Art Is A Business

Published January 8, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Art is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Losing your art can be a financial loss. So can not being aware you are losing money because you don’t keep track of costs.

Over a lifetime, all of us will probably create hundreds of pieces of art and maybe hundreds of books. When first starting out, it may seem a waste of time to develop this kind of recordkeeping, but when you are trying to remember which landscape of Monterey or which painting of magnolias out of the 15 you painted in the past 20 years that you entered into a show, you will come to see the value of good records.   If you keep a record and the Art information sheet updated you will always have a documentation of your work and where it has been.

However, if you keep good records you probably won’t lose track of your art and try and re-enter art into a show you have already exhibited in. (This can be very embarrassing when the show director calls you  to pick up your artwork and then complains that you keep entering the same piece year after year.)

 

Art Information Worksheet

 

100 Best Blogs for Book Reviews

Published June 23, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

It seems that a large number of book fanatics love to write about what they’ve read almost as much as doing the actual reading. That’s a good thing for the rest of the readers out there, because blogs about books are an excellent way to discover great books without wasting your valuable time on the bad ones. Along with reading top book review blogs, students are exposed to excellent classic and contemporary books through traditional and online master’s degrees in English literature. Check out these blogs that are all dedicated to reviewing books.

September 15th, 2009 written by Staff Writers

THIS WAS FREE TO Share this page with your friends, and still is, however, since it was done in 2009, I can’t swear that all the blogs are active now. FYI: most of these bloggers do have specific formats for review submissions. Please be courteous and obey the rules. Gail

General Fiction Reviews

These blogs feature book reviews across many different fiction categories such as classics, world literature, literary fiction, mystery, young adult, and more. The books read by these bloggers go beyond what you’d come across in typical English degree programs.

  1. Becky’s Book Reviews. Becky reviews all sorts of fiction ranging from classics to science fiction to young adult fiction.
  2. books i done read. Get plenty of witty humor with the book reviews on this blog.
  3. bookshelves of doom. This prolific reader reviews books of all kinds and includes the source of her books as well.
  4. Absorbed in Words. The reviews here have an emphasis on books translated from Japanese, but include many other fiction books too.
  5. Bookdwarf. A frontlist buyer at the Harvard Book Store, this book lover writes reviews on literature, book covers, and much more on her blog.
  6. Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?. Check out the literary fiction reviews here that come with ratings from 1-100.
  7. Here There be Books. Anastasia blogs mostly about fiction in young adult, fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure. BLOG HAS GONE PRIVATE – DON’T BOTHER
  8. Books and Musings from Downunder. The reviews here include tons of helpful information such as genre, opening sentence, and rating (A+, A, B, C, D).
  9. It’s all about me (time). These books cross genres ranging from chick lit to classics to world literature.
  10. Lynda’s Book Blog. This Welsh blogger reviews all types of books including thrillers, world literature, mysteries, classics, and even some non-fiction.
  11. Peachybooks. Blogging from Britain, many of the books Jo writes about here are from or about the UK.
  12. Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-holic. Stephanie participates in many book challenges and posts about them all on her blog.
  13. The Book Nest. The books here tend to more young adult and fantasy, but a wide range of other genres are also covered due to the many challenges and book tours in which Corinne participates.The Book Nest Review PolicyI do occasionally read review copies.  I am much more prone to accept your book if it is in the young adult genre.  I will give every book I read 50 pages to catch my attention.  I don’t review books that I put down at 50 pages but I review every book I finish and always give a fair and balanced review here on my blog.  I also post all my reviews on Goodreads, Facebook and Shelfari.  Feel free to submit to booknestreviews at gmail dot com.
  14. The Boston Bibliophile. Literary fiction, Jewishfiction and non-fiction, and graphic novels are all reviewed here.
  15. Caribousmom. The books reviewed here are generally literary fiction, mystery, and historical novels.
  16. Rhapsodyinbooks’s Weblog. Written by a husband and wife team, this blog covers all sorts of fiction.
  17. Whimpulsive. Mystery, young adult, memoirs, and historical fiction are just a few of the genres represented among these reviews.
  18. Rose City Reader. This prolific reviewer also includes links to other reviews–providing you with lots of information about books.
  19. Worducopia. Books and writing both get billing on this blog that features lots of fiction with some non-fiction also included.
  20. We Be Reading. K and Z are a mom and son team (with mom doing most of the actual writing) that cover both adult and children’s literature.
  21. A Work in Progress. Biographies, historical fiction, mysteries, and more show up on this blog.
  22. things mean a lot. The books reviewed here include historical fiction, general fiction, YA, graphic novels, and more.
  23. Books on the Nightstand. This blog features not only a variety of genres from graphic novels to “bathroom reading” to classics, it also offers options for how to get the book reviews with both written reviews and podcasts.

Children and Young Adult Reviews

Children’s literature and young adult literature are the focus of these blogs.

  1. Guys Lit Wire. This blog features books that are of interest to teenage boys.
  2. a wrung sponge. Get reviews of children and young adult literature and poetry as well as books for parents here.
  3. Book Nut. Melissa reviews adult fiction as well here, but the bulk of her posts are on children’s and young adult literature. She includes age ranges on each, too.
  4. Bookworm 4 Life. Written by a librarian at a public library, the books here focus mostly on teen literature.
  5. SherMeree’s Musings. This children’s and teen’s librarian reviews books from these categories. Reviews include number of pages, appropriate age range, and publishing information.
  6. Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. While not following the traditional book review format, this blog gives the low-down on authors, illustrators, and the books themselves from this genre.
  7. A Fuse #8 Production. Check out this blog for in-depth reviews of kid lit.
  8. Jen Robinson’s Book Page. Jen writes reviews about kid lit and includes age ranges, publication information, and sources of her books.
  9. Maw Books Blog. YA fiction, kid lit, and even a bit of historical fiction and author interviews end up on this blog.
  10. Shelf Elf: read, write, rave. Children’s and young adult’s books are featured on this blog as well as news and updates about books and authors in this field.
  11. GreenBeanTeenQueen. If you are looking for reviews on teen and tween literature, then let this librarian guide you with her reviews.
  12. The Book Cellar. The reviews of YA literature here are done by the 16 year-old blogger who posts a short excerpt from the book along with her review and a rating based on a 5-star system.
  13. Pop Culture Junkie. While most of the books here are YA, there are also reviews on other types of fiction as well.
  14. The Story Siren. The YA reviews here include a star rating system for separate components of each book, including overall, plot, characters, ending, writing, and cover.
  15. Tempting Persephone…. Written by a young adult librarian, the books here have a decidedly fantasy/alternate reality bent to them.

