OK. Let me give you guys the run down and just ramble a little. Rambling helps me keep my sanity. I don’t know if you can keep yours while I ramble but right now, I just need to do it, and I’m no where near my “writing tablet” so I can’t work on the second book. I’m also too distracted with the clusterf*ck on The Unsaintly’s First Edition. (Again, sorry about that)
Let’s start with Self-Publishing, shall we?
Why did I choose to do it? I answered this question in Heath’s interview (hint: go there and read it) but I’ll revisit it here. I worked hard on my book. Put years into it. Research, time, studying, money, etc. I built the following, I built the market, I did the footwork, I put every ounce of blood, sweat and tears into it. I didn’t worry about anything until it was time to actually publish the book and then the option of Self-Publishing became such an easy option compared to what it was ‘back in the day’ that I decided to try it.
Then I joined GoodReads. First, let me just say that GoodReads is an awesome site and the readers there, for the most part, are awesome. But I do have to kind of shake my finger a little bit. Some of the best writing, and creativity I’ve seen in a long time, has come from self-published authors. The amount of abuse that they get for typos and grammatical error (I’m not talking about gross errors, I’m talking about things that can be, and should be, overlooked) is akin to outright bullying and snobbery. I’m not saying this because my book contains these things. (Bring on your abuse because I have thick skin, and I can definitely laugh at myself for mistakes. Can you?)
You do realize there are no professionals going through their work with a fine tooth comb to ensure there is editorial bliss, correct? And, you realize all the big time published authors/books/etc are swept and combed meticulously for these mistakes, and that we’re spoiled when we read them, yes? By the way, I’ve found errors in those book, too. I’d personally be more hard on the big named publishers for errors then the self-pubbed. You basically paid for the service of editorial bliss when you paid for your higher priced book, and if it was less than perfect, you should complain. The book is no better in content, story-wise, than any self-pubbed book that makes it to the #1 chart.
Otherwise, in world of text messages and emails containing “u” “lol” “sry” etc.. Let’s ease up on the bitchiness. Unless it’s completely unreadable.
Oddly enough, this somehow ties into the recent death of Robin Williams, which has been on my mind a lot.
I know you are asking yourself how the Hell these tie into one another. Grab a cup of coffee, somehow this will all start to make sense..
When the news of Robin hit me, I wasn’t sure how to react. Robin is…was.. from Chicago, my hometown. He reminded me a lot of my step-father, with whom I happened to be very close to. They were both extremely funny; both could make you laugh so hard you’d beg for them to stop so you could gasp for a single breath. They both had a generosity, sincerity, and gentleness that is rare to find in many people. You may find one or two of the qualities in a single person. But very rarely, all three. Add in God-given talent, and you have the “unicorn” of human beings.
Both of them had these almost eerie, crystal blue eyes that were so clear yet .. behind them, was an impenetrable wall you could just never quite get past. Always thinking. Always something more going on behind them. Always saying ten more words than what you’ll ever hear come out of their mouths. The one thing I remember about Robin Williams while watching him as a child, as he made everyone else laugh, was saying to my father, “He’s laughing but he looks like the saddest man in the world.”
I want to pause here and digress back into the self-publishing conversation because this entire road has been hard for me. I put a book out there and it is like a child to me, everyone that’s read it, friend or stranger, has told me they loved it (when it wasn’t messed up.. GRRRR).. It’s an amazing feeling.
So to think of authors that love to create, to make things, to put them out there and don’t have the money for an editor (Which is really expensive. Friends and family don’t catch everything despite what you think) get bashed for a stupid typo? This goes for everything.. Painters, Dancers, etc.. I’m not expecting someone that’s self-taught to get onto the stage and suddenly sing Rigoletto for Houston Grand Opera, OK? But I’m saying that if they got on stage and sang for a crowd, and someone made fun of his pronunciation during a performance (yes, even if he got PAID for it), I’d consider a good ole slap in the mouth for the heckler.
Conversely, if you’re going to criticize someone, give them something to go on to get better. “Your character didn’t have much depth because….” or “I didn’t like how your story’s flow picked up then fizzled out…” etc. Give examples. Don’t tell someone “OMG, you totally left out a word and I could not read anymore, so I gave up. WTF. DO NOT buy this book!!!”
When Robin left this world, it was like my father left all over again. A light went out. Laughter stopped, again. Another dark corner in the world opened up. Robin didn’t care if you were just starting out, and looking for a shot, he treated you like you were on the same level with him. The saddest thing of all was that he was projecting all the love he could never feel, onto the rest of the world. I’ve been there..and I still feel it creeping on the nape of my neck in the dark. My son feels it. We can look into each others’ eyes and see it, and recognize the Beast. It’s a Demon that cannot be exorcised.
I guess my point in the rambling is that humans have lost tolerance for one another. We hurt animals for “fun”. We abuse our children, spouses, and elderly. We are apathetic. We are numb. We are in denial.
This is not to say that we should wear kid gloves around one another and sugar coat life so that we can sing around a campfire. I believe we should always be truthful about things. I’d rather be hurt but know that you’re telling me the truth so I can face it and learn from it. Whatever “IT” is. I also know that if I learn to be hurt, I learn how to get over it! Children today don’t know how to deal with emotions, so most of them explode..or worse, they retreat /shut down.
I’m sad because I turn to the internet to learn. I want to seek out something and experience thoughts and opinions from my brothers and sisters that live on all points of this vast planet. Places that I cannot get to due to finances, war, etc.
I want to hear you speak about your lives, your thoughts, real issues, and your creative stories. I don’t care how you spell it unless it is truly distracting. If every sentence is “you’re uncle is great…I can’t beleive theirs know butter” then yeah we might have to sit down and talk about maybe just doing an audio and/or YouTube version of your story/article.
Start being productive in your criticisms, and stop wasting cyberspace with negativity. Most of us deal with it in our everyday lives as it is. Here’s an exercise for those of you that insist on tarnishing a book’s review due to typos and minor errors: for every criticism, find something you liked, or something positive to say. Even if it was just the book cover.