I woke up to this bleary morning expecting none other than another ordinary day, me without a voice, my son, hyperactive and ready to go, a bazillion orders to fill and no ambition to do anything. Alas, I have had a revelation. It has come from a fairy god (father...mother? I’m not sure) all the way from Scotland (me = excited). I’ve decided to blog about said revelation while it is still fresh in my mind and unbiased by further internet searching and the thoughts of the world.
Initial response? I am impressed. Perhaps I should back up a minute and tell you all WHAT actually happened.
After I stumbled into the kitchen (picture a zombie strut mixed with Lady Gaga’s thrashing, for that was me this morning) and sat down at my computer, I was surprised to find an email from a stranger. And not just any email, I mean an EMAIL that had nearly 5,000 words. It was from a random person I followed on Twitter (as I have been growing my platform with the intent of reaching all these people with my writing prowess!). This person, as I still don’t know if it’s a he or she and I don’t want to offend, literally sat me down and gave me the biggest lecture of my life. Sadly, I must say I deserved this lecture.
I am a writer stuck in the past. I long for the days of agents and ink and paper. It is my feeling that I can digitize my own books and have them on my computer, why would I want to do that as a form of publishing? Well, duh, here’s the answer folks, SO THAT PEOPLE WILL READ THEM!!!
Seeing that I work in a hospital full of sick people, I am faced daily with the fact that death is all around us, accidents happen, life will end...blah blah blah. Shouldn’t I fear never getting published? What if I kicked the bucket tomorrow? So why the heck am I not out there publishing my work? Fear? Laziness? Idiocy? Most likely it’s a combination of all three. Maybe I want to follow the good old agent path, too. BUT I have 4 books that I’ve written, a series that I keep saying I’m going to get back to eventually. So, revelation in short, I think I will e-pub these books and be done with them. They are a series of characters that I LOVE. I think other people will love them too. And if I still choose to publish another book the traditional way, there’s still that option. If I get a good response (hell, I’d probably be uber excited for a mediocre response, it doesn’t take much to get me excited) maybe I will e-pub everything.
RLL, my mysterious email writer, has implied that I write my manuscripts with a committee over my shoulder. This may not be an exact description, but apt nonetheless. I do seek approval for my writing, I need that justification before I believe it’s good enough to even think about publishing. But, what do I care? I know I can write. So committees be gone!
Now, don’t get ahead of yourselves. My life is a crazy game right now and I have no intention of having a book ready to e-pub tomorrow. But maybe in a couple of months, maybe after winterguard season is over and I actually have five minutes to my name. There will be a schedule. There will be plans.
So RLL, thank you. I appreciate the time you took to send this little wayward writer on her way. On a side note, can I say that the fact that you wrote a sentence in a Scottish accent had me very excited indeed. (Like I said, doesn’t take much). I’m also glad you took the time to watch my winterguard videos. Long have I wanted to write a book about guard, but the storyline has escaped me. It will be perfection when it does come, I’m sure.
As you will see, I have changed from the off-putting white lettering to black. I can’t say I’m very fond of this layout, but it will do until I have the time to adjust and tweak it to my heart’s content.
Would you like to meet the mystery author of the wonderful life-changing email? ME TOO!! Here is RLL. Clickity click click!!
All the best,
Hey kiddo. It’s a cold wet day in Scotland as I type. That’s a description I’d run two days out of every three, and not have to alter. Winterguard sounded like a place in Narnia. I had to check out the video to see if centaurs appeared.
Anyway, let’s get down to it. I thought you’d bite my head off for saying what I did. A spike in blog traffic from the USA told me that you must have been directing people to me. So something positive must have happened.
When authors follow me on Twitter, I’ll check out their blogs. Some need no comment or interaction. Certain writers have a style that doesn’t appeal to me, or write in an area that’s far-removed from mine. Still, these people might have plenty of use to say on the business side of things…
So I rake over the coals of blogs and business sites, to see why they followed me on Twitter. Usually it’s no more than placing author in my Twitter handle that does the trick. It’s certainly nothing to do with anything I say on Twitter. I’m more of a Gritter – a person who uses Twitter through gritted teeth.
Once or twice I’ve found nothing of interest to me on a blog – but someone else has chipped in and made a comment. And I’ve gone off at a tangent to help a writer with a technical problem. Being a writer of e-books means writing e-books. It also means helping authors. There are no rivals here.
When I read your blog, I sensed that you operated in areas which called for a lack of fear. You are not permitted to show fear to these Winterguard kids you inspire. And giving ultrasound scans (sonogram sounds MORE AMERICAN THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW) means having to deal with bad news as well as good. So the fear in your life was displaced, and resided in your writing.
I kept picking up these comments, indicating that you looked for approval from others in your writing. The only test for a commercial writer lies in selling. There’s no emotion. No ego. Just a sales figure. No prizes, awards, kudos, glory, none of that. Did you sell any? No. Write more. Keep getting better at it. Did you sell any? Yes. Write more. Keep getting better at it.
Having said that, I did have a sense of satisfaction in realising that I inspired someone. It’s an unexpected side-effect, a by-product, of being forced to use Twitter. Truthfully, it’s the most positive thing that’s come out of Twitter – not plugging my books, but chipping in and helping people in the same line of work.
I’m not very far down the path of e-publishing, and still need to build the platform – as the modern cliché goes. But I’m getting there. And I’m helping other people to get there. Usually in a small way. Bit of technical advice here. Spot of legalese there.
It’s about learning. With a bit of sharing thrown in. Don’t produce a blog in white type. That should be written into the web. By a spider using black threads. Against a plain background. Taking that advice shows that you are prepared to kill your fear of completing manuscripts. This time next year, you’ll be published. Looking back, this time last year…I wasn’t. This time next month, I’ll be putting out a third book. Which I must go and check for glitches. If you think you hate editing, you’ll really hate formatting. And now, for a final, inspirational message. You’ll LOVE formatting. Sliced bread. Best thing since.
Ah’ll awa’ noo, an’ see tae ma buik.
That’s what I did. I went to see to my book. Kacey’s post and my response don’t add up to this blog’s minimum 1,500 posting limit. I must waffle about her thoughts. My blog traffic increased, with Kacey’s blog listed as the referring site. I knew she’d written about me. Positively? Crunch time.
First impression. The white text was gone. She’d followed that part of my chat, at least. I was horrified to read that I’d sat her down and given her the biggest lecture of her life. Well, it was the biggest lecture I’d ever given anyone in my life. So we stacked up the firsts.
I was guilty of judging someone on no evidence. Not Kacey. Her writing partner, Missy Biozarre. I left Missy alone, thinking she’d be another baby seal I had to bludgeon. Was Missy overwhelmed by Kacey’s fear? I judged, hastily.
After Kacey posted her blog about me, Missy shouted hello. I was editing, and ignored her for the better part of a week. Then I read Missy’s material and realised I had judged hastily, harshly, and wrongly. Missy was the figure who provided contrast.
Kacey and Missy made me confront my fear in talking about the destruction of the World Trade Centre. How could I give Kacey advice on fear in writing, with that cold sensation hanging over me? It took an almighty effort to free myself from the fear. I hope to blog a follow-up message on that subject soon.
NEXT BLOG: MY PERSONAL COLD WAR/THE DIAL.