Collaborative Blogs

These blogs share the reviewing work with some blogs having many reviewers and others only a few. The differing perspectives from them offer a wider range of opinion.

  1. 26 books. What started as one reader reviewing 26 books in one year has grown to multiple reviewers and hundreds of books.
  2. BookFetish. This collaborative blog features reviews on mysteries and thrillers, young adult, fantasy, and more.
  3. Omnivoracious’ Amazon Blog. A collaborative effort from Amazon.com, this blog covers everything from cook books to fiction.
  4. The New Book Review. Readers, reviewers, and authors can submit their reviews here which cover a wide variety of genres.
  5. Book Nook Club. These 13 book reviewers cover many different genres and encourage their readers to leave comments to for further discussion.
  6. Five Borough Book Review. A group of 20-something New Yorkers, they review books as varied as they are.
  7. Shelf Love. Jenny and Teresa review everything from classics to contemporary fiction to children’s literature.

Industry and Professional Reviewers

From national newspapers to web magazines, these blogs provide reviews from professionals.

  1. ArtsBeat. This blog from the New York Times looks at books, their authors, and news surrounding both.
  2. Book Soup Blog. Book Soup is a book store in Los Angeles and they include reviews of new literature on this blog.
  3. New York Review of Books. The reviews here focus on non-fiction books covering topics such as health care, politics, and more.
  4. A Different Stripe. These reviews are from The New York Review of Books Classics.
  5. Blog of a Bookslut. The blog from this popular web magazine covers book reviews and book news.
  6. Critical Mass. From National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors, this blog not only features a wide variety of book reviews, but also news from the publishing industry.
  7. Jacket Copy. This blog from the LA Times features book reviews and other publishing and book news.

History and Historical Fiction

Fans of history and historical fiction will love these blogs, which provide a great diversion for those pursuing graduate degrees in history.

  1. Carla Nayland Historical Fiction. Carla writes about her favorite genre, historical fiction, on her blog.
  2. Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books. Memoirs and historical fiction both feature on this mom’s blog, with the occasional kid lit, too.
  3. A Reader’s Respite. Don’t expect any kind of dry account of historical fiction on this blog where high camp is king.
  4. Steven Till. Historical fiction, medieval history terms of the week, and a good dose of fantasy are all included on this blog.
  5. TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog. This blog is all about the Civil War and reviews mostly non-fiction works.
  6. News and Random Musings about Historical Novels. This blog from HistoricalNovels.info includes plenty of book reviews.
  7. Historical Tapestry. This collaborative blog features historical novels from several different eras.
  8. Julie K. Rose. Written by a historical novelist, this blog shares book reviews, definitions of obscure words, and sneak peeks at books-in-progress.
  9. Writing the Renaissance. While writing her own historical fiction novel, this blogger also reviews books and talks about renaissance history.
  10. The Biblio Blogazine. Historical fiction is this blogger’s book of choice, but you may see other types of books reviewed here too.
  11. Bookfoolery and Babble. Lots of different types of books are reviewed here, but historical fiction and history books tend to surface the most.

Mystery and Thriller

Whether mystery, crime, or thrillers are your thing, these blogs will offer plenty of great suggestions for you.

  1. Kittling: Book. Mysteries and thrillers feature highly here, but you can also find a smattering of historical fiction and biographies too.
  2. Bookgasm. Crime, mystery, thrillers, and even a bit of non-fiction turn up on this blog.
  3. Jen’s Book Thoughts. Jen reviews mystery novels and also includes author interviews.
  4. The Drowning Machine. Mystery and crime novels are the focus of this blog. Recent posts have featured a short story contest they’ve been running, but the book reviews should be back soon.

Romance

Romance novels seem to beckon a variety of different review styles and these blogs highlight some of the best.

  1. The Book Smugglers. Romance and fantasy books are both featured on this blog–and bonus points for romance fantasy books.
  2. Book Binge. These three women blog about their passion for romance novels.
  3. RipMyBodice.com. The three women here write reviews of romance novels and don’t take themselves too seriously.
  4. Babbling About Books, and More. Not only does KB babble about romance novels, she also has fun with words and silly photos.
  5. Gossamer Obsessions. This blogger offers an enjoyable breakdown of the cast of characters and the traditional romance novel devices used in the reviews here.
  6. Racy Romance Reviews. Here you’ll find a philosophy professor who reads romance novels and blog about the books themselves and the genre.
  7. ReadingAdventures. Romance and historical fiction are found on this blog.
  8. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. These two smart women review romance novels and give them a grade from A+ to F.

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure

If you like your books a little out of this world, then check out these blogs that feature science fiction, fantasy, and adventure.

  1. BestScienceFictionStories.com. Science fiction short stories and novelettes are reviewed on this blog.
  2. Exclusively Books. Written by a group of Latter-day Saint women, these books are mostly fantasy and adventure. The ladies warn of bad language and adult content, too.
  3. Stuff as Dreams are Made On…. Chris enjoys reading and reviewing fantasy, sci-fi, YA, and even a bit of general fiction.
  4. Bold. Blue. Adventure.. Sci-fi and fantasy are the favorites here, along with a good dose of YA and graphic novels.
  5. The Book Pirate. While not all the books reviewed here are about pirates, it doesn’t hurt if they feature zombies, fantasy, or sea monsters.
  6. The Book Zombie. Eerie seems to be the tone of most of these books, which may include young adult and adult literature.
  7. bombastic bagman. These book reviews tend to fantasy and alternate realities. Comics and mysteries that overlap with fantasy are also represented.
  8. Bibliophile Stalker. This blog looks at books from the speculative fiction and fantasy genre.
  9. SciFiGuy.ca. SciFiGuy reviews focus on urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and speculative fiction and fantasy.
  10. The Galaxy Express. Science fiction romance is the genre de jour at this blog.

