Friday, January 24, 2014

Feature Friday – Daisy Bicking – Daisy Haven Farm – Hoof and Soft Tissue Rehabilitation

Howdy Folks,

Like many hoof care providers, Daisy Bicking's quest to understand horses' hooves, their health, and healing began when her own horse needed help. Dealing with laminitis and a rotated coffin bone, Daisy knew things were bad, but she also knew, somehow there must be a way to create a healthy hoof, thus a healthy horse again. Handed a rasp by a dear friend who knew horses' hooves, and encouraged by her friend to not waver on her quest, Daisy dove head-long into learning all she could. Determined she would save her horse.
Daisy giving her presentation
She did save her horse, and even got him back into competition. She also began to realize everyone she knew had a horse just like him, or knew of one in his condition. She became passionate about helping them, and sharing her knowledge, and learning more. Daisy studied a wide range of barefoot trimming styles, and composite material applications, and other alternative support options with KC LaPierre, ELPO, Monique Craig, Mike Salvoldi, and others. She attends the International Hoof Care Summit, The Laminitis Conference and other seminars annually.
Daisy and her daughter, who also loves hooves-

In 2004 she founded Daisy Haven Farm, Inc. and began meticulously documenting her work. Since then, with her digital radiograph machine, Daisy has compiled a database of over 200,000 digital hoof pictures, most with corresponding progressive x-rays. This has proven to be an invaluable resource in approaching each horse objectively and using measurable data to track progress and goals over time. And as an instructional asset.

 Daisy is a self proclaimed hoof educational junkie. "I study everything I can and stay diligently open minded for the benefit of the work I’m doing for the horse. I am incredibly grateful to my radiograph machine for training my eye and giving me the ability to be very accurate in my work." Daisy said.
"The healthiest foot is a Bare Foot that can do its job," says Daisy
She became so passionate about sharing the benefits of progressive series of radiographs as a tool for others, she began teaching courses to help other trimmers check their own eye. Over the past five years, the program has grown to now be included under her new school:  Daisy Haven Farm: School of Integrative Hoofcare.  Not only does Daisy love helping horses, the more challenging the better, but she also loves helping others help horses. "In some way I feel I am working through them, and helping more horses than I could over reach myself." Explains Daisy.
When more concentrated therapy is needed, Daisy Haven Farm offers Rehabilitation Boarding.
Daisy will use plastic glue-on shoes, but only for the worst cases. "I like that I can still apply a barefoot trim with the shoe as the shoe and glue is very forgiving. Also, my structures of the foot improve in the shoe. If I was losing the health of my foot in the process I wouldn't do it." Daisy said. "Of the 200 horses I work on per month, only 15% of my horses are in glue on plastic shoes."
Have a look at her website and her facebook page (HERE)

 Thanks Daisy, for helping and teaching folks how to help horses have healthy, happy  hooves.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What About Self-Publishing?

Howdy Folks,
On Monday's Coffee Clutch we discussed the importance, value and how-to's of the weighty Query Letter. The query letter is perhaps one the most challenging tasks of aspiring authors on their journey toward publication, if an author wants to be published by a conventional publisher, be it the big publishing houses, mid level or small independent publishers. If you desire to go that route, where you want to engage an agent and publisher, you need a great query letter. I chose to do that ... I wanted the validation of professionals. And the lessons I learned from all involved made me a far better writer, and taught me much about the writing/publishing world. I am eternally grateful.
Writing in the barn ... Kessy, Saturday and me ...
But what if you don't want the bother of learning how to write a query letter, a synopsis, and perhaps a chapter synopsis? What if you don't want to go through all the rejections, yup you'll get a bunch. I think I got a six foot stack! What if delays, and conforming to someone else's editing, and the pile of other things that go along with being published aren't for you?

There is always self-publishing. Self publishing is fast becoming a viable and respected option. Just a few years ago, if you were self published it carried a bit of a negative connotation with it. That has changed a lot, but not totally. One thing I've heard commented on often is, with today's ease of self publishing too many books are being published with a less than adequate editing, stories that don't hold together and other issues the publishing houses would have helped to polish.

If you choose the self publishing route, be careful to select a quality, and honest publisher. There are a lot of scammers out there who would love to take your money, and hurt you. Do your research. There are easy to find websites where you can get info on self publishing houses before you sign. Check them out.

I have a number of friends who have self published with Amazon, and are quite happy there. Were I to self publish, I think I would do so through Amazon. You can find and hire editors there to help you, and cover design folks, too. Depending on what you want to spend, you can engage a lot of help, or a little. You can also self publish directly to e-book with minimal cost and they'll arrange the financial split.

