The Scary Question

As a kid, I didn’t watch horror movies. Not that I didn’t like them: I would have had to ID-100202629watch one to know. I mean, I would do ANYTHING other than watch the Saturday late-night Creature Feature on the old black-and-white many, many years ago. Spend money to see a horror movie at the theater? No way. No Frankenstein, no Werewolf, no Mummy, no “Nighmare on Elm Street,” no “Chuckie,” no “Night of the Living Dead,” no “Exorcist.”

Then I decided avoiding those movies meant not knowing anything about them. So was it fair to decide if I liked them or not? So, to be fair, I watched a few. And I find out that most of them were silly. Not for me at all. But at least I took the time to find out.

What I discovered about myself at an early age was I like knowing about something. It was reassuring. I wasn’t an overly curious kid, nor a great student, but the was a simple joy in knowing something that was satisfying. The best part of a reading a mystery was the ‘finding out’ part.

As I near the launch of my Shig Sato mystery series, I realize this whole enterprise is scary. My journey through the writing life has taken me to an important crossroads. The question that has needed answering is: what will it be? Traditional publishing or Indie? The first is quite simply the way things have been done for centuries. Never mind that the business is going through an upheaval. Going the traditional route is, well, traditional. It’s what most people expect.

But Indie: self-publishing has taken a life of it’s own, and it’s much easier to get a book into print than ever before.

Is that the point, though, getting the book into print? Getting my story out to readers?

I don’t think so. I think the point is assuming this role of writer, of author, with a certain gravitas, a certain responsibility. There’s lots of great information in the digital world about how to become an independent author.  But what does one do with all that information.

Ultimately, a person has to decide to go forward with the project. Put up or shut up. Play or go home. My own list of excuses for not having an e-book version of my first installment in my series has been no time, no money, no knowledge of what to do or how to do it, no cover art, no editing service, no marketing plan ….

Well. As true as all that may have been, it’s not true any more.

Am I ready?

That is the scary question.

The answer is yes.

See you soon.

Image courtesy of stockimages /

2013 and the Start of Something Big

With the holidays over, the big writing push is on. I want to finish the second book in a detective series before summer. In the meantime I’m trying to find an agent or a publisher for the first book. Depending on how that goes, I’ll have to decide by summer what to do with the project: keep flogging or go independent.

I’ve spent the last eight months learning about social media and marketing, independent publishing and e-books, forcing my mind to make the transition from “unpublished writer” to “unpublished writer welcoming the idea of having to sell one’s own books” to “unpublished writer on the verge of becoming an entrepreneur.” The concept didn’t frighten me so much as, with most things, it forced me to wrestle with the fear of the unknown, always a poor starting point.

One thing I know for certain: There are more options than ever for writers who want to get published.  Which may be why Vantage Press is no longer with us. I know nothing of the company and its situation, other than when I was 14 years old and had the beginning of the writing bug I still have today, I sent for information about the company and found it it was a vanity press. In a an episode of the television series “The Waltons,” John-Boy, the fledgling writer, chooses to publish with such a company, to find out that what he got in the bargain is a box of books and not much else. This steered me away from the whole idea of self-publishing for many years.

But of course things are different now, and the demise of Vantage may prove it. With the new year, I can see hard choices coming my way. My being 14 was some time ago. My desire to be published hasn’t abated. But the core of that desire has always been writing. Some will argue that a person isn’t a writer until they are published. I don’t know that that is necessarily true. But I understand the  point. There’s a certain satisfaction in seeing your words in print that cannot be found elsewhere.

So much too look forward to in 2013!

Happy New Year — what are you looking forward to?