Graphic Novels and Comic Books

It’s time to take this genre seriously, and these blogs are a great way to learn about it.

  1. Jog – The Blog. Manga, old-fashioned comics, and graphic novels are just a few of the genres reviewed here.
  2. The Weekly Crisis. Get comic book reviews here from four reviewers that include Moments of the Week, Cover of the Week, manga, and more.
  3. Warren Peace Sings the Blues. Comics of all varieties, including manga, are reviewed here.

Unique Genres

From book covers to regional authors to terrible books, these blogs offer a perspective that’s a bit different from the rest.

  1. The Book Design Review. This blog proves you can judge a book by its cover. This blog is all about the design of books.
  2. Reading Local: Portland. Focusing on the literary world in Portland, Oregon, this blog features reviews of books by Portland authors as well as other news and events in the area.
  3. In Spring it is the Dawn. This Canadian blogger has been living in Japan for about 8 years and reviews a steady stream of books from Japanese writers or set in Japan.
  4. YA Fabulous. This blog reviews and discusses young adult books with GLBT themes.
  5. Awful Library Books. Two librarians have made it their mission to weed out terrible books that are actually on library shelves. See which ones they select on this blog.
  6. Judge a Book by its Cover. In the vein of awful books, this blog features books with really bad covers. Beware of some adult content.

Mixed Bag of Genres

These blogs cover a wide variety of genres and even stretch out into reviews of other mediums such as movies.

  1. Blog | Book Dads. This blog highlights books about dads and their relationships with their children. Adult, young adult, and children’s literature are all reviewed.
  2. Books, Movies and Chinese Food. Most of the books reviewed by this grad student are Christian fiction.
  3. it’s dark in the dark. This blog features scary books and rates them on creepy factor, suspense factor, weird erotic tension factor, and funny and/or strange factor.
  4. Dreadlock Girl Reads. Dreadlock Girl reviews everything from literary fiction to non-fiction to movies.
  5. S. Krishna’s Books. World literature book reviews are featured along with music and photography on this blog.
  6. The Bottom of Heaven. While book reviews are a large part of this blog, it also shares plenty of information and insight about black culture in America.It seems that a large number of book fanatics love to write about what they’ve read almost as

5 REASONS TO PUT ORIGINAL ART IN A PLACE OF BUSINESS

Published June 16, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist
  • Displaying original art by local artists shows community support and responsibility and helps set the tone and culture of a place of work.
  • Original art plays a central role in indorsing the professional look of a business or corporate organization.
  • Original art is very impressive to customers when entering a business, school or company.
  • When a business or workplace creates a sense of visual balance and harmony, it encourages resourcefulness and inspires the best possible output from its visitors and workers.
  • Carefully placed original art can highlight the natural beauty of a building.

Now the real question is how do you present these ideas to business owners? Well, the best way in in person and NOT at their busiest time of the day! Call and make an appointment, or simply drop by and ask to leave some information about you and your art. Again, if it is a restaurant, do notdo this during their breakfast, lunch or dinner hour! If necessary, do some studying of the business to find out when their busy times are. Eating-places are very popular places to put art, because you don’t have to tailor the art to the type of business. For instance, a flower shop most likely will want florals, a car sales place will want vehicles, a pet store or veterinarians office, most usually cats and dogs, maybe birds, etc.

What type of information do you leave with the business owner or manager? Keyword here is “Brief”. A trifold double-sided brochure is best with about 7—10 photos of your work. Be sure to mention the five points above in it as well. Be sure your contact information is included.

Follow up the information in about a week and in that contact, try and set up an appointment with them to discuss, things like hanging, handling sales, etc.

Good Luck!

TIPS ON PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR ART

Published March 5, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Presentation is everything; especially on the internet where the only impression you can make is what is seen by the viewer. A poor presentation can make the difference between getting a sale or not and being accepted into an on-line show or a show requiring submissions on disc. For the judges to get an accurate idea of your art, the image you send must match the colors in the art and be sharp and clear.

For many of us, taking a good photograph of our art is hard. Before sending off the photo of your art your art, make sure that the size of the photo agrees with the directions given by the prospectus, and that the image is sharp, clear and not distorted. Then check the colors in the photo against the actual art to make sure they are correct. I am not a professional photographer, but I do manage to take credible photos of my work without paying a pro to do it for me. Even if you are only making a record of your work, you will want it to be as close to the original as possible. Here are a few tips that might help those of us who are “photo challenged”:

LIGHTING

Take the photo in an area that doesn’t cast shadows or cause glares on the work. Personally, I prefer to take my photos outside on a clear day using indirect sunlight, but since most art will be displayed indoors, indoor lighting is also okay. I don’t use an elaborate set up; I have simply put nails into the Garage Door at the appropriate height for the camera and then I rest the painting’s stretcher bars on the nails. If you are using paper or canvas sheets, you can attach the sticky stuff teachers use to hang students artwork on the wall to the back of the art (after making sure your art is level).

Check that the sun isn’t glaring on the work so there are no shinny surfaces to reflect back at the camera lens. If you are working with watercolor or pastel, then take the photo before you frame it because glass will reflect back at the camera. I also take the photo before I varnish acrylics to cut down on the glare caused by the varnish. Oils are naturally shiney so be extra careful no bright light shows in the photo.

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If your camera is set up to put a polarizing filter over the lens, it may be worth your while to buy one, especially if you work in Oil paints or other naturally shiney mediums. If your camera won’t take a filter, you can try the “poor man’s sub” and buy a pair of polarizing sun glasses and put them in front of your lens. The only real issue I see with this cheap fix is that the lens on the sunglasses may not be flat and so create a bubble effect on the photo.

DISTORTION

In order to avoid distorting the image, the art should be hung on a flat surface. If the final photo is wider at the bottom than the top or vice versa, perhaps your hanging surface isn’t flat and you will need to take corrective action in your photo-editing program or find another surface.

Aim your camera squarely at the art. It helps to use a tripod; you can align the front two feet of the tripod squarely with the art so that you aren’t taking the photo at an angle that will cause one side of the art to be larger than the other. If necessary, use a tape measure to make sure the feet are an equal distance from the art, and check that the camera isn’t twisted on the tripod. A tripod also helps to prevent blurring is caused by your hand shaking. Most of us don’t think our hand moves when pushing the button, but it does.

Use a small hand level to ensure that the camera is not angled either down or up when taking the photo as this will also cause distortion. A laser pointer (your pets toy is adequate) laid alongside the lens when measuring will also help you to line up your lens on your art.

CAMERAS

You don’t need an expensive camera just to take photos of your art. Canon makes an excellent quality digital camera for under $300 and it is very user friendly. As a plus, the newer models also take video so you can use the video setting to record art shows or yourself when creating the art, and then upload to Facebook, U-tube and other social network sites.

However if you are planning to make large-size reproductions of your work then a good SLR camera should be on your list. SLR stands for single-lens reflex. This type of camera allows you take enormous photos, which translate well into prints as large as 48 x 60 without blurring.

The newer smart phones also take adequate photos if all you want is a good photo of your art and don’t intend to use the photo to make prints to sell. Unfortunately, they don’t take a photo with enough pixels to be useful for full size prints. Someday, maybe, but not quite yet.

CAMERA SETTINGS

When taking the initial (raw) photo of your work, be sure to set your camera to take fine or large files and take at least 3 exposures of each artwork.

EDITING PHOTOS

I find the least expensive and easiest to use photo-editing program, is Adobe Photoshop Elements. It has tutorials and is easy to learn. Before making any additional copies, check for any corrective actions that you need to take; you can then make additional copies at different resolutions.

Look first for distortions. Photoshop makes it easy to correct the distortions caused by not having your camera lined up correctly with the artwork.

Next, check the contrast of the photo against the original if is dull then increase the contrast if necessary.

The next step is to check the actual color and correct it if the image shows too much blue, green or red.

Your last step should be to crop the photo of your work so that only the work shows. I usually also crop a very tiny piece of the edges as well to keep the curve on the edge of my canvas from appearing as a distortion. Then save the photo as a PDF so you can go back to it in its original form. Save it again as a tiff image and then as a jpeg. You will be working with the jpeg format, but this format does develop a slight blurring or distortion when saved multiple times.

YOU NEED THREE TYPES OF JPEG IMAGES FOR THE WEB

Image No 1should be a large resolution image (between 1 and 2 MB between 300 – 600 pixels per inch) POD sites usually demand a large high-resolution image to make prints; usually between 38,000 and 60,000 pixels on a side.

Image No 2should be a medium/low resolution image to put on your website and submit to prospective galleries or anyone else who needs to see your work. This size is (between 1 – 2 KB at 72 pixels/inch or adjust the widest side to be between 7 and 10 inches) and will be large enough to allow the viewer to see the art. It is too small to encourage attempts to pirate your image because it probably won’t make prints any larger than a 5 x 7 without blurring, but you can add digital watermarking with Elements or other watermarking programs.

Image No 3should be  small image (between 200 and 125 pixels at the widest edge) for thumbnail images and record keeping; for those of you who prefer sizes given in inches, the widest edge should be no more than 4”.

Keep a photo log with both high- and low- resolution photos of your work separately from your desktop computer; the new flash drives are excellent for this or you can use one of the on-line backup programs. A working copy can be kept on your desktop or tablet but be sure and back up your files each month onto a separate disc or jump drive. Keep the back-up copies of these items in a separate place and up-date your back-ups monthly. There are also some cloud features that will enable you to automatically back-up your digital files (for a price). While these are handy to use, if you are late paying the monthly fee, how do you reclaim your images? Once your records are lost due to computer crashes, natural disaster or any other reason they are gone. I consider it vitally important to have an off-line storage of my art photos. Good Luck!

Other Links:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvR7fCQLQyIis a video tutorial you may also find helpful.

SUMMARY

Presentation is everything; especially on the internet where the only impression you can make is what is seen by the viewer. A poor presentation can make the difference between getting a sale and being accepted into an on-line show. I am not a professional photographer, but I do manage to take credible photos of my work without paying a pro to do it for me. Here are a few tips that might help those of us who are “photo challenged”:

What Classifies A Book As Adventure?

Published February 27, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The first question asked when a writer sends a manuscript to an agent, a publisher or a self publishing site, is “What genre is it?” Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. This year, I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres, so I will be presenting these blogs genre by genre over the next few weeks. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.

Adventure fiction refers to fiction that puts the lead characters in danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitement. This is a very short Category because most fiction has elements of adventure so most adventure books are covered in genres.

Traditional Western:Western fiction is a genre set in the American Old West frontier from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century. Well-known writers of Western fiction include Zane Grey from the early 20th century and Louis L’Amour and John McCord from the mid-20th century.A traditional western includes cowboys, Native Americans, covered wagons, and women in aprons with shotguns.The genre peaked around the early 1960s, largely due to the popularity of televised Westerns such as Bonanza. Readership began to drop off in the mid- to late 1970s and has reached a new low in the 2000s. Most bookstores, carry few Western fiction books. Nevertheless, several Western fiction series are published monthly, such as The Trailsman, Slocum, Longarm and The Gunsmith. The genre has seen the rumblings of a revival with the advent of romances in western settings by authors such as Linda Lael Miller and Joanna Lindsey.

Treasure Hunting: treasure hunting fiction has a great deal in common with both detective fiction and straight adventure fiction. The hunter must solve a series of clues to find the treasure A good treasure hunting novel delivers thrills and a rising excitement as clues are worked out and uncovered.  There is also opposition from rivals as well. And of course, the hunt has a successful conclusion, or an adequate reason is given why it does not.

What Is Science Fiction?

Published February 20, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The first question asked when a writer sends a manuscript to an agent, a publisher or a self publishing site, is “What genre is it?” Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. This year, I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres, so I will be presenting these blogs genre by genre over the next few weeks. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.