When going with a conventional publisher, they'll assign you an editor, take care of the cover design, and all the many details like getting your ISBN number; you'll need to do these things yourself if you self publish. Publishers will take their cut, but you don't need to pay all the costs of publishing, like you do if you self-publish.

Whether you self publish, or publish conventionally, you're pretty much on your own for marketing. So that's not a real consideration. But all the other things are. If you self publish, you will net more on each of your sales; you can set your own price, and be in charge of your editing, cover and all those other details that need to be addressed.

Self publishing is now far easier than it has ever been, and if it interests you, go for it. Just remember, you are then the publisher.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch

Monday, January 20, 2014

Query Letters for Magazines, Agents and Publishers – A Few Do's and Don'ts

Howdy Friends,
A good many of our Coffee Clutch friends are writers, or dream of writing and seeing their novel, non-fiction book, or story published in a magazine. I thought it might be helpful to share a few thoughts about writing the all important query letter.

Agents, admission editors, and publishers are extremely busy people receiving many query letters weekly. Some get a hundred a day! Of course they have their other duties too. So imagine how precious the time is they must carve out to read your own, very special query letter.
Of course if you have the world's best staff, and office, as I do, writing a query letter is a little easier.
I've heard it said that the first sentence of a query letter gets a fair shot. That's it. They like to call it the, "hook." I've never liked that word. I don't like to think of my opening sentence as, a hook, like a carnival barker. Doesn't matter. Better hook them ... If you've hooked them, your query gets to live on, one sentence, or word, at a time. So be sure to make every word count. Be absolutely perfect in your spelling, grammar and format. Yes, even great ideas will be rejected if your query hints that you don't understand sentence structure. Never, ever, not a single time, should your query start with a rhetorical question.

Before we get to what you should include in your query, let's explore a few formalities. Like structure. A query is a business letter, so make it look like one. Use correct headings, salutations and signatures. Always be sure your salutation is to the correct individual. Never, ever, not a single time, "To whom it may concern." – Or "Dear Sir or Madam." Do your homework, research who will receive your query, and address them by name, properly. If you don't do that, your first sentence won't even be read. Always end your query with a thank you. "Thank you for your time and consideration." Sign it, "Sincerely." No gimmicks, no cute stuff, no nonsense. In your signature include your contact information: address, email, and phone number.

Your first paragraph or two should be about your novel or story. Remember, be compelling, make every word count. Show them you can organize your thoughts, and words. Do not, ever, tell them how good it is. Show them! Never say, "This is an epic tale of love and loss … " Jump right in. Show them. "Mary knew this would be their last summer." Then the next sentence needs to build the tension. Never tell them about your story, invite them to live it with you by showing, not telling.

The next paragraph or two should be about you. A brief bio. If you've been published, share that information. If not don't worry about it, skip it. If you have a website, blog, facebook page, tell them. Today, to get consideration, a platform, as they call it, is very helpful, if not a requirement. If you're submitting non-fiction, either for a book, or a magazine article, it is important to tell them why you are qualified to write it.

Read their submission guidelines, and follow them to the letter. If they ask for the first 10 pages to accompany your query, do not send 5 chapters. Sometimes for non-fiction and magazines you can send a query asking if they'd be interested in your story or book before you complete it – But for fiction, never query before you have a completed manuscript, and have spent a lot of time polishing and editing. Many times since everything is done electronically now, when agents or publishers are interested, they will ask for entire manuscripts instead of partials, so if they like what they see they can keep going rather than having to re-start their thinking after you've send the rest.

Your last paragraph will be your thank you, as I indicated above. Some people like to add, "I look forward to hearing from you." I don't. Not in this. This is a good place to personalize your query toward the magazine, agent or publisher you are querying. Keep it brief, but tell them why you selected them. It not only separates you from those who mass-query the same letter in the shotgun approach hoping for a nibble, that never comes, but also shows you are serious and professional.
Then your signature with your contact information included.

Your entire query should be one, to one and a half pages. That's it. Show them you respect their time, and know how to use words to their highest and best value. When you send it, consider sending it in "Rich Text" format, so the email goblins will have a more difficult time destroying the formatting.

Query letters are very difficult for us writers to create. We like to write lots of words, sentences and pages, but if you practice, you can get it perfect. And you will! Things keep changing in the publishing world, but query letters remain very important.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch