Friday, March 14, 2014

I did it...

I'm a hypocrite, plain and simple, a middle aged hypocrite.

For the last five years I've turned my life to focus on my writing with the goal of becoming a published author. Call it a mid-life crisis if you will, a long shot, a one in a million chance, but I wanted to be a published author.
Notice how I said published author, not self-published author.

Most of you probably read the first sentence of the previous paragraph and said, "Haven't you heard of self publishing?" Ugh... yes, I've heard of it, as has the rest of the developed world. In fact, there are probably remote islands in the Pacific with disconnected tribes of natives who point to the sky when a plane flies over and shout, "big silver bird!" in whatever words they use to communicate, yet are busy self publishing romance novels and self help books on how to shrink heads. Literally any thing that can be printed on paper can now be turned into a book.

Oh yes, these computers are wonderful things, not only for reintroducing us to the card game solitaire, but for allowing us to publish anything we want to as a book. Type, type, type, click, click, click, publish, publish, publish. First the great pyramids, then the Panama Canal, a man on the Moon, and literally hundreds of thousands of poorly written books all available at $0.99 each. I'm a little harsh when I say poorly written, but have you read some of the stuff that's out there?

I went to a writing conference hosted by SCBWI two years ago where I heard some fantastic writing advice from a literary agent who was a featured speaker at the event. Here's what she had to say. "Just because a book can be self published doesn't mean that it should be published." There's some wisdom in that statement. On the surface it looks like she was striking a blow at the new age of publishing on behalf of the ages old establishment of traditional publishing. When you look deeper, however, you start to get the point.

As consumers, we presume that the milk we buy has undergone some sort of quality assurance process before being placed in the shiny, clean bottles that provide the sense of security conveying that what we are buying is worthwhile and wholesome. Is a book any different? Don't we presume that requisite effort was applied before a book, self or traditionally published, is offered for sale? Yes and no.

I've read some self published authors that were so terrible that I wanted them deported. I've also read traditionally published authors that made those terrible self published authors look like geniuses. Let's look at that bottle of milk. Whether you buy it at a specialty shop in the mall that produces its own milk, ice cream, and cheese from its own heard of above average IQ cows, or you buy it at the dirtiest of corner stores where the air smells like bleach and vomit, you don't know how good the milk is until you open the bottle.

Thomas Paine was a self publisher. You may remember this thing he wrote called Common Sense. It's a simple pamphlet that is credited on many accounts with starting the American Revolution. Interesting, no?

 I didn't want to self publish. I told people that self publishing is what happens to books that just aren't good enough to be published the old fashioned way. I'm starting to think I was wrong and that I said those words just to allow myself to remain hidden, safely protected from the possible criticism that would come from readers of my words. I'm done feeling that way.

I've been writing solidly for five years. I have over a dozen children's picture story book manuscripts written, a middle grade novel that some agents are actually requesting full manuscripts for, a young adult novel entered in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, and now a self published title. I know, I'm a hypocrite.

What To Expect When You're Expecting Your Life To Fall Apart is a personal story about my struggle with accountability, separation, divorce, single parenting, dating, sex, remarriage, and adoption. It's taken 15 years for me to write it and now I finally have the confidence to share it with the world. Self published with Createspace, it is available at Amazon ( in both print and Kindle versions.

If you have a Kindle and $0.99 to spare, please read it and let me know what you think. Of course you may feel free to leave a review. I'm ready to hear what you have to say about my writing.