Science fiction or speculative fiction (often shortened to SF, sci-fi or scifi) is a genre dealing with notions such as futuristic science, technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations, and has been referred a “literature of ideas,” or future casting. It usually avoids the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, science fiction stories were intended to have a grounding in science-based facts or theories prevalent at the time the story was created; a description now limited to hard science fiction.

Dystopian / Utopian:utopia and its derivative, dystopia, are genres exploring social and political structures. Utopian fiction shows a setting agreeing with the author’s ideology, and has attributes of different reality to appeal to readers. Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite. It shows a setting that completely disagrees with the author’s ideology. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take, depending on its choices. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres and arguably are a type of speculative fiction. Apocalyptic Science Fictionis a sub-genre of Dystopian Science Fiction covering the end of civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. Post apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain.

Space Opera:is a subgenre of science fiction emphasizing space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, risk-taking, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it frequently involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music but was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic stories in several genres. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and they continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, and video games. The most notable was probably produced by E.E. “Doc” Smith.

Cyberpunk:Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction taking place in a future setting. It tends to focus on society as “high tech low life” showcasing advanced technological and scientific accomplishments, such as information technology and cybernetics, creating a breakdown or radical change in the social order. Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporation’s in a near-future Earth. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but feature extraordinary cultural turmoil and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors. Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir writers and often uses modus operandi from this genre of detective fiction.

Military Science Fiction:is a subgenre of science fiction that uses science fiction technology, mainly weapons, for military purposes. Its principal characters are generally members of a military organization involved in military activity. The action sometimes takes place in outer space or on a different planet or planets. It is found in literature, comics, film, and video games. A detailed description of the conflict, the tactics and weapons used, and the role of a military service and the individual members of that military organization generally forms the basis for a work of military science fiction. The stories often use events of actual past or current Earth conflicts, with countries being replaced by planets or galaxies of similar characteristics, battleships replaced by space battleships and certain events changed so that the author can induce what might have occurred differently.

Hard/Soft Science Fiction: is a category of science fiction marked by an emphasis on scientific accuracy. The terms were first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.’s “Islands of Space” in Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term Soft Science Fiction, formed by comparison to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. It was created to emphasize the distinction between the “hard” (natural) and “soft” (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl thinks that both terms are ways of describing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.

Alternate History:or alternative history (British English), sometimes abbreviated as AH, is a genre of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently than as history recorded them. These stories are set in a world in which history has deviated from history as it is generally known; more simply put, alternate history asks the question, “What if history had developed differently?” Most works in this genre are set in real historical contexts, yet feature social, geopolitical or industrial settings that developed differently or at a different pace from our own. This subgenre comprises fiction in which a change or point of divergence happens that causes history to diverge from our own.

Steampunk: is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that refers to works set in an era where steam power is still widely used;19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West, where steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power in the same way. Although its literary origins are sometimes identified with the cyberpunk genre, it has marked differences. Inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne are often included. Steampunk encompasses alternate history-style elements of past technology like dirigibles or mechanical computers combined with futuristic technology like multi-function goggles, giant robots and ray guns. Steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian. It most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.

Romantic Science Fiction:This genre seems to be written almost exclusively for and by women. In most cases, it is simply a love story set in the future or a distant planet, although it can be set in the past or an alternate world as well. It centers more on relationships than on science, and any futuristic or fantasy elements take second place to the relationships. Usually there is no attempt to explain why the technology works; only its actions are described. A flying car or spaceship is simply said to go places, time travel simply happens without any attempt to describe the scientific method by which this might work. Probably the two most recognizable writers of romantic science fiction are Jayne Castle’s (AKA Krenz) books on Harmony and Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series (now a TV series). Romantic Sci-Fi includes the sub-genre of Romantic Fantasy (virtually the same except magic is used rather than technology). A fuller description of this sub genre can be found in the Romance category.

What Is A Thriller?

Published February 13, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The first question asked when a writer sends a manuscript to an agent, a publisher or a self publishing site, is “What genre is it?” Several Years ago, I wrote a blog defining the many Art Genres. This year, I decided to try the same with writing. I searched the internet and pulled up most of these definitions from Wikipedia, and various other internet sources who defined writing genre. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it might help my fellow writers when asked by a publisher to define the genre of the book they have just written. There is an enormous amount of information about book genres, so I will be presenting these blogs genre by genre over the next few weeks. I limited myself to fiction. I may do a similar chart for non-fiction later though. I got the idea for the chart from a Facebook post, but I made some changes and additions to what was there. Please feel free to share or add to it.

Thriller is a broad genre having numerous subgenres FYI: it is not the same genre as a mystery. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the mood of fear and suspense they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of excitement, surprise and anxiety. A thriller generally has a more villain driven plot than adventure. This list is my no means all inclusive.

Eco Thriller:Eco thrillers are normally set around a threat (natural or man-made) to the environment, and combine action, adventure with maybe a touch of mystery. They are fast-paced and usually laced with science. The lead character must find a way to negate the threat.

Supernatural Thriller: Supernatural fiction or supernaturalist fiction involves plot devices or themes that contradict Ideas and assumptions commonplace in the natural world. It is very closely aligned with Horror though usually in a more inhibited fashion. This genre brings in an otherworldly element, Often the hero and/or villain has (or at least claims) some psychic ability.

Historical Thriller: This genrediffers from other thrillers in that is set in the past, usually prior to 1960.It may also contain elements of espionage, military or other genres but should not be confused with political/conspiracy thrillers which occur in a more contemporary setting.

Medical/Psychological Thrillers: I have lumped these to together because they draw from similar backgrounds. In Medical Thrillers, a doctor’s life is often threatened (because they helped a certain patient), or a mysterious (usually artificial) disease has broken out. Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen are leaders in this subgenre. Sandra Wilkenson’s novel Death On Call is an early example. (sometimes the authors are doctors themselves.) Psychological subgenre tales build up slowly, with ever-increasing doubt and tension, until some explicit action/violence takes place, usually at the finale.

Political/Conspiracy Thriller:This genre is very similar in some ways to the Environmental Thriller. Usually the hero or heroine confronts a large, well organized company, government dept., or group. The threat posed by this group is only perceived by the protagonist. A great deal of the plot revolves around a single individual defeating the above groups while encountering disbelief from everyone around him/her. Perplexing forces pull strings in the life of the lead character — if not throughout the world. Usually the hero becomes a threat to the conspirators, and must escape their wrath. Often these stories depict the aberrations caused by secrecy, and the corrupting influence of power.

