World News, Quite A Happy Birthday!

I’ve been, maybe, the worst blogger in the history of the world.  I apologize (it feel’s like I’m always saying “sorry” here … sorry for that!) …

I just returned from a trip out west, the place where it all started for me.  365 days I stood on Rialto Beach and said “it’s time to figure my life out and live it authentically.”  I knew what that meant, where I needed to go and what I needed to do … now, I’m published.  It was a crazy year, but the accumulation of it couldn’t have been more justified … I needed to stand there again and feel the completion, the accomplishment.

Today, I turn 29.  The first year of writing has come and gone so quickly, I don’t really know whether to celebrate or cry because it was an amazing year, and I know I’ll never go back.  I’ll be that innocent again, or at things so simply.  It feels like I grew into this so quickly.

But here’s what’s crazy.

The day I turned 28, I decided to write a novel … the day I turn 29, I have an article about that novel feeding out of World News.  I don’t know if it gets better than that … it was a fluke of timing or the natural unfolding of things.  But either way, it’s amazing.

World News Article About The Milestone Tapes

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March 13, 2012

I remember the first time I sat down with my kindle and tried to read a self-published book.  I can’t remember the title or the name of the author because I never followed through and bought it, but I recall it being bad … as in, really bad.  It was a polarizing experience along with being a waste of time.  I started to believe, from one book, that all independent books were of equal quality.  And, I was wrong.  Very wrong.

The truth, some Indie choose to be Indie.  Some are forced into it by the closed-door policy of Legacy publishers.  Some are simply hobbyists by nature, writing in their free time and publishing on a whim when they can.

As my time with THE MILESTONE TAPES winds down, I’m in a place mentally where I can look back on the journey and see everything — all the good and bad for what it is and was and will always be.  I’m about to step off the cliff, I’m about to publish the book after 365 days of worry, stress, joy, sweat, tears.  This moment, right now, is everything I wanted and everything I worked for … to see it click together is, in a word, boggling.

I don’t know if I’ll always be an Independent.  I don’t know if I’ll sign up for this for my whole life or if someday I’ll decide to do things a different way.  But I do know, despite my original aspirations, I’m happy things worked out just as they did.  I can say with all honesty I have no regrets about how things turned out me and THE MILESTONE TAPES… there is a certain first-time charm that my mistakes, they were my own, and that the learning curve, though it has been steep and fraught with challenges, is the sum of my own accomplishments … and of all that, and it’s terrifying and beautiful.

I’ve said books aren’t babies … but I’m wrong.  They are every bit the child of the writer.  They are labors of love and patience, and you raise them … and then you send them out into the world.  I don’t know, knowing what I know now, if I could have done this any other way … with this book, I’m glad I held on to it, I think I needed to learn a lot before I could take myself seriously.  I don’t know if I could have given up control entirely … from the cover to the content and still felt tied in.  I don’t know if I was ready for that.

I find now that I can’t sleep.  I lay awake at night mentally preparing myself for pushing the “approve” button beside my title and letting it go on and do what it’s going to do.  I have fears … I scared I’m going to fail, scared that I wrong about this whole thing and that I made mistakes and my book sucks and I’m not ready for this at all.  What if no one likes it?  Horrified that this is the end of my time with THE MILESTONE TAPES … that’ll I never be able to go back and change this or add that or refine or rephrase.  I’m exhausted from the loop of self-doubt, and it’s holding me … which I absolutely hate.

But, at the same time, I’m oddly at peace.  Happy that I did it, that I told the story of the Chamberlands.  It was a dream … a total fluke inspired by a vacation.  I wasn’t destined to do this … but I did anyway.

So … I am going bravely into this new reality having fought my way through this publishing web.  THE MILESTONE TAPES will be published March 13th, 2012.

Trestle Press Is Falling Down … Falling Down … Falling Down

Imagine this … if you will …

Years of hard work collecting on your hard drive, years of reject letters collecting on the corner of your desk.  Writing short story after short story for so long you’ve nearly lost count.  And then, you get a direct Twitter Message … from a publisher … a small publisher, but who cares, it’s a publisher!  And he … without query and without approach … wants a read of your work.  Imagine that moment.  Some of us have been there, standing on the edge of “a read” waiting with our hopes and manuscript in hand.  Now, imagine, the head of company, the man out in front, e-mails you and saying the magic, three-letter word … yes.

This, is the Trestle Press Game … and perhaps it will go done in history as one of greatest Author Beware fallouts of all time.  Perhaps it will, as new authors emerge from their home offices with finished manuscripts, become the thing of lore … the thing other, seasoned authors warn them about.

Trestle Press touts themselves as a “legacy publisher” … which is comical, as publishers don’t tend to use words like “legacy” or “traditional” … they are simply publishers.  We, you and I and everyone else, have been the ones to establish the hierarchy … The Big Six, Vanity, Legacy, Traditional … those are our words for them … not their own.   That is, perhaps, the first of the many red flags in the Trestle Press Game.

In the past twenty-four hours, and probably for a bit longer than that, Trestle Press Publishing has been falling down.  It’s hard to pinpoint where the fallout began, but it’s layered.  This is what we know:

Trestle has been creating covers with beautiful images … images that were, for all intents and purposes, hijacked.  That’s right.  Trestle has taken to using photos … stock and not … without the permission of the artist.  In case you didn’t know … HUGE NO-NO.  And this is the justification give for such deceitful actions …

“We stand by the fact that if we have used any copyrighted artwork that we have contacted the artist or made every possible attempt to contact the artist. In many cases, we have requested usage permission and made payment when asked.
In cases where no contact was made or no copyright holder found, we apologize for the usage and have removed the identified images.
It is and always will be our intent and desire never to never infringe on anyone’s intellectual property without their consent” 

Some of these images include a still shot from the 1980’s movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” … another, from the upcoming movie “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” staring Nicholas Cage … and still, another image from the video game “Hit Man”.  I’m almost proof positive that there was no way those images were used with the slightest hint of consent considering the source.

Authors, in the last twenty-four hours, have taken to their individual blogs in force, lamenting that their works were poorly edited, terribly formatted and theorizing that their submitted work not even read prior to publishing.  So much for the merit and weight of yes.

Rather than apologizing for the obvious foul, Trestle has told their authors — the ones that keep the lights on and pad their bank accounts — that there is no need “to draw this out” and that they would not share “where the images came from” since it was obvious in questioning at all, the author was clearly “showed where they were” … and that trust was a “two-way street” … to which I have stress, trust in earned not given.

Others have come forward in this mess to discuss the contract … or lack there of.  Often time no more than a single paragraph, that was total rubbish … and, yes, in case you’re wondering, Trestle Press has published the works of a fourteen year old — whether his parents were aware or not remains to be seen.

It’s a disaster with multiple authors frantically trying to rescue their stories from the grips of the publishing house while simultaneously trying to salvage their careers by expressing that they will soon announce where their stories will be published … as soon as they can figure it out themselves.

In the center of this crumbling bridge stands Giovanni Gelati.  The one man band who has always said his “workers prefer to be anonymous”.  And, now, his little bridge is falling down … down … down.  You might want to know who this mastermind is … where he comes from … and just where he gets off.  There isn’t much out there about him personally, other than his blog-radio, Gelati’s Scoop.

The message in this new fallout is simple … authors, be so careful when it comes to who you get in bed with.  It’s easy to get swept away when you finally get the sort of response you’ve been chasing.  Know who you’re dealing with, be involved and vocal.

Publicity and All That Jazz

I’ve been a bad blogger lately … and I’m sorry.  This blog has been painfully slow as I try to balance writing my second novel with putting the finishing touches on The Milestone Tapes.  I apologize and I’ll try to be better.

Before we jump into this latest post, I have a little housekeeping to do.

1. Please, please, please remember to sign up for the The Milestone Tapes Giveaway!  We have just under a month left!  More information can be found here under the “books and events” page!  Thanks for your continued support as we round third towards home.

2. I’ve finally, thank you Jesus, broken the curse of writers block.  Abandoning my initial idea allowed me to tell a story I’ve been haunted by for years.  Like with THE MILESTONE TAPES, IN THE AFTER will hit close to home for me as I explore what it means to really be a friend in the darkest of hours.  IN THE AFTER, unlike with THE MILESTONE TAPES, is a morbid story that will ping directly into current events and hopefully put a looking-glass over the definition of spousal abuse and the ricochet effect it has on relationships.

Okay … now, onto the topic …

Yesterday I posed a question on the Kindleboards about whether a new author would be better served going Select or if they should branch out into the wider distribution of B&N, Smashwords and the like.  I also mentioned that I had hired a publicist to work with me on the launch.

While some people stayed on topic, hashing out the highs and lows of Select … others broke off into the idea of a new author using a publicist to spread the word of their release.

I was told that with one novel my success will be nil and that it’s only with the what I do next that I will see what kind of author I meant to become … of course, I’m paraphrasing, but more or less, that was the gist.  That, rather than investing time and money into my first book, I should be killing myself for the second — dedicating every waking minute available to seeing the second novel through to completion.  Of course, this was from authors will multiple books in their signatures.  I was told that I should just publish, publish, publish … and if, in a year or so, I decide my work reads as “amateurish” … I can always pull particular works down.

…Ummm….

As I’ve said … over and over again … I’m not a seasoned vet, rather, I’m a first timer with no back-list and yes, that puts me a real disadvantage.  Everything I publish will be from the moment, and I will give to it all I can manage.  I won’t ever have the luxury of being a fast and furious author.  If I can publish one a year, I’m doing good.  Each book will come from its own place, literary fiction doesn’t lend itself well to sequels by the nature of it being.  And, the audience of literary fiction is an interesting bunch itself.  There is a set expectation of a book that is written for the genre … and it’s different from YA or SciFi or Romance.

So … let me tell you why I’m still going ahead as planned …

THE MILESTONE TAPES, draft one, was finished in August — or rather — five months ago.  I’ve held on to it now for longer than it took to write.

The editing of THE MILESTONE TAPES was completed November — or rather — nearly three months ago and I’ve still kept it to myself.

The cover, number two that is, was finished in November as well, for three months I’ve stared at it.  But, cover number one was completed in October.

The formatting for THE MILESTONE TAPES was finished earlier this month — I have the proof in hand and it’s flawless, but still, I haven’t clicked “publish”.

Why?

Because it’s not ready. The book in and of itself is as good as it ever will be … and its publishable material.  As I write this entry, the truth is, I could be a published author.  I could have had THE MILESTONE TAPES up for sale for nearly a week now.  Heck, I could have slapped a cover on it and it could have been for sale months ago … but that isn’t my style.  That’s not what I wanted for this story and it won’t be what I want for any story that shall follow… and that’s not how I’m going to step into the publishing world now or ever.

When a Big Six publishes a book there is hoopla.  It gives an author — new or old — a presence.  This mantra of letting the pot boil is one that was honed by trial and error.  They obviously know what works when it comes to launching a book and meeting sales quotas.  I, do not.  But, to my credit, I’m a researcher.  I was a reader long before I was a writer and I that sort of branches out into my quest to get it right.

The irony is, is that when an indie author grumbles about poor sales … the first thing that is often suggested or commented on is promotion.  Why?  Because it’s a way to get the word out, inspire interest, cultivate excitement … as the Big Six regularly do.  In the case of sluggish sales, either the author didn’t do enough or didn’t manage to target the correct areas.  But, in my mind (and to quote Larry the Cable Guy) … that’s like checking on your burgers after they’re burnt.  It’s an after the damage is done kind of thing.  New books have a short shelf life before they become old books.  Strike while the iron is hot is my personal philosophy.  Make as much of that moment as you can, give yourself every opportunity possible and you’ll never wonder what if.

With all of that said, I also know that everyone is on their own journey.  That what works for one may not work for another.  So, rather than make blanket statements about what you must do … I think it’s more pertinent to encourage all options.  Success comes in many forms … and that path too it is often different and designed by an individual.

