Do you know what a baby computer's first words are?...
I am still waiting to get my manuscript back so I can begin once again working on Welcome to Utopia. I haven't even looked at it since I sent it out. In one of the books I read on writing coming back to it after an extended break is supposed to be helpful. I guess I'll let you know.
The chaos of the Flores' household is coming back together. Tammy is back from her time with our granddaughter with thousands of pictures and videos. The house is almost back in order but we need to move Malia to the back... we are praying for a smooth transition. And yes, I have TV and football (without the internet type disruptions) back!
Last night I was able to go and see a live production of Les Miserables - the people here in Rapid City did a fantastic job. That is one of my favorite stories. I took my daughter (who loves the story as much as I do) and we had a great time. Her comment at the end... "It's weird to see different people play the parts, daddy."
I've been drilling my 8th grade class on proofreading for... well... all those things many of you hated back when you were in school. I just have to say it takes a REAL special person to edit writing for a living. I feel their pain and but it has been a great exercise for me as well. Sometimes it makes it tougher to allow the creative to come out with all these rules and regulations floating around in my head but I would venture to guess it's better than being completely clueless about them. I tell my students that you must first master the rules before you can even think about breaking them. I even have a couple of kids (hopefully future members of our debate team) taking me up on writing a 1000 word essay on why the semi-colon is unnecessary. I will be interested in seeing what they come up with.
I hope that next week I will have started back on my manuscript... until then... God Bless
Okay, so I plan on going on a bit of a rant this week. Yes, I realize I didn't post last week due to a complete lack of cooperation all forms of technology.
It all started with new carpet... new furniture... and a dream of great things to come. Our entire lives were disrupted. A feeling of being completely out of control and disorganized due to a constant moving of furniture did lead to a flared temper or two but nothing real serious. The future looked bright! The new carpet is stunning and our new bedroom furniture brought a smile to Tammy's face. The 50" television fit so perfect in the corner of the living room (not to mention the true blessing of having a great TV in our bedroom) and the brilliant work of my lovely bride setting up the surround sound that truly creates a feeling of being right in the action... no matter what the tele is playing!
And so the sun seemed to be shinning bright in the Flores home...
But then, one by one, that evil Murphy came knocking.
First, my Directv would not "communicate" with the that big. obnoxious thing that hangs on the side of my house. No TV. I realize that many of you out there are spiritual giants that can go without television but I have yet to attain that kind of holiness. More important, I must have my football. It was Friday night and I knew I had until Sunday to come up with a plan. Apparently those at Directv don't work late at night (or was it early in the morning?) and I had to wait until Saturday to contact an actual person. There is nothing more frustrating than that... that... let's say "witch" that works for every company in the world (and GPS voice) as their automated menu. I can't push O enough times to get rid of her. She's out to get me... no I'm NOT paranoid.
I learned it would be two weeks before they could fix my television... the dream had become a nightmare.
Due to my (slight) obsession with technology I was able to use the internet to watch programs (including football) through my computer, onto my big screen, and utilize my wonderful surround sound. (Did I mention what a great job my wife did hiding the speaker wire and hanging the speakers?) Life was good once more - the nightmare was over... or so I thought.
A blackout zapped my wife's computer sending it into the dreaded blue screen that I finally learned meant I would have to mail it off to Samsung. Two weeks. A mini-nightmare. I still had my computer and began to use it as my new television until, yes, you guessed it, some weird, bizarre force (I hate you Murphy) broke the wireless button and I could no longer get on the internet AT ALL. In the shop; no computer with an HDMI; the weekend was coming; how would I be able to watch football? (Semi-colons used due to my hatred of coordinating conjunctions. Don't worry, no grammar lesson to follow; it would be rude during a rant like this one.)
I spent the week after getting over bronchitis starting and finishing season 1 of Under the Dome. Great show in case you're interested. I love King and have started reading The Shinning again since part two comes out on Tuesday (I pre-ordered it). But I digress...
Then I learned that there is no way Welcome to Utopia will be ready by October 1st for the e-book contest by Writer's Digest. I figured the chances of that becoming reality were real slim anyway. It just "adds" to my week by Mr. Murphy. He can take his law and shove it!
We are still looking at a 2013 release... more to come once I get the manuscript back and begin to realize what I need to do to bring you the very best product.