Espionage or Spy Thriller: As a genre, spy fiction is thematically related to the adventure novel and involves espionage as an important background or plot device. It emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. The genre was given new impetus by the increase of fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War II. It continued to develop during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence of rogue states like ISIS, international criminal organizations, global terrorist networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage as convincing threats to Western societies.

Techno Thriller:A techno-thriller is a hybrid genre drawing plot elements from science fiction, thrillers, spy fiction, action, and war novels. They include a lopsided amount of technical details on their subject matter; only hard science fiction tends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various practices (espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the of that exploration.

Military Thriller: the focus of this genre is on the development of the crisis, and the detailing of the military action. an aggressive move by the Bad Guys forces the Good to wage large-scale combat to stop them. This can also be found on a smaller scale with many novels set in WWII or prior. However, these are cross genre novels coinciding with Historical thrillers.

Legal Thriller:the plot usually is centered around courtroom action, with a lawyer as the protagonist. This is not to be confused with a Courtroom Drama. In a courtroom drama, the reader often doesn’t know who the villain is until the climax of the story. In a legal thriller, the reader generally knows who the bad guy is from the beginning and the action focuses on whether justice is served.

TIPS FOR SHIPPING ORIGINAL PAINTINGS OR PHOTOGRAPHS

Published February 6, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Congratulations! You sold some art from your web site! Now you must figure out how to get it to your buyer. Unless you are hand delivering your work, you will need to ship it to the buyer. To reach your buyer in a condition that does credit to you as an artist there is a real need to select both your shipping method and your packing container carefully. For packing you are going to need a lot of tape, foam core board, acid-free paper, acid-free plastic bags and foam peanuts. To pack paintings for photographs, first, wrap the art with acid-free paper and tape it together so it doesn’t move. What is acid free paper and why do you need it? Acid-free paper has a pH factor of seven or above. The pH scale is a standard for measuring the acidity or alkalinity of all kinds of products, including paper. Before 1860, paper was usually made of rag or cloth stock and high-end expensive stationary is still made this way. After 1860, paper mills began using ground up wood and mixing it with acids and bleach to save costs, all of which have a low pH factor and react with air and water to produce acidic composites. Why use acid free paper? The acidic compounds found in non-acid free paper can migrate to your art and cause decay and damage. In the short time it now takes to ship to your buyer acidic compounds probably won’t cause much damage; however, they may still leave a residue on your work that can cause it to deteriorate over time especially if your buyer doesn’t clean the work immediately after it arrives.

If the art is unframed canvas or sheet paper, you will need to make sure that it isn’t bent or folded by rough handling during shipping. In 2012, Popular Mechanics conducted an experiment to see how packages were  handled by Fed-Ex, UPS and the Postal Service. According to their published results, the package was dropped around three times and flipped an average of seven times per trip. Putting “Fragile” or “This End Up” did NOT increase the care handling the package got; in fact messages like this seemed to make no difference at all. Not that most of these delivery people will be deliberately be careless, but then there wasthat internet video of one of them tossing a flat screen TV over a fence when he couldn’t open the gate… How do you avoid this happening to your expensive art? After wrapping your work in the acid-free paper mentioned above, add a tough, lightweight reinforcement to help prevent bending (extra thick cardboard or foam core works) on each side of the art. Then slip artwork in an acid-free plastic bag to help make it water resistant, and wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap and tape so it won’t move. Why do you need to use an acid-free bag when you are already using acid free paper? When the plastic bag touches your acid-free paper, acid migration can still occur. Acid migration is what happens when acid from one object touches another. Acid migration is particularly dangerous to photographs. Chances are the acid-free paper you bought can still be contaminated by non-acid free plastic because the paper doesn’t have a seal. The acid free bag will seal off the art from contamination by the rest of the packing materials and help prevent water damage. Next, make sure you fill the entire packing container with shipping peanuts or bubble wrap so there is no extra space.

Should You Ship Art With A Frame?Personally, I don’t ship framed art unless it is for a show; and I avoid shipping anyart that is under glass, because if the package is damaged during shipping, the frame itself  could survive  unbroken yet your art could be ruined by broken glass sliding around and cutting or scratching it. If you mustship framed art, then protect the corners with edge guards and substitute plexi for glass. If the buyer wants glass, request that they take it to a framer in their area and get it changed. The other solution would be to ship to a local framer in the buyer’s area and arrange for the buyer to pick up the art after it has been framed.

Since the above study by Popular Mechanics didn’t find much difference in handling packages with the three most popular shipping companies, you need to decide to whether use them or employ a company that specializes in shipping art, which could be expensive. However, if you are willing to pay for it, the specialty company may even pack your art for you.

What About Shipping Insurance?Whatever shipping method you use, I  recommend insuring your package and including shipping confirmation. I highly advocate you ensure your art for the full price in case you must refund the money to the buyer if it doesn’t arrive intact. A high-value insurance cost does usually ensure that the shipping company will take more care of your work because they don’t want to pay damages.

Tracking The Package.If you are shipping inside the U.S., then you should always get shipping confirmation. Unfortunately, I did discover when I shipped a painting to a buyer in Canada that I could only track it as far as the border, so I don’t recommend paying extra for confirmation if you are shipping out of the U.S. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/301/~/mail—tracking-lost-or-missing-packages, CBP doesn’t have the abilityto track packages across the border. Occasionally a border station will hold a package for another government agency but we regular folks are just SOL. That painting I shipped across the border into Canada? The cost of shipping was almost as much as the buyer paid for it!

Speaking for myself, I now include a note on my website that I don’t ship originals out of the U.S. due to the high costs.

For more information on this subject, I can recommend: https://reddotblog.com/how-to-ship-paintings-a-step-by-step-guide-for-artists-and-galleries/

 

Good Luck!

Gail

 

 

Buyers Instructions For Displaying Art

Published February 4, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

This is not actually aimed at painters; it is a set of instructions to send home with someone who has purchased a painting from you.

