Day 27: Got a lot done today

This is do or die time.  

We're getting closer to the time that I will need to take off.  I'm still working hard to finish this project as I prepare.  Not sure if I can do it, but tomorrow will require "the old college try." 

Honestly though, in keeping with my earlier philosophy of only striving for completion rather than perfection, I'm going to make getting the second story completed a priority tomorrow.  If I can do that, then I think I've accomplished my goal. 

Anyway, I went over the goal by almost three times.  Instead of 500 words, I almost got to 1 500.  

Starting Word Count: 24 764

Finishing Word Count: 26 225

Daily Word Count: 1 461


Day 22: Some Good Things Happening

Crazy day!  I haven't mentioned this, but apparently the real estate market is super hot right now. I put my house up for sale on Friday and multiple offers have come in.  We ended up choosing the one that suited our situation best and are planning to close within the next 45 days or so.  That distraction should be partly wrapped up today.  

People are always asking if we're planning to buy again.  I laugh somewhat.  Finally, after overpaying for our house in a predatory loan (we got modified about 4 years ago), we were able to gain equity and now it is happening so quickly and people are getting so agitated about the "exciting" real estate market that it seemed like a good time to make an exit.  Will the RE market crash again like it did in 2007?  

I don't know.

And I don't think so.

So, why not buy right now?  Because, we have a few debts to pay at the moment.  Also, after the last roller coaster ride that was 11 years of owning this house (including my business partners playing games with my earnings the last couple years I owned my old company), we felt trapped.  This time, I don't want to feel tied down.  Don't get me wrong, we could have dropped the house at any point.  The problem is that my wife and I are not those kinds of people.  If we made a contract and we were able to pay the monthly mortgage (and we could), we did so.  It sucked, but we did it.  If the real estate market gains for another year or two and then stagnates rather than crashes, plummets or even coasts down, so be it.  I can always buy another house and work to build equity.  However, it is really hard to sell a house (without short selling) when you have zero equity and your mortgage is 250% of the value of your home.  No joke.  

Did we ask for handouts from good ol' Uncle Sam?  We sniffed around, but nobody was buying.  They saw us as the useful idiots.  At least that's how it felt all those years watching my mortgage bill outpace the resale value of my home. 

But enough of that.  

You want to know about my writing.  Today was pretty productive.  Story B is a good one with some great developments.  I would guesstimate that I am at the midpoint in this story.  It takes place in Paris and should end in Russia.  Certain famous folks from the early 20th Century show up in the story.  I'm excited for you to read it.

Starting Word Total: 21 779

Finishing Word Total: 22 504

Final Daily Word Total: 725

Day 20: What just happened???

Well, I was able to endure a break from writing that had happened because of travel.  I was also able to push through a cold that started just over a week ago and came on like a banshee.  However, there is no cure for poor planning and a failure to adhere to a schedule.  Ugh!

I could have sworn I wrote and updated the blog on Thursday, but I suppose it didn't happen.  On Friday, there was so much to do with work and preparation for a church Father and Son overnight campout in the nearby mountains of southern Nevada.  Even though we're out in the desert, it is amazing that we can still find places that have enough vegetation and thankfully, cooler temperatures to make camping away from electrical, electronic and plumbing conveniences enjoyable.  That's right, we had no plumbing on this one.  That meant some of the attendees had to go out into the bush, find a tree, dig a hole and prop up against it, if they were needing to evacuate certain parts of the body.  As for me and my boy, we were sure to take care of that business before heading up there and then made the 30 minute drive home in the late morning to take care of the rest of the business.

So, returning on Saturday, I had a number of commitments to keep and a last minute invitation to Deadpool 2 (late night viewing).  Spoiler alert: Deadpool dies in this movie.  However, it being the Marvel Universe (at Fox), you know he's still going on.  After all, his character is a huge money maker for the studio.  So, Friday and Saturday were shot.  

This is Where the Search for Perfection could Kill This Experiment

Like the heading says, if I were trying to make everything perfect, I suppose I would have given up.  On Friday, I did have about 10 minutes to kill and was able to crank out 173 words.  However, I have just rolled them into today's total since I couldn't update you.  The search for perfect execution of the process could have derailed my desire to finish the second story.  However, I won't let that happen.  You see, this isn't really about the process.  In some creative endeavors, including writing, sometimes it is good to just focus on the process and try to be flawless.  In this case, it makes way more sense to push toward completion, no matter how filled with flaws the final product will be (and believe me, this one has its flaws).

So, where does that leave me?  It leaves me spending about 20 minutes this morning, writing the story and then tonight with a combined total of this evening's time spent and all of the time before since Thursday, writing for about 90 minutes.  My hope was to write the equivalent of 4 days' work (500 words per day = 2000 words), but even then I ran out of time today.  So, I will settle for the following results.  I hope you will too.  If you read this blog through chronologically, this post might come as a disappointment to you.  It did to me somewhat.  

My dad once said though that it isn't about moving upward.  Sometimes it's about moving forward.

Starting Word Count: 19 587

Finishing Word Count: 21 327

Daily Word Count Total: 1 740

Day 16: So much more to do

I am not feeling well.  Still, I managed to crank out the minimum 500 words.  Once I got there, I had a couple more sentences that were needed to make everything fit.  

Examining this idea of imperfection further from yesterday's post.  I suppose what I have been trying to say is that it really comes down to being willing to put your work out there and let it be imperfect.  Don't let desire for perfection paralyze you.  

That's no excuse for turning in shoddy work or not trying your best, but it is an acknowledgement that at some point, you have to just move forward.

Starting Word Count: 19 036

Finishing Word Count: 19 587

Daily Word Count Total: 551

Day 15: Story B is moving along nicely

Story B?  I didn't even know there was a Story A!

Trust me when I tell you that I get how this can be kind of confusing.  

The month of May 2018 should have started with me writing one story and working to hit the 500 words per day goal, every single day.  Instead, I am sitting here telling you about going back to Story B after finishing Story A.  Wait, "going back?"  Yes, if you check out my blog around May 5th and 6th, I make reference to the fact I had left my MacBook Pro at home, which had my Story A story on it.  Therefore, to continue the work I was doing, I started working on the story from the outline for Story B.  

This is going to sound nuts, but because I kept my outlines concise and somewhat simple, I was able to start a second story.  I kind of knew the characters involved along with the settings I wanted them in.  Remember, I am writing the stories I wish I could read when I'm just looking for a darn good, rollicking adventure on Amazon Kindle.  

Writing Fiction seems to be a Messy Endeavor

No one is asking my opinion, but I'll give it anyway:  Writing fiction, whether it is good fiction or not-so-good fiction, is a messy and disorganized venture.  I am just discovering this fact after completing and publishing a full novel.  It is now that I am realizing how weird and "twisty" storytelling can be.  

I wonder if that is why so many people find it daunting.

Hear me out on this.  We live in a world that almost seems to worship perfection.  Sure, we all send the message to each other that we should love ourselves and our imperfections (and the imperfections in others), but really we all desire to have things perfect.  

How many times have you purchased that expensive little hardbound cover book (black, blue or red) and said to yourself: This time and in this book, I will write the Great American (or Russian or Japanese or African) Novel?  

Only you find yourself staring back at a blank page.  

It's because you want perfection.  

And you can't have it.  

Let it go.

Let go of this desire to write the perfect story and just write the story in your own limited way.  

When I wrote The Son of San Diablo, I had the same aspirations as anyone else: To write world-changing fiction.  Guess what?  The world is still the same.  

So, now to preserve my sanity, I am trying something else.  I'm writing fun fiction.  Sure, there are deeper themes than just fun and adventure, but I am not going to get so wrapped up in all of that to paralyze myself.  Why the heck can't I just have a little fun and hopefully entertain you the reader?

This might run counter to some of what I've said in the past and it's not meant to.  Instead, my point is that though your story should mean something and it is wise to write "to an end," don't let all of that paralyze you. 

Instead, embrace your own imperfections as a human being and allow some of that to come forward in your storytelling.  

And if your heart faints? 

Do what I'm doing... use a pen name.