So … now it’s question time … as a new author, what did you do to spread the word?  🙂

 

 

 

Paying It Forward

I have to say, I got lucky.

When I decided I wanted to publish my book, and when no agent wanted in on my project and no small press had room for me, I able to access a wealth of knowledge by joining the right forums and asking a lot of questions.  Their kindness and wisdom made this process of going it alone, while not exactly “easy” absolutely easier, all things considered.  I think, as with all good fortune, paying it forward is the key to real gratitude.  So, I’ve decided to do just that the only way I know how … with a blog.

I’m launching a new spin-off site of La Bella Novella, The Indie You, to give the information back.  Send it out into the world so that someone, like myself, can stumble upon and find (hopefully) what they need to make their dream of being an author come true.  Let someone else harness the belief that wild dreams are possible and give them the tools to make it happen.

While I’ll be the first to admit … nope, I’m no expert … I think there is real power in the meeting of minds.  There is no “one size fits all” formula when it comes publishing a book … so what the point of the new blog will be is to explore all avenues of self publishing through experiences, professional knowledge and plain old talking it out.  It will be part forum, part resource center.  Nothing will be off-limits … and every question will be addressed head on.

I will build a directory of freelance professionals, and unlike on this site where I feature only those I’ve worked with, The Indie You will welcome everyone to sign up and list their skills-for-hire.

The Indie You is rough right now, but, I will be focusing time in the coming days to launching it.

So …

While I’m building the site, I’m also opening the door for communication.  This is what I’m looking for right now …

– Are you a cover artist or editor? Formatter? Offer another important service? Interested in offering your time to be a beta reader?  E-mail me at theindieyou@gmail.com and let me know, you’ll be added to the list of resources.

– Are you an independent author with a story to tell?  E-mail me at theindieyou@gmail.com and let me know, I’d love to feature you.

– Have questions you want answered about self-publishing?  E-mail me at theindieyou@gmail.com, I will be more than happy to open them up for addressing.

Stay tuned for the official launch … needless to say, I’m excited!

 

 

And Off To The Editor We Go

Today was the day I’ve been waiting for.  The first step towards changing my book for the better.  It feels huge, like the writer in me’s day of comeuppance, I’m almost giddy with it.

I can tell you this … finding an editor is a really laborious process.  There are so many talented freelancers out there.  It makes finding the right one who will capture the essence of your voice and do the job in your likeness really hard.  But, it’s worth it.  And when you know, you know.

Prices vary greatly between editors.  I remember the first time I reached out to an editor, and she came back at me with a $3,000 bid.  I almost died.  I cried; sitting at my kitchen table, I hung my head and felt like I’d never be able to afford that, that’d I be forced to pause my project and play the waiting/saving game.  I could no more afford $3,000 that day than I could afford to fly to the moon.  I hadn’t saved for that, I had a small sum–but it was nothing that even came close to that.  Mark, as always, encouraged me to keep looking and as I did, the bids slowly started a downward trickle–and once we dropped below four-figures I could breathe again.

Then, I found Lauren Dee of Daisy Cakes Creative.  Don’t you just love her businesses name?

Lauren is a selective editor, the sort that doesn’t take every project passed to her…you have to query for her attention.  And once you have it, there is a waiting list.  I was on-hold for almost two months, but I didn’t mind because I liked her.  I wanted her to be the one to take this project on.

Lauren is one of the more a reasonably priced editors I approached, bringing to the table ten years of editorial experience working with NYT best-selling authors, smaller Indies and publishing houses alike.  She’s sweet and approachable, the naturally friendly sort–and she will go the extra mile to highlight her service, bringing it down to an understandable level for a newbie like myself. Her style of editing is classic, and her e-mails read just that way.

I told her, in plain text, that I was giving her my trust.  That I wanted her to be honest with me…if I need more than a copy/line edit–say so!  This book, it’s sort of everything to me, and if I need a bit more on the heavy side of make it publish-worthy, so be it.  Hold me accountable.

I’ll continue to post about this editing process as milestones or things arise.  It’s all part of the journey and I just took the first step…

 

 

Sending Out An S.O.S

Just when I thought I was out of things to talk about…

I received an e-mail from an agent who would like to read my first 3 chapters…excellent, no problem.  AND…he’d like to read my synopsis.

My what?  Huh?  Come again?  I didn’t know I needed one of those–now I have to hack one together in the span of hours…(although, that’s for your eyes only…I’m really trying not to come off as a total incompetent moron to the professionals)

Just when I thought I’d figured out this whole “application for representation” process, a curve ball flies in from the left and gladly knocks me on my ass.  Amazing.

I have to do it.  I have no choice in the matter, I have to write a synopsis.  As of now I can look back at everything–all my misadventures and false starts and novelly green ideals–and say, at least I tried.  I’ve not let one opportunity slip through my fingers, and I’ve learned from everything.  I put in the time, energy and heart.  I made the most of it, albeit clumsy at best.

And now, I’m staring down something I literally have NO idea how to do.  I’ve written my fair share of synopsis’ in my day (but when I say “my day” I mean school…a place I have attended in over ten years!).  And this one isn’t for a grade…it’s for something way more sacred.  No pressure, though.

So…author friends…how do I do this?  I wrote the book, I know it–pretty gosh darn well–but to sum it up in 3-5 pages?  I’m lost.  Help a girl out.  Please & thank you!

Update:

I figured it out.  I locked myself in my home office for an hour and got down to the brass tacks of the story.  Whether it works or not, I certainly hope so, but only time will tell.

So…My Balls Dropped

Okay, that is a fairly graphic title–but yes, I guess my balls have dropped–and there is simply no other way to say it.  I’m getting ballsy.

This morning I received a rejection letter.  The agent said…and I quote…”I hope you plan to write another novel, because I do think you have talent. However, both your query and your opening pages need some editing, and the story could use some revision.”

Normally, I’m a “no means no” sorta gal.  My mother raised me that way.  I don’t back talk, and I’d never ever go against an adult.  But hey…this is a grown up world, I’m an adult too and I’m trying (really hard) to find my place.

The fact is, I like this agent.  I like that not only did she take the time to tell me–point-blank–my manuscript needs work, but that she saw something in my work that could be a launch pad for bigger things–things that I want long-term.  It’s not the standard “I’m not right” or “thank you, but we’re not interested”…she communicated with me.  She told me where my problems lie and gave me some real solutions…she just didn’t know I already knew that, that I was already working towards coming correct.

So…back to my balls…

I read, reread and reread again the e-mail.  I thought it over, and in my mind I reasoned–nothing ventured, nothing gained.  My book is going to an editor in 8 days.  It will be revamped and polished and sorted out.  My clumsy first-timer mistakes will be corrected and what remains will be a better, rounder story.

I figured–let’s see how serious that “talent” comment was…I e-mailed back.  This is where I’m dropping the “no means no” pretense of my entire life.  I asked her for a second chance.  I said that yes, I know this MS needs work–but I’ll do it, and I’ll put everything I have into making it right.

Make no mistake about that, I’m as serious as a heart attack when it comes to this in general–this book means everything to me, and it will be perfect, whether I’m an Indie or Traditional, it makes no difference to me…my accountability will be to my readers and they deserve nothing less.

So, I took the gamble.  I rolled the second chance for that first impression dice.  She may say “no way, girl”…but she may not.  Had I not tried…done at least that much…I’d never know.  And that right there, that’s exactly what I can’t live with.  I can take rejection, I can take silence and unanswered queries because I know what they mean…but not trying, that’s not my personal style.  I’ll try and try and try until I run out of road.

I understand what I did was unconventional–I told her as much.  I understand what I’m trying for may be a total literary faux pas. And this is nothing I’d recommend someone doing–because it might be a really, really bad thing. But–what do I really, really have to lose?  She already rejected me once…twice can’t be much worse, right?

***I’ll be updating this post if or when I receive a reply…good, bad or ugly***

Edited For THE UPDATE

I heard back…she said the particular story didn’t interest her, but she’d be willing to entertain other books in the future.  I quickly added her to my address book–Dear Agent Lady, you’ll be hearing from me again someday, unless I get a believer from jump street.

So…I guess I stay true to the course–we’re off to the editor in 8 days (so thrilled) and then, if nothing else, self publishing (super thrilled)…and of course, book two which is already in the worlds (extremely thrilled about that one).

The lesson here is simple and one that, I suppose, we all have to learn by trial and error…

Rejections aren’t always as simple as they may seem.  I’ve, personally, been told so many different things on my journey with THE MILESTONE TAPES–but the base line is this…different agents really do want different things.  That’s not stock font, people.  That’s really, really true–it’s the grass-roots of reading at large.

I’ve always believed–even before I wrote, just when I was an average, everyday reader: One persons beautiful book is another’s wasted space.  And now that I’m on the other side of the coin, I’m realizing, this whole author/agent/query thing…it’s not that much different from being a reader–you turn a book over, you read the back and decide if this novel is right for you.  If it’s not–that doesn’t mean in five minutes another reader won’t come along, swoop it up and devour it in a solitary afternoon because it’s so them and it’s exactly what they needed.  You can be a great author with great talent, and if the book isn’t an agent’s cup of tea or personal flavor, they’ll pass…same thing with any reader, really.  But that’s not a reflection on you as the writer–it’s on them, as the reader.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  Nothing at all.  We’ve all done it, we’ll all do it for the rest of our lives in a million different ways.  It boils down to choice.

I love what I do…I want others to love it as well.  If you don’t, I’d rather skip the melodrama of trying too hard.  I’ve hated the query process and all its baggage.  But, what I can appreciate is the lessons I’ve learned…the growing I’ve done because I put myself through querying.  I’m not going to say querying is something everyone should do, many won’t for personal reasons, and that I can respect.  But for me, as someone green, new and fumbling I needed too–not because it’s fun, but because it’s simply educational.  It prepared me for everything else that will come my way in bucketful doses; rejection, adoration, the highs and lows.

My balls and I are happy we e-mailed back.

AMP, over and out!

What We’re Up Against

Lately I’ve been reading about these amazing flukes of luck in Indie Author Land–multi-book deals, movie options, agents querying the author.  It’s all very motivational and it feels so hopeful.  These stories are a portal to the realization that, without doing anything other than being the best author you can be, beautiful things can happen to you all the time, at any given moment.

But there is a darker side to being an Indie Author.  Some may call them haters…others may associate the hate speech with the guillotine that hangs above every Indie Published book and the reputation that proceeds each new title…I would say it’s a pinch of both…but still…it’s darn good to know what we’re up against so we can arm ourselves accordingly

Amazon offers “Kindle Forums”…where real Kindle readers cluster to discuss.  I don’t frequent it often, but in passing I noticed a thread entitled—How To Avoid Indie Authors (ouch, that hurts!).  Yet, I decided not just run from the topic–but to consider their “take” as a master class on the isolated opinions that would polarize me from my dream.  Frankly, I’m always eager to learn from the ignorance or experience of others…to design what I do to prove them wrong–so wrong it hurts.

Here are a few sample quotes…

When Amazon opened up self-publishing for the kindle, everyone and their dog has suddenly become an “author,” and every rejected manuscript resurrected as a kindle “book.” I have no problem with amateurs posting their stuff to share online in a writer’s forum, but must their writings be intermingled with real books in the kindle store? Is there some way to hide them or weed them out when browsing and searching. It’s annoying to have to wade through all that garbage which has multiplied like a rat infestation in the Kindle store. courtesy of : Greg

Dear Greg,

I wrote a “book”.  It’s 100k words, and I wrote it in 4 months.  It was long process and it required every inch of self-control, dedication and deep love that a traditionally published book requires.  It’s real, and despite what you may believe to be a universal truth–it is, very much, a book, no quotations required.  You are under no obligation to purchase it–and I’d probably prefer if you didn’t.  No sense in subjecting you to my literary “garbage”.  I believe my feelings are probably shared by the others you harbor so much contempt for as well.

Greg, we do what we love.  We share what we love.  We pour over the words and characters and world we create with enthusiasm and joy–sometimes with heartbreak and frustration.  We intend the book to be enjoyed…so if you can’t or won’t simply because we’re not “traditional”…then it’s genuinely your loss–and for that, you have my sincere condolences.

Kindle and Nook ought to flag books that are self-published. At least then we think to check the book out a bit more closely. For me its the copy editing that makes me gnash my teeth and use words my mother would not approve of! courtesy of : KesterGayle

Dear KesterGayle,

It’s good to always check a book out–you might find something you’d enjoy.

I agree that the covers are a major clue. Indie book artwork and graphics are usually abysmal. But an even better clue is the absence of professional reviews. If all you see is a product description and/or quotes from anonymous sources you know it’s an indie. courtesy of : Danica

Dear Danica,

Since artwork and graphics tend to be one in the same…can you really take issue with both?  Or, did you mean font but simply fell victim to your own bad, confusing writing?  Maybe? If so, welcome to the party–writing what you mean to say can be a tricky skill to master. But, all of that aside, yes, I’ll agree with your point, covers are important.  Did you realize most covers–Indie or Traditional–are purchased from similar places?

I suggest we petition the federal government of the United States to create an Independent Author Advisory Board to decide for us what books can be published. This will weed out all the “undesirable” content from being sold. We need to censor all this garbage. Think of it like exterminators for infestation of freedom of press. courtesy of : New Girl!!

Dear New Girl!!

Your ideals fascinate me for the simple ignorance of them.  Amazon is an American owned and operated company…and in America, dear New Girl, we have this wonderful thing called Freedom Of Press–which, thankyouverymuch, doesn’t practice extermination.  Obviously you’re new…but look it up, girlfriend 🙂

Even calling them ‘authors’ is pushing it. Yes, wipe them out. 🙂 courtesy of : Greg (again)

Oh Greg,

It saddens me to see that–despite how simple it seems–you’re unfamiliar with the definition of an author…here, let me help you Greg.  An Author is defined by someone who has written a book, article or report.  Indie is simply a catch term given and used…but, it’s all the same…an author is an author is an author.  Cheers to all the wordsmiths out there!

Psst: You may want to buff up on the proper use of quotations–you use them in all the wrong places.

**names removed for privacy of the innocent** … Stop the self promotion please. That is the problem with indie . They just cannot help but promote their more often than not unreadable/boring work. Either use their friends or gang up together to self-promote covertly passing as unbiased readers. courtesy of : athenadsb

Dearest athenadsb,

Per chance you don’t understand that promotion–in many forms–is part of the job?  Even traditionally published authors promote their work, day in and out.  Your favorite author?  I’m sure has trudged the path of self promotion.  And, on a side note, I didn’t realize our friends weren’t allowed to enjoy our books?  News to me…but I’ll make sure to promote that in the future.

Indie writers: stop being so pathetic, even that Norwegian neo-Nazi killer had the decency of not publishing his 1500 + mein-kampf-ish jibber jabber to Amazon Kindle, learn to be as decent as him, that’s not too much to ask, or you’re just tooo needy and want to poison us with your venom. courtesy of : Brandenberg

Dearest Brandenberg,

Adolf Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf” (the title should be capitalized, by the way) in 1925 with a second edition published in 1926.  Amazon.com was founded in 1994 and went live in 1995.  Obviously, as you can see, there was no cross over.  However–I believe had Hitler been given the chance…he’d pushed that hate speech out at every turn–he was nothing if not self indulgent.

And…since I can’t let this slide without saying something…

To liken an Indie Author to Hilter is disgusting, it’s wrong, it’s vile and you should be embarrassed.  Nothing you say; before, during or after, will ever be relevant again–it was a nonsensical baseless comparison.  What Hilter did was exactly the opposite of what we, as authors, do.  We sell stories–not hate.  We believe in freedom to say what you want and be who you are–clearly a different agenda then the above mentioned.