The room temperature and humidity settings in museums are controlled to levels best suited for the long-term preservation of works of art, while at the same time allowing for human comfort. Ideally, these temperatures will be kept between 19 to 21°C and relative humidity between 40% and 55% with a disparity no greater than 5% in a day. In a private home, it probably will be impossible to duplicate museum conditions, so environmental stability must be closely approached by carefully choosing the locations where Art is displayed or stored.

When selecting a good location to display your works of art, these factors should be kept in mind:

  • Interior rooms will have more stable situations than rooms with outside walls.
  • Locations open to the outside (i.e. rooms where windows are routinely left open) will suffer from great rising or falling temperature relative humidity. At different times of the year, outer walls will be colder and damper than the interior walls of the same room.
  • Areas above or directly bordering heat sources such as radiators, hot air vents, or fireplaces may be either hot or dry or cold and damp and suffer from wide variations in temperature and humidity.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms are usually too warm and damp for hanging works of art.
  • Attics are often poorly insulated and result in unstable temperatures.
  • Basements are often cool and far too damp.
  • Gaps left between each object and the wall will prevent unnecessary cooling and dampness.

Minimizing Light Damage To Art

Light is required to look at art, but direct sunlight can damage some materials found in paintings and works of art on paper. Light can fade out colors, and cause paper and textiles to discolor or become brittle.

Light levels in museums are precisely measured to curtail the wear and tear caused by light. In our homes, however, light intensities are usually higher than in museums. Light levels are measured in lux. Suggested levels in museums are 50 lux for works of art on paper and 150 lux for paintings. Direct sunlight could typically generate 20,000 lux or more – hundreds of times the recommended level.

In addition to keeping the light levels low in a museum, the ultraviolet (UV) portion from any light source will have been eliminated. The UV portion of the spectrum is also the most damaging to works of art. Fortunately, it is not part of the visible light we need for viewing, and is easily removed.

Tips For Home Displaying Your New Art In Your Home Or Office

When hanging works of art in your home, there are many things that you can do to minimize the damage caused by light.

  • In the room where the hart will hang, fit windows with blinds or curtains that are kept closed when the room is not in use.
  • Position your art so that it will not be exposed to direct light. For instance, the wall opposite a window will get direct light, while the wall beside a window will not.
  • Do not use “picture lights” designed to attach to frames. In addition to over-lighting, “picture lights” cause local heating that is damaging to works of art.
  • Use incandescent light with no UV component, to light works of art. Select low wattage bulbs and use a dimmer switch to set the lighting at the minimum level that allows you viewing comfort.
  • If fluorescent lights are used, UV filtering should be incorporated either as sleeves or as lenses over the source of the light, or by using UV absorbing Plexiglas to glaze the works.
  • Watercolour or gouache and created or printed on poor quality paper are particularly at risk and quickly damaged and should not be displayed on a permanent basis.

To Recap:

  • Hang your new art in an interior room rather than a porch, sunroom or bathroom.
  • Hang your new art on an inside wall.
  • Don’t hang your art over the fireplace or radiator or next to an air vent.
  • Don’t hang your art in the Basement, Bathroom or in the kitchen next to a stove or dishwasher.
  • Don’t hang your art in a place where direct sunlight will shine on it.This is not actually aimed at painters; it is a set of instructions to send home with someone who has purchased a painting from you.

    The room temperature and humidity settings in museums are controlled to levels best suited for the long-term preservation of works of art, while at the same time allowing for human comfort. Ideally, these temperatures will be kept between 19 to 21°C and relative humidity between 40% and 55% with a disparity no greater than 5% in a day. In a private home, it probably will be impossible to duplicate museum conditions, so environmental stability must be closely approached by carefully choosing the locations where Art is displayed or stored.

    When selecting a good location to display your works of art, these factors should be kept in mind:

    • Interior rooms will have more stable situations than rooms with outside walls.
    • Locations open to the outside (i.e. rooms where windows are routinely left open) will suffer from great rising or falling temperature relative humidity. At different times of the year, outer walls will be colder and damper than the interior walls of the same room.
    • Areas above or directly bordering heat sources such as radiators, hot air vents, or fireplaces may be either hot or dry or cold and damp and suffer from wide variations in temperature and humidity.
    • Kitchens and bathrooms are usually too warm and damp for hanging works of art.
    • Attics are often poorly insulated and result in unstable temperatures.
    • Basements are often cool and far too damp.
    • Gaps left between each object and the wall will prevent unnecessary cooling and dampness.

    Minimizing Light Damage To Art

    Light is required to look at art, but direct sunlight can damage some materials found in paintings and works of art on paper. Light can fade out colors, and cause paper and textiles to discolor or become brittle.

    Light levels in museums are precisely measured to curtail the wear and tear caused by light. In our homes, however, light intensities are usually higher than in museums. Light levels are measured in lux. Suggested levels in museums are 50 lux for works of art on paper and 150 lux for paintings. Direct sunlight could typically generate 20,000 lux or more – hundreds of times the recommended level.

    In addition to keeping the light levels low in a museum, the ultraviolet (UV) portion from any light source will have been eliminated. The UV portion of the spectrum is also the most damaging to works of art. Fortunately, it is not part of the visible light we need for viewing, and is easily removed.

    Tips For Home Displaying Your New Art In Your Home Or Office

    When hanging works of art in your home, there are many things that you can do to minimize the damage caused by light.

    • In the room where the hart will hang, fit windows with blinds or curtains that are kept closed when the room is not in use.
    • Position your art so that it will not be exposed to direct light. For instance, the wall opposite a window will get direct light, while the wall beside a window will not.
    • Do not use “picture lights” designed to attach to frames. In addition to over-lighting, “picture lights” cause local heating that is damaging to works of art.
    • Use incandescent light with no UV component, to light works of art. Select low wattage bulbs and use a dimmer switch to set the lighting at the minimum level that allows you viewing comfort.
    • If fluorescent lights are used, UV filtering should be incorporated either as sleeves or as lenses over the source of the light, or by using UV absorbing Plexiglas to glaze the works.
    • Watercolour or gouache and created or printed on poor quality paper are particularly at risk and quickly damaged and should not be displayed on a permanent basis.

