Notes From a Twenty Year Almost Career. The guest musings of Indie Author Terrance Foxxe
Foreword, acknowledgments . . . and a word from our sponsor.
There are a lot of people out there who have dreams of becoming a published writer, and I wish you the best of luck. Me, I’ve kept my dream alive by living it day by day, writing my nuggets off. I keep plucking away, doing what I think is right. I’m just like you. Though, there is one big difference between you and me. I did just about everything you can think of wrong over the last twenty years, yet live to talk about it.
My wife has helped me with my writing where she could, my sons could care less, and my friends are shallow enough to listen politely, praise me occasionally, otherwise their eyes glaze over. It’s very sad. My entire family think this adventure nothing more than a pipe dream, and I haven’t been stoned in years. You can’t write ripped. Well . . . I can’t write ripped. These days I try to keep myself honest.
If you’ve been writing for a while, you know what I’m talking about when it comes to family and friends. Fault them not. Them and fish smell the same after three days. And, you can do this: Learn to pat yourself on the back. Often. Stretching regularly helps.
I discovered over the decades that I had a margin of talent. I discovered I had a knack for “The Hook,” spouting somewhat decent dialogue, pumping up the middle of a story with interest, and crafting an exciting or thought-provoking ending as often as needed. I’m not bad. Self-confidence can take you a long way.
I also discovered I was stupid, and ignorance is not bliss.
Doing things the hard way has taught me a lot, and doing things the hard way has also cost me valuable time. I found truth in some How To books, and lies-by-omission in others. I’m not going to lie to you. What I do each day is hard work. Writing can be extremely frustrating. There are days in which I feel as if I’m just spinning my wheels. Is this the life you want? If so, good.
And the word from our sponsor? Nothing you will ever do as a writer is wasted.
Trash cans at ten tender years of age (1970) were better than shopping malls, and didn’t cost me a freaking dime. I found an old typewriter in one can that worked, and had a ribbon in it still infused with ink. At home, blank paper abounded. I put a sheet in and stretched my fingers across the keys. I pretended I could type, unsticking the rods as they congregated up top. I jammed the keys just to make them stick. When you’re ten, it’s cheap fun. About a week later I put in a piece of paper after rewinding the ribbon for the fourth or fifth time, and actually started to write a story. I tried like hell to write my story, got about fifty pages in, and then lost interest in the whole thing.
What I remember about the story was, it had promise, and the dialogue wasn’t bad. It made sense. My interests drifted and I didn’t write again for many years. Over twenty-five years, if you must know. A little history lesson to help you become a better writer. When it comes to your hard work being self-published as a brand-bleeping-new Indie Author, knowledge truly is power.
Like most human beings I had to learn the rules the hard way. Nobody out there approaches the subject of writing quite like I do. What I promise you is this: When you sit down and take a practical business-like approach to writing and self-publishing, your readers will appreciate your efforts. Your readers will judge you by your words. Readers are everything to the Indie Author.
The one book I once purchased that says you too can get happily published (by the big boys), the book I refuse to mention by name, written by someone in the know, and authority, really doesn’t take you by the hand and slap sense into you. That book makes promises I think are unrealistic in any day and age.
Corporate publishing continues to implode at an astounding rate. Self-publishing as a business continues to mutate, and then grow in unexpected directions. I can barely keep up with the changes. Me, all I can see is good; a win, win.
Most books on self-publishing assume you can afford an accredited editing service, or competent cover art. They assume you can buy everything you need to make each book a pristine specimen of personal professionalism. They make a lot of assumptions that take a lot of money.
I’m far from being a rich man, and have yet to meet anyone, anyone at all in this business face to face. I’m most of you. I don’t have extra money. I do my own cover art, and I think it has a cool retro feel. I wrote my own disclaimers, and formatted the book. Cover to cover, inside and out, it’s all me. The (Amazon) samples I downloaded look great.
I also worked for years to hone my editing skills. I’d like to think I come as close to being perfect as I can get, but I’m not perfect. The best I can do is 150% effort, for 99.8% perfection. I do that for my readers, whoever they might be. What I’m saying is you, yes you, you can make your own luck. Work smart first, and work hard second. Your words lead the way as an Indie Author, and your words will make you or break you. 150% effort, for 99.8% perfection.
Me? I’m going to take you by the hand and bitch-slap your head from behind. I’ll make it hurt, too. You’ll thank me in the end, because this is a business, first and foremost, and you can make it. It’s just not going to be as easy as you think.
Terrance Foxxe is crazy enough to share everything he knows about catering to readers, because readers matter most to the Indie Author of today, and tomorrow. He had two books published under his real name, only to discover publishers really suck. After being royally ripped off and then some, he is the Indie Author of A Post-apocalyptic Story of Love, $2.99 USD & In The Dreaming, $0.99, both for the Kindle. Links provided. He’s now a happy man. Buy his books. Read them. Write reviews.
He blogs at http://terrancefoxxe.blogspot.com/