Anyway, back to my diatribe ( I love that word). I went to Rent-A-Center to get a computer for this week so I could watch football. I walked away empty handed. You know it's bad when you can't get RAC to rent you something. Yes... I felt like a loser.
Late last night I traveled to my parents house and borrowed a computer from them. Nothing better than having mommy and daddy rescue you. At least this time it didn't involve bail money. Or that "look" of quiet disappointment. And so, regardless of whether or not the current computer continues to work after kickoff in just over 15 minutes I truly am blessed.
Side Note: Am hoping the ghost of Walt Whitman will shine down on me. Hey, just like the Bud Light commercial says - it's only weird if it doesn't work.
Until next week... God Bless.
What good is it to have a blog if you can't share with the world your first granddaughter? She was born on labor day.
On the writing front my commitment to writing each day has been a failure. I did start the piece I hope to enter into the upcoming Writers Digest contest but just can't seem to find the time now that the school year has started. I will recommit myself starting tomorrow.
Years ago I picked up a book titled, Alone With All That Could Happen, but never got around to reading it. It has a collection of essays about the craft of writing. So far the book has been fantastic not only for me personally but also for new ideas in the classroom. Some sections go right along with what I've been telling the kids.
Last week I was not specific about the books I have read lately on the subject of marketing and self-publishing. I wasn't sure exactly what to say and wanted to take the week to reflect on the three titles. Plus my post was quite long. Anyway, the first book I read was titled, The Kindle Publishing Bible, by Tom Corson-Knowles. Good book with some great tips and ideas on the entire process of publishing and marketing. This is the author who suggests that the writer publish and make edits afterwards which was the only idea I disagreed with as I explained last week. This author has many different titles on the subject and I plan on using his ideas on the real techy stuff. I will be reading more of his titles and reporting to you at a later date.
The next book I read on the subject of self-publishing was titled, This Book Will Fail: The Truth About a Self Publishing Industry in Denial. Noah Murphy, the author, seems to have a very negative view of the self-publishing industry. If you are contemplating suicide please DO NOT READ THIS BOOK! This man suffers from not understanding that it is necessary to be a professional in the publishing industry. The traditional publishing industry spent tons of money to build and create new authors and still there were times when, even with their platform, a new writer didn't take off. I felt this guy was more upset that he didn't just automatically become successful and on top of that didn't even seem to think he needed to do anything or spend any money to get there! Murphy lives in that world where everybody gets a trophy and we all deserve to win just cuz we tried real, real hard (even when we didn't!). I had to immediately start a new book, any book, just to keep from slitting my wrists after reading how depressing our future is. You may want to have large quantities of alcohol available if you decide to read this book.
The third book by Michael Thomas was, Amazon Kindle Sales Secrets Exposed! The 7 Tips Every Amazon Kindle Author Needs to Know (that Amazon DOESN’T want you to know!). This was another good title to read for anyone interested in self-publishing. These ideas will be useful and I plan on taking many of his marketing tips to heart. This book gets REAL techy with how to find out what internet sites are sending people to your book and how to track which ones become actual sales. Really cool information especially for since deciding on going the self-publishing route means you are in business for yourself.
My editor is working hard on the hope that I can enter my book into the self-publishing contest Writer's Digest has for ebooks. There's a good chance the deadline may not make this possible but I continue to pray each day for this opportunity. No matter what happens with the contest the book should be coming out soon. I have decided, at least at this very moment, that I will also come out with a paperback version of the book as well. After hours and hours of research it seems to make sense. For those of you who DO NOT have a kindle and still want to read it in ebook form remember that you can download the kindle app to almost any device. Click here to find out more information. My wife has the Kindle App on here tablet and reads a book just as easily as I do on my (and I LOVE it) Kindle Fire 8.9.
Until next week...
Frederick Douglass: Orator, Abolitionist, and Writer. His life is a true inspiration.
When I was about six or seven years old I wrote my first book. It was titled, "The War to End All Wars," and was a picture book about World War III. I stapled the left hand side in three places so it would open like a real book. The pictures inside were slightly better than stick figures with machine guns and army helmets traveling along side tanks that appeared to be rectangles not quite connected to some primitive version of a track with a pipe sticking out of it. The verbiage was a sentence, maybe two, that contained very little action, description (that's what the pics were for), or suspense. I wrote many other titles and dreamed of being an author some day. As I got older and entered high school I took a journalism class and enjoyed writing pieces for that class. I still have some of those old papers. I had the opportunity to interview my step-father and write an essay about him - it was our first real connection. I still have that as well. From the time I was about fifteen until my early twenties I wrote a ton of poetry that my wife has put on disk for me and created a wonderful memory book that's truly one of my most prized possessions. I remember watching my speech and debate teacher in high school and thought, 'I want to do that.' I figured I could write in the summers and teach during the school year.
After my early twenties life got in the way. I stopped reading and writing almost entirely and settled for excuses on why I didn't do some things and why I did do other things. The dream of being an author completely vanished. The idea of teaching was quickly wiped away with two futile (and that's being kind) attempts at college where my BAC was much higher than my GPA (shh, don't tell my students). Life had gotten in the way of me living my life. I had settled for running my mouth instead of defining myself through my actions. I had given up and yet I would tell you how great I was going to be, or could be if only someone would give me the chance to write the book that lived inside my head. I was going to be great if only you (or anyone) would just let me loose on the children - the education and knowledge part would have to come later - after all, I still needed to eat and buy stuff and get the latest Billy Joel album and have all the comforts I felt I deserved. "Oh," I would say, "and have I told you how great I will be at it?"
I tell you all this really to say that it is never too late. My attitude and approach to life has changed and as a result I began to realize some of those dreams I assumed were lost forever (one lost forever is becoming the starting centerfielder for the Chicago Cubs, I'm okay with that). I could do what anybody else is capable of doing but I had to realize that I had to do what they did to get there. As I begin to reflect on what I've accomplished later in life I can see it happened because I've done my best to be honest, hardworking, take responsibility, and trust in God. That was my path - find yours.
I want to write about the business of writing today. Before my dad died just over four years ago whenever I had a question about business I would call him. His business was helping you sell your business. Just like 96% of all father/son relationships we had our issues (I hear 68% of all stats are bogus) but when it came to business I grew to respect my father and his way of practicing it. He wanted his customer to benefit from the service he was providing. Certainly, he wanted to make money but I believe deep down my father's real pleasure came from watching one of his customers become successful because of his product.
The books I have recently read about the business of writing are filled with great ideas. But I do disagree with some of their ideas and opinions. Certainly you can draw your own conclusions but as they had the opportunity to share their opinions I'm going to share mine. One source uses the approach of publishing your book unedited to motivate the writer to get busy making the changes. Another book really was an attack on the fact that it costs money to publish a book if you want to be successful, and then it still isn't a guarantee. Finally, there are a dozen or so thoughts on how to get cheap services done throughout the process. It probably doesn't come as a surprise to many of you but I am a Capitalist. The idea that anyone can publish is a good thing. The free market will take care of the garbage and allow the best to rise. I feel that I owe the reader the very best. I certainly demand a quality product from Stephen King or any other authors I buy a book from. It drives me crazy when I read some of the indie books out there filled with typos and confusing sentences. To not take the time to make sure you have done everything to produce a quality product is to tell your customers (the reader) you don't care about them. You may not like my book, you may disagree (or agree) with my ideas, you may say 'it's just not my kind of fiction,' but what I don't want to hear is that I was sloppy and produced an unprofessional product. I spent good money, time, and late night discussions with my wife grueling over my cover. I read through the book twice and made changes and corrected spelling and had some friends read over it and still sent it off to a professional editor (writtendreams.com did the cover and is doing the editing). I am working on the copy inside and outside of the book and the different options on how I get the product to the reader. I am spending time praying and discussing how much I plan to sell the book for. I don't believe I have to sell my book 'cheap' as some suggest but instead sell it for a reasonable price. I worked hard. No matter what I sell it for there is a very good chance it will not be a financial success. But I still owe to those willing to spend their money a product I'm proud of. Self-publishing is starting your own business and should be treated that way. That means there will be an investment (no, not taxes) that comes with risk. We named our publishing company John Galt Publishing (I know Ayn Rand will be rolling over in her grave when she sees my logo but would forgive me due to my belief in laissez-faire capitalism). Yes, we have made quite an investment even before our product is available for purchase.
I feel I am producing a product my dad would've been proud of advertising. That is the best gift I can give him as he looks down on us.
Until next week... God Bless!
Anthony D. Flores loves to spend his summers writing fiction. His strong Christian faith and love for this great country find its way into his fiction. His work is also available on Amazon by Clicking Here.