After years of writing, I finally have a story to die for

If you’ve visited before, you may know that I have self-published a few books. When you self-publish enough books, you get noticed. Some authors get noticed by readers, but I find that I get noticed much more often by aggressive marketers, trying to sell me their publishing platforms. These platforms usually come at a high price for very little useful platform, so I disregard the advertisements.

When this marketing piece appeared in my mailbox, I assumed it was from a fly-by-night, vanity press that had bought my name from a mailing list in the hope I possess three important characteristics:

  1. I am ignorant of publishing scams.
  2. I harbor dreams of penning the autobiography of my quietly fascinating life.
  3. I do not know what the word fascinating means.

Before tossing the piece into the recycle bin, I turned it over to make note of the name of the publishing company trying to take advantage of my feeble-minded sense of self-importance.

That’s when it hit me. Publishing companies, even the shady ones, don’t have Memory Gardens in their names nearly so much as cemeteries do.

I am not being recruited by a shady publisher, but by a shady plot in a peaceful meadow. They’re not trying to sell me a two-bit book layout for my memoirs; they’re trying to sell me a hole to bury my carcass.

This is disturbing, because nowadays these marketers know more about you than you do. Last year, AARP was all over my 50th birthday like flies on sheet cake. What does Memory Gardens know about me that puts me on the same prospect list with Great Depression Babies? Should I take heart that it’s addressed to me OR whomever took up residence in my death trap of a home after my demise?

I guess the best thing is to find the humor in it, of which there is plenty. I do enjoy the Resolutions theme: A new year is a time for resolutions. Why don’t you resolve to die this year?

I also like the appeal to the control freak: By planning your final arrangements in advance, you can still tell everybody what to do even after you’re dead. After all, you wouldn’t want them to grieve in any way but the one that suits your departed ego.

But the best laugh is reserved for the smallest print:

“Our sincerest condolences if this was received during a time of mourning.” In other words, “We hope we’re not too late, but if the next of kin need to throw something together right away, we are such considerate people, and by the way, we still do have plots available.”

Having considered all this, I’ve decided I’m not writing my autobiography or resolving to die this year. I’m hoping to keep my story to myself for a while longer.

 

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An old dog’s new trick: asking for help

I’m not good at asking for help. I’m much more comfortable helping than being helped. I don’t know why; it’s probably some kind of pride thing. Or stubbornness. Who knows?

This self-publishing biz has taught me there are some things you can’t do alone. Writing is a fine thing to do alone, but writing sometimes leads to publishing, and publishing beats the hell out of introverts.

You don’t have to ask for help if you can afford to pay for it, but I can’t do that either. Take that, foolish pride!

I’ve had to learn to ask. I’m still learning. It’s a long lesson.

So this is me, practicing asking for help.

If you’ve been following this or my other blog, you may know I’ve been preparing a new book for publication. It’s taken a long time, but I’m finally on the cusp of having the project pulled together. My wife is planning a small release party for me on June 25. (This happens to be the anniversary date of Custer’s Last Stand, but I was never into omens, and it was a pretty good day for Crazy Horse.)

Over the past couple years, I’ve asked and received valuable help from beta readers, editors, and a talented artist named Jessica O’Brien who provided the amazing cover art.

Jessica's wonderful cover art.

Jessica’s wonderful cover art.

Now, I need more help, lots more. Perhaps even your help, if you are willing.

Besides visitors to my blogs, and a sprinkling of people on Facebook, few others know about this book. Once the book is released, this has to change. I need people to help spread the word. So, to any who are willing, I humbly ask that you use whatever social media you are comfortable with to help. Whether it be a link on a blog, a Facebook post, a Tweet, whatever you’d like to do will help.

I will announce the official release. (You bet I will!) I will then welcome your assistance. You don’t even have to tell me how you’re helping spread the word, although it would allow me to thank you if you did.

Helping does not mean you have to buy or read the book. I’m just looking to let people know the book exists so they can make their own decisions about their interest in it. If you want to read the book and share your impressions of it, that would be fantastic, but just pointing a few people toward the book to see for themselves is also very helpful. Whatever you are willing and able to do is appreciated. And if you’d rather just wish me luck, I’ll take that too.

Some info about the book.

Title: A Housefly in Autumn

Genre: Is Young Adultish a genre? I’ve tried to write a story that would appeal to Young Adults as well as General Fiction readers. In doing so, I have incurred the risk of missing both audiences, but what is life without risk? (Just ask Custer.)

Blurb: A Housefly in Autumn is intended for Young Adults and up. A historical novel, set in 19th century Europe, it follows the life of a young man whose dreams have crumbled down around him. In an act of heroism, he sacrifices his own promising future to save the life of another. Now he must decide whether to cling to the unlikely hope of regaining his old life, or aim his efforts toward making the most of the life fate has dealt him. Though it is difficult to let go of the rewards that life once promised, perhaps the greatest rewards are the ones earned by building new hope from the bits and pieces of wrecked dreams.


More description can be found here. I will post purchase links when they are available.

A big Thank You in advance to all willing to help.