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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Mason and Planning

Mason is 17 months old today. The kid’s come a long way, and of course he has a long way to go. But he hit a big milestone yesterday — he requested a ride on the potty seat for the first time. He didn’t do anything but sit there, but it’s a big step and kicks off the toilet training phase of life. Mom said she just let me run around with my naughty bits in the breeze one summer, and I wouldn’t let ’er rip unless I was on the pot or wearing a diaper… maybe that embarrassing situation won’t have to be repeated with Mason. (Mom got a picture of this, but I think it got clobbered in Dad’s fire. Oh well, no FARf-nudies this time around.)

He’s learning new words all the time, and amazingly can be reasoned with on occasion. For example, when I come in from work, he wants me to cuddle him up and play with him right away, and gets mad if I head down the hall. But if I explain that I need to use the facilities and get some stuff out of my pockets, he’s okay until I return. Of course, there are many occasions where reason just doesn’t cut the mustard. For example, we’re trying to switch him over from bottles to sippy cups, and have succeeded for everything but bedtime — he wants that bottle for the long sleep. We got him a large-capacity sippy cup today, but he isn’t used to it just yet. He’s back to mostly sleeping all night, after a week or so of nightly wake-up calls. whew

I’ve been seriously considering going indie with my fiction writing, but there’s a ton of work involved. I have a plan mostly roughed out in my head, and have identified a few holes in the plan. It’s the holes that need the most work and give me pause… but the whole “getting published” gauntlet involves a lot of work as well, with no guarantee that my stories would ever see daylight. Worst of all, many of the same holes are present for either route: for example, if I go indie I’ll have to get an editor to go over my stuff; a publisher might have an editor on staff, but given the typos I’ve seen in published works I have to wonder. Cover art is the only aspect where traditional publishing has a clear advantage. Either route forces me to do most (or all) of the marketing and publicity. The traditional route gets me into traditional bookstores, but as an indie I can get into major eBook stores easily enough. The thing is, if I can work out a decent system for indie publishing, I could conceivably make some coin by doing the gruntwork for other authors. Something to think about, anyway.

My other plan, completely separate from the first, is to get a store open on CafePress or something similar. Doing that right also requires some legwork — getting the designs down, then in the right format, and I can visualize something a whole lot easier than I can get it out of my head. Maybe The Boy can help there.

Just a few thoughts…


  1. You hit it right on the head - regardless of which way you go, there is a lot of work involved, and even having an editor is no guarantee that there still won't be typos (you'd think it would, but it doesn't - sadly).

    If you self-publish, you might have some problems getting into the bigger bookstores, but with a little sleuthing on your part, and a bit of an investment, you could contact the Indie bookstores (which some smaller publishers won't do, due to budget constaints) around the country. The indie bookstore organization here in the northeast is NEIBA, and I'm sure there are similar organizations around the country. Getting a hold of their member lists is only a few clicks away ;).

    Cover art is a biggee, but some of the self-publishing companies help with this one. They will also help with the editing. Some will even help with some of the marketing. The biggest difference is that you, the author, are investing in your book, instead of having a publisher foot the bill.

    It doesn't have to be terribly expensive, either. Check out Lulu. There are others, but I've actually purchased books from Lulu, and they do nice work.

    Dude, go for it! Either way. I'd love to see your stuff in print ... so I can buy it so that when the Internet here in the US finally goes down thanks to TEOTWAWKI, I'll have your books to read for something to do ... instead of surfing the blogosphere ;).

  2. Thanks for the encouragement & info, Wendy! My current plan is to go e-book only at first, maybe set up some kind of PoD thing for small bookstores. Getting into print is important, but when you're bootstrapping it's One Thing At A Time.

    One idea I'm batting around for cover art: the local high school, amazingly enough, has a pretty good arts program and there's some fantastic stuff on display at the end of the year. Daughter-unit bought an abstract painting I had my eye on too. :-) Anyway, if the school is willing, I could send a MSS over with a list of required elements and let the kids take a bash at doing me a cover, offering a $100 prize (and/or a share of the sales) and credit. Maybe I could use some of the non-cover entries in the book as well.

    I'll certainly continue to report my progress as I go…

  3. A friend of mine uses iUniverse to self publish. They offer packages to purchase that can include things like editors etc. and cover art. The options for cover art were pretty wide when I helped with her second book but we couldn't get exactly what we wanted which was slightly disappointing. She's published 3 times with them and all 3 are available on Amazon, B&N etc. I'm not sure about eBook but then she's never been a fan of those.

    All in all I'm completely supportive of you publishing either traditionally or self. And I'm glad Mason is considering potty usage.

  4. I wonder if some sort of open-source type arrangement might work for the editing. The Internet makes this sort of thing much easier than it would be otherwise.


  5. Hiya FAR,

    Hopefully Mason catches on quickly and he won't have his grandparents going crazy with it.

    Which ever way you go with your writing I do think it will catch on. Some day someone will say, "I bought the book such and such by the author so and so." Then I'll say, "My friend FAR wrote a book with that same title and art work. I wonder if that's a coincidence." ;)

  6. Hi Lace, welcome to the free-range insane asylum! I know someone who worked for iUniverse, so if I go that route it's certainly toward the top of my list. There's a billboard on the way to work advertising a different company as well… there used to be a different company (also self-pub) on that billboard, so I don't know if it's the same company under a different name or what.

    MLR, once I get something beat into shape, I'm going to put out a call for beta readers. I'll reciprocate either by committing to beta-read their books, or free copies (kind of cheap but maybe I'll think of something better).

    FM, "from your mouth to God's ear." For both of those. :-) I'll out myself once the first book is generally available, so you won't have to wonder…


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