Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Slippery Slope

Part 1

In 2004 I joined the Sun Poets writing group as a tool to divert and channel my energy after leaving the best job I ever had in 2001 (up to that point).  In fact, I had resigned my position on September 7 (a few days later the world was turned upside).  I wasn’t searching for a better job, nor was I chasing a dream or experiencing a mid-life crisis.  A wall at work hit me and a change was required.  Best move I ever made, but not without regrets at times.

The slippery slope started with flash fiction, very short pieces that could be written in 15 minutes, perhaps only 200 or 300 words at most.  Some were written during the sessions and re-crafted later.  Others were started at home and shared with the group during the critic period. 

Later I gravitated to longer pieces of perhaps 600 to 1000 words.  These pieces took longer to thrash out in my head and on paper.  I eventually wrote a few pieces that I submitted to a few publications.  Rejected.  No problem, I was just writing for myself and with no dreams of becoming a famous or rich writer, although that would be nice.  Eventually several pieces became published on-line for zero dollars.  Again, no problem.  I was writing garbage and regularly working at it.  Many hours were spent during lunch-times at the book store with my laptop or early on the weekends to work the keyboard and my pound head on the wall for a few hours.

I wrote a true story about an event that I experienced during my tour of service in Thailand.  Then I wrote a second true event recreation; next came a fictional account of a Buddhist monk giving a lesson.  The wheels in my head started to turn overtime.  

A basic concept of a novel developed.  These three finished stories and a few scraps of other pieces I had written formed the basis of Far from Newark.  And so it started.  No outline at first, just writing as thoughts and events popped into my.  No direction just working at my computer whenever I could.  At some point I sketched a story on a page or two, created a general timeline of events and the story evolved when I moved the timeline to 3 x 5 cards.  Then I arranged and rearranged the cards, into a logical sequence of events.  It was light on details, just a sentence or two on what happened.  Those few lines acted as a prompt to create a chapter or two.

Posed picture on original Mac

Many hours of research went into learning about old Newark, Thailand, Buddhism and anything that popped into my head.  The writing and research occurred simultaneously.  The entire process ended in 2013 with a notebook (3” thick) of information, a notebook of rough draft chapters and a finished story of 55,500 words.  Strangely enough, the three original stories are not part of novel, but remain as stand-alone pieces that were the inspiration for Far from Newark.

The past year was spent editing the final piece.  In all honesty to my readers there were times, sometimes months long, that I did not touch the story.  But at some point during each lapse I decided to finish the project.  It could not be left incomplete. So I plunged back in and finished the novel, and then went back and trashed and rewrote some sections.  AND EDITED.  

Now, what next was the question?  I decided to utilize Smashwords to self-publish in digital format my novel.  It is scheduled for release on November 5.  My goal for now is still modest.  I just want to sell enough books to plow back into printing a small number of print copies to give away and sell.  

The slippery slope continues with the next blog.  Come back.  Please.

To read Parts 2 and 3 click on READ MORE below

Part 2

After I created my Smashwords account and uploaded my book I checked out the Amazon/Kindle self-publishing service.  Not much more work was required to implement a few more changes required to create another E-book, so I plunged into the wild river called Amazon.

Bing, Bang, Click, Click and my account was created and the book uploaded.  The only difference there was no delay in publication, it was almost immediate.

Holy crap, I am on Amazon.  Now what?  

The Internet, while exciting and dynamic, is sometimes passive.  Readers still need to find my book in order to sell a few copies.  I now need to promote Far from Newark, get people to download a sample and then buy my book.  Update my blog, send out a mass email announcing my book’s publication, search for few outlets to directly promote my book, update my email signature to include the book link and (gasp!) start a Facebook page.  I’ve avoided Facebook for quite some time because I am more of a lurker than an-up-front-in-your-face kind of person.  I am a watcher, just ask my wife and check out my Faces page.

A few more clicks and entries and my Facebook presence is created.  In a few short days I have over 25 friends, making comments, adding photos, and, oh yes, promoting my book.  I am now just another self-promoting A-hole.

Part 3

Then I begin to slide down the Slippery Slope (title of this blog).  First, I added a not-so flattering photo of another person to my page.  Strike one, the photo was removed by spousal order and an apology given with a promise never to add another photo without prior written approval, in triplicate and notarized.

Strike two, I made a comment on one person’s Facebook page and I was indirectly notified that this upset another friend.  Details are not required, but interfamily issues continue.  I am going to try to delete my innocuous comment.  While the words and photograph may be gone, the remembrance of them exists.

Lesson learned:  Facebook is a giant gossip gadget.  Comment carefully otherwise you will step in a whole lot of BS.

To avoid strike 3 I will return to lurking and writing on my blog.  One more thing, go to Amazon or Smashwords and buy my book.

Now I am working on a compilation of my blogs and short stories for two more attempts at self-publication on-line.

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  1. Do a book signing somewhere Dad. Like stand outside Half Price Books...maybe I could get Nina to supply free Soap samples.

  2. Thank you for sharing how you made your book happen. Sounds like you are on the home stretch, good luck!

    1. This may be a duplicate reply:
      Is there a book in you? Let it out, even if it resides in a notebook, computer or on your bookshelf.

  3. Go baby go!!
    As they say, a good book is never finished.....it is only abandoned.
    The rewrites never stop for us writers until we just abandon it.
    My book "A Flower in the Wild" is available on eBook on Barnes and Noble's NOOk.
    Best of luck to you.
    Pebble Anne Mowery