Starting Daily Word Count: 18 319

Finishing Daily Word Count: 19 036

Daily Word Count Total: 717

Day 14: It is Finished!

Check this out!  The first of my "secret" fiction project is finished!  I was writing to get to the end today and I didn't know if it was going to happen.  Between fighting off this cold (persistent symptoms that led to a two hour nap this evening) and helping to search for a receptionist candidate at one of my offices, I didn't know if this was going to get done.  However, I dug in my heels at about 10 pm tonight and committed to doing it.

It is finished!  This project is definitely what one would call a novelette or a novella.  Currently, the word count for it is around 16 500 words.  I took a diversion for a few days when I forgot my MacBook Pro for a few days earlier this month and started a separate story.  The plan is to resume where I left off with the other story tomorrow.  Regardless, I am happy with my work output.  By my estimate, in 14 days, I was able to produce a total of 10 000 words of fiction.  that's about 714 words per day.  While not impressive by every writer's standards, it is a consistent output of every day effort and of that, I am truly proud.

Starting Word Count: 17 596

Ending Word Count: 18 319

Daily Word Count: 723

Day 13 - Push through the Sickness

Ugh!  Most of today, I have felt like crap.  I slept off and on until about 2:30 today, but somehow I still found time at around 3:45 in the afternoon and also another few moments later in the evening to get in the obligatory 500 plus word count.  I'm so close to finishing this first novella (for it seems to fit that length) that I tried to push to get it done today.  Unfortunately, I will need to save the final part until tomorrow.  I think I can finish it tomorrow.  

Then, I will allow it to stay untouched for a week.  After that time, I will revisit it and go through as quickly as possible to retouch and edit things.  During that week, I will pick up where the other one left off.  My hope is that by the end of this next week, when I revisit the first manuscript, I will almost be done the second one.  

Regardless, I have enjoyed this measure of output this way much better than the old way of doing things.  In the past, I used to write: "Do one hour of writing" or "Do 30 minutes of writing" or whatever.  The problem was that time spent doesn't really measure output.  Neither does it really hold strictly to the notion that the entire time you are writing.  If instead, you say you will write two pages, five pages or a thousand words a day, there is no denying the output once it is done for that day.  

I will keep working this and see what happens by the end of the month.  Still sick, but I am hoping I am feeling better by tomorrow. 

Starting Word Count: 16 723

Ending Word Count: 17 596

Daily Word Count Total: 873


Day 8: The 6 hour drive and still found time to write

I don't know if it is the determination to see through my goal of writing at least 500 words every day for the month of May or if it is a sick compulsion that is beginning to take hold, but I am doing it.  The drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas was a rather hasty one as there were less cars on the road (it being a Tuesday) than we were used to seeing.  Usually, we head home on a Sunday or an occasional Saturday evening and it is much more congested.

Tonight, after unpacking and getting the kids ready for bed, including the compelled reading I am required to do by my son of the book 'Dogman' by a guy named Dav Pilkey.  I find the little comics entertaining and I am actually in awe of how Mr. Pilkey can harness and channel a childlike imagination that most of us would envy at this point.  

Anyway, I got the writing done.  Full disclosure:  As I had mentioned a few days ago, I left my MacBook Pro at home for our trip, so I was forced to start a second story (from my outlines on my Google Drive).  I found a great one that ended up getting me about 2500 words in.  That's all well and good and I think I will be picking it up within a week or two.  Currently, as of tonight, I have resumed my original story.  

I can't give a lot of details away about what I am writing as I am writing fast and I am writing to get it to publication.  It isn't 'perfect' writing, but it is fun writing and storytelling.  The stories are set in the past and this particular story I am resuming takes place in California.  The one I started while in Phoenix is set in Paris.  

Anyway, here's tonight's count--

Daily Starting Word Count: 13 227

Daily Finishing Word Count: 13 756

Daily Word Count: 529

Day 4: Another Day completed

My alarm went off at about 6:45.  I'd every intention to rise and dive into the work.  Instead, I slumbered another 45 minutes.  Regardless, I completed the 500 word goal.  In fact, I believe I exceeded it by possibly two hundred words.  As I'm writing this, I only know that I had written more than 500 words today.  My hope is to return to the book tonight and get 500 more.

Daily Starting Total: 10,557

Daily Finishing Total: 11,392

Daily Total: 835

My Writing Experiment

Thank you, Lawrence Block

If you are someone who has ambitions to become a professional writer or at least to see something published under your name someday, then this post is for you.  In order for this post to make sense, I am going to make one or two assumptions about who you are and why you might be interested in this post (and the posts that follow on this blog).  

My first assumption is that you are a busy person.  You might be going to college full-time and working a part-time job or vice versa.  You might also be raising a family with or without a spouse/partner.  You might also be the type of person who has wanted to write and publish your own work.  Honestly, you might be thinking to yourself: Even if it is self-publishing on Amazon, it is better than nothing.  And you would be right.  

Being that kind of person with the aspirations you possess, you seek out all of the latest books of wisdom on writing.  You may dig into the past and see what past writers have said about getting it done.  Some of the writers who write about writing may be prolific like Stephen King or Lawrence Block.  Others you may have read might fit into the 'writers who write about writing' category like Anne Lamont whose most well-known book is Bird by Bird.  Sure, she's written fiction, but everyone talks about this book.  

The list of books on writing instruction is endless.  Honestly, there are only a few really, really good ones out there.  Then there are a handful of mediocre and a few that definitely should never have been written.  It seems sometimes that some people make a living off of writing books about writing more than they can make actual money from their writing.  That's not meant to be a dig.  If anything, I think every person who wades into the world of fiction and finishes one book (terrible or world-changing) should be lifted up on the shoulders of their peers and carried through the streets.  The heralding them as a hero to the masses wouldn't be a bad addition either. 

One of my favorite books on the writing instruction side is Steven Pressfield.  He wrote numerous fictional novels, but most notably The Legend of Bagger Vance.  I read that last year after picking up The War of Art and wanted to see what kind of writer he was.  It was a solid book that isn't just about golf, but about existence and meaning.  It's an interesting exploration and I recommend that if you are a golfer or just someone seeking some direction in your life on how to live 'the authentic life,' you check it out.  Pressfield's other books on writing are also quite insightful.  I have yet to dive into another novel, but I see that coming sooner rather than later.

The Son of San Diablo

Writing The Son of San Diablo: A Manifest Galaxy Novel came in so many fits and starts over the years that it is kind of astounding it ever really was published.  It took the imminent passing of my mother last year in August to spur me on to get it published on Amazon.  Though I believe we live on after we die and likely get to check in on our family members and friends, I wanted my mom to see a novel her son wrote while she was still in mortality.  

The Son of San Diablo was based on a short story I entered in a local writing contest about a dozen years ago.  It was a historical drama then.  Over the years, I had come up with another concept: What if a wormhole connected mankind to the rest of the galaxy and that eventually led them to discover new, habitable worlds?  Add to that the desire of every leader of every nation to first claim these planets and their resources for their own?  What would that kind of galaxy be like 500 or 600 years into the future?  

So, I played around with the idea and eventually got to The Son of San Diablo.  The short story I referenced earlier is passable, though I'd be embarrassed to give it a public reading.  My mom told me she’d read the short story one morning before work when the pain of chemo was too much.  I told her that I had expanded it and changed the concept into something more enriching.  I had even discovered a theme that had evaded me in the short story, but now was fully realized in the book.  If you want to know what that theme was, the book is on sale at Amazon in ebook and paperback format.

So again, thank you, Mr. Block

In a roundabout way, this takes me to the writing experiment I am undertaking.  

I was listening to Lawrence Block's Telling Lies for Fun and Profit the other day and something he said about work habits struck me.  He will usually write seven days in a row regularly.  He will measure his work progress by output rather than by time put in.  Now, this isn't the first time I've heard this advice.  However, this time it sunk in deeply.

All at once, I formulated some ideas on a new project I had wanted to undertake.  You see, at this moment, The Son of San Diablo is still finding its audience.  I know there are some who have read it and have enjoyed the story.  They seem to get what I am trying for in the book.  However, there's a feeling of self-consciousness that I have (not the novel) that holds me back from being fully free and desiring to just let loose as Cameron M. Clark.

So, the project was rather simple:

Every day, I will track my progress on an unnamed project and will post the results here.  How do I measure my progress?  Well, Mr. Block says he shoots for five to six pages a day on the lower end (of course, this was back in 1981 when his book was originally published).  Being a full-time dad, a full-time professional (VP of Business Development) and a few other roles I can't get out of, I had to set my sights a bit lower.  

Instead, I read an apocryphal story that George RR Martin writes 500 words per day and that's it.  I don't know if that's true.  At first, that would be easy to judge and dismiss.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don't have the same pressure Mr. Martin has and I could do 500 (or more words) every day as long as the minimum goal was 500.  Once done for the day, I can wait until tomorrow.

I already had been working on this unnamed project for a while, but some of it was in stops and starts.  Instead, I will attempt to write at least 500 words per day and then update you on this blog daily.  If I miss writing on a certain day, I will post that too.  I will not sugarcoat.  Nor will each post be as long as this one. In fact, it has taken me longer to write this post than it did to write the 500 words for my fictional story.  Sweet irony!

Regardless, if you follow this blog or if you have a friend looking for some inspiration in writing, I highly recommend you tell them to follow along.  Even if this is a failure/disaster, we can all have a good laugh at the fact I got further on the project doing it methodically than not doing it at all. 

It’s a learning experience for me, most of all  

Without further ado: 

Starting Word Count: 8443

Finishing Word Count: 9115

Daily Total: 672

Free Fiction

It's been a great Labor Day Weekend.  

One of my daughters decided to stay home with me while the wife and other two kids headed to a nearby state to see family and celebrate a religious rite of passage.  The daughter that stayed with me is a bit of an activity addict, just like the other kids and her old man.  So, it was First Friday in downtown LV on Friday night.  Food, crafts, music, weirdness.  It was fun.

The next day was low key.  Some Crazy Pita and a movie.  We went and saw Baby Driver.  Yes, I know it's an R-rated film, but it really is some of the best writing and filmmaking to come out of Hollywood this year.  Having already seen it once, I had wanted her to be exposed to this kind of storytelling.

The story is powerful, the characters are compelling and the dialogue is fantastic.  If you haven't seen it yet, because you didn't like the title or it didn't appeal to you, do yourself a favor and get a ticket and go.  Edgar Wright shows why he's an underrated genius in this masterpiece.

Yesterday was pretty chill, but today with the other kids home, we decided to head up to Mary Jane Falls in the heart of Mount Charleston.  No joke, there are small waterfalls that are trickling down from the mountain (after a rather intense 2 mile hike) that you can stand under and cool off before heading back down the trail.  

Free Stuff!

Anyway, the other big thing to mention is that I decided to do a 'soft' promotion for The Son of San Diablo: A Manifest Galaxy Novel.  It's not the first free promotion I have done.  However, it is the first for this particular book.  At the time of this writing, a few dozen Amazon readers have 'purchased' the free book and have downloaded it to their Kindles or Kindle apps.  

I will admit that I struggle with the concept of 'Free' with Amazon.  Personally, I think that allowing people to sell their works as low as $0.99 or to allow for the reader to read it through the Kindle Unlimited program makes the most sense.  The problem with giving away everything for free is that free becomes the expectation and the rule.  It tells the reader 'Hey, I don't value all of the work I've done on this and really, neither should you.'  Maybe I'm just overthinking it, but it does seem silly that the way I'm supposed to get new readers in Amazon's eyes is to give things away for free.

Regardless, I am hard at work on a three part series that continues the 'Manifest Galaxy' legacy with some of the characters and concepts that were introduced in the first book.  It will be easier to give away one fiction book when I have multiple parts of the series to sell.  

It Should Mean Something 

It might just be me, but I think writing a fiction story should mean something.  I'm going out onto a limb here with this opinion, but since analytics tells me only a few dozen people are checking in every week, I am probably in pretty safe company at the moment.

When I say fiction should mean something, I don't mean that it must contain some moral message.  Nor do I think it has to teach or preach.  If some lesson or moral makes itself apparent through the theme of the story, then the best fiction will do that for some of the readers, some of the time.  I think the best stories don't have any kind of universal meaning, they just should have meaning.  Some things in the story might ring true for most of humanity, but it can mean something to others and neither is wrong.

Take for instance, the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness.  As far as we know, Conrad was being paid by the word and his intention may not have been to satirize the view that western culture was superior and that imperialism was some sort of infallible force.  Yet, after finishing the book the other week, I took to the Internet, as any inquisitive reader would do and I wanted to see what others thought of the book.  

While I can understand the racist overtones that many readers and critics perceive in the text along with some readers' dissatisfaction with what they call the underwhelming climax, I think there is something deeper there.  I believe that Conrad really wanted to explore the dark side of human nature and what a man might do were he left to his own devices and given all power out in the remoteness of nature.  Of course, this wouldn't be the case with every man or woman who was put into the same position as Kurtz was at the Inner Station.  However, his desire to enact on what were clearly psychopathic tendencies is clear and undeniable.  I think this was something Conrad was trying to explore, albeit indirectly.  

While we're digging for the truth, I have a confession to make.  I never finished Heart of Darkness until about a week ago.  I had made at least two valiant attempts to read the book over the years and failed in both at around the 40 page mark.  Conrad does seem to take his time getting things started.  However, once protagonist Marlow gets to the mouth of the river, things become more interesting.

Anyway, there is a reason for my strange confession to not reading a book that is over one hundred years old until just now.  It is because the stories we tell run parallel to each other in a certain way.  His story takes place in late 19th Century Africa and my story takes place over 600 after humanity has reckoned time in a way that coincides with the discovery of the first wormhole outside of our solar system.  Yet, both stories are told through the point of view of protagonists who meet charismatic and influential figures that have feet of clay.  

Both Kurtz in Conrad's book and Barney in The Son of San Diablo are held up as paragons of virtue by those around them.  In both cases, the truth becomes unravelled slowly and our heroes must make certain decisions related to what they will do with the truth.  I won't give up the end of Conrad's book and of course, I'm not going to tell you how my book ends.  The funny thing though is the way I ended up making decisions in the book that I never knew would be so closely related to Conrad's book.  However, let me be clear.  Conrad is the vastly superior writer to myself.  His way of weaving a yarn is so compelling and just darn fun, that once he gets going, it's hard to keep up.

Early Twentieth Century Literature

This brief touching upon Joseph Conrad and Heart of Darkness has led me to make another strange confession.  I've lately become a bit preoccupied and a little obsessed with fiction from the Edwardian Era.  This was early 20th Century fiction such as stuff written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Rudyard Kipling and of course, Joseph Conrad.  I have much more to say about this new avenue of study at some point, but I will digress.  I also have more to say about the mastery with which Conrad concocts his tale, but I will save it for another time.


Writing Fiction can be FUN!!!

I have been dealing with a number of challenges in my life recently.  

My mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just before Thanksgiving last year.  Her strength and courage have shone through in the past few months, as she'd undergone chemotherapy and has also participated in alternate therapies.  Unfortunately, things have continued to progress, but she is one of the toughest people I know.  I know a lot of people say that about someone they see going through something as horrible as cancer, but I would put my mom up against anyone else, anytime. 

Recently, she was transferred to hospice care, so I've been a bit distracted with that.  

Add to this situation the fact that I am starting a new job (with the company I sold) in a little over a week.  I'm excited for that change.  More to say on that in the near future.

Now let's get to what you clicked for!

I am happy to say that despite some of the challenges I outlined above, I am still persevering toward some goals I had set for myself.  Yes, I have published a number of nonfiction books, such as the quote books, the bald book and my latest business development book.  However, for nearly  a decade I have been writing fiction secretly.  I know, I know.  Join the club.  Just about everyone 'has a novel or two in them.'  

The Clark home has at least three completed handwritten manuscripts lying around the house for a trilogy I really have wanted to finish.  The shortest of these is about 300 pages and the longest probably clocks at 550 pages.  Anyway, those will never see the light of day in their current form or anything close to it.  In working on them though, I stumbled across a short story I had written about 12 years ago.  It placed second in a local writing contest and won me $250.  I thought that was a pretty good sum for a radio DJ who was barely getting by, but the writing and self-publishing bugs hadn't yet bit me.

What's it about?

It's called 'The Son of San Diablo: A Manifest Galaxy Novel.'  The funny thing is that the original short story I drew upon long ago was an historical piece and I was able to adapt it into a longer science fiction piece set in a planetary, colonial-type setting.  The story takes place centuries from now, after humanity has discovered a wormhole that opens up the galaxy and all of her habitable, yet-uninhabited planets for mankind to explore and settle.  

It is on one of these planets that we find a small mining town named San Diablo.  The 'golden boy' of the town has returned after being away many years to explore the galaxy.  However, not everything is as it seems.  As we watch the story unfold through the eyes of a local news reporter (yes, they still have those centuries into the future), not everything is as it seems.  

The book is called: The Son of San Diablo: A Manifest Galaxy Novel.  

Hardest Creative Project Yet...

Like I said above and I know many other people will say it: I've got a novel or two in me.  I'm no different.  However, I will tell you that this was a challenge.  I've been following and trying to learn from the 'fast-writers' on Amazon, who are turning out two or three novels a day... or maybe a little less.  I'm not nearly that fast, yet.  I'd like to think I will get to that speed, but it didn't happen on this book, nor do I think it will happen on the next.  

However, I really enjoyed writing the dang thing.  It was tough, but each day that I got a little further into the project, I felt satisfied.  Like I said, most of the fiction I will be publishing in the next year is 10 years in the making.  The trilogy I'm planning to write will be something I'd written more recently than The Son of San Diablo.  The trilogy started about 5 years ago when one of my friends connected to entertainment along with my brother, the film director, were asking for cool TV show pitch ideas.  I had been watching the newer Battlestar Galactica series on Netflix at the time and thought it would be cool to do a show that loosely drew from that universe.  Over time, the concept has changed and it will now be set in the same universe as 'The Son of San Diablo.'  Some of the characters in both stories will have connections with each other.  

However, I'm getting ahead of myself.  I'll be adding a page for 'The Son of San Diablo' soon.  

At heart, I've always been a fiction writer.  The nonfiction always felt a bit 'safer' to me.  However, as I have worked to publish this first novel, I realize that sentiment is silly.  We feel as safe or as unsafe as we allow ourselves to be.  The old sentiment to go out and create something you will love, even if no one else will, still applies.  I hope that isn't the case for me, but if it is, I will continue to create.  

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Why I Chose to Self-Publish 'Better Business Development Now'

Well, I'm excited to announce that the book is complete!  It was not an easy process writing a book that covers so much on professional services business development.  It was a mountain to climb and I am happy to say I completed it.

Why Self-Publish?

I have studied the business of self-publishing, specifically self-publishing on, for many years.  My first exposure goes waaaaay back to listening to the fun, free-wheeling podcast episodes of Sean Platt, David Wright and Johnny B. Truant on iTunes.  Their 'Self-Publishing Podcast' was a lot of fun out of the gate.  Since then, I've discovered many more, but all along the way, I have felt that there was a mix of promise, potential and of course, challenge in between the lines of what all of these successful podcasters were saying.

Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

When you think about the lay of the land, for a long time, traditional publishers have ruled the day.  As 'naturally' follows in a free-enterprise economy, the aggressors or rather, the entities that position themselves as the dominant species, prevail in most conflicts and their adversaries take a secondary or tertiary position, if they even survive at all.  This is how it went with traditional publishing.  I don't fault them for becoming what they have become.  It is the way everything seemed to move in this current economy.

However, economies are almost like organisms, living things.  Change one element here or there and it begins to affect the rest of the body.  This causes movements, some fast, some slow.  With that in mind, a shift that causes only a few 'mega-corporations' to take over the publishing industry can lead to another shift where a monolithic digital presence (mainly in the form of Amazon) can create a situation that begins to topple the 'big book' business.  Large, nationwide book chains are upturned in the form of Borders Books and others.  Eventually, Barnes & Noble starts sending coupons in the mail (something they never used to do) to their members and of course, their suppliers, the traditional book publishers start to watch sales take a hit.  

This something that is not new to you if you've been living through the first seventeen years of the 21st Century.  Things shift and things change.  Some of the now defunct enterprises that were buried by the digital book publishing business might have done well to take seriously the philosophy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which many have called The Black Swan.  In short, Taleb says that it is always what we don't know that will help us (or more often) hurt us than the things that we do know.

Back to the Question: Why Self-Publish?

I could go on and on about my theories about the book publishing business, but I think most of us are familiar wit the current landscape and honestly, there are probably a number of things that are happening behind-the-scenes that you and I will never really know.  I won't fault these big book publishers for what is happening to them.  If anything, I feel bad for them, because this economic shift means there will be layoffs and reductions.  Many people who work at these places will bear the impact of this shift.

Regardless, I can tell you that Better Business Development Now is a book that would pass the muster of any traditional publisher.  Honestly, the book is formatted better than some professionally published books I've seen.  It also contains more useful content than most traditionally published business books.  Part of that has to do with who wrote it.  I'm a real-life practitioner of what I preach.  I'm not some theoretical pontificator, nor am I a consultant who 'dabbles in this stuff.'  Instead, I'm the real deal.  I make deals all of the time for the people I work for.  That's how I stay gainfully employed.  And that is why I wrote this book.  To simplify my non-traditional approach and share it with others.  There are multiple reasons why I went with self-publishing Better Business Development Now: A Bare Bones Guide to Get More Clients!  

Despite the adoption of the philosophy of Stoicism into my life, I am still an impatient kind of guy.  The primary reason for choosing self-publishing over traditional publishing was time.  Honestly, when I have studied how long it takes to query and hook the interest of potential agents and then potential publishers, I could have written three more books.  I would be lying to you if I said that I never have queried agents or publishers for various books I have written.  I didn't waste any time on this one.  It seemed like it would have been more time waiting and waiting to hear back from people who already were running low on available time to tell me they didn't have time to read my manuscript.  

Instead, I could take my completed manuscript and professionally designed cover and upload it to in a matter of minutes for the reading public to see and hopefully, buy.  Nothing that traditional publishers or other types of companies that promise Print on Demand services seemed to compare to what Amazon was offering as far as turnaround and uploading.  

Another reason was editorial control.  Yes, my book was edited and proofread by separate parties, who helped me with my grammar, spelling and syntax.  If there are errors, well, I still take full responsibility.  However, I also received feedback on my content.  I received pushback on my content as well.  In some cases, the pushback was valid.  In other cases, I proceeded with my plan to publish the book as I had intended.  

Third was money.  I won't belabor this point.  It's quite simple.  The many numbers that get passed around in the traditional publishing world are amounts like 6% on every sale up to 25% on every sale.  Of course, this takes place after the advance has been made up in sales.  It makes economic sense for traditional publishers to operate this way since they are taking the economic risk.  

In self-publishing with Amazon, you the author, take up to 70% of the royalties in each sale.  That's a killer deal for the guy or gal who did most (if not all) of the work to get the project out to the public.  I have self-published the quote books and Bald n Dashing this way and I have always received a 70% royalty whether it was through Kindle eBook sales or Createspace's awesome print book offering.

Let's Wrap this Up

So, if a traditional publisher approached me about publishing a future work, would I do it?  If the price was right, of course!  I doesn't have to mimic the kind of deal I am getting from Amazon, but it is something that I think every self-published author should entertain if they are ever approached.  At this point, I haven't received that invitation to work with a traditional publisher and I'm not worried about them validating me to know my work is good.  I will keep writing and keep publishing, because it is enjoyable, profitable and honestly, a fun way to help others.

I'm interested in what others have to say.  There are numerous self-publishing communities out there (mainly for fiction) and I think each indie author has something valuable to say about their experiences if they've even published one book on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo or Nook.  

Enjoy the Day!

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