What’s in a Name? Would a Shebeen by Any Other Name be as Intriguing?

“The Algonquin Round Table”, by Al Hirschfeld

“The Algonquin Round Table”, by Al Hirschfeld

A few years ago, the group regularly met in the tiny, upstairs room of the Irish Heather that was called “The Shebeen” (for the origins of that word head here), and thus the name was applied to the literary group which we have today.

Today, however, the Irish Heather has moved across the road, the room is now its own Shebeen Whisk(e)y House out the back of the gastro-pub, and the group mainly meets at the Revel Room a few streets west from ‘The Heather’. The name itself has never meant much more than the location of origin, and doesn’t reflect its raison d’etre: to exchange information and promote the arts of writing in all forms, be it journalism, novels, poetry, plays, or marketing of all those.

So: how do people feel about any of the following options:

  • The Vancouver Algonquin Group (after the original one)
  • The Vancouver Bloomsbury Group (after the original one)
  • The Vancouver Literary Circle (which is dull, but somewhat self-explanatory)
  • Keep the extant name
  • [insert your own suggestion here]

Anyone…? Anyone…? A what kind of revolution…?

My feeling here is that what we have is the opportunity to create a central group and/or monthly event where people can discuss their trials and tribulations, exchange intelligence and information, and generally enjoy fellowship with their fellow travellers in the hacking together of words into paragraphs, as well as promotion of them therefore.

The idea of this group has always been to create a group for professionals and semi-pros who use words to gather, but the active welcoming of people other than novelists and short-story writers has met with less-than-the desired results. Where are the playwrights, the non-fiction writers, the journalists, the publishers, the book-sellers, the editors, the newspaper people, the marketing people, and so on? Is this partly because the name ill-befits our purpose? What do people think of that as a solution? Do you think it simply is a good idea, simply from a marketing standpoint so as to attract ‘fresh brains’* to the monthly meetings?

* mmmm… brainz…!

Getting Huffy at the HuffPo

MY tips on blogging include ASK FOR MONEY

MY tips on blogging include ASK FOR MONEY

Today we feature a Comment of the Day worthy of being stolen and reposted, again and again (attribution, please, and that means linkie!). It is, of course, my own comment, and it was sparked on Gawker by someone who writes for the Huffington Post complaining that, far from all the hype about “prestige” and “exposure,” writing for the Huffington Post  can’t even get her a temp job.

@mimigoliath: Working for the HuffPo just screams “My stuff has zero market value.” I mean for god’s sake, have some pride.

Okay, sorry. The harshness shouldn’t be directed at you, it should be directed at that protean, malevolent slavedriver who runs the place. The Guardian doesn’t pay Comment is Free contributors either.

These are not literary journals. They are blogs with ads on them, making somebody rich.

Which brings me back to a point I’m constantly repeating. Blogging is writing.
The going rate for a blog post is, thanks to amateurs and wannabes who will do anything for the almighty god “exposure,” $5. Think of them as the blogosphere equivalent of the rich magazine interns who can work for free while Daddy puts them up in his “spare” apartment in NYC, who are waiting either for the big book deal (corresponds to “make a million off Adsense”) or the MRS degree (equivalent to becoming a WP.com mommyblogger, whining about the “DH” who’s never there because he has to be out making millions to support Mommyblogger). Or perhaps they’re the homeschooling, Oprah-watching, self-improving scrap-booking memoiristes of the blogosphere.
The going rate for a professionally written blog post is about $25-50, on a par with copywriting, because that’s what it is. It’s professional writing.
I don’t need to write for the exposure anymore. On any given weekday, I can put my work in front of 17,000 engaged readers, and Quantcast can back me up on that. And I not long ago turned down someone who wanted me to write “for exposure” on her blog that gets 36 hits a day.
We’ve covered the whole concept of Pay the Writer, haven’t we?
Remember, Freelance isn’t free, and if you desperately just want to get exposure, go to any major intersection in Edmonton this time of year and pull your pants down. It’d be less painful than bleeding to death at $5 per post, and you might get a book deal out of it.

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Friends with Benefits Book Launch Tuesday

Friends with Benefits

Friends with Benefits

That’s the day AFTER our fabulous Shebeen Club Pre-Holiday Party, which will be the world’s greatest warmup for the launch of Darren and Julie’s book, Friends with Benefits.

Friends with Benefits is a guide to social media marketing, from two of the best in the business.

In any disagreement among social mediaites in Vangroover, I’ll be right there, taking the low road, while Darren and Julie will generally be leading a pied piper train on the high road. They are total professionals who have been making a living at social media marketing since before Facebook was a twinkle in an undergraduate’s eye. And since they’ve been doing it while globetrotting, they obviously know a thing or two about work/life balance as well.

The details:

One of the many benefits of being our friend…

We would love you to join us for the launch of “Friends With Benefits”, our book on social media marketing.

We’ll do a brief talk at some point in the evening, followed by a short reading from the book. We’ll also be available to personally inscribe the many, many copies you’ll surely be purchasing to give out as Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


Autumn Brook Artists Gallery

1545 West 4th Avenue

Vancouver, BC

Sundry details:

* Appetizers will be served

* Convenient cash bar

* Autographed copies of our book will be available for purchase for $20

* There’s lots of street parking around, or you may want to consider parking on Granville Island and walking up to the gallery. Otherwise, the location is served by many lovely bus routes. [it’s practically beneath the Granville Bridge, so you can get to it with ease from anywhere downtown, either by bus or take the little aquabus across to the Island for dinner and hit the gallery after]

And here’s Darren speaking at BookCamp Vancouver earlier this year about the experience of giving birth to the book (insert “labour of love” pun here if desired):

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