Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Quality of Print on Demand

I've been asked numerous times about Lightning Source, the POD printer we chose to print Laura's book. How is the quality? Why did I decide to go with a Print-On-Demand printer? Is it really as good as traditional printing? And why specifically did I choose Lightning Source over other, cheaper, POD printers?

First, I decided to go with Print-on-demand (POD) so I could buy only the number of books I needed at a time. I pay a little more per printed page than the traditional printing process, but I avoid having to store 1000 books in my living room while hoping they sell. Also, by printing only the number of books I need at a time, I save trees by saving paper. None of the books I publish will go to pulp.

Then I looked at the different POD businesses out there. I posted a question on the Publish L listserve, asking which POD company other small publishers prefer. Repeatedly I heard about Lightning Source, aka LSI. I read about the company and initially it looked good, but I needed more information to figure out if LSI was the best choice for Medusa's Muse. I ordered a book from a publishing company I knew used LSI.

When the book arrived, I studied it closely, examining the binding, the quality of the color on the cover, the feel of the paper, and the clarity of the printed word. Were there any places where the text faded or looked darker on a different page? Was the book-trim even? Were any of the pages ragged? Was there anything different about the LSI book from a traditionally printed book? The quality of the book was excellent and I was very happy to see that a POD book is just as professionally manufactured as any other book. Plus,the book I had ordered was a great read (Mouth of the Lion, by Lily Richards).

But when I discovered that LSI is an affiliate of Ingram, one of the biggest book wholesale companies in North America, I decided to definately go with LSI. Having access to Ingram can be difficult when you're an unknown book publisher with only one book in your catologue, so paying a little more to circumnavigate that barrier was worth the expense.

I signed the contract with LSI and set up an account. It was $50.00 for a more prominant list in the Ingram catologue for one month, and then $12.00 for the year. The fee to set up the book file in their system for printing was about $70.00. Each book is about $4.00 to print. Yes, I know I can earn more money if I go with someone cheaper, but the savings to my sanity is worth every penny. The book was available on, Barnes and Noble. com,, and, on launch date without me having to do any extra work. Book stores are happy to carry the book because it's easy for them to get it from Ingram. LSI customer service has been great and the staff has answered all my questions quickly.

If you want to see for yourself what a POD book looks like, order a copy of Laura's book. You can also go to the Casperian website to see more of their titles.

Any more questions, please send me a comment and I'll do my best to answer.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's Snowing!

I woke up this morning before the dawn, let the dog outside to pee, and saw the deck covered in snow. This is an exciting event in Ukiah, elevation 650. We get snow maybe once a year, and it will only last the morning. The dog ran back inside, looking cold and puzzled by the "not-rain." My daughter was getting up, so I ran into her room, grabbed her hand and led her to the doorway. She grinned and giggled. "It's snowing!"

Now at 9:00 am, it is still snowing and actually starting to stick to the street. I took a bunch of photos and tomorrow my daughter and Laura will use them to make a snow page in my daughter's scrap-book. My daughter keeps looking out the window and announces every few minutes, "Mom! It's still snowing!"

I know if you live in Montana or Michigan or Massachusetts, an inch of snow in one day is a nice day. But in this part of Northern California, where the temperature rarely dips below 20 F, snow is a major event with road and school closures. It's a winter treat and it cheered up a little girl whose been sick with a bad cold for almost a week and one sleep deprived mother too bleary eyed to do much more than watch the snow fall.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

traditional distribution or on-line?

A few days ago I received this comment from Jessica Powers:

Hey, Terena, I'm starting my own press this year--website not up yet but you can read the blog at I was wondering what you are doing for distribution. I've been going back and forth on whether I should even try for distribution since I want to focus my efforts on online sales. Curious about your thoughts.

Distribution is a tricky thing. How best do you maximize your opportunities for sales of your book without breaking the bank? There are so many choices out there for distribution, and each one has its own requirement. But first, you need to understand what distribution is, and is not. A distributor will help you market your book, for a price, if they agree to take it on as part of the catalogue they take to their clients, namely bookstores, to sell books. So having someone out there spreading the word about your book is great. And they want to make a profit, so odds are they'll try very hard to get your book sold. But it can be difficult to get a distributor to take your book, much like it's hard to get an agent. Look for a distributor who matches your niche for the best chance of being accepted. You probably already know this, Jessica, but I want to be sure anyone else reading understands as well.

I am not using a distributor. Instead, I'm using Ingram, which is a wholesaler, meaning they have the book in their catalogue and will fulfill the orders from bookstores, but I have to go out there and knock on the doors to get the orders coming. Ingram is my wholesaler because I decided to use Lightning Source, a print-on-demand printer, as my printer. They are a subsidiary of Ingram. Anyone who uses Lightning (LSI) can list their book in the Ingram catalogue. Most bookstores, including on-line retailers like Amazon and Powells, use Ingram to get their books. I pay a little more per book printed, but it's worth it to me for the ease at making the book available to retailers. You don't have to use Ingram or Baker and Taylor (the other big book wholesaler) to get your book listed on Amazon or the other on-line retailers, but it makes it easier. Amazon has their own program for publishers to get listed on their website. Powells also has a system, but when I read their information about submitting books for inclusion, it stated they prefer books listed with Ingram. I'll bet there is a more cost effective way than using print on demand with LSI and Ingram, but for sanity's sake, I decided to go this route.

I'm marketing Laura's book via the internet. If you are a niche publisher, then it's very easy to market on-line. The internet is full of websites and resources for people who will be interested in your book. I'm talking to everyone I can in the Orientation and Mobility field, as well as family members of blind people, support organizations for the blind, other Special Education and Rehab professionals, and Educators about Laura's book, as well as people who are blind, once the accessible version is available. We started with just O and M specialists and have been increasing the circle to other professionals who might be interested. I think of it as throwing a rock in a pond and watching the circles reverberate outward.

If you're a non-fiction or niche publisher, I don't think you need a distributor. The internet makes direct sales a thousand times easier.

Hope I answered your question. And remember, I'm still new at this too, so if other's have a different opinion, please let me know.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Social Networking

My daughter is home sick from school with a bad cold, so after cancelling a delivery and calling a friend to let her know I couldn't meet her today, I sat down on my computer and started surfing my Social Network sites. My favorite is Inked-In, created by the Burry Man Writer's Center, because it's a site created by writers for writers. Lots of great, creative people and writing. But as I was reading blog posts from other Inked-in subscribers, I wondered... is spending an hour commenting on blog-posts and chatting on-line with people really a good way to spend my time?

I have a site on MySpace, Tribe, and a profile on Metaxu Cafe. I am also a member of the Emerging Writer's Network. And then there is Good Reads, which is based on the books people are reading. A friend sent me a link to Linked In, a network focused on the web-links people have favorited and I keep hearing about how wonderful Facebook is. There are so many social networks out there, not to mention all the great blogs with more links to more sites where more people can share ideas and chat. I could literally spend all day surfing the net, talking to people. And when I'm tired of being myself, I can log onto Second Life and pretend to be someone else and meet other avatars while dancing to someones MP3 collection under a cyber moon.

All of this surfing has not been a complete waste of time. Most of what I've learned about book publishing and operating a small press comes from people I've talked to on list-serves and via blogs. I've read thousands of articles created by people I "met" through social network sites and most of those articles have been extremely helpful. Because I don't have the cash or ability to travel, most of the Medusa's Muse marketing strategy is on-line. But how do you measure the impact of the hours spent on line compared to book sales?

I like meeting people on-line; not for cyber affairs or virtual sex, but for swapping ideas and creative energy. The internet allows me to talk with people from Scotland who love writing as much as I do, East Coast small presses who help me problem solve or "talk shop," and other mom's from all over the world who need to stay creative like I do. Posting the submission call for the Punk Rock anthology on line has helped me find excellent writers who've embraced DIY, even without their mohawk. It is the internet that makes it possible for me to publish books. It is also the internet that gobbles up all my time and keeps me from working on my own novel.

To make Social Networking really work, at least for my purposes (spreading the word about the press), you have to keep your profiles and blogs "fresh," which means writing new content and responding to comments. You also need to read other people's work and leave comments too. It's rude to befriend someone and then never visit their space to see what they've created. Don't be self-centered; support others in cyber-land. Think how much you LOVE it when someone leaves you a comment (and how sad you are when no one does).

There are numerous books available about using Social Networking to inform people of your work and/or business, such as Plug Your Book, by Steve Webber, which is very helpful (how he explains the way Amazon works alone is worth the cost). But here's something you need to remember; you're still networking with PEOPLE. Social Networking sites aren't just for selling more books, they're for connecting with other human beings who share your interests and who just might buy one of your books, if you're polite and aren't using them for internet status.

And I guess as long as I still have time to write and live my life outside of the internet, I can wander around My Space and discover more artists. Maybe I can sign up for one more social networking site (Linked In?)? Which leads me back to my original question: am I spending too much time in cyber land?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Day in the Life of This Publisher

Wake up at 6:30. Get child up and ready for school while at same time trying to get me ready for the day. Take child to school by 8:35, then stop at Cafe nearby.
Take out journal and write for an hour, trying to capture my wild thoughts, plans and ideas into some kind of workable order. Spend a lot of time gazing out window and wishing my Mocha was bigger. Wonder if I've had too much coffee.

Go home and check personal email account. Answer several posts from friends. Switch over to the Medusa email account. Read several emails from Publish L group, spam from a couple of marketers, the Book 2Book post, and Galley-Cat. Find a link to an online Anthology maker. Interesting possibilities. Make note of it, book mark it, and forward to my personal email to send to my writing group. See post from PMA. Follow link to their website. Try to log-in but can't remember my password. Have to set up new one. After sorting that out, I discover my membership information is out of date. Update info with website link and submission info. Hunt down their BEA info and decide to go ahead and pay for a spot on their table at the conference for Laura's book. See the American Library Association will also have a PMA table at their conference, and after checking price decide to do that as well. Deduct $190 bucks from checking account. Make a pink note to send two books to PMA for both conferences and put that note on the task tracker under "Marketing." Sigh over the fact that section is overflowing.

Back to email. Read Laura's response about her upcoming trip to Washington for quilt show. Her friend recommended three bookstores in the area, and her niece sent a link to the University in Seattle for their "speakers and topics" section. Good. Realize I don't know the name of the gallery where her show will be. Look up gallery in LaConnor, Washington and find a quilt museum that does have shows, but no listing yet of upcoming shows. Email Laura to make sure this is the place and make a note to contact gallery owner to send her a book and do some cross-promotion. Wonder if Laura should just do a book reading there? Wonder if gallery would like to sell books at the show? Wonder who the radio stations are and if I can get her on as a guest? Wonder if I have enough time to do this?

Read Jane's email about being too busy with other editing gigs (yay, Jane!) to help me contact the San Francisco State Magazine with info about Laura's book (sad for me). Laura and I are alumni, so this is a good place to promote the press and her book. Make a pink note to contact magazine myself and put it under "Marketing." Sigh that this section is overflowing.

Call the Phoenix in Petaluma. Wonder why no one calls me back? I want to give them money. Why won't they call me back? Think about other places to set up a royalty gift. Wonder about Gilman St? Too bad, I really like the Phoenix.

Call Audio book contact at AFB to ask for help with Audio version of Laura's book. I sent him an email last week. Leave a message. I hope he calls me back.

Dog is whimpering. Let her out to pee. When she comes back she wants to play. I throw her bone for a few minutes, then go back to computer. Check personal email. Plan wine tasting trip with buddies.

Check Google alerts for Orientation and Mobility and Blindness to see if there are any good possibilities to help spread the word about Laura's book. Nothing today.

Send email to Bookshare to ask how upload of Laura's book is going. They are having technical troubles. I offer to send the book as a PDF file, the same one I sent the printer. They say they'll get back to me.

Let reviewer at the Lighthouse know what the hold-up is. He needs a Bookshare version. I think he's blind.

Glance at clock. 11:48. Time to eat. Must remember to eat.

Rick comes home and we chat as we eat lunch, then he dashes back to work.

Check email again. Got message back from Exceptional Parent. They would love to review Laura's book but the person who does the reviews is out. Check back in two weeks. Make note on pink paper to contact them again in two weeks, put it on task board under "Marketing." Sigh there's no room for another note (should make Marketing Section bigger next time.)

Hands are getting numb. Sitting too long. Take dog for long walk, even though it's very cold. Snow is falling on the hills around us. The dog shivers, so we go home.

Work on application for Grad School. I have to write an essay about why I want to be an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. Um....

Check email. Heath Ledger died. That seriously sucks! Feel really sad. So young...

UPS drives up. Four more boxes of books! Yay! Chat with UPS guy while he carries in books. He's the husband of a friend and their expecting their first baby. So happy for them.

Check email. More talk about Heath. Go to MySpace. Update blog.

2:30. Pick up child from school. Give her a snack (banana and juice) then put in Berenstain Bears DVD. She laughs. Check Medusa email again. More updates from Publish L, but nothing I really need. Read an article on SPAN about making your press kit stand out and get noticed by Radio people. Hmmm...

Read more about Heath. That is so awful!

Check personal email. Heard back from Mendocino Coast Writer's Conference. They will keep Medusa in mind for 2009. That's nice.

Really need to get up and move now. Been sitting all day. Do laundry, take out garbage, clean kitchen. Child's movie ends. We chat, color, talk about learning Sign Language. Rick comes home. Dinner needs cooking. Time to shut down Medusa for another day.

Until tomorrow.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Excellent Advice on Finding a Good Publisher

I found this fantastic article on the blog Plot Monkeys, written by guest blogger and author Stacia Kane. She writes...

A lot of writers give writing advice. I personally don’t think I’ve achieved anywhere near the kind of success that would make people yearn for my words on that subject. You won’t see me doing workshops anytime soon, anywhere—if I ever do, which I most likely wouldn’t.

But I do know rather a lot about how to spot a scam publisher or one that won’t necessarily advance your career, and since this is a topic I’ve blogged about off and on since for some time and one I care a lot about, I decided to give it a go.

To read the rest of this very informative and detailed article that breaks down point by point what to look for in a publisher and how to spot scammers, go to the Plot Monkey's website.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Receipts and other Budgetary Items

In preparation for that wonderful time of year known as Tax time, I went through all the Medusa receipts, organized them into their proper piles (start-up costs, supplies, printing, promotion, shipping...)and figured out just how much I spent last year starting the press and creating Laura's book. I was happily surprised. Without really knowing what the costs related to publishing were, I was able to create a realistic budget. And even better, I only went over that budget by $198.00 dollars.

I owe my successful planning to all the incredible resources available to small publishers; books like Dan Poynter's "The Self Publishing Manual," and Thomas Woll's "Publishing for Profit." Help also came from numerous websites, including Publisher's Marketing Association and the Small Publisher's Association. I've spent hours reading blogs from other publishers and editors, joining list serves like Publish L, and asking everyone I could find what I should anticipate when starting a press.

But the biggest reason I was able to stay within budget is because of my incredible partners, Jane and Rick. Rick is an excellent book designer and web master who gave his time to Laura's book and the press. All those hours he spent would have cost thousands.

And I guess that's the big lesson here. Running a press or self publishing all on your own is possible, I suppose, but it will cost you a lot of cash. Ask questions. Look for help. There are enormous resources out there to guide you on the publishing path so you don't make too many costly mistakes. People in the book industry are actually really friendly and approachable, especially small press people. This community I'm now a part of is amazing and I thank all of you for your ongoing support.

In future posts, I will review some of the books and resources I've used that have helped me figure out this often confusing process called Publishing. And please, if you have a favorite link or book that's helped you as a publisher or writer, let me know so I can share the info with others.

Here's to the next successful year at Medusa's Muse. And here's to the next book.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Posting on Rocket Girls

I just added a post to the Rocket Girls blog site about how it feels being a publisher. All four Rocket Girl writers are posting under the theme, "I want to be a Rock Star," about writing and the ellusive desire for fame. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I had to run away

My friend Jody went to New York for a week to meet her agent and editors, which left her house unoccupied. So I broke in. Not really, she left a key and needed someone to check on the cat, but I informed her I was spending the night.She has this big old farm house out in the country, surrounded by vineyards, complete with a claw-foot tub. It embodies my idea of heaven; a place to write all day, then take a long hot bath.

I told my husband and child I was running away from home on Saturday and wouldn't be back until Sunday noon. My husband was supportive, but my daughter immediately began whining about my leaving and demanded to know EXACTLY when I'd be back. She's 12 and has become extremely clingy as she starts puberty. I told her I needed to get some writing work done, which was half of the truth. The real reason was that my Muse had abandoned me and I hoped a claw foot tub full of hot water and bubbles would lure her back to my side.

Just after Christmas, she decided she was tired of the rain and ran off to Argentina to take tango lessons, leaving me with a half written play, a short story in need of repair, and a novel floundering on the plot-rocks. I also had a child out of school whining "I'm so bored!" I know it's important not to rely on your Muse to feel inspired. Muses are flaky, flirty things, prone to star gazing and peeking into other people's windows. An artist should never put all her faith in her Muse. One sparkly object and POOF, the Muse is off hunting for the shiny thing, yelling, "Pretty!" A wise artist puts her butt in the chair and keeps working, even when inspiration vanishes. So I took my sorry butt and my lap-top to Jody's farm house and sat down at her dining room table to write. Whether my Muse returned or not, I was going to finish that dang story!

It was so quiet out there. Just me, some good tunes, the slightest hum of my lap-top, and Max, Jody's cat who checked on me now and then by rubbing against my leg and meowing. Getting away from the laundry and dishes and phone calls and the demanding call of "Mommy" for one long day and night snapped me out of my writer's block. Within one hour I was writing, suddenly seeing the problems with my short story and instantly knowing what I needed to do. The time flew, and just when the sun was beginning to hide behind the hills and the house grow a bit chilly, my Muse arrived.

"What are you doing?" she asked, casually flicking her new, black Argentine fan.


She lightly tapped the table with her fan. "Without me?"

"You were busy."

"No I wasn't. Not really. If you needed me, you could've called."

I kept typing.

"What are you working on?" she asked.

"The Gift."

"The Gift? I don't know that one."

"It used to be House of Tolerance, but I've changed the name."

"Oh..." She sat at the table across from me. "Do you need any help?"

I looked up at her and smiled. "No. I'm good for now. Maybe in a little while."

I continued typing while she watched. Max came into the room, stared at her, then flicked her tale sharply as she turned her back and left the room.

"There," I said, and hit the save button.

"Done?" My Muse's eyebrows shot up so fast I thought one of her own snakes had bit her.

"Yep. For now. I need to look up some info about heating systems in the 1880's, but otherwise, it feels about done." I smiled as I stood. "I'm going to take a bath. See ya."

Lounging in the tub, covered with lavender scented water, I understood what my Muse meant when she said she felt fecund. I guess my Muse cuts through the static of my life to help me stay creative. But in those moments of solitude and peace, I can cut through the static on my own.

My Muse popped her head into the bathroom a couple of times. I think she was a little worried I might not be giving her so much chocolate in the future.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Congratulations Contest Winner!

Rose is our big WINNER (insert applause, falling balloons, and confetti). She receives a copy of Laura Fogg's memoir, "Traveling Blind: Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers," for naming correctly three of the five highest risk factors for developing Glaucoma.

The answer to the question is: The people at highest risk for developing glaucoma are African-American decent, people over 60, diabetics, people with a family history of glaucoma, and those who are severely nearsighted.

For more info about Glaucoma, go to the Glaucoma Research Foundation Web-site.

If you'd like a copy of Laura's book, you don't have to wait for another contest from Medusa's Muse. Just go to, or directly to Medusa's Muse.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

advice for keeping on track

While spending far too much time reading on-line zines (research. really!), I found this excellent article about how to avoid the road blocks to your writing. Here's the beginning. Follow the link for the rest. I promise, it will make you feel a little bit better about making more cookies rather than getting back to your writing.

How to write a novel
Tim Dowling's tips on resisting the allure of banjos, toast and YouTube

Writing a novel must be one of the easiest things to avoid doing in the world - chances are no one has asked you to do it, and no one will care if you don't. As soon as you start, almost every other activity in the world seems preferable. Distractions come in every shape, but these are, to my mind, the top five.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Maybe this will help knock some of the post-holiday cobwebs out of our brains...

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, and to help promote the understanding of the causes of Glaucoma, I will give a free copy of Traveling Blind; Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers," by Laura Fogg, to the first person who can tell me three of the top five risk factors for developing Glaucoma (in the US).

Send your answer as a comment.

Now, back to dusting off my desk.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Kids are Back in School!!!

All across the country, work-at-home parents are doing the happy dance called, "The Kids are Back in School!" I woke up extra early this morning and in the pre-dawn darkness began to dance around the house in my pj's, humming "I want to fly away..." by Lenny Kravitz while laying out my daughter's school clothes, checking her back-pack, washing her glasses, and boiling the water for her oatmeal. I got her up and ready for school in record time. She was actually glad to go back too, having suffered long enough with the boredom of a rainy vacation, so she didn't dawdle while dressing like she usually does. Traffic was light as we drove to school and even the dog was cheerful, especially when the usual crossing guard gave her a doggy-treat when I stopped at the stop sign.

At last my daughter was back in school! I rushed home eagerly, longing to get into the swing of work; the stacks of pages needing editing, the submissions I needed to read and the few of my own to send out, the two review copies of Laura's book needing to be mailed, and fifty emails in need of answering. I sat at my computer with a fresh cup of coffee and... stared at the computer-screen. I couldn't figure out where to start. So much had piled up since before the holiday vacation and Christmas celebrations. I looked at my new organization chart for a direction, but it all needed to be done NOW. Which one first?

I tried editing one of my interviews for the Punk book, but I'd lost the thread of the story. I spent two hopeless hours trying to keep the subject's authentic voice while cutting and pasting the story into something that made logical sense. I got more coffee, took the dog for a walk, went to the chiropractor, but nothing could shake the cobwebs from my creative brain. It's like my mind is still stuck in Mommy-gear and nothing related to Publishing can un-glue it.

Can you hear the cry of work-at-home parents as they shout, "Why can't I concentrate?" Finally peace and quiet after two weeks of non-stop noise and childcare and then we discover that we are incapable of functioning as productive, non-care taking, adults. And all the Christmas cookies are gone, too.

I give up. I'll put away the last bits of Christmas decorations and lug everything into the attic, then attack the laundry. Perhaps in a few days I'll transition out of Mommy-mode back into a more balanced, creative-mode. Medusa's Muse can wait one more day.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Year, New Way to get Organized!

Every Jan. 2nd, I spend time in an office supply store examining day-planners, filing systems, dry-erase boards, and colored post-it notes, thinking this will be the year I finally get my life organized! If I only had the right tool, everything would fall into place. Now, more than ever, I need to organize all the pieces of my life into a nice, easy to use, system, because writing things down on a note-pad which always disappears as soon as I set it on my desk just isn't working.

This year, I think I've found the best system for keeping Medusa's Muse Press organized. I bought a poster board, a black marker, and a large box of multi-colored post-its. Then I went home and created this,

I've created 5 columns: Editing, Design, Marketing/PR, Business, and Internet/Technology. Each book is color coded. Green is the Punk book, Pink is Laura's book. And then Yellow is business stuff; things I have to do to run the press. I can watch each book move through it's different phases of development. Right now, Punk is in the editing and design phase, plus there are some marketing/pr duties I need to start now. Laura is all marketing with a few business, and one technological step, namely, the Audio book which is in constant tech-trouble hell.

I got the idea from a professional organizer. Once I re-find her article, I'll post the link. Speaking of technology, Rick just told me Microsoft has a program which does something similar and you can save it to a web-site. But I really like the poster board near my desk because I can see how things are flowing through Medusa's Muse Press without having to turn on my computer. It's comforting in a way. Look, there's the Punk book just beginning its journey, and there's Traveling Blind, sailing through the Marketing process. How lovely.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Don't give anything to your Muse for Christmas

In answer to "What do you give your Muse for Christmas?," I received this from Jacob Russell of Barking Dog, a blog about writing and books.

Like your dog… never give anything, without demanding some sign of submission first.

Who’s the Alpha?

The Muse(s) is(are) NOT YOUR FRIEND(s).If you don’t get that, you’ve lost it.
It’s all about, who’s gonna be in charge. You show them you’re gonna be their patsy… too bad for you. The Muses want ENGAGEMENT, not surrender.

Of course, you can never be the Boss, absolutely… but to keep the tension, like Jacob wrestling with the other way to get their blessing.

Trust them, the way you trust Death. Death will win. You don’t have to make concessions. You can fight with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength… and death will still win. That is, will not be defeated. But if you give in… then Death wins. If you give in to the Muses--you lose. The only “victory” is together. That means resisting them with all your mind and all your heart and all your might.

Trust them. Trust them, like Death, that they are stronger than you.
Do that, and they’ll find a way to bless your work.

(What I get from Blake--the muse as a challenging Nemesis, to be transformed, not meekly followed and obeyed)

by Jacob Russell

My Muse reads this silently. "Hmmm..." She stands and taps my laptop. "Interesting idea. Although I think you'd better keep giving me chocolate." Looking at me, she gives me one of her slow, rapacious smiles, the snakes mimicking her gaze. "Okay?"

I nod.