I’ll be waiting for that apology, Bradenberg.

***

I think we’ll close the quote portion of this entry with Brandenberg ranking us below Hilter on the decency scale–seems like a good place to me…you?

What I walk away with (after seventeen plus pages of that full on bashing) is that in every dismal compliant there is a spark of truth (save for Bradenberg–but he’s his own man).  And that spark of truth is how we crawl from under the stigma of “just Indie” to be taken seriously as contenders, as good writers and good people.  It’s what we learn from the bad comments that earn us the good comments–the one’s the are listed below the title of our books.  People don’t hand out gold stars and stickers on effort when you’re a grown up doing grown up things–you have to work for it, and if you put in the energy and the money and the balls-to-walls effort…then–and only then– do the accolades come in droves.

Let’s put their objections to good use…they are just readers after all…

-Book covers.  Apparently they matter–a lot.  The age-old saying of “don’t judge” needs to be trashed.  Our covers are judged, probably to higher standard.  Effort needs to be outgoing and the product needs to be outstanding.

-Editing.  Just do it.  Hire an editor, find a beta-buddy…pause yourself, cool your heels…take the time to make it right from jump street.  If you publish a error-ridden work, it’s just that–error ridden.  Stop expecting anyone to read through your clumsy phrasing, and mistakes…they won’t and you lose.  It’s of paramount importance.  Raise the bar–and then rise up to meet it.

-Promotion.  Do it where it should be done.  Put your energies towards the places where you’ll be rewarded.  Every author promotes–interviews, press releases…but bite your tongue at the times where you’d appear to be selling snake oil.  The best promotion is the one that allows your reap the benefits of it…everything else is just clutter.

-Quotes.  If you’re going use them, let them stand for something.  Find reviewers and capture the best phrase of praise and use it!  Be proud of what’s being said–give credit where credit is due.

It can all be done.  Like I said before–prove them wrong.

I’m going to hand off the blog clincher  to Doobie Doobie who will say it better than I ever could….

All of the following were self-published…recognize any of the names?

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
John Grisham, A Time to Kill
L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics
Irma Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box
Jack Canfield and Mark Hensen,Chicken Soup for the Soul
James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy
Beatrix Potter, creator of the Peter Rabbit Classic Series

Also, here are some more self-published authors:
Thomas Paine – Edgar Allan Poe – T.S. Elliot – Carl Sandberg – Gertrude Stein – Deepak Chopra – Upton Sinclair – D.H. Lawrence – George Bernard Shaw – e.e. cummings – Henry David Thoreau – Virginia Woolf – Margaret Atwood – Tom Clancy – Stephen Crane

NaNoWriMo Muse–Hedging Your Bets With Just a Little Luck.

I’m not superstitious–let me start with that so you’ll know this comes from a place of curiosity rather than deeply rooted lore.  I’ll never be one to throw salt over my shoulder.  I step on cracks all the time–and mothers back is just fine. I have no problem with ladders–I’ll climb them, walk around them, or under them.  I think black cats are adorable.

But…

Who can’t use just a little more luck?

This morning I was playing around on Etsy, a site that it supported by Indie crafters and artists–and I typed in NaNoWriMo just for fun.  Up popped a cluster of NaNoWriMo muse dolls (in my opinion they looked more like voodoo dolls…but, whatever).  The search peaked my curiosity…do people really get muses to help them through the month of NaNo?  So, what’s a girl to do but research.

Most of the pages directly linked to NaNo forum have been moved and ergo were unfound.  But, what I did see was this…

It’s not uncommon.

Some people buy CD’s…others opt for stuffed animals–or voodoo-esk dolls. But, the practice of getting something to encourage you along isn’t unheard of.

I was in Barnes and Noble looking around later and found this lovely four leaf clover paperweight.  After reading the information card on the back, I knew–I’d found my muse.  I don’t know if it will inspire me so much as capture the feel of my NaNoWriMo manuscript.  Faith, hope, love, luck….sounds a lot like NaNo to me.

Will you be using a muse this year?  Something to inspire you and encourage you along?

Meet My Muse