Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category


 

Originally from Los Angeles, #LatinoLit Silvio Sirias is the true definition of the bilingual, bicultural author who weaves his words through many worlds. Sirias, whose novel MEET ME UNDER THE CEIBA won the 2007 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize for Best Novel, has written several novels based in Central America, a region that has influenced him even since he lived as an adolescent in Nicaragua. We had the chance to chat with Silvio about how he uses social media to promote his work and the advice he would give aspiring new writers.

 

Silvio Sirias

 

JRV: Has social media helped you promote your books and increase your book sales? What experiences have you had with social media?

Silvio Sirias: Social media—primarily Facebook and Twitter—played important roles during the virtual book tours of my two novels, BERNARDO AND THE VIRGIN (Northwestern University Press) and MEET ME UNDER THE CEIBA (Arte Público Press). Both Facebook and Twitter helped spread the word regarding the schedule and the host websites. With the assistance of Condor Book Tours—and I highly recommend authors sign-up with enthusiastic publicists, such as Nilki Benitez—our efforts translated into larger audiences and, of course, momentary spikes in sales.

Regarding my experiences in social media, I’m far more adept at attracting attention—positive, I hope—on Facebook. Twitter is still somewhat of a mystery to me, even though I have been participating for more than two years. I think this is because the discourse in Twitter is slightly encrypted, and the vast amount of useful information that travels over this medium overwhelms me. Nevertheless, I’ve met many kindred spirits on Twitter—a Latino and Latina literature niche-group, as you would say, Julio—and this alone has been worth the effort. What’s more, Twitter has helped educate me—and substantially—about the world of publishing.

JRV: Everyone is saying that the self-publishing movement will eventually become how every book is published. Will large publishing houses become extinct? Why or why not?

Silvio Sirias: I’m jumping on the self-publishing bandwagon myself with a collection of essays entitled LOVE MADE VISIBLE: ESSAYS AND REFLECTIONS ON WRITING, TEACHING, and OTHER DISTRACTIONS. The reason I’m going this route is because, although a fun read, I think, Love Made Visible would prove difficult to place with a traditional publisher. As a result, rather than spending months sending the manuscript around looking for a home, for this project self-publishing makes sense. I’m hoping that readers who have enjoyed my writings in the past will support me on this solo venture.

I don’t think, however, that the monumental surge in independent authors constitutes a death knell for traditional publishers. Undoubtedly, publishers were asleep at the wheel when the tidal wave hit them. But at the helm of the book industry are creative, quick-thinking people. After they recover from the shock they will redefine their place in the market and carry on. That said, though, the absolute dominance they had in the industry is already a thing of the past. The present situation in the publishing world, and the freedom it now allows authors, reminds me of the Spanish proverb: “En río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores” (There’s good fishing in troubled waters).

But the problem I foresee with self-publishing is that there will be an almost crushing amount of chaff. As practiced gatekeepers, traditional publishers have an advantage: their ability to choose what they consider to be wheat. (And in the major publishers’ view of the marketplace that means what sells, regardless of literary quality.)

JRV: What is the best advice you would give new authors about promoting your works and using social media? What works? What doesn’t?

Silvio Sirias: I bow to your expertise on this matter, Julio. I’d urge them to follow you on Twitter (@julito77). Other than that, I feel that the best writers can hope for is to make readers aware of their work. Convincing readers to make a purchase, that’s a different matter. What authors need to keep in mind is that in the developing world of social media one has to be persistent, astute, yet very, very judicious. Social media will help sell a few books, but only great writing will keep readers coming back.

To Become a Fan of Silvio on Facebook: Click here.

To Follow Silvio on Twitter: Click here.

 

Read Full Post »


Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Last Friday, award-winning author Raul Ramos y Sanchez, whose new book HOUSE DIVIDED launched in late January, made an appearance on CNN en español. Here is the subtitled video in case you misssed it. Yes, Raul, we LOVE your CUBANO accent! ¡VAYA!

Read Full Post »


Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Great news for my dear friend and award-winning author Raul Ramos y Sanchez. The author of HOUSE DIVIDED and AMERICA LIBRE will be on CNN en Español today, February 23, at 6pm EST/3pm PST.

He will be interviewed by CNN en Español anchor Juan Carlos López.

Juan Carlos López

You can watch the interview on DirecTV Channel 419 and Dish Network Channel 859.

¡Enhorabuena, Raul!

Read Full Post »


UPDATE, August 15, 2013: Since I wrote this piece two years ago, my positions have evolved. My latest Boston Globe opinion piece reflects them. Here is the piece: “Free Puerto Rico from political limbo.”

UPDATE, November 8, 2012: I wrote this piece close to two years ago, and I will be planning to write another one to share other reasons why the latest November 6, 2012 plebiscite really doesn’t do anything to the current status debate.

Americans will never accept a flag with 51 stars in it

As I begin to cover the island’s next status plebiscite—where Puerto Ricans will once again determine in a non-binding referendum their political future—I wanted to take a minute and provide my reasons for why my homeland will never be welcome as the 51st state of the Union. First, a little history:

  • The next plebiscite, which the US House approved last year but the Senate did not, would be the fourth time the colony of the United States, a US territory since 1898, will vote on its political status. In 1967, 60.7% of Puerto Ricans chose Commonwealth or Associated Free State status (established in 1952), while 39% chose statehood, and 0.6% chose independence. The 1967 plebiscite had a voter turnout of 66%. In 1993, 48.6% voted for Commonwealth status, 46.3% for statehood, and 4.4% for independence. The turnout in 1993 was 74%. In 1998, 0.06% chose Commonwealth, 0.59% chose Free Association (think the Cook Island’s relationship with New Zealand), 46.49% chose statehood, 2.54% chose independence, and 50.3% chose NONE OF THE ABOVE. The 1998 turnout was 71%.
  • The 1998 results were an anomaly because the pro-Commonwealth party, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) recommended to choose the NONE OF THE ABOVE option to its members as a form of protest since it felt that the criteria set forth by the then ruling pro-statehood party, the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico (PNP) was seen as unjust.
  • In 1991, Puerto Ricans voted on constitutional amendment referendum that, if passed, would have added an amendment to the Puerto Rican Constitution that allowed the following points (source): “the inalienable right to freely and democratically determine Puerto Rico’s political status; the right to choose a dignified, non-colonial, non-territorial status not subordinate to plenary powers of Congress; the right to vote for three alternatives; the right that only results with a majority will be considered triumphant in a plebiscite; the right that any status would protect Puerto Rico’s culture, language and identity, and continued independent participation in international sports events; the right that any status guarantees the individual’s right to American citizenship.” The referendum failed, 53% against and 47% in favor.

So now that you have the history of this politically charged debate (it has basically been the respective rallying cry between the PPD and the PNP), I still say this: In today’s America, a place where anti-Latino sentiment towards illegal immigrants and legal citizens has never been stronger, why would Puerto Rico, a proud country with ties to both the United States and Latin America, want to become the 51st state? Even if it did (and the current governor Luis Fortuño is a strong advocate of statehood), the America we know today would never welcome it.

Want proof? Let the videos talk. The first video is a Republican response to the House bill that passed last year that approved the next plebiscite. This video was produced BEFORE the House voted on its passage.

Ok, so you know have the facts, right? No? Then let’s have FOX NEWS’ Glenn Beck explain it to you. These videos were aired on Beck’s radio and TV shows the days before the passage of the House bill.

The newest expert on Puerto Rican politics

From his radio show:

Beck takes that radio message (and don’t get me started on its ignorance and misinformation) to his TV show the very same day. Hope you like the blackboards. Here is clip 1:

In clip 2, Beck continues:

So, you got it, class? You have everything you need? Like I tell my pro-statehood family members and friends, Glenn Beck’s America does not care nor does it want Puerto Rico as a state. If it were to become one, Puerto Ricans might as well be illegal immigrants in Arizona.

Kind of makes you long for the days of Ronald Reagan, doesn’t it?

To my fellow Puerto Ricans, stop believing the hype. Yes, we are proud. We are proud to be Puerto Ricans. And we are proud to be American citizens. We have defended the United States in wars since 1917. Yet, now in Glenn Beck’s America, where Tea Parties and Minutemen lead to senseless killings (see Brisenia Flores) and blatant racism, we will not be welcome in the US. Let us choose our own destiny: either free association or independence. The politics of the last 60 years are over in Puerto Rico. It is time to forge a new future that will truly set us free.

Read Full Post »


While covering the social media saga of author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, several of our readers had emailed us to see if we could find more information about famed Hollywood attorney Marty Singer, who was hired by Encanto Productions’ Ann Lopez to ensure that Valdes-Rodriguez cease from posting her opinions and thoughts on social media about the TV adaptation of her book, THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB.

According to its website, Singer’s firm, Lavely & Singer, is “one of the world’s premier talent-side entertainment litigation firms.” The profile on its website continues with this quote:

First, we represent clients against the tabloids and other media and internet outlets in disputes which arise prior to, as well as after, the publication of articles which defame the clients or invade their privacy. We also police the manner in which the names and likenesses of our clients are commercially exploited throughout the world. Second, we represent clients in the resolution and litigation of a broad range of entertainment industry disputes including copyright and other intellectual property disputes, contract breaches, and business torts.

It is clear that Brooklyn native Singer, nicknamed “The Mad Dog,” knows his stuff and understands that in the entertainment business, you got to be tough. His actions in representing Ann Lopez resulted in a rather detailed retraction and correction by Valdes-Rodriguez regarding her social media fight with Lopez. Occasionally, Valdes-Rodriguez has tweeted and posted some updates about her situation, but it is no longer as detailed or frequent, when compared to the period between December 23, 2010 until January 6, 2011.

Singer’s web page also includes a section called RAGING BULLS, where the following excerpts and quotes a 2000 Los Angeles Magazine article are included:

  • “What these lawyers possess is the proven ability to go all the way, to a jury trial if necessary, and play by whatever rules are laid down to save their client’s freedom or fortune in a civil or criminal matter. On the other hand, when one of them makes a phone call or sends a demand letter, arguments are often settled quickly … and quietly.”
  • “I’ll make one call to a publicist to check out a tip,” growls New York Post Page Six editor Richard Johnson, “and pretty soon I get a hand-delivered letter from Singer threatening all sorts of disasters and financial damages.”
  • “Marty is a heavy hitter, but he’s reasonable,” claims [National Enquirer Editor Steve] Coz in a careful tone. “He’s one of the few that ‘gets it’–his clients need the press every bit as much as the press needs his clients.”

As with any lawyer, Singer has his web critics, and some of his letters have been publicly shared online. Here are some of those links.

Yes, Singer is the real deal when it comes to a lawyer who will fight for a client. Which leads us to this question: What about the countless of social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook who shared their unfiltered opinions about Valdes-Rodriguez and Lopez? We saw tweets that used profanity to insult Lopez, Encanto and NBC from social media accounts who expressed their anger and passion about the story. Will Singer go after them as well? And if so, what recourse does he have to tell other social media accounts to stop their expression of opinion and free speech? We are in interesting times, when news and opinion flows as quick as a WIFI connection. Will printed hard copy legal letters still have its effect?

As you know, we declared Valdes-Rodriguez a “social media winner,” which is quite different from saying that she won her battle with Lopez. Valdes-Rodriguez was savvy and understood that if her message got out in social media, it would take a life of its own. We also believe that Lopez could have used social media to answer the allegations instead of doing business the old-fashioned Hollywood way. Sure, Singer has very likely won the legal war, but the little mini-battles that happened in the social media space were all won by Valdes-Rodriguez.

Read Full Post »


Out first short story submission to #LatinoLit was sent to us by author Gilberto González, a Philadelphia native who writes about life in his city. Born of Puerto Rican parents, González grew up in Philadelphia and understands fi rst-hand the racism and hardships facing the Latino community. “Going through high school was tough. Going through college was tougher,” he said. González did not let adversity slow him down. After receiving an associate degree of fi ne arts from Community College of Philadelphia, he continued his education at University of the Arts, where he earned a bachelor degree in graphic design. In 1989, González tapped his personal motivation and graphic design skills in order to create Cinco Graphics at the Taller Puertorriqueño, a professional training program that allowed high school students to prepare for college or the workforce in graphic design.

#LatinoLit Author Gilberto González

Damaris

by Gilberto González

One summer I walked out of my house, a typical Philadelphia row home. Here everyone knows your business because the walls are thin and everyone is always hanging outside. This day the Kensington streets were crowded when I noticed across the street this amazing girl. We looked at each other and smiled. She was half white and half Puerto Rican. She had light brown hair, very soft white skin, she was a little taller than me, slim, with a nice full ass. I normally would never walk up to a girl because I was shy, but for some reason, I decided to talk to her.

“Who are you?” I asked.

She replied, “Damaris, Maria’s sister.”

“Why are you here?”

She replied, “Babysitting my big sister’s kids for the summer.”

“Why are you so pretty?”

She just smiled and said, “Because my mother made me that way.”

After that first encounter at North Howard Street we were in separable. Every evening, once she finished babysitting her sister’s kids, I would walk her home. She lived about four blocks from my house on 5th and Berks.  Her family lived on the second floor of an apartment building. After a few weeks of walking her home, I became a fixture at her door stoop. When it was time for her to eat dinner we would get up and stand in the foyer of the building. With the doors closed we would start to kiss and the kiss would seem to last a long time. Her lips were soft, not too wet or too dry, and she covered my lips from top to bottom. From the moment she pressed her lips to mine it felt nice. It was one of the best kisses I ever had.

One evening she told me that she confessed to her mom that she loved me and that she wanted me to come into the house. That evening I was allowed upstairs. I met her family and they all seemed to like me. Her mom was Puerto Rican but her father, the white guy, did not live with them. Instead, her mom introduced this little black guy as her stepfather. So now I was introduced to everyone in the house and we sat to eat dinner.

A bit later, during dinner, I asked to use the bathroom. I walked up the dark hallway up to the third floor. Once inside, as I stood at the toilet, I looked around and I saw all the normal things including some picture frames. They were images of barns and the frames were the kind you would see in every household in Philadelphia. They were a pair of black, plastic vine frames. As I was standing in front of the toilet, I noticed a roach crawl behind one of pictures. I thought I’d do Damaris and her family a favor and kill the bug. So I hit the frame in attempts to kill the thing. But, when I hit the frame, roaches came out crawling in all directions. All this happened as I started to urinate. While in a panic about the bugs, I tried to keep control of my bladder. As the roaches ran all over the place I urinated on the rug, the sidewall, the top of the toilet; it was everywhere. Once the roaches disappeared and found new hiding places I began to clean the bathroom. As I was cleaning I soon noticed these dark rings in the toilet and that this was not the cleanest bathroom. As I left the bathroom I began to see bugs all over the house, and that did it for me. I soon realized that Damaris and her family were not the cleanest people in the world. If my mom saw a roach in our house she would scream and beat the bug to hell. I was not a snot but moms tend to pass on their practices to their children and being clean was something my mom beat into me until I got married.

After that, I could no longer look at my sweet-lipped honey without seeing bugs. I walked her home a few more times, but I would refuse to go into that apartment. She would get upset with me and cry. She would asked me  “if I was no longer interested in her.” or “Did you find someone else?”

She cried, and for weeks her family was angry with me. I could not tell her or her family the truth.  I could not tell them that her house filled with bugs grossed me out. Her family continually asked me why am I playing with her. But all I could say was, “Sorry.”

Copyright @2010 Gilberto González

To learn more about Gilberto, here is his story from MyLatinoVoice.

Read Full Post »


Ok, we were fooling around tonight with Klout since there is a very cool possibility that Klout CEO Joe Fernandez will soon grace this blog since we wanted to do an interview about Klout and online Latinos. So just for fun, we checked the Klout score for @julito77 (61). That account has been around Twitter since October, 2008, and it’s pretty solid score. Then we checked @fbnovel, the Twitter account for FRANKY BENÍTEZ and after just joined on January 2 of THIS YEAR, already has a Klout of 55. And it’s a book! Go figure.

Anyway, to honor the “old Twitter” and the “new Twiter,” we decided to add the following follows and amazing Twitter accounts to follow. The “old school” list is the original group of people who made Twitter so wonderful for us in late 2008, early 2009. They will be forever known as The Posse to me, my first REAL friends on Twitter (btw, I have met them all in person). The “new school” list recommends some great new profiles that we have met through @fbnovel.

 

“Old School” Profiles Profiles to Follow from @Julito77

  • @ginidietrich: Oh, Gini, life without you would be like Martin without Lewis Simon without Garfunkel and Donny without Marie. Enough said. There is no one funnier, spunkier, savvier, or smarter than you on Twitter. Follow at @ginidietrich.
  • @justinthesouth: The most giving person I know on Twitter. Justin is family. He also loves the Red Sox, and there is no one nicer online. Simple as that. Follow at @justinthesouth.
  • @adriandayton: I will be honest with you, Adrian had like 18K followers when I reached out to him.  I had like 100. I am go glad I did. Adrian is so intelligent, authentic, and knows social media. We have also been to a football game together and one of my dearest friends. You can follow Adrian at @adriandayton.
  • @EOCMello: The first time Jeff tweeted me, it was love at first Red Sox. Not only do we share a love for the Pats and the Sox, Jeff has always made me laugh and he truly understands the transparency that is social media. One of the best on Twitter. Follow at @EOCMello.
  • @sarahrobinson: She makes me laugh and she made me think about how best to use social media to be yourself. I love her Southern charm and wit. Follow her at @sarahrobinson.

“New School” Profiles to Follow from @fbnovel

  • @Eva_Smith: Eva has quickly and authentically become a loyal supporter and reader. Yeah, she is on the dedication page. By the way, she also knows social media well. Very well. Follow her at @Eva_Smith.
  • @M_Gideon: I love following new writers who are starting on twitter and this writer also has a very good story to share. Some very poignant prose. Follow at @M_Gideon.
  • @charlievazquez: Yup, this NY Boricua (WEPA!) is the co-prophet of #LatinoLit and his support and passion for what he does is a model to us all. Psst, he is also a GREAT poet and write. Follow at @charlievazquez.
  • @tcravet: Another part of the #LatinoLit literati, I am fascinated by this very talented Latina. Here’s to good books! Follow at @tcravet.
  • @chela816: An old Twitter friend who is a new Twitter friend and loyal reader and supporter of the novel. Like her bio says: she is a conquistadora. Good to have her on our side. Follow her at @chela816.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: