Viva The Self-Pub Revolution

I remember when I first heard of the idea of self-publishing. In the late 80’s it was still a theory or prediction, but it was an exciting one. Desktop publishing loomed as a possibility for anyone and everyone with a home computers and I was enthralled with the idea of creativity without gatekeepers. We were told it will be possible to create your own music, movies, professional photographs and print work and get it out to the public. It seems so mundane and obvious now, but the idea was truly freeing and revolutionary.


I didn’t grow up in a ‘if you can dream it you can do it’ kind of world. People who dreamed of doing something big were usually told to grow up, get a dose of reality and stop wasting time on artsy-fartsy stuff – unless you want to live in a cardboard box on the side of the road for the rest of your life. While I loved the idea of a creative revolution, it didn’t seem to apply to me. That was until I hit my mid-life crazy and decided I wanted to join the revolution.

I tell you all this background now so you will understand how excited and committed I am to the self-publishing revolution. As I have gotten more involved with the online community of authors I was surprised at the number who may be self-published right now, but only until a publisher comes along to deem them “a real writer.” In a way I get it. It wasn’t that long ago that the only way to be a writer was to have your work smiled upon by the gods of the traditional publishing industry. If that happened, it was a HUGE accomplishment and the writer could bask in the glow of being one of the lucky few. 

Would I like to have that glow? Not really. (Liar, some of you hiss). It means so much more to me to be part of this revolution. The only draw a publishing house had for me was an editor and marketing. While a company-supplied editor would still be nice, I’ve learned that the marketing machine is reserved for the use of those at the top (an executive bathroom privilege of sorts). New authors are asked to show up with tens of thousands of followers on self-created social media platforms. If I’m going to create that on my own, I might as well keep going and do it all myself. I’m not even sure how I would get all those followers before publishing my first book. It looks like the current formula is for an author to self-publish, build a following, then present themselves at the publishing house alter to humbly ask to be called an author. 

I get that it’s lonely and scary to do all this alone. My ratio of scared-s**tless to confident days is still running around 30/70. But the same social media that puts me in touch with readers is also connecting me with other writers and a boat-load of resources to make it all so much easier. 

I’m in this for so much more than just sharing my work right now. I want to see where this revolution goes. I want to see how the world changes for other potential authors, people who were told that their dream of writing was a one-way ticket to disappointment and abstract poverty. It’s not easy and most of us have to work more than one job to get started, but being part of something so huge and empowering is worth it to me. 

So to all the book bloggers, reviewers, #amwriting tweeters, Goodreads Indie author supporters, writing coaches, and yes, even Amazon; I say thank you – and vive la revolution!


The Beautiful Month

I’ve posted about this major event before, but with so many fantastic things going on at once, I thought today would be a great day to remind all of you that the World Cup has started! 

 “Meh,” you say. “We’re Americans, we don’t watch futbol, we watch football.” OK, I get that for most of you it is called soccer, and it’s played by your kids on Saturday mornings. But stay with me and I’ll explain why you should check out futbol, and today is a great day to start. 

Team USA plays their first game today against Ghana (5 p.m. Central). Our odds of winning the Cup are really slim, so today is a great day to cheer for the home team. (They may not make it past the first round.) Of course it helps that the home team looks like this:

(Stay with me and you’ll see a trend here)
Yes, our hometown boys are hotties and all that eye-candy on the pitch (field) makes it so much nicer to ease yourself into “the beautiful sport”. It also helps that unlike football, futbol uniforms (kits) allow for optimum viewing of the beautiful players.

Now that I have your attention, let’s go over some of the other teams worth watching.
France:

And they all have French accents (le sigh)

They won their first game against Honduras yesterday, which sets them (and us) up for a can’t-miss match with Switzerland on Friday. While they are not slated to win the Cup, they should make it to the second round (especially if they keep playing like yesterday). 

Spain:

They won the last World Cup and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every game they played, because they can play (in addition to their obvious other skills.)

