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Publishing the Book Within You

5 Nov

The ad said: “I’m trying to write my first book, and i need someone who can help me ghost write or point me in the right direction. I have all the thoughts in my head, just having trouble putting it on paper.” Newsflash to Mr. Needs a Ghost Writer….you’re not actually writing your “first”  book if someone else writes it.

How many of us have a book in our head but are hesitant to start getting it down on paper for fear we’ll do it wrong?  Or if we only had no kids, no mortgage and no job…then we’d have the time.

The landscape of publishing is taking a drastic change. Where previously the only way to get published was to be discovered out of the slush pile of a traditional publishing house, or have an awesome agent, which you couldn’t get usually unless you were already published. But publishing houses are not marketing new authors as they once did. Even if they publish your book, they won’t put any marketing dollars behind it so it sits there unless the author gets out and markets it herself at conferences, online, through websites, etc. So many writers are forgoing the publishing houses altogether and self-publishing and keeping all the profits.

Self-publishing used to be called “vanity publishing” because the only people who did it were those who wanted their name on a book but who weren’t good enough to be published by traditional publishers. Recently, best-selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin announced that he no longer would use the traditional publishing route. His reason: traditional publishers are all about finding you an audience to read your book. In today’s world,  writers are finding their own audiences through social media and other online avenues.

If you need a ghostwriter then you’re not writing a book. Ghostwriters are needed only by people who are not writers, but have an extremely compelling or marketable story that needs to be told.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs an editor. No exceptions. It’s like anything else – just take the first step and get your ideas on paper. A good editor can help you shape your story and work on the grammar.

Unbuttoned: Who Says Men Can't Change?I helped Jacksonville author Ken Fink get his book ready for market. Unbuttoned: Who Says Men Can’t Change? was great fun to work on and help create the cover concept.  But it was someone else’s book. I have a book in me somewhere, as many of us do. What to write about, what to write about….

My bucket list includes a book. And with the new marketplace, I just may be able to pull it off.

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Only the Snarky Need Apply

14 Sep

I’ve made a pact with myself to try to post a blog at least five days out of each week. I love to write, and if your want to be honest, blogging is the most self-indulgent type of writing there is, except for maybe writing in an actual journal. That nobody’s supposed to read. But they always do.

Over the years, we’ve all read a lot about how much journaling is supposed to cleanse our souls, yada, yada, yada.  To me, it’s just another way to puke up all the negative in our lives and document it without somebody saying “please shut the hell up.”  And then it’s there to read again when we aren’t feeling bad enough already.

I journaled once – in the last six months before my divorce.  Then a year after my divorce, I ran across what I wrote, acknowledged my impressions were dead on, then tore out the pages and burned them in the fireplace so I never had to read them again.  I lived it;  I didn’t need to keep reading about it.

Then there was that period that everyone, well women, were encouraged to journal everyday about what they were grateful for. Was supposed to change our mindset to one of gratefulness rather than bitterness. Didn’t work on my smartassness.  I was grateful for a lot, but I seemed to always see the irony in life as well.

I have a really hard time with Pollyannas. Some might think this strange because I’ve made no bones about the fact that if you want to be negative, especially politically, just stay the hell off my Facebook wall. I don’t have time for people who generate negativity for sport. But snarkiness for entertainment….bring it on! What fun! But you know the type of people I’m talking about. They always find good in everything, as if it’s their mission in life. They seem embarrassed to consider being sarcastic. Pull-eeze.

I do like, for the most part, that Facebook and Twitter automatically demand a level of decorum never, ever, ever found in any of the ancient AOL chatrooms. Do they even still exist? I have no idea. Not remotely interested in investigating.

I’ve also noticed that while in the early days of the Internet, anonymity was the way to go, now everyone uses their real name right up front. Those who tweet by a brand, also usually have their own name Twitter account as well. This realness is so much more than simply not hiding behind anonymity – it’s declaring who you are every single time you post something, wherever it may be – blog, Facebook, Twitter.

So back to my original talking point – writing every day. Professional writers swear that writing every day is the only way to get better and establish a discipline to their writing. I’ve been writing for years. Years. But until the blog format, there was no format in which  to have my work actually read daily.

If truth be known,  I think that’s why they invented Twitter.  So writers can get immediate feedback for all their wittiness. I mean, you don’t survive on Twitter unless you’re witty. Be entertaining or die the unfollowed death of obscurity.  It is true that nobody really wants to know what you had for lunch.

So I’ll continue to try to entertain and be snarky all at the same time.  And maybe soon, a few will actually comment and subscribe to my blog.