Fears and What I’m doing this Weekend

On my calendar this weekend I have formatting the e-book and paperback for Everything is Broken.  I also have a Drive-by Truckers concert to attend in Atlanta. Seeing DBT live (and Bob Dylan) is like a religion for me. So, I won’t be missing that. I also have the very important task of spending time with the family. I’ve always struggled to minimize the effect of my writing pursuits on my wife and son. I have always hoped that they would not need to sacrifice for my passion. I fear that lately I have failed. Not miserably, mind you. But there is no way around the fact I am stealing time away from them in the evenings doing someIndie-writerly things.

Further on fears… I am getting into unknowns. The actual publishing side of things. I tell myself that the uncertainty I feel is just the discomfort of doing things I have never really done before.  The truth is much darker.

I am struggling with Heinlein’s Rules #3 and #4.

3. You must not rewrite (unless to editorial order)

I don’t have an editor to order me to do anything. I’ve made typo fixes found by my first reader (my wife) and a copy-editor. That’s it, right? Damn, while I scanned the book formatting for e-book I noticed a typo they both missed! And this is the dark, downward spiral of Rule #3. I’m fighting the good fight, but it is very hard to not succumb to the temptations of rewriting (to death).

4. You must put it out to market.

The butterflies here are just about the same as getting up in front of a crowd and speaking. I’m an introvert, and that terrifies me. However, I am grasping onto what I’ve learned in my professional life, where I have learned to dive into the deep-end. When an opportunity arises, I volunteer, get the public speaking over with, and breathe a sigh of relief. I’ve gotten good at presenting to fairly large audiences. I will remember that and try to sprint to hitting the publish button. Then forget it and don’t read reviews if any of them ever come in. Ha ha. The key to that sprint, however, is making it to the other side of Rule #3.

Good news? I slept in until 7 a.m. today, but still got my morning words in. Tomorrow will me more difficult as I’ll be up till God knows when in the House of Rock. And somewhere in there, I need to finish formatting books. The e-book is pretty much there, I need to draft a copyright page and figure out how to get the free ISBNs input on my book from the retailers that require ISBN (and I have no clue about that, God help me if these D2D and others don’t have weekend customer support).

Have a great, prolific weekend.


When I first attempted Nanowrimo more than fifteen years ago and by extension started down my fiction writing path in earnest, there was no feasible method for Indie publishing. There was the start-up publisher iUniverse (and probably some others), who I credit with bringing visibility to the idea of print-on-demand technology. Ebooks were these clunky, really irritating things that maybe you could read on your computer or some geeky device that cost several hundreds of dollars.

The idea of self-publishing was even more frowned upon than it is today, but more importantly there was very little chance of reaching any level of success through self/indie-publishing.

Back then you had one choice — traditional publishing. And traditional publishing like any dusty, backward looking business model came with its “always done this way” rules. Some of those were:

You must have an agent. The big Five do not take non-agented submission.

No simultaneous submissions, unless the publisher specifically allows it.

I’m not going to comment on the stupidity of that simultaneous submission rule, other than to say I never followed it. Because, fuck ’em. They wanted months on end to read the submission. Even when I was 32, I didn’t have the time for that bullshit.

The agented submission is another form of bullshit that lives on today. The agents have been and continue to be gatekeepers to gatekeepers (i.e. agents -> publisher -> reader). They (agent and traditional publishers) argue that it keeps low quality work off the market protecting the reading public. In those days, I remember thinking how the indie music scene took off by cutting out the big-time record labels. Publishing has followed suit despite the best attempts of the Big-Five and agents.

There was another aspect of this agented submission requirement that was none so savory (I suspect it continues). The scam agents. Writers, so concerned that no publisher would read their submission, became easy prey to agents who would charge the writer for agent services. Disgusting.

Alas, in today’s market, where writers have taken some initiative in the markets, a new type of gatekeeping has arrived.  A new scam is breeding.

Today with the popularity of indie publishing, all of the ‘experts’ are warning of the lack of quality. The reader must be protected. NOW, every indie writer ‘must’ have their novel ‘professionally’ edited (editorial direction, developmental editing, copyediting, proofread), and they must hire a ‘professional’ book cover designer, and possibly ‘professional’ book formatting. Most of the individuals who have set-up shop in any of these cottage industries are ‘professional’ in the same way the women of the world’s oldest profession are. Which is to say, there are no professional requirements for any of these people to provide their services. Yet, nearly everyone in the industry, including fellow indie writers, claim all of it is necessary. I just received an email from Reedsy that suggests the average costs for just the minimum editing (see all that bullshit in the parenthesis above) is greater than $4000.  Formatting approx. additional grand. Same for cover design. The cost of all of these ‘required’ quality assurances is the new gatekeeper! I don’t think I need to tell you what the scam is…

This is bullshit.

Do your best. With what you can afford. Do not be deterred by this bullshit. It is all capitalizing on writer/artist fear. If you can afford a copyeditor and you don’t have a free resource, by all means purchase the service (but research credentials). If you can afford a cover artist, and you can’t do a good job of it yourself, have at it (but check the portfolio). If you can afford a formatting help, keep that money in your pocket or give it to me.

Don’t let these costs keep the gate closed. Almost all of them can be minimized or eliminated with a little creativity. And some of it should not be used (book doctor, cough), period.

And by the way, call bullshit on all of the advice I just gave, because what do I know? But do think for yourself, because you are the only one that has your interests at heart.




A Night with Writers

My local writing group met at a pub last night for our “Pub Night.” Go figure. It’s the less formal of the meetings that the group has every couple of weeks. The other being “Critique Night”, which I do not attend. Despite the fact that I don’t participate in critiques this group has still been welcoming of me. And the Pub Nights give me what I need or want from a writer’s group.

I am able to check in with how I am doing on my work, and I am able to talk with other writers, which is fascinating. I always come away from Pub Night, excited and re-charged.

Last night, we discussed Indie Publishing.  I tried to mostly listen and talk less… I failed miserably. I guess I’m just too passionate about all this. Still, it was great to hear how our other writers have had success with publishing. What’s worked and what hasn’t. That sorta thing.

And I did come home excited and re-charged. Everything is Broken’s copy edits are complete. Now it’s time to learn about book formatting…