Just got an absolutely awesome review of Impervious from fellow author and non-practicing attorney, Nooce Miller. Thanks, Nooce!
I'm such a dope. I didn't realize until after the Amazon sale I mentioned in the last post was over that I could set up a sale on Amazon.uk also. So, if you shop on Amazon.uk, the ebook version of Impervious is now on sale for £.99 until May 20th!
Junior (not her real name) is an old friend of mine. She's a mental health care practitioner in Salt Lake City and works with homeless clients struggling with debilitating chronic mental illness. Which makes her a superhero, and I am sworn to protect her secret identity.
Frustrated by a chilly reception from a con that used to like me until I outed myself as an indie author (more on that in a future post), I complained to Junior and she invited me to Utah for the Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Xperience held April 17-19.
This was only the second con I've attended and both times I went partly for professional reasons. At FanX, I attended several interesting and useful writing-related panels. (And I can write it all off on my taxes. I think. I'll let my accountant figure that out. I saved my receipts. Rule One: Always save your receipts.)
But it was also just a whole hell of a lot of fun even if we didn't know what was going on half the time. There's a lot of stuff people are into of which we didn't have a clue. I'd elbow Junior and say “Who's that supposed to be?” And she'd squint and think and answer, “Hell if I know.” But we are both stalwart Whedonauts, and old enough to have seen Buffy and Angel on TV during their initial run and still be older than their target demographic. We can sing the Firefly theme song and each own the box set. I think Junior owns some Buffy box sets, too. And she's a superhero.
We are, I suppose, eldergeeks. Which comes with certain advantages, like being able to afford the VIP pass. Which puts you at the front of the line for everything. Plus, in addition to her counseling and administrative powers, Junior has the awesome superpower of being connected by marriage and friendship to the Salt Palace convention center's food service provider. Which put us ahead of the front of the line. Enabling us to get this primo parking spot:
Yes, that's the loading dock. We parked in the loading dock.We parked even closer than the reserved parking for media and celebrities thanks to Junior's ultra-exclusive W.I.F.E endorsement to her VIP Pass. Everytime we walked in through the kitchen, I thought of the Copacabana scene from Goodfellas. I'd start humming “And Then He Kissed Me.” And from the kitchens we could walk right into the Salt Palace and bypass the entrance lines completely. At meal times, we'd wander down to the kitchen to the staff food line and they'd feed us. Check out my Saturday lunch:
I'm gluten and dairy intolerant. Being able to access tasty and healthy meals that I knew were safe because I'd talked to the chef who was used to feeding staff with the same food issues was a huge perk, let me tell you.
The only hiccup came on the first day when I dropped my cell phone in the toilet right before we left Junior's house for the Salt Palace. It succumbed to its injury and has since been replaced. I had a few tense moments when I lost track of Junior and other companions in the Exhibit Hall until I remembered that, even without a cell phone, I'm all grown up, I have money and credit cards and can call cabs and stuff. Or I could just go hang out in the kitchen until she showed up.
I found her eventually and all was well. The high point for Junior was getting her Spike-quotes coffee mug autographed by James Marsters. He put quotation marks around Junior's favorite line: “Out. For. A. Walk. Bitch.” (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, watch Buffy. Start with Season One. You're welcome.) He was absolutely charming by the way. In his Q&A session he was warm, funny, kind, and articulate. He even used the word “cogently” correctly in a sentence. While discussing quantum physics. We. Were. Impressed. And anybody who can make Junior smile that much is aces in my book.
The high point for me was that parking space. And the Goodfellas walk through the kitchen every morning. Mostly because nobody but us got to do it. Petty, I realize, but then I'm no superhero. I'm just the sidekick.
I'm having the damnedest time trying to come up with posts that don't sound like stuffy legal essays or cheerleading for self-publishing. I keep seeing advice that an author's blog should not focus on writing and publishing. But what else am I going to write about? French cooking? Ballroom dancing? This is what I do. This is what I know.
The primary thing, other than writing and publishing, taking up my time and thoughts right now is caring for a person whose privacy I have no right or intent to trample. There's much to write about there, but it's all off limits. I'm old enough to not get our culture's current penchant with oversharing. My friends don't need to see what I'm reading or what shows I'm watching or my GPS location.
When blogging first developed I remember telling a friend that it was like walking out to the mailbox in your pajamas. Just because you can do it doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. Most likely the neighbors won't be scandalized by your ratty flannel jammies, but is that really something you want them to see? Do you really want them to know that about you?
In today's world, apparently, the answer is yes. Don't just walk to the mailbox in those faded, baggy jimjams. Take a selfie! Post it on Pinterest and Facebook! Tweet it to your followers!
Well . . . um . . . No. And you damn kids can get off my lawn while you're at it. And suddenly I feel very, very old.
So, I'll just tag this post as “old lady ranting” and go do something more productive with my day. Like finishing the laundry. Oh, the glamour of the writing life . . .
Can a Business Minded Publisher and an Artsy Fartsy Creative Writer Share the Same Brain Without Driving Each Other Crazy?
When I decided to be an indie author and publish myself, I tried to learn everything I could about self-publishing. What jumped out at me almost immediately is that many self-published authors overlook the fact that a self-published author is also a publisher. Two different jobs. Two different skill sets.
You have to be able to change hats. Or wear both at the same time. That's not confusing. Not a bit.
Author: My publisher is a total bitch. She's forced me to go through the stupid draft a gazillion times looking for errors. She wants me to stick to a writing schedule and meet deadlines. She's always asking me why I'm not writing more and all she cares about is selling books. What does she know about inspiration? About courting the fickle muse? I'm opening my veins and bleeding onto the page and all she wants to know is how many words I wrote today.
