Dog Ear
Postfix Muse (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 April 2012 12:33

Anyone who writes has a muse. If you are focused, it might be just a single heavenly ideal. For me, it could be the sun casting across a woman’s beautiful face, the blowing heat coming off an urban pavement or clouds chasing across the Florida sky. Inspiring muses are a dime a dozen.

It’s the postfix muses that are harder to find.

Once you publish, