Tag Archives: publishing

The Moaning Writer

david-c2

I am not Charles Dickens.  I wish I were.  I want to be a writer of wry humor, social commentary, and have an effect on the soul of the world I live in.  The way he was.  Heck, Dickens invented Christmas the way we do it now (with considerable help from department stores like Macy’s) by writing A Christmas Carol.  But the chances for that are growing ever dimmer.

The small publisher with which I was associated, and who gave me a contract to publish Snow Babies, has died.  The business folded while my novel was still in the editorial phase.  PDMI Publishing was a worthy group of writers and entrepreneurs who in a different time might’ve gone far.  I know by reading some of their works that they had talent.  But between the ferocious grip of the mega publishers and the waves upon waves of self-published stuff on Amazon, real writers with talent are drowning in a sea of mediocrity and media indifference.  Writers who succeed are the ones with the most luck or the most direct connections to the gate keepers.  Profit is far more important than literary merit.  You don’t really have to have talent any more.  You don’t have to know what a split infinitive is or how to compose a compound sentence properly or how to spell.  Shoot, you barely have to know how to write.  Just write about sparkly teenage vampires falling in love with high school girls or sexual perverts who are into torture devices, and you can be a millionaire… if you can somehow luck out over the millions of wannabes writing the same exact crap.

There was a time when writing teachers and published authors were telling me that sooner or later good writing gets published.  It was supposed to be inevitable.  But that was a different time than now.  Different rules for the game.  I will have two published books with two different publishers.  I-Universe published Catch a Falling Star.  And Page Publishing will publish Magical Miss Morgan.  But I paid both of those publishers to turn my books into published paper books with ISBN numbers and access to customers of Barnes and Noble and other outlets.  But I don’t expect to earn the money back that I invested.  Not while I’m still alive at least.

My Art 2 of Davalon

My I-Universe publishing experience was worth it.  I spent a lot of money to get Catch a Falling Star published, but I got to work with real editors and advisers who had experience working for Knopf and Random House.  They gave me a real evaluation of my work and taught me how the business of promoting the book was supposed to work.  And the help that they gave me ended there.  No advertising budget beyond what I could afford myself.  I learned a lot for my money.  But I had to come to terms with the fact that marketing was going to take more time and effort than I was physically capable of doing.  I have six incurable diseases and am a cancer survivor after all.

Page Publishing was a mistake.  They were cheaper than I-Universe, but I am not getting anywhere near the value for my money.  Instead of real editors reading and suggesting and modifying my work, I get nit-picky grammar Nazis who don’t even know as much about grammar as I do.  They are only copy editing.  And the last rewrite was me spending time changing all the incorrect changes they made back to the original text.  They did not even tell me the name of the editor making the changes.  I talked to the I-Universe editors over the phone and discussed changes in detail.  Page gives me email copies to read over and fume about silently.  They are no better than the vanity presses of old who were really no more than a re-typing and printing service.

So, from here on, I will only do the self-publishing options available through Amazon.  I have no more money or energy to spend on the black hole of literary dreams.

I can’t help but be a writer, though.  That part is genetic.  I will continue to write and tell stories that I need to tell.  I can’t help it.  Not to do so will cause me to shrivel and die almost instantly.  And I am only exaggerating just a little bit.  Well, maybe a lot.  But it is still true.

Whatever promises the future holds, I am not depending on them for my feelings of success, closure, and self-worth.  The world as I have come to know it will always be a ridiculous stew-pot of ideas and ego and cow poop, and I am not so much giving up as stepping out of the stew.  I wish to tell stories for the story’s sake.  I have no delusions of becoming as wealthy as Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.  I will never be Charles Dickens.  And I am okay with that.

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Filed under commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, insight, publishing, self pity, the road ahead, work in progress, writing

Mickey Notes

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This is the purple-furred Mickey Icon done Don Martin-style.

If you are one of those readers who has taken to regularly reading Mickey posts on Catch a Falling Star ( a habit that is probably bad for you, but certainly not fatal), there are some things and random recent developments that you should probably be made aware of.

  • Mickey recently finished a rough-draft novel.  After giving birth to a massive 12-month-long-gestating thought artifact like that, there is bound to be some necessary recovery time involved.  He may be difficult to understand for a while as he puts the pieces of his psyche back together again.  Using mental duct tape for such things takes time and patience.
  • The novel is called Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  If that arouses curiosity in you (a condition that I also hope is not fatal… You are not a cat, are you?), there are instances of rants and delusional spoutings about this story to be found in recent posts on this blog.  Unfortunately, it will not be published immediately.  You will have to wait to actually read it until I or my heirs eventually get it published… by whatever means necessary (though I have my doubts about the plan involving kidnapped alien slaves and mimeograph machines.)
  • The novel I do have nearing publication is Magical Miss Morgan.  I recently submitted approval for final edits to my project manager for Page Publishing.  Since I am investing my own money in this publication project, I am expecting that it will get published before 2017 is done.  I will continue to relentlessly plug the thing here.
  • Page Publishing is a less expensive and less professional publisher than I-Universe that did Catch a Falling Star for me.  If you are reading this for ideas about pursuing publication yourself, I would recommend the more expensive publisher first, due to the quality of their professional editors, though I intend to continue publishing my books with less expensive self-publishing options like Amazon from here on.  As I finish the publishing process I am now involved in, I promise to complain about publishers and throw Mark-Twain-like insult fits in future blog posts.  No one should have to repeat the egregious mistakes that Mickey has made.
  • Catch a Falling Star, the blog, will continue to be a blog about my artwork, my story-telling, my teacher memories, and my generally confusing and bombastic opinions about life, the universe, and everything… including pies.  Mmm!  Pies are good.  You might even want to look at my essay on Gooseberry Pie.