Publisher: That author I publish? What an artsy fartsy nut job. When she's in the groove, she writes pretty well. But getting her there? She's like spit on a griddle. She needs to check Facebook and what about her blog? Shouldn't she be writing more blog posts? And the pantry really needs to be cleaned out before she can even think about writing today. What if nobody likes her work? What if they give her bad reviews? Why don't people recognize her artistic soul? Blah, blah, blah. You want inspiration? How's this for inspiration? Two words: day job. You already quit yours. If you want to eat three meals a day and sleep indoors, shut up and keep writing.
I have seen the enemy and she is me. Or something like that. The point is I'm learning that the publishing side is just as important as the writing side. Are you a publisher or not? If you know you really aren't a publisher, that doesn't mean you're stuck with the traditional publishing model if you want to keep more control. It does mean that you need to do your homework and find good contractors to do the work for you.
One way to remodel your kitchen is to hire a general contractor. You tell them what you want, they give you a bid, and if it's acceptable you sign the contract and off you go. The contractor hires the plumber, the electrician, the cabinet maker, etc. Or you can make yourself the boss. I've remodeled two kitchens now and both times served as my own general contractor. Which meant I had to hire and supervise everybody myself. Definitely not easier, but I saved money and got a lot more control over the process. Is one approach intrinsically better than the other? No. You just have to know which type of homeowner you are. Play to your strengths.
So, which type of self-publisher are you? Before you try to put a book out there, figure it out. Hire help accordingly. The supposed number of self-published authors who never sell any books is daunting. (I say supposed because I've seen stated numbers that lie somewhere between “many” and “holy #$@%!”) Many of those unsold books may be really well written, but really badly published. Both parts matter.
Author: My psycho bitch publisher wants me to knock out another thousand words before dinner. I think I'll take a nap instead.
Publisher: You won't have a roof to nap under if you don't start making some money.
Author: Whatever. Just wake me up for cocktail hour.
The manuscript is off to the editor and I've started working with Createspace on the cover and interior design. I bought my ISBNs. Which interestingly enough prompted an immediate call from my bank's fraud prevention unit to make sure it was a legitimate charge. They didn't blink at Createspace but Bowker was a step too far, I guess. I tell you this because of the happy little thrill I felt telling the investigator that I had "just bought ISBNs for my publishing company."
Hee. My publishing company. Headquartered here on my kitchen table. Giggle.
I'm calling my imprint "Burnt Barn Press." There's a poem by a 17th century zen poet, Mizuta Masahide. My favorite translation is "Barn's burnt down -- now I can see the moon." Seems kind of apt considering I walked away from a great big chunk of my life to get here. I torched the barn, the house, half the village . . . Took out a few bridges too.
Only time will tell if it was worth it. But it's sure more fun than what I used to be doing. Next step is meeting with the Createspace design team to work on the cover.
If your view of my website includes any "text enhance ads" -- those annoying hyperlinks on individual words that produce pop-up ads, please know that I didn't put them there.
This shows off my web naiveté, but I always assumed when I saw those on other people's websites that they were being paid for allowing them. I didn't understand why the website owner would agree to it, since the links direct the reader away from the site and the stupid things are just annoying when you're trying to scroll through an article or post.
So, when I saw them on my site, while looking at it on a family member's computer, knowing damn well that I didn't want them and didn't agree to them and wasn't getting paid for letting another business advertise on my website, I hit the roof.
I have no legal or financial arrangement whatsoever with these third party advertisers. They are hijacking my content for their financial gain. They are implying to my readers that I'm endorsing certain products, which I most emphatically am not.
They are also pissing me off. Monumentally.
I'll see if I can track down anything on my site that might be causing it. But it's not showing up when I view the site on my computer so, if you see text enhancements, it's probably malware or adware on your computer. The good folks at Weebly, my web host, recommended you do a virus scan and then use an adware remover like Adaware. They also recommended this instructional guide for removing text enhancement malware from your computer.
I'm probably tilting at virtual windmills here but I really want to smack these pirates down. With my legal superpowers. Which honestly probably aren't all that super when dealing with something like adware.
But at least I can draw attention to the problem. If readers know that these types of ads are generally foisted on website owners, many of whom are small business owners like myself, against their will, and that readers can make them go away pretty easily, then maybe they'll be less likely to tolerate them and more inclined to regularly scrub malware off their computers.
But I'm going to keep looking at it. If it's not illegal, it should be. If I rented a billboard and in the middle of night somebody climbed a ladder and pasted an additional, completely different, ad up there, it would be trespass.
I'll keep you posted.
When I was an attorney in government practice and clients showed up at my door or on the phone with questions, my customary answer was “Um . . . it depends.” It was such a consistent answer that clients began joking about me being sued by a certain adult hygiene product maker for trademark infringement.
Ha ha. Lawyers have been saying “it depends” a lot longer than people have been relying on said adult hygiene product. I don't know if practicing law is the second oldest profession but it's somewhere in the top ten.
And why does it depend? Better to ask “what does it depend upon?” Well, to start:
People tend to think that lawyers learn some monolithic thing called “The Law.” Wrong. Lawyers learn how to spot issues, learn stuff really fast, and think down several paths at the same time. When you ask a lawyer a question and he or she gets that hazy look and says “well, it depends,” it's because there's a lot of different answers depending on a lot of stuff the lawyer doesn't know yet.