England:

Another team that should at least make it to round two and do it with style. Their first game was against Italy and it was as beautiful as your are imagining. (They lost, but I’m not giving up hope). 

Truthfully I could go on and on with pages and pages of visual arguments as to why you should add World Cup games to your DVR list. Or even better, find a local pub with the games on the big screen and meet other futbol fans. Today’s the day to become part of this beautiful world party.

I’m Not Working

The other morning I woke up before my kids and I let them sleep in since they are on summer break. The house was quiet (for once) and I even had control of the TV. So what did I do with this magic time? I worked (sort of).

What I did was write some on Popstars, Friends and Lovers (my second novel), and connect with all the writer/reader people I have met through social media. Technically I guess it was work, but I didn’t do it out of obligation or a need to reach a certain goal. I did it because there was really nothing else I wanted to do more. I’ve reached the mythical place where work isn’t work.  

Jeff Foxworthy mentioned this phenomenon once. He talked about having so much fun doing comedy that he couldn’t believe that someone was actually going to pay him to do it. I remember thinking that was a fantastic pie-in-the-sky idea.  I didn’t know people who lived like that.  I always thought a job was something you had to do, usually something you got stuck doing, and definitely something you complained about doing on a regular basis.  

Now writing has fallen into a strange new category for me. It seems too fun to be my “job” but it’s important that I make it my “job”. If I don’t see it as my primary occupation, it can easily be pushed aside and fall off the top of my priority list. It could smother and die under a pile of other stuff. 

There are those who might argue that I’m not really working. That I’m just pursuing a hobby or chasing a dream. My writing paycheck couldn’t even support my coffee habit, yet. But they are missing the big picture perspective I have. I can see the next nine novels I will write already sketched out in my head. I can see the growing number of people who have read my first novel and want to read the next (and hopefully more after that). I can see more and more days in my future where I am not working, but I’m having a blast doing what I love doing.

 

High As A Kite I Just Might Stop To Check You Out

How I see Steve **

Long title today, but I couldn’t resist the Violent Femmes reference.  It goes with the territory I’ve been in lately.  I’m working on Popstars, Friends & Lovers the sequeal to Burnouts, Geeks & Jesus Freaks: a love story. So I’m spending a lot of time with my favorite burnout, Steve Shrader. He is often high as a kite and today’s the day we will stop to check him out. 

In a way Steve is the Midwest version of Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He’s the funny, charming guy who cruises through high school on a perpetual high. Other students think he’s funny and teachers like him more than they would ever admit.  That is definitely part of this character and the side that he shows the world. But as book one progresses and into book two we learn that he is so much more complicated that what he lets you see.

A big part of his character is that he loves girls. Sure all guys say they do, but it borders on obsession with Steve. (See my 10/3/13 post – A Primer on Men Who Love Women) This overwhelming need to connect to females comes from the lack of any female in his early life. He’s never known his mother and only briefly connected to one of his dad’s girlfriends. He spends time with and studies girls. He flirts with any female he comes across because he loves to make them smile. And all that studying and flirting make him an amazing lover, even at sixteen. He’s not a player, looking to see how many girls he can score with. He’s an aficionado of all things female who can’t resist getting to study the objects of his desire.  

And the one he connects with most is MG. His laid back side is drawn to her hell-bent need to have fun. He’s her perfect partner in crime, willing to go along and support all her schemes. He’s more than happy to just bask in her glow, never needing the spotlight she craves. But MG wants more from life than he can (or is willing to) offer. 

Book two is Steve and MG’s story, but also a story about dreams. The problem with Steve is that he just doesn’t have any. He was raised without expectations or permission to hope for anything more than a third shift life moving boxes at a warehouse. His laid back nature works against him and he just lets life happen to him. Until something pushes him to take the reins of his own life and go after what he truly dreams of. 

The surprising side to Steve Shrader is his passion. I can’t wait for everyone to get to see this side of him this November when I tell his story.