Category Archives: publishing
For those of you who are breathlessly following the weekly episodes from my first published mess of a novel, I apologize that I am not following through on my regular Tuesday feature today. Of course, I know that the number of regular followers of this novel is actually zero. Understandable because of what a confusing mess it is. But I need to explain things anyway.
This whole saga began back in 2006 when I had time on my hands from being laid off from my teaching job by the Wicked Witch of Creek Valley. I had two years worth of substitute teaching because said witch first hired me for my teaching philosophy, and then fired me for implementing it in my classroom. (She had never actually been a teacher herself, just an administrator.) I found myself with ample time to do a lot of writing, and I created my first published novel. It was inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune saga combined with Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. So, naturally, it was doomed from the very start because it had too many characters in a long and rambling plot that was three novels too long in only one novel.
And on top of those serious rookie-writer mistakes, I added getting it published long before I actually had it ready for publishing with a fly-by-night publishing house called Publish America whom I can safely ridicule and defame here after they have been sued by authors numerous times because my contract with them expired in 2014, well after the company had morphed and changed its name to avoid paying any of their authors damages. They did all the things they were accused of in lawsuits to my book. They published it without reading it (proven by some of their authors who copied and pasted Wikipedia pages and got the company to publish that in book form). They screwed up my chapter numbers and font styles intentionally to get me to pay for publishable revisions. And they marketed my book only to friends and family for five times the price of a normal paperback. They were the worst publishers I ever dealt with. But in the end, I didn’t pay them a cent. My relatives, however, bought the horrible book and refused ever after to fall for buying another Mickey Book.
The result is a large pile of garbage chapters with some good things and funny moments in them that I can use to mess around with, rewrite, reorganize, post here weekly, and eventually form into new novels. That’s why I claim that this Tuesday feature is about novel writing in categories and tags. I will take the first part of this mess and whip it up into a new book called Aeroquest 1: Stars and Stones.
It will have the whole first adventure on the planet Don’t Go Here where the entire planet’s population is trying to live within an episode of the Flintstones cartoon show. It will reach the point where the three main characters will split up and go their separate ways, Ged Aero becoming the prophesied teacher of Psions known as the White Spider, Ham Aero becoming the rebel hero in the fight against the Imperium, and Trav “Goofy” Dalgoda taking his chaotic clown act to depths of dangerous depravity. I am not, of course, trying to claim it will be good for anything. But never let it be said that Mickey ever wasted a really bad idea. Or even a really, really bad idea. Or a terrible idea. Or… well, you get the picture if you were fool enough to read this far. If you put in that kind of effort, you certainly deserve to give yourself a “Yay me!” in the comments.
My goal, as I learn how to be a better self-published author, is to do all my own artwork. This is one of the advantages I have over working with the other publishers I have published books with. Page Publishing, to be fair, did use my artwork. But they also controlled the cover design (since that was what I was paying for).
Planning to publish two more novels this winter, I am working ahead to create effective covers. So let me show you how I fumbled together a cover today.
Here are the artwork elements that I started with;
I then put the elements together with a photo-editing program.
I then added the finishing touches with the paint program.
I can probably be satisfied with this result. But I am a fickle artsy-fartsy type who will probably fuss it all up well before I actually use it.
I published another danged novel on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
Mickey is hopelessly addicted to writing. He keeps writing and publishing these story-things we refer to as novels. We are searching for some kind of five-step program to cure Mickey, but we have been forced to conclude the disease is probably incurable.
The book has now gone live on Amazon in its Kindle e-book form. The paperback version is still pending.
In an attempt to understand Mickey’s addiction problem from a diagnostic perspective, we intend to present evidence here to arrive at a conclusion about what’s fundamentally wrong with Mickey.
Superchicken, the main character of the book, bears the same nickname that Mickey himself was called repeatedly and without mercy when he was in junior high school and high school. Mickey claims that Edward-Andrew Campbell is not him in fictional form, but we find that generally hard to believe, and we can point to considerable evidence that the character has many of Mickey’s own characteristics. It is disturbing to note that on the cover picture, the derby-hatted character called Milt Morgan in the book, is a self-portrait of Mickey himself drawn from an old school photo. Milt Morgan in the book is highly imaginative, obsessed with magic, and a creator of truly insane and somewhat wicked plans. It is disturbingly reminiscent of Mickey himself.
And then there is the whole nudism connection. The Cobble Sisters in the book are dedicated nudists and manage to talk the Superchicken into going to a nudist camp with their nudist family, though he didn’t know what they were signing him up for until he gets to the campground and sees all the naked people.
It is not a coincidence that Mickey had a girlfriend whose sister lived in a nudist apartment complex, and he was himself taken by surprise when she took him to visit there. Besides, Mickey has even confessed in his goofy blog to visiting a nudist camp himself in recent times.
So, as you can plainly see, we now have new evidence that Mickey is in need of some kind of intervention to help him get over this sinister malady of the mind. One thing we can do is suggest you find the book on Amazon and read it for yourself. Maybe, just maybe, you will be the one who comes up with the solution to Mickey’s endless novel-writing nonsense. This is a problem that may well turn out to be terminal if something is not done about it soon.
I am the first to admit, I don’t know diddly-sqwoot about effective cover design. But now, with self-publishing as the only option left to me, I am learning things about publishing that I only ever scratched the surface of in my few college forays into publication design and layouts. I had some experience publishing junior high yearbooks, (and losing money on something that most teachers lose money on). And I have gotten a lot of serious criticism from sources that matter to me, like my daughter, the Princess.
With the novel I have been working on with Kindle Publishing on Amazon in view, I came up with this. I like it. But it will not cut the mustard with the Princess. (She uses a knife on mustard, but lately has given up on eating mustard all together). So I had to work the idea out further.
I tried this;
The design is a little better. But Rowan has become so ratty and run down that I hesitate to use the background which is not much like the Rowan of 1974 when the novel was set. So I decided to focus on character instead.
Still needs work, right? You can no longer see the post office sign in the background. Sherry is still a small head growing out of Superchicken’s neck. And Milt Morgan is a good addition, but the purple paisley shirt looks terrible. And besides, this will not fit the whole cover of the Kindle paperback.
It will end up looking something like this;
Or not. Because I am still learning how to do it right, and I still have many more mistakes to make. But as I finish editing and formatting, the time will come soon to see the proof in the pudding. (And you better hope I don’t put uncut mustard in the pudding. That would taste terrible.)
Last night I spent a couple of hours avoiding washing the dishes that piled up in the sink for the weekend by submitting my rough draft novel Recipes for Gingerbread Children to the Inkitt free novel contest. I am pretty sure that was a stupid thing to do. I created the above cover to complete the submission. I had previously decided by researching Inkitt that it was probably a bad idea to go for this kind of publishing scheme. I cannot afford another vanity press price. I can only manage free publishing opportunities. I am probably better off publishing through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
The novel is not entirely a stand-alone. It is the companion story to The Baby Werewolf whose climax I am working on last week and this week. It wouldn’t exist at all if it weren’t a pile of irresistible weird stuff left over from the creation of The Baby Werewolf and Superchicken. It is full of fairy tales, “real” fairies created by fairy tales, Nazis, teenage nudist girls, and a sweet old German lady who managed to survive the holocaust.
The contest will only have four winners this month, and I did not submit it until four days before the end of the month. Snowball’s chance in H-E-double-hockey-sticks, right? I cannot afford to pay them to publish it. So if it doesn’t win, I tell them no.
I mistakenly believe I am a good writer and story-teller. But that may be a totally delusional belief. I am not any good at the publishing and promoting game. I am forced to trust to luck, and am probably the unluckiest goober who ever lived.
And while I was tackling the crisis point of my horror novel last week, my Republican friends and family, rabid Trump supporters all, were on my case in social media about why I, as a former teacher, wasn’t completely on their side about making teachers with guns a line of defense against future school shootings. I have to be careful what I say and support, because a single wrong word can blow up my friends on Facebook with an incendiary display of name-calling, Fox News facts (which are pretty far removed from true facts), accusations, recriminations, and crying about my stupidity. And through it all, I am not totally convinced that the stupidity is all on my side of the word war.
So, we shall wait and see. I did a stupid thing. I said some stupid stuff. I have risked a lot on the current direction of the wind. And soon I will know if my stupidity has scuttled me, and I come crashing down in my sailboat to bottom of the sea… or if I am somehow right, and allowed, for now, to sail onward.