Story From A Bookstore Employee

I work in a bookstore. An older man walks up to the information desk. I say “Hello” and he starts telling me a very long story. He had something that happen to him 40 or 50 years ago and he would like it publish. In fact, he has a lot of stories he would like to have publish. He doesn’t know where to start since, he says, he doesn’t write well. He was hoping to find a ghostwriter and would like to know how he can start in publishing his book. I tell him if he goes to the reference section in my store there is a subsection were he can find many titles to teach him how to go about finding a ghostwriter, agent, and publisher.
“I don’t want to read a book about it I just want to know how,” he says without skipping a beat.

We go through this exchange a few times in different ways. Always him telling me what he is looking to do and me telling him I don’t exactly know but there are many books on the subject to help in his search. If I say you probably need an agent or publisher to help you find a writer, he asks for an agents phone number as if I have one handy for these situations. I tell him I don’t have a number but there is a book published every year with a list of agents and publishers and their contact information. He says, “No, that’s not what I’m looking for,” and moves on to more questions about the process.

Around the third or fourth runaround I lose my patience and just say, “I don’t know I can’t help you” to his questions. He isn’t at the bookstore for a book and I can’t keep going though these repetitive motions trying to be “nice and helpful.” Maybe that’s mean but I only have so much tolerance in this situation. I gave you the information to start you on your path now do the work.

Query Criticism

If you’ve been reading along you know I’ve been sending out queries. Most of the responses have been general rejection until a few weeks ago. Whenever a submission’s response pops into my inbox I am uncertain of the outcome. Crazy I know because I think if it was good news they would call me. But always, this little part of me hopes they accepted my story and want to schedule a meeting to discuss something along the lines of publishing. So far most submission responses have been generic rejections except for the last one. I finally got a rejection with some positive and the negative feedback.

It’s amazing how criticism can stop someone in their tracks. I was looking for more places to send, writing more stories, writing and promoting this blog when this email made me stop and think. Why am I writing? But it took me some time to continue on and just say, “this is one story. This isn’t the end.” Also, I didn’t expect this story to be wildly successful. Just something I thought could be out there on the shelf of a bookstore or in someone own personal collection.

It still can be. I have decided not to quit on this story and it’s characters. While, this was just this one person’s criticism there have been quite a few rejections and maybe this is what the others are thinking. Maybe it was what I was thinking deep down. As a writer I think I always knew something was off. It’s hard to see being so close to the story. Handing it off isn’t always easy either. Friends and families just give a once over and gush over the perfect.  I was thinking of reading and editing one more time. Seeing if the narrative voice does need tweaking. I’ve been away from this character for some time. Fresh eyes can be all that’s need to make this story everything I know it can be. Even if, in the future, it’s not published I don’t think this was ever a waste of time. I’ve learned so much.  Here I go, back to the writing board.

Making Writer Time

Last Monday through Thursday I did another week of a prompt a day and I think I was successful. Today I didn’t do a prompt. But today I felt I didn’t want to keep working on stories that may go nowhere. I wanted to start working on some ideas I have shaking around in my head. Today I started work on my short story. I think it’s the Irish spirit inspiring me to finally start since I want it to be a story about Irish folklore and fairies. Also, I’m hoping to start an outline for another story I thought up after a strange dream. Finally I hope to start writing my novel somewhere in between all of that. Who knows if publishing will ever come to past but nothing will get published if there is nothing written down to publish. So I write or do things writing related. Outlining, promoting, or brain storming.

Thursday night into Friday morning I slept a only few hours. I couldn’t find the energy to get my brain to form words on paper. Really, I tried, but I could barely form words into speech.  I promoted my Facebook Author page to friends. I think it was a successful writing day since I worked on something writing related and my page has 28 likes as I’m typing this so YAY! And more positive news is I still have some open queries to agents floating around so my little guy still has a chance. I guess what I’m saying is I’m trying to make my life more about writing. Even on the days my mind tries to fight my positive progress. Grabbing at straws? Maybe. But nothing is going to happen without practice and forward motion.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all and Irish blessing all around.

Facebook Author Page And Prompt Update

I think I am jumping the gun. I just set up an author page for myself on Facebook. When asked if I was famous I clicked yes. I have the mental thought and hope I will be one day. I don’t have a book published or any book in the works to be published but it could happen. Maybe if I create this page things will fall into place. What is famous anyway? Right!

I was thinking I’ve been late on the creation of the page. This may have been a great place to post all the articles I had written when I was writing for The Celebrity Cafe and Joonbug. I had posted the articles written for these sites as public view but now with the many changes to Facebook they don’t come up on my public page. I can’t open my Facebook to the public. It is too personal for public consumption.

As a wanna be author I have to think about my own social media presence and public relations. I worked as an intern with a publishing house for a short time. When we reviewed queries one of the things we checked was the author’s social media presents. Obviously, this wasn’t the only thing I’m just clarifying it was one of the things checked. The number of followers was a possible calculation to a number of book sales. This is my logic for creating my author’s page.

If you would like to “Like” my crazy author’s page click HERE. Don’t expect much. I just started it and it’s very empty right now.

An update on the prompts. I have been doing well. Friday I completed a 582 word prompt. I could tell I am a rusty writer. The writing wasn’t very visual. In the begin, it was me telling instead of showing. As the writing continued I think my imagination was breaking down the wall and I was finding the words painting the reader a picture. Today I wrote 526 word prompt. I’m getting better. This time it took me a bit to get into the prompt. Once over the hump it was hard to stop but it was mostly descriptions of surroundings than story. I finally stopped when I got stuck on the ending. (Bottom of the page is always a good place to stop.) If you’re wondering what happen to the weekend prompts, I didn’t do any. I don’t often write on the weekends.

I have been posting my prompts and word counts on my Twitter page. If you would like to follow and write along click HERE. Be warned. My Twitter is not just writing prompts. I also participate in Vaginal Fantasy book club monthly and tweet what I find amusing, interesting, and funny.

It’s a First Draft Not A Finished Novel

It’s a First Draft Not A Finished Novel

I’m very proud of my accomplishment. I wrote 45,000-word first draft of a science fiction novel. I’ve told a few people since and I am quite surprised by the majority response. I think most believe I wrote a finished completed work of fiction. The number one reply is, “Have you given it to anyone to read?” They think it’s my number one mistake of why I’m nowhere near publishing. I then have to go into a lengthy explanation that my first draft is a complete mess I never edit as I wrote. I started thinking; do others believe a book, magazine or newspaper article they read is some genus one-time attempt?

The friends who want to read it even though it is not in a ready state. I’m ecstatic to have the support except they think I’m being shy and overprotective of my “baby”. I make note of their names and tell them when I’m ready I’ll send them a copy. To try and bring the point home, all I request is a, don’t worry about hurting my feelings evaluation. In spite of that they want it now.

I recently had to tell a group of people my still developing writing habit. The habit of putting the first draft away for an amount of time, so I can step back to my piece with fresh eyes, and continue to work on it. The retort was still someone can do that for me. I found it hard to explain that I wasn’t nervous about someone reading my work. I love good and bad criticism. Well, perhaps love is the wrong word. Makes it sound like I haven’t had bad criticism that didn’t make me recoil, wince, or shrink. On the contrary, when I stop being emotionally involved in my piece, some of that critique helps me work the story into a stronger quantity.

The other confusing question is, “will I self-publish”. Self-publish? First, I have to explain I’m not writing to publish. I’m writing for myself. There was a time I tried to write for a future famous novel and my writing was non-existence. Now I just try to work and see what comes from the mind. I get strange looks. Next I explain, “I will try and publish a book one day however, that is a step I’ll think about when I get there”.

Second, I express my dream to try going the traditional route before the self-publishing way. Everyone seems to know someone who has self published and has done well. That’s great but it’s not my first move. I think it would be nice to say some publishing house sees brilliance in my work and wants to help support me. Show me the way. I expect generic, mean, or suggestive dismissal in my inbox. Be like the writers I’ve read with their own stacks of rejections before hitting it big.

There are always the suggestions of what I should write. It is a memoir on their life, or a book about crazy women and clueless men with their help. I have to look at them and say, you don’t need me. You sit down and start writing your story, your idea. I may say I’m a writer but it is not limited to me or that person you see on the book covers in the bookstore. It’s your brainchild. Still people think it’s not what they can do.

I’m happy people are proud of the work I accomplished and they want to see me succeed except there is a lot more labor than just the first attempt at writing.

Is Amazon Publishing good for writers?

October 17, 2011

Scribner Books: NYT: Amazon Rewrites the Rules of Book Publishing


The NYT has, surprisingly, published a trenchant article on the book business, while short on any kind of analysis, does provide a good overview of Amazon’s entry into the world of publishing.

Didn’t know that?

Yes, kids. Now Amazon does it all – acquire, publish, distribute, and sell books!…


October 21, 2011

Is Amazon Publishing good for writers?

Great post by Melissa C. Alexander. She had a lot of the same questions I had about the articles I’ve been reading about Amazon Publishing. She also has some very good perspective on the topic.

I feel the same way, just have to wait and see how it all turns out for writers, readers and publishing.

When It Rains

March 13, 2011
Searching for jobs is a specialty of mine. I have it down to an organized system. It looks like all that hard work has paid off. I have had one interview at a publishing house for an internship. Part time, possible hire at the end of three months. It looks very hopeful if I work my butt off and I can and will work my butt off. I will also be able to check a dream off my list. I have always wanted to work in a publishing house.

What I find funny is the day before I was excepted into the position I scheduled a phone interview with another company. This was a full-time proofreading position. I still took the interview. Think I did well. Then checked my e-mail to have another phone interview to schedule but that would be a move to West Virgina.

I write this because I find it amusing. Working so hard and applying to so many jobs and then it is, three in almost one week. I laughed. I’m also writing this for others who are looking and frustrated. There is a silver lining.

Will E-Book’s Follow in the Footsteps of YouTube Videos?

February 9, 2011
The digital world is open to everyone. Every genius without the money can post a blog or video showing their talent. I am in awe when I come across a YouTube video that shows true talents, whether art, music, or film. But for every talented video there are tons of crappy ones.

Now e-books are popular and the next big thing for books. Many writers, when rejected by publisher after publisher, are finding it easier to self-publish their “babies.”  Some even find success and have their book published in print after good e-book sales.

I have read many articles on writing, self-editing, and self-publishing. One article made it clear when self-publishing make sure what you put out into the world is free of errors. Your work has to be more flawless then an actual published book if you want people to take notice and take your work seriously. Makes sense.

The other day, after sifting through a lot of garbage on YouTube, my question became, Will self publishing on the e-reader turn into YouTube? I worry about the future of books and my worry is content. The net is open to everyone. Just go to YouTube and search the site. Many of the videos are useless. I end up waiting for others to tell me whats good before I venture on to the media site and sometimes I still find myself wasting time.

Five or ten years from now, will readers have to search through tons of junk to find a literary gem?

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