asked me what my in-progress novel was about, I had about half a second to come up with a pitch.

Inside, I thought, “Um.”

And then, I thought, “This IS it!!!

Outside, I said, “My novel’s about a group of Christian college students who are being stalked by demons.”

To which Editor Attached To Christian Publisher replied, “I’d like to see that.” And she gave me her business card.

Outside, I said, “Great! I can have the first three chapters ready for you in a few weeks.”

Inside, I said,


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Happened Next

Not long after that conference — and with manic re-writing in-between — I sent Benevolent Acquisitions Editor an email, asking in what form she’d like the first three chapters. She replied with instructions to mail her a hard copy.

I did that.

I waited two months.

Then, I received her email thanking me for my submission and stating that my story was not what her publisher was looking for at this time.


 

 

 

 

 

Turning the Beat Around

I felt crushed. Beaten. I didn’t understand. Why would she show such interest in my story, if it wasn’t the kind of story her publisher was interested in? Why did she get my hopes up like that? Shouldn’t she know better than to treat a fragile, sensitive writer’s heart this way?!

Of course, with hindsight and a bit more education about the publishing world, I now understand it was nothing personal. Either my writing style wasn’t what she was looking for, or my story really wasn’t the kind of story her company was interested in, after all.

Of course, the notion that my writing was, at that point, simply not good enough is completely preposterous.

*ahem*

Anyway, by now it was fall of ’09, so I made an early resolution: 2010 would be The Year I Found An Agent.

A flurry of agent-y research ensued. There was intense poring-over of submission guidelines. There was much flipping through of novels to see which authors credited their agents. By February 2010, I’d compiled a database of 35 agents, their preferences, their guidelines, their faves, their published authors, their grooming habits, and their agencies. All I needed was to re-visit my query letter, perfect it, and start sending it out.

If You Need Something Done Right…

Then, in March 2010, my friend Aaron approached me about founding a non-profit organization to support the arts. How he talked me into it and how The Consortium came to be is another story and shall be told another time…

…but the end of the matter is that instead of getting an agent, I got an indie publisher. I got a published novel. Colors of Deception, that story about Christian college students stalked by demons, is in the hands of readers who, by all reports, are enjoying the heck out of it.

Maybe I coulda been traditionally published. Instead, I’m indie published. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

________________________

My most darlingest inklings! Are you agent-hunting? What’s your process?

Are you querying? What’s your greatest query letter challenge?

How do you deal with rejection letters from editors or agents?

If you’ve gone indie or self-pub — what was the legacy-pub straw that broke your writing camel’s back?

Let’s talk. : )

The Convergence of Rattlesnakes, Angels, and Corsets

Illuminated Van Gogh by Liz Cail McElroy

You might not know this, my dear inklings — but I am involved in a grand scheme to change the world.

I know. It’s hard to imagine that an artsy culture-geek such as I would be so idealistic as to want to alter even an iota of her environment. But, alas and alack, I’m too air-headed to leave well enough alone. Hence, just over a year ago, I embarked with fellow artsy geeks upon a quest to fiddle with reality until said reality suits us.

This quest, me hearties, operates under the name The Consortium, and I encourage you to read more about it here. The basic premise is that we, the Consortium, want to change the world by supporting artists. Supporting artists supports the arts. Supporting the arts changes the world. And there you have it. Egad, Brain.

A patron studies Forever In The Lion's Eye by Courtney Cantrell

Better Than GroupThink

The Consortium has officially existed since November 2010, and this past Saturday, we had our first official function: The First Annual Consortium Arts Fundraiser. This is important because it was the first time all of our artists came together to work on one gigantic project. Much firstness and officialdom!

Over the past year, two writers, an editor, two photographers, a graphic designer, and a project coordinator collaborated to publish three books (one of them is mine, hint hint). ; ) Our director of marketing got us an article in a newspaper. We have multiple other projects in development, involving musicians, computer programmers, copy writers, and voice actors.

We’ve got a passion for producing — everything.

The One Where I Sold Three Paintings

So, we’ve got our fingers in all these yummy, creative pies…but this past weekend was the first time we got into the same pie together. (Ooh La La; Or: This Is Getting Interesting.) We put on a fundraiser: an art contest and silent auction.

And it was CRAMAZING.

We had a life-size rattlesnake sculpture. We had a painting of a world-traveling octopus. The Craftivists, our artsy allies in Topeka, donated a purple lace window illustrating the dangers of corsets. Poetry submissions represented the written arts.

Bill Weger sings They Call the Wind Maria

Photographers extraordinaire Julie and Carlos Velez set aside their cameras and entertained us with song by means of ukulele and guitar. Two Consortium members elicited much laughter with a performance of the classic skit “Who’s on First?” And a professional opera singer, whose voice has entertained audiences as far away as Germany and the Philippines, regaled us with “They Call the Wind Maria.”

I don’t know the numbers of how many pieces sold at auction or how many votes were cast for the winning entries of the art contest. But I do know that three of my paintings sold for more than I’d ever hoped to get for any of my art.

(One painting was a portal into an otherworldly realm; another, a larger-than-life lion’s eye; and the third, a translucent angel. Seeing those pieces go to new homes has made my fingers itch without ceasing for my paintbrushes!)

Carlos and Julie Velez, lookin' artsy.

Why You Should Give a Small Rodent’s Posterior

Actually, scratch that. We don’t want donations of rat tushies. For one thing, it would leave too many rats in a rather awkward position. Also, we’re not into maiming animals. (Although there was that incident with the platypus–)

*ahem*

But seriously. Dudes. You should care about all of this because, if you’re reading my blog in the first place, you already have an interest in (the) art(/s). You already care about how art affects the world and how it affects your world.

And the Consortium, my lovely art-lover, is all about affecting your world in wondrous ways. The Consortium is all about enhancing your world, your culture, your life. Our fundraiser was our first collective step from the breathless, anticipatory shadows into the light.

We are here. We are visible. We’re ready to make something happen. We are making things happen. And if you’re reading this, then the ripples are already touching you.

There. You feel that? That’s the first tiny nudge.

Support the artists to support the arts. The Consortium is doing wonders, people — and lemme tell ya, these pies are finger-lickin’ good.

The Consortium in cramazing hats!