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In case you were not aware of it, this purple mouse-man is Mickey, and Mickey is the writer-spirit within me.  Mickey is not actually me.  You know how Mark Twain is not really a real person?  The real person was Samuel Langhorn Clemens.  Mickey is not a really real person either.  Michael Beyer, cartoonist, writer, and former middle school teacher is the real person… if any former middle school teacher can ever be considered a real person.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, humor, Mickey, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, publishing, strange and wonderful ideas about life, work in progress, writing, writing humor

Novel News

Cool School Blue

I was going to tell you a lot about my novel Magical Miss Morgan today.  My computer had other ideas.  I was almost done with the post and working on the final edits when the computer suddenly burped and wiped it all out.  Nothing was saved but the title.  Well, I signed a contract for the novel.  I will tell you more about that  as time goes on.  The computer doesn’t want me to do more today.

class Miss Mcover

 

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Doom Looms, Dear Ones

 

pogo

Wisdom from Pogo by the Great Walt Kelly

I get down and depressed when things continually go down hill and life becomes a depository for piles of disappointments, busted plans, and reversals of fortune.  I recently got rejected again by a publisher.  They told me they didn’t want my work, and subtly hinted that they really didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to submit any more to them.  And this, of course, was not one of the big five.  They don’t even accept submissions from a goof as lowly as me who thinks he can write stories.

I take things like that with a grain of salt anyway.  Twenty years ago I was told by a published writer that my writing was good enough to be published, and that all good writing eventually gets published.  But I chose the coward’s path back then, continuing to invest my time in teaching hormonal and homicidal brats to read and write English in a poverty-pocket of South Texas where they barely pay teachers anything.  I chose that cowardly path because it challenged my abilities and seemed a fulfilling life… and besides, I loved working with kids.  Now, my life is winding down.  I am retired on a full pension which is surprisingly good compared to what most teachers get nowadays, earned at a time before the Grinch became Emperor of Texas and declared the teaching of Science and making students think were acts of pure evil.  My health is failing now, and getting published in the age of the internet is now a much more iffy sort of thing where hacks can make fortunes and good writers are ignored.  Even small publishers aren’t interested in my work.

kelly_450

Yes, I tend to say “Gork” a lot because it doesn’t matter where I go from here.  I have lived a good life.   Now, as I dissolve in illness and pain and disappointment, I have no regrets.  I fought the good fight and did good work.  If the writing thing doesn’t do anything more for me than let me entertain myself in my last days, then that is good enough.  I have one book published, and I mean to continue banging away at stories that I have always intend to tell, they will continue to exist after me, at least for a while, and will represent me well when I am gone.

kelly_pogo_earthday

So, I am bound to die, and fairly soon, and we are going to have the racist Orange King as our next President, so the economy will collapse into the pocketbooks of a handful of billionaires.  Doom Looms… a phrase I borrowed from a Walt Kelly strip that cut to the heart of the matter long ago.  While we live, we are all together as passengers on Spaceship Earth, and we are the only enemy available to contend with.  So, instead of being bummed out about bad fortune, I choose to count my blessings and seriously contemplate what I can do to make things better… whether it is in a big way, or just a little bitty one.

Fools

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Filed under autobiography, battling depression, comic strips, education, health, irony, novel plans, Paffooney, publishing

Mr. Lucky

Self Portrait vxv

Sometimes everything goes wrong.  That, of course, is something that happens more often than the times when everything goes right.  Lately I have had the fortune to experience the more common of those two sometimes.

My most recent publisher, the one that was supposed to publish Snow Babies, underwent a reduction in capacity and financial difficulties.  They had to reorganize and reduce their commitments.  That meant they could no longer publish any of my other novels.  It apparently also means that they will no longer fulfill the publishing contract on Snow Babies.  Bummer.

My new car, a Ford Fiesta that I bought from Enterprise Rental Car to replace my old Ford Fiesta that was unceremoniously killed by a passing motorist as it sat in front of my house, is now in the shop with it’s own hoof and mouth disease.  While picking up kids from school, I hit a pothole on a Dallas street.  Not just any pothole, but a huge camouflaged cavern of a pothole capable of taking a huge bite out of the right front wheel.  I was not speeding.  I did not do anything wrong but drive in place I have driven a hundred times previously… though this time it was after torrential rain and a bit of nasty hail that I had no way of knowing made potholes bigger and angrier and more horrible.   I am surprised that it didn’t eat any other cars in the moderate traffic I was surrounded by.  But I initially thought that once a passing motorist, younger and more pothole savvy than me, did the good Samaritan act of helping me change the tire, that I would only have to get the tire fixed or replaced and would be happily on my way again.  No such luck.  Not only was the tire ruined, but also the rim it was mounted on, and possibly the undercarriage of the car.  It was going to cost at least the $500 deductible from my insurance company, unless something even worse happened that they couldn’t see without looking at their bank books a little harder.  And I had to get another rental car in the mean time.  But, of course, the recent hail storm not only had most of the rental cars rented, but the rental companies had lost cars to hail damage as well.  I was stuck with a rather expensive Dodge Challenger that the car insurance can’t completely pay for.  And I have no place to park it if the hail decides to revisit us this week.  Double bummer.

And, of course, it doesn’t end there.  Having kids in school is a challenge, especially this time of year with high-stakes testing going on.  I can’t give you particulars because some things have to remain private, but even really bright kids like mine, the children of two teachers, can be subject to test-anxiety and failure and the resulting depression which can prove fatal if not taken seriously enough.  Triple damn ding-dang bummer!

But we can’t let bad luck be the end-all of the story.  I am a pessimist by nature.  Nothing has happened to me recently that took me by surprise.  I am always expecting the worst to happen, and life rarely disappoints me on that score.  So I am not floored by these randomly-occurring sucker punches.  Rather, I am given that shot of anger and adrenaline needed to pick myself up and start fighting back.

class Miss Mcover

I have my novel Magical Miss Morgan almost ready to submit to another publisher that I found through a friend, with a couple of backup publishers to send it to after it is rejected the first time.  I have researched three possibilities so far.

I talked to the insurance agent today to stop the hemorrhaging of money down the drain of car repairs, and though I have taken a pretty good-sized cannon shot in this battle, it will not sink my little pirate ship.

And a conference with principal and teacher and student and parent solved a lot of the other problem.  It can be an advantage to a kid to have a teacher as a parent.  We tend to know how everything works, and we speak the secret language of Edjumacation to help get things actually done.

So, no worries, man.  Even though all my luck is bad luck, I am still lucky… since there is a lot of it.

 

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Filed under angry rant, battling depression, education, humor, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, pessimism, publishing, Uncategorized

Like Pulling Teeth from a Chicken

superchick2

Life is hard here in the Kingdom of Paffoon where you labor hard at a labor of love and try to give birth to something eternal that ends up going nowhere… stacks of old writing litter my closets, and the prospects of being published grow dimmer and dimmer.  My book Snow Babies has a contract with a publisher, but, apparently they are not going to be able to publish it after all.  I am at the very least going to have to find another publisher for the rest of my books, both finished manuscripts and works in progress.

Blue and Mike in color (435x640)

I do intend to follow through and get published, though.  I can no longer teach, but I feel a powerful force pushing me towards the sheer precipice of authordom.  One way or another I am going to make it over the edge and plummet to the bottom of that cliff.  I am compelled by the need to tell stories, and I have a captive audience every school day no longer.

I used to tell my classes that doing impossible things was like trying to pull chicken teeth with pliers.  You know, impossible things like getting a book published or teaching a mostly Spanish-speaking student how to read in English…  every-day-sort-of impossible things.

“But, Mr. B, chickens don’t have teeth,” some bright-eyed student would say after realizing that “chicken” was the English word for “pollo”.

“Exactly!” I would say.  “That’s what makes it so challenging!”

And now I must put on my chicken-catching socks, find my tooth-pulling pliers, and get ready to make more novels happen.  After a brief bout of consternation and depression, I actually feel a bit better about the whole fiasco.  There are other publishers, and publishers seem to like my writing, even if they can’t publish it.  And I have waited two years to get Snow Babies published, all apparently for nothing.  It is time to stop wasting time.  And maybe to stop repeating repetitions too.

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Filed under humor, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, publishing, self pity, writing, writing humor

Dumb Luck

Dumb Luck

Sometimes life is just a flip of the coin.  Heads for the good things.  Tails for the bad.  But because of the nature of random chance, even though the opportunities for good luck or bad luck are equal, tails twenty-seven times in a row can happen.  Before my book is able to be published, my publisher is on the brink of shutting down.  Their own roll of the dice has come up snake-eyes a few too many times.  I and the other authors at PDMI are trying to rally around each other and do what we can to help.  But the business is, for the moment, on hold.  Good things can happen too, though.  My novel, Magical Miss Morgan, is still in the running for the Rossetti Award from Chanticleer Book Reviews.  That might turn out to be a real good heads up and help me with my publication goals.  My blogging is going well.  For some reason I seem to be scoring 60+ views on a single day at least one day a week for the last six weeks.  I am now averaging 30 views a day instead of the old rate of 20.  My blogging is being read by more actual readers than ever before.  That’s a good thing, but also the result of dumb luck.  There is no formula for success making it happen.  I have to keep trying and trust that sometimes things will accidentally happen in my favor.  I admit to being a little tired of things that accidentally cause me harm.  Do I believe that God has a plan, and things work out the way they should?  Of course I do.  But I am not vain enough to think that I am important enough to the over-all plan to effect even a single flip of the coin of fate.

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