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Author Blog Challenge 20: What writers owe (and an insider secret is revealed)

Garley the Persian cat

Garley the Persian cat (Photo credit: arash_rk)

I used to dream that when I finally became an author, I’d write a short acknowledgements section to myself. “Screw you all!” I’d scream. “In your face! I did this myself and I don’t owe anyone anything! Ha!” Then I’d retreat to my hermetically sealed office under a volcano within my island fortress guarded my my loyal ninja monkey assassin clones. I’d have a monocle and a white Persian cat to stroke while I ordered Hellfire missile strikes to rain down upon my enemies. As you can only imagine, that’s almost exactly what my life is like except for the thing about acknowledging people who have helped me on my publishing journey. Unexpectedly, I have the attitude of gratitude. I’m happy to have a deep stock of Hellfire missiles to protect my tropic realm and I’m grateful for all those people who have assisted me in putting out my books.

Yesterday, after my big free promo day, I sat down and wrote a little letter to a bunch of people who have been helpful along the way. Somebody slipped me some dough so I could keep going. Someone else helped me with formatting the first time I attacked the beast. Others were consultants about suitable explosives…”Um, for my crime novel’s plot!” he added hastily.

A lot of people have the wrong idea about self-publishing.

They focus on the self part.

Hitchcock said that a painter only needs a brush and a writer, a pen, but a film director needs an army. These days, indie writers need small armies, too, and many of them are volunteers. 

The key thing is: self-publishing is still publishing. You either need a graphic artist or you need to be one. You need to learn a lot about tech and promotion as well as craft. You can write a good book, but if it has a lousy cover, no one will read it. (The converse is also true, of course.) That’s why I prefer the term “indie” to “self-published”, though to the consternation of a few angry people, I do use those terms interchangeably as a concession to common parlance.

My Beta readers are volunteers. I’ll pay them in lollipops, acknowledgements in the book, a copy of the paperback and, when they’re ready to go indie, I’ll be a resource for them, too. I’m confident each of those readers could write a book if they decided to do so. I’ve thanked them all, for what that’s worth. So far all they’ve received is a book they enjoyed for free but I’ll be sure to get those lollipops to them.

I did find an unusual way to make one person’s day though. If you’re writing a book, you may wish to consider doing this (with their permission.) A great buddy of mine is undergoing treatment for cancer. It’s been a scary time that he has handled with a calm and class that I am sure I could never muster. This guy is one brave SOB. As I was writing the first draft of Bigger Than Jesus, I used his name for one of my characters.

Funny story: I called him up on Skype to ask him if I could keep his name in the book. His microphone wasn’t working. He could hear and see me but I could only see him. However, that worked out for the best because he pantomimed his approval. When somebody is that sick and you can make them laugh and smile as much as he did by putting him in your book? Why wouldn’t you? He loved the idea and showed lots of energy in giving me a thumbs up that made me laugh (and, truth to be told, a little weepy, too.)

I talked to him on the phone the other day. Things are looking up and we’re optimistic that one way or the other, he’s beaten it. Not only will he live a long life, but in a way that is tiny and totally useless except for good feelings and a funny exchange on Skype, he’s  immortalized in literature, too. I’m very grateful my buddy will be around to enjoy all the novels in The Hit Man Series and everything else I write. I’m most happy about that.

If you’re reading the Bigger Than Jesus,

my buddy is the guy wielding the SPAS-12.

Sh. Keep it to yourself.

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2 Responses

  1. Very cool that you put your friend in your book! I had so many people to thank on my dedication pages it was unreal but I chose just two. Difficult to do that, huh? WRITE ON!

  2. […] Author Blog Challenge 20: What writers owe (and an insider secret is revealed) (chazzwrites.com) […]

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