    To Recap:

    • Hang your new art in an interior room rather than a porch, sunroom or bathroom.
    • Hang your new art on an inside wall.
    • Don’t hang your art over the fireplace or radiator or next to an air vent.
    • Don’t hang your art in the Basement, Bathroom or in the kitchen next to a stove or dishwasher.
    • Don’t hang your art in a place where direct sunlight will shine on it.

TO DONATE ART, OR NOT TO DONATE…THAT IS THE QUESTION

Published January 27, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The phone rings, and some well-meaning fundraiser on the other end wants you to donate a work of art to their charity auction. Usually this goodhearted fundraiser will promise you a tax deduction, great exposure, enhanced publicity, and public exposure if you agree; sadly, most volunteer fundraisers don’t know what they are talking about as far as the actual benefits to you as an artist. Should you do it? This really depends on several things; how much do you support the cause itself? Are the benefits going to out-weigh the costs?

Well lets deal with the tax deduction benefit first. It’s not great. Generally speaking, you as the artist are allowed to deduct only the cost of creation (materials, etc.) unless you have had an appraisal done by a qualified art expert. This is no problem if you are a big name artist whose art is going to bring in thousands of dollars to the charity because the charity will usually have the art appraised by their expert, which you can then attach to your taxes. However, if you are donating to your child’s school, your church, local hospital, etc. chances are the charity is not going to pay for this appraisal because they can’t afford it. Sometimes the charity is worthwhile (in fact most of the time), but unless they follow my rules for donation, what they are really doing is training whoever comes to their event to devalue my art and disrespect me as an artist. This may sound really harsh but it has been proven to be true.

The next two items typically promoted by fundraisers are “enhanced publicity and public exposure” which sounds really good, but what exactly are they actually talking about? A line in the auction catalog and announcing your name when they bring up your art? Please. Remember that most of the fundraisers who do telephone contacts are volunteers with no actual experience in the field. In other words they really have no idea what they are talking about. Enhanced publicity should mean your name in the newspaper, on the radio or on the charity’s Facebook page with a link to your website. Public exposure should mean that instead of just pointing to your art and asking for bids, the auctioneer talks about you, what awards you’ve won, how good the art is, etc. to encourage the audience to bid higher. He or she should also mention your web site, and the brochures advertising you as an artist, which should have been available when the bidders were doing the walk-through.

Predictably, at most of these charity events, they practically give away the art because the bidders are not art collectors, they are there to support the charity and are looking for two things—something they can afford to bid on to satisfy their tax deduction and to support the charity. A lot of them might be even comparing your fine art to canvas prints they can get at Walmart! Auctioning your art for much less than you normally sell for undermines the art market in general, and makes it seem as if the artist (you!) didn’t deserve the real selling price. Another negative side effect is to encourage your regular collectors and potential buyers to wait for events like this to buy your art cheaper than they could if they purchased it directly from you.

The “public exposure”thing is problematical; unless the auctioneer makes a really big deal about your art business and how valuable your work is, everyone present is likely to still think you have a nice hobby. I was once asked by my church to design a poster/logo for a women’s retreat. When the event coordinators husband saw it he remarked to her that it looked like a “real” artist had done it. I find that no matter how good the art I donate to their event is, my circle of acquaintances, people in my church, my children’s school and my family almost all still believe that my art is a hobby, so I don’t donate unless the charity agrees to the following ground rules:

  • I set a minimum price for original art. If it doesn’t sell, I get it back. This is absolutely essential because unless you have an appraisal from a respectable appraiser attached to the art; all that you can take off on your taxes is the cost of material used to create the art (the actual raw canvas and paint supplies).
  • I qualify the event by making sure there will be folks there who can actually afford to purchase the art (this means getting actual names of who will be attending or at least who has been invited), and that the event will be well publicized: this means actual ads on TV, Internet, and Radio, hopefully with a mention of the art you are donating.

Once charities learned I stuck to these rules, I found that the requests dropped off dramatically. This doesn’t mean that I am wholly against art donations; I do donate my art to worthwhile charities, but I find that it usually pays better tax deduction-wise to donate a good quality print than the original. If you donate a print, you can deduct the entire printing cost, framing and matting which is a much better deal for tax purposes. To sweeten the pot for prospective buyers, I do always sign prints that I donate, and make sure I tape information about myself, my website and the art to the back of the print.

An Indie Writer’s View of Amazon’s Print Platform

Published January 20, 2020 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

First off, this is an opinion editorial. It is strictly based on my own experiences with the new KDP platform. If you have a different opinion and experience, please feel free to express it. Maybe Amazon will finally pay attention to what we say if enough of us say it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that whoever designed Amazons new print program is either a complete idiot, or the program for switching previous customers of Create Space into Amazon’s print format is flawed. At first everythng looked alright; my books seemed to make the transistion easily, the price was right, etc.

Then I decided to update them with new covers and re-edit them because I had noticed a few typos and awkward sentances. Wow. When I tried to upload the edited manuscripts Amazon not only didn’t honor the ISBN Create Space had assigned my print books, it wanted new ones! That’s when the realtrouble began. I kept getting error messages back saying the ISBN used 1) was already assigned to another book, or 2) it wasn’t the right ISBN.

They were correct of course; because of the difficulty I had uploading the newly edited manuscripts, there aremultiple ISBNs assigned the books! Unable to decipher Amazon’s cryptic answers to my questions, I eventually listed all of the ISBNs assigned in the front of the books, hoping this would correct the issue.

This did correct the issues with my distribution site D2D, who, thank God, now has a print platform, which I can assure you is muchmore user friendly than anything available on Amazon’s KDP. It’s too bad that when it ate Create Space, Amazon didn’t also incorporate their user friendly program for setting up books. Instead Amazon replaced it with an extremely awkward system for creating covers which has only generic stuff (making any cover created on it look exactly like everyone elses), and in some cases, the same, because different writers chose the same cover from the few available! It’s also extremely difficult to find the spot where you can download the number of pages in your book to determine the amount of space you need for the spine.

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