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Oct 1, 2010

This is What I Talk About when I talk about Writing

I can't write a substantial blog post today because of my eye, but fortunately, I have a guest blogger! Yeah! Give it up for Chase Henderson.

If I were to say that I had written my book The Spaces in Between with absolutely no intention of pursuing traditional publishing it would be a lie so grand my beard would shrivel and die. If I were to say that I wrote it with any intentions of finishing my mother would break a leg.

I may be mixing up my lying clichés here.

I can’t attest to other creative people. I don’t live inside of the head of anyone I didn’t create. I wasn’t thinking of genre or marketing strategies. Or hell even story structure.

The one and only truth was that there was a story in my head, and it was going to get out one way or the other. So I wrote it. A short story about a man in a near death out of body experience. Whose wandering soul is then kidnapped by a space pirate in order to rob a museum. In space.

Another story followed. This time the Pirate King found a ship full of zombies between him and his goals. He struck a deal with the spirit of the disease afflicting the zombies.

I had a character: Cameron who crowned himself Pirate King after accidentally stealing the power of God. Both stories were tied together by the Pirate King looking for clues to lead him to Noah’s Arc – a code for the back up copy of Creation. He hoped to use this to restore his quickly fading power.

That, and an ending. It was only a matter of getting to point A to point B. That was just a simple matter of making it all up. I didn’t do much of outlining when I decided to move from just short stories to a whole novel. In fact for my second book, I did absolutely no outlines.

A caveat: Stephen King method does have its disadvantages. There is a lot of back tracking in later drafts. This gets cumulative if you write a series.

Now to the decision to publish this book myself. I really want to be able to say that I set out to self publish from the very beginning. No, The Spaces in Between was rejected by every single agent and publishing house that I can recall. The greatest praise my book got was a note saying, “Consider rewriting this with vampires.”

I had moved on to playing the same game with my second book. I learned a lot about the industry during this time. Right now trying to bust into the publishing industry is next to impossible without vampires or a retelling a classic with some recent pop culture injected. Or already having contacts in the industry. Or a successful blog.

Either way, congratulations. You just managed to get you and your manuscript on the Titantic after the damn ice burg. Leonardo isn’t even on there anymore. He froze to death.
There are little secrets about the publishing industry. For one, publishers pretty much do next to nothing to promote your book. Jack Canfileld of the loathsome Chicken Soup books promotes his books entirely out of pocket. The final nail in the coffin was reading this Garticle An author selling over 80,000 copies a year was barely pulling in 25,000 dollars.

Saying the word self publish is the most effective way to get someone to leave the room. Try it in a bookstore. You’d think I’d screamed fire. But look at what the webcomics guys have accomplished: Five years they were seen as ridiculous and frivolous. Sure there is no quality control, but there are far more webcartoonists making bank than newspaper cartoonists. As in, there are some.

The self published will have their time in the next couple of years. Or we won’t care since Quetzalcoatl will harvest our torsos. I prefer to not see as I am a self publishing author. I see myself as the owner of a marginally profitable publishing company.

Which is a head higher than most.

Oh by the way I wrote a book.Check it out. Or not. I’ve got another coming out in early 2011, “A Public Domain Masterpiece and Something that was Popular Two Years Ago”. I have other rants at http://thehometowntourist.

Thank you, Chase!


Patti said...

I'm so sick of vampires, I can't believe someone told you to put them in, well actually I can.

Good luck with the book. I think your right about self publishing.

Jai Joshi said...

The thing about self publishing is that there are pros and cons. We all know the cons but the pros are pretty special to. You get to control everything and you don't have to compromise on anything about the plot.

What a lot of people forget is that bards and storytellers of ancient times didn't have big publishing companies behind them. They went from town to town, telling their tales independently, exactly how they wanted to tell them. Self publishing is like a return to that more authentic storytelling time.


Michelle D. Argyle said...

There are pros and cons to ANY kind of publishing. I've self-published, and it has been a fantastic experience. I stand and applaud you and thanks for coming over here. I must go check out your book. I'm really glad you didn't put in the vampires.