NEW BOOKSTORE NEWS
The owner of one of our associate businesses, a friend, comrade, fellow beer drinker and person who is supposed to help us grow by recommending our products and services said to me a few years ago that he didn't feel comfortable referring people to our website because it was so dated. This, of course, hurt my feelings.
Actually, that last sentence is what we in the biz call, "A lot of hooey." I've known for a long time that we needed to upgrade the website, but what we needed to do most was beyond my ability and the amount of time I would need to invest to get it done. It was a job for a professionsal and those cost money.
This spring, I invested the money into Phase 1 of our website upgrade. We upgraded the look and features of MSR ONLINE BOOKSTORE first because it is the place that generates the most cash flow. If you would like to see how it looks, follow this link: http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/. Please visit and bop around to the new layout, the search engine, the author's page. I think readers will find the new website much easier to find what they need and maybe a few things they weren't expecting.
Of course, we're not done. There are only 174 titles loaded so far. We will be working all summer to load most of the remaining titles. I say most because some titles will be dropped from the website. Those that have not sold for 3 years or more may well be discontinued. It will also take a while to complete the work. The current MSR Online Bookstore will remain up and functional during this period, but as we finishing loading sections, they will be removed from the website and buyers will be directed toward the NEW website. By the end of the year, we will be done converting and the only thing that will remain of the old bookstore will be the magazine and back issues page. Once we figure out how to convert it to the new format, that, too will be demolished.
THAT is only Phase 1. Phase 2 starts next year. We will install a mirror site with wholesale prices that will allow bookstores and distributors to order from the website at discount prices by setting up an account.
Phase 3 is converting the informational side of the website to a new format. I will start updating what we have in the way of layout and contact, but it may be awhile before we completely convert this isde of the website. It is more massive and cumbersome than folks realize.
Anyway, that's where we are with upgrading the MSR Online Bookstore. I hope you'll take a test drive through the NEW MSR Online Bookstore. Feedback is encouraged since upgrading is an ongoing and evolving process and visitors input can be nothing but helpful.
Every so often we change what we do in this newsletter. We've been doing it for nearly 12 years now and other forms of communication are beginning to be more practical. Beth Browne is manning the Facebook and Twitter feeds and I'm doing the blog, but I haven't had any consistant inhouse assistance for almost 10 months. My assistants have always done the basic outline. I come through, tighten it up and add my commentary, then give it back to her to check my work--since I tend to work very fast, I tend to be the person who makes the greatest number of errors.
Anyway, we've been maintaining this newsletter that way for twelve years now and although we have a boatload of people on the mailing list, fewer people are reading it now than ever before. I know part of the reason is that it's now posted on teh website as opposed to being delivered as an email. We did that because the email process was becoming too large and unwieldy and the links were not always active when they arrived--depending on the system the receiver uses.
Another reason the mailing list is shrinking is because we stopped listing contest information for everyone and their cousin. There are so many places out there offering listings such as this, it wasn't cost-effective to spend time providing information that was available so many other places.
We decided to focus on MSR news for the newsletter. The fact that so many people dropped out as a result is pretty telling in my opinion. But we still know who are bestest friends are.
The bottom line here is that redundancy is a time killer for me. Those who know me best know how much I cherish my time. It used to be that, when the newsletter went out, we'd see a huge spike in traffic to our website. We don't see that any more and since it is now posted online as any other html page on our website, we're able to track traffic even more closely. We're not getting enough bang for our time involvement, and having to post at a given time every month without assistance is becoming a burden without a equitable return.
No we are not going to discontinue the newsletter. We're going to rename it and use it as a bulletin board and post news and information not once a month, but whenever it becomes available. Subscribers would then receive notices once or twice a month to steer inform them of Main Street Rag updates and events.
BOOK REVIEW NEWS
by Richard Allen Taylor, Associate Editor, Reviews, The Main Street Rag
WRITING BOOK REVIEWS is a fine way to serve your fellow writers (and readers) while enhancing your own reputation as a writer. At The Main Street Rag, were always looking for well-written, positive reviews of recently published books of poetry or literary fiction. We have several reviewers who are frequent contributors, but we encourage participation from new contributors. Guidelines are available at this websiteand please do read the guidelinesbut to really understand the expectations, read the Blue Pages (review section) of several issues. We only review books that we like. We are not going to waste our limited space or our readers time with negative reviews. This doesnt mean that you, as a reviewer, should gloss over or ignore a serious flaw in the work reviewed, but the book should have enough redeeming qualities that you are willing to recommend it despite its flaws.
If youve read our Blue Pages, you will already know that were looking for book reviews that read like magazine articles, not like an academic paper youve prepared for the Society of Arcane & Obscure Literary and Cultural Studies. So, write like a reporter, not a theoretician. Tell us what you liked and didnt like. If you found the work inspiring, entertaining, moving or enlightening, try to explain how the author achieved those effects, and most importantly, show us how the author did that, by giving brief examples from the work.
Interested in writing book reviews for The Main Street Rag? Contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We often have books available for review, or you can review a book you already have, provided you are not a close friend, relative, agent of the author or the publisher.
FANTASIES OF MEN
Sometimes I gets behind in important things like reminding reaaders of upcoming releases. This week we have several listed below, but one that has been dragging on past it's expiration date is the WINNER of the 2012 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest: Fantasies of Men by William Lusk Coppage. Since we are no longer holding a chapbook contest, this is the winner of our LAST chapbook contest. It's high energy, filled with youthful southern-boy angst, blues, and coming of age. We're very proud of this book and hope readers check it out. Here's a link to it on the NEW MSR Online Bookstore: http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/fantasies-of-men/
Selection went smoothly for the PORCHES anthology. We selected work from approximately 40 contributors and have already started gathering and organizing. We hope to announce a release date by August.
The big news about teh PORCHES anthology is that I am trying a new incentive program written into the publishing agreement that I hope will allow us to pay contributors honorariums. Because it's a new program and we're not sure what kind of results to expect, payments will be meager and will be tied to the success of advance sales, but it's something and if this proves to be as successful as I believe it can be, we will expand to other anthologies.
Speaking of which, we announced two new themes last month (CARS and CROSSING THE LINE). Details with filter onto the website as soon as we set a reading period and begin soliciting manuscripts, but I have another theme to announce today:
HOMES AND HOUSES
Our home can house our greatest triumphs and tragedies. Homes can be our largest investment and our biggest mistake. Moving is one of the most stressful events, along with marriage, divorce and childbirthall of which involve a home. Is Grandma moving into the home, but theres no money for an addition? Has a home been destroyed by fire? Can one family survive a move to a nicer neighborhood with little money left over in the budget? Send us your best work with houses and homes either as the main or secondary characters because everyone has to live somewhere.
As soon as I'm able to get reading period finalized with all of the editors and the ads to the places we advertise, we'll be off and running on all three upcoming anthologies.
KAKALAK 2013 -- An Update
The final submission count KAKALAK 2013 enries was 426, 52 art contest entries, and 44 entries for cover consideration. Overall, more than 160 people from North and South Carolina decided to participate--some multiple times. The judges are still evaluating and I hope to announce winners in the July newsletter.
THE MAIN STREET RAG BLOG
Stop by the MSR Blog. The June 13 posting is called "My Wife's Fashion Consultant." If I were the kind of person who was willing to critique his own work, I'd say, "It's funny; you'll like it," but I'm not that kind of guy, so just let me give readers the address http://mainstreetrag.wordpress.com/ and invite them to visit and decide for themselves.
MAIN STREET RAG SPONSORED EVENTS
Main Street Rag co-sponsors regular monthly reading series in Charlotte, NC; Fuquay-Varina, NC; Hickory, NC; Kansas City, MO, Lincolnton, NC; Raleigh, NC. Since the MSR Monthly Newsletter is now posted online and we already have an Events Page online, rather than duplicate that space, here is a link to that page: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/events_page.htm
If you are interested in having Main Street Rag co-sponsor a regular monthly series in your area, contact me and we'll work out the details: email@example.com
NEW RELEASES & COMING ATTRACTIONS
Before leaving for the AWP I made a big push to get new books on the website. All of these links are hot and will take readers to the authors' pages for details. Check them out.
Poetry Books (full length):
What Remains (chapbook) by Caroline Maun
As the Moon Has Breath (poetry) by Doris Ferlenger
Countries We Live In (poetry) by David Radavich
Eye of the Beholder (poetry) by Scott Owens
The Happiness Theory (poetry) by Brad Johnson
Love Like Weeds (poetry) by Julie Cook
Naming Names (poetry) by Paul Hostovsky
All the Heat We Could Carry (2013 MSR Poetry Book Award Winner) by Charlie Bondhus
Countries We Live In (poetry) by David Radavich
A Generation of Insomniacs by Anthony Frame
Geode by Ona Gritz
History of Grey by Kate Kingston
When the World was Rear-wheel Drive by Timothy Walsh
Hold Still by Terry Godbey
Soon I Will Build an Ark by Wendy Scott
Fantasies of Men (2012 Chapbook Contest Winner) by William Lusk Coppage
Wonderful Terrible (chapbook) by Dion N. Farquhar
Prayerbook for the Midwestern Agnostic (chapbook) by Roy Seeger
Acme Book of Love (chapbook) by Amy Ashe
Too Much Breath (chapbook) by Martin Balgach
Author's Choice Chapbooks:
Dream-Shuttle (AC chapbook) by Carolyn Gelland
Learning Time (novel) by Kathie Giorgio
Find the Girl (novella) by Jan Stinchcomb
Infidelity (novella) by G.K. Wuori
Man of Clay (novella) by Courtney Bledsoe
Moroccan Tales of Love (novella) by Salma Ruth Bratt
Stalker (novella) by Charles C. Wilkinson
TWO CENTS (& some change)
RIGHT TO PRIVACY
Maybe it's me. Maybe I conceded too long ago--when I first started to NOT be able to finish a meal without someone calling or knocking at my door to try and sell me something--that I really have no privacy. Maybe it was the result of this annoying habit of soliciting sales when people are most likely to be home having carryied over to email and spammers attitude of entitlement to space within our email boxes--as if they were created just for them. Whatever the starting point for this concession of a lack of privacy, when I hear the major press outlets make such a fuss over "Big Brother" listening in to calls and reading emails, the first thing that comes to mind is: Slow News Day. Why is the fact that our government is now doing what corporations have done for years so offensive to people--particularly people in the press?
Maybe it's because their privacy is what was compromised. Maybe it's because our government monitored their communications center in the White House. I've listened to how they've dissected every angle of every missed step by this government ever since the story broke. What bothers me more is the apparent willingness to make stories out of non-stories. If Google or Eddie Bauer or any number of other merchants gather statistics about us to compile into a profile about us, we shuck it off as marketing, but when the government gathers information to protect its citizens, we call it an invasion of privacy. Why is that? Which is a greater threat?
Edward Snowden's leaking of information to the Guardian has generated a massive hunt for him and investigations into who in our government is doing what and why in the area of information gathering. So, let me contradict myself: We DO need this to happen. I consider Snowden a criminal, but if the claims he's making are true, then we have a serious breech of public trust that should be addressed. More important, we need to know who put him in a position to make this leak and why someone so young and with such little experience in this field was given access to such sensative material in the first place, That's the name I want: Who hired him and on what basis was he given access to top secret information?
What bothers me most is that we--as in The Press--are making such a fuss about this leak, but don't seem to be concerned at all about the way private businesses data mine the internet, gather information about everyone, buy, sell and trade it. Am I the only one who finds this more disturbing than an Assange follower being given access to sensative information turning around and leaking it to the press? If we put someone like this in a position of opportunity, can we expect any less than for that person to apply his or her own moral code to the situation? And do we not believe people of the same ilk do not exist in the private sector? What happens when one of them decides that NO ONE is entitled to privacy, that all information should be freely available to everyone (incuding your credit card information)? Is it only a crime because tax dollars are involved?
There is much more at play here than what the media is presenting. Whether Mr. Snowden made the right call or not, I believe he deserves jail time and lots of it. We can't have individuals deciding what is and is not a State Secrets, but we also can't have some IT guy deciding what of our private information needs to remain private. By allowing the media to decide which is and is not a crime or a story worth addressing, we cede our right to privacy to them others and in so doing abandon the concept altogether.
M. Scott Douglass
Main Street Rag
P.O. Box 690100
Charlotte, NC 28227
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
CHARLESTON STYLE & DESIGN MAGAZINE
A Call for Essays. They publish a personal essay every quarter (pays $180). For consideration, send your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org. For guidelines, visit http://ow.ly/cubYa
IODINE POETRY JOURNAL
is seeking quality poetry, preferably no longer than 40 lines. Published semiannually, in Spring and Fall. Only unpublished work. No simultaneous submissions. Send 3-5 poems. Details: http://www.iodinepoetryjournal.com/
This is a contest-baed production for North and South Carolina residence only. We're looking for poetry and photography. Guidelines can be found at: http://mainstreetrag.com/Kakalak%202013.html
THE MAIN STREET RAG
We are currently reading poetry, short fiction (for the magazine), essays, interviews, and reviews. These items are now email-only. Other guidelines have also been recently updated. Authors should visit the website prior to submitting any work. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/How2GetIn.html
MOONSHINE REVIEW seeks unpublished creative prose and photography. Please check website for guidelines before submitting: http://moonshinereview.wordpress.com/
Shug's Place (a novel in stories) by Bob Strother
(NEW) Gospel of Dust by Joseph Ross (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry book. 85 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-423-5. $15. Details: http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/gospel-of-dust/
(NEW) Invitation by Michael Beadle (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry chapbook. 28 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-434-1. $8. Details: http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/invitation/
(NEW) Recombinant Loves by Lisa Haag Kang (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry chapbook. 40 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-425-9. $11. Details: http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/recombinant-loves/
(NEW) Shug's Place by Bob Strother (Main Street Rag, 2013). Novel, 300 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-41-5. $11. Details: http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/recombinant-loves/
(NEW) The Sudden Country by David Mills (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry book. 93 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-422-8. $15. Details:http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/the-sudden-country/
(NEW) Unwelcomed Guests by Nancy Richardson (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry chapbook. 40 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-424-2. $11. Details: http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/unwelcomed-guest/
(NEW) Vocation by Michael Gaspeny (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry chapbook. 50 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-435-8. $8. Details: http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/vocation/
CATTAILS by Kathy Nelson (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry chapbook. 28 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-428-0. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/KNelson_2013.html
FAMOUS LAST LINES by Mark Pearson (Main Street Rag, 2013). Short Stories. 232 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-406-8. $14.95. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/MPearson.html
GRAFFITI SIGNATURES by Cody Todd (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-409-9. $14. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/CTodd.html
THE REMARK by Brian Walter Budzynski (Main Street Rag, 2013). Novella. 120 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-401-3. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/BBudzynski.html
SALT IN THE SUGAR BOWL by Angela Belcher Epps (Main Street Rag, 2013). Novella. 120 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-402-0. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/AEpps.html
SCRAP METAL MANTRA POEMS by Ken Meisel (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry chapbook. 48 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-420-4. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/KMeisel.html
TWO BLACK EYES AND A PATCH OF HAIR MISSING by Lauren Schmidt (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 92 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-413-6. $14. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/LSchmidt_2012.html
</WAR> by Chuck Rybak (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 100 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-398-6. $15. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/CRybak2.html
A THEORY OF LIPSTICK by Karla Huston (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-407-5. $14. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/KHuston_2012.html
THE HUSH BEFORE THE ANIMALS ATTACK by Carol Matos (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-400-6. $14. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/CMatos.html
PLUM(B) by Kim Triedman (Main Street Rag, 2013). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-408-2. $14. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/KTriedman_2012.html
RIVER OF SARIS by Lavinia Kumar (Main Street Rag, 2013). Chapbook. 50 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-399-3. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/LKumar.html
SWEET SOULS by Charles Blackburn (Main Street Rag, 2013). Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-398-6. $13.95. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/CBlackburn.html
LUCKY BASTARD by Gary V. Powell (Mint Hill Books/Main Street Rag, 2013). Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-396-2. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/MCrews.html
HIGH GROUND by Jo Barbara Taylor (Main Street Rag, 2013). Author's Choice Chapbook. 48 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-418-1. $8. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/JoTaylor_2012.html
MINI LOVE GUN by Kayla Sargeson (Main Street Rag, 2013). Author's Choice Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-416-7. $8. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/KSargeson.html
COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER by Keith Flynn (Wings Press, 2013). Poetry. 97 pages. ISBN: 978-1-60940-294-5. $16. Details: www.wingspress.com
SUBLIME BLUE by Pablo Neruda, translated by William Pitt Root (Wings Press, 2013). 79 pages. ISBN: 978-0-916727-87-1. $16. Details: www.wingspress.com
PALE BLUE MERCY by Sally Stewart Mohney (Main Street Rag, 2013). Author's Choice Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-417-8. $8. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/SMohney.html
THE MAIN STREET RAG, Spring 2013, Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/store/NewReleases.php
IODINE POETRY JOURNAL, Fall/Winter 2012, Details: http://www.iodinepoetryjournal.com/IPJBookstore.html
THE GREENSBORO REVIEW, No. 92, Fall 2012, Details: http://tgronline.net/
COLD MOUNTAIN REVIEW, Vol. 41, No. 1, Fall 2012, Details: http://coldmountain.appstate.edu/
MOONSHINE REVIEW, Fall/Winter 2012, Details: http://moonshinereview.wordpress.com/order-the-latest-issue
THE CAROLINA QUARTERLY, Vol. 62, No. 3, Winter 2012, Details: www.thecarolinaquarterly.com
See you again next month.
M. Scott Douglass
Main Street Rag
PO Box 690100
Charlotte, NC 28227-7001