Hello, World…indeed

So here’s the first post for Writers Plain & Simple, a website that eventually will move to the soon-to-be website of Plain & Simple Press, a publisher of fiction and nonfiction books.

Eine Kleine About Me: I’m Victoria Hay (yah, i’m afraid so: Ph.D.), the proprietor of Plain & Simple Press, an imprint of The Copyeditor’s Desk, Inc.  A long and checkered career as an academic and a journalist ended in a layoff after 15 years at Arizona State University (known, with ambiguous affection and disaffection, as The Great Desert University), where I had founded and directed an editorial entity unique in the Western Hemisphere and, as far as we know, in the world. Before I returned to academe, I was a magazine journalist and writer: on staff at Arizona Highways and Phoenix magazines and published in more local, regional, and national periodicals than I can count.

During that time I published three books: Math Magic, written for and with Scott Flansburg and a best-seller for William Morrow; The Essential Feature: Writing for Magazines and Newspapers (Columbia University Press); and The Life of Roert Sidney (Folger Shakespeare Library). At ASU, I founded and directed a so-called “professional” writing program — by which they meant “nonfiction” — and taught upper-division and graduate-level students in writing and editing; after ten years of this I moved into administration, establishing and directing an office for scholarly editing, with a half-dozen staff members helping out.

After the financial crash and the mass layoffs at ASU, I incorporated a contract editorial business, The Copyeditor’s Desk, which mostly serves academic, professional, and business clients. We specialize in business, technical, and scholarly editing, and we do pretty well. We have four editors, an expert in e-book formatting, two print layout artists, and a web guru par excellence.

As success has settled in and bag-lady syndrome has faded into the wallpaper, I’ve drifted back to my first love: writing. A half-dozen projects are in the wings, ready to strut their stuff:

Slave Labor: The New Story of American Higher Education
How I Lost 30 Pounds in 4 Months

Fire Rider, Book I
Write Tight: E.B. White (advice on effective writing style)
Fire Rider, Book II
Cost-Effective In-House Publications

And more to come. The first four are written and in preparation for publication. The fifth is about a third done. The last exists on disk but needs to be updated for the times.

My agent kicked the bucket several years ago. I’m no longer a member of ASJA, the best source I know for referrals to literary agents, and don’t feel inclined to go through the hoops required to rejoin. A friend lured me to meetings of the Romance Writers of America, where I learned that making a living wage off self-publishing entails reaching a kind of critical mass on Amazon: eight titles, any titles, genre irrelevant.

No kidding? Well…we’ll soon find out. On a lark, I decided to try Kindle and PoD (print-on-demand). The goal: Get eight (count’em, 8) titles online by the end of 2015.

Watch this space, and you’ll know whether I meet that goal.

What else? I’m the proprietor of Funny about Money, a blog about money and stress control that at one time (long, long ago) was among the top 50 personal-finance blogs in the English language. I’ve gotten out of the monetization and competition games and so no longer care how it ranks. But it’s still a PR 3 blog and I still post there several times a week. I also write at MyCorgi.com (this kinda thing, for example). As a community service, I teach magazine writing and the occasional comp course at a local junior college, always an entertaining endeavor — sometimes I write about that at Adjunctorium or at Jeff Boldt’s Chronicle of Higher Ed site, The Adjunct Project. I’m currently president of the Scottsdale Business Association and an off-and-off member of various chambers of commerce and of Local Arizona.

Follow me, if you will. This site will talk about the art and business of writing, let you know when my amazing new productions(!) come on the market, and generally shoot the breeze. Hope to get to know you…hope to hear from you online.

A-n-n-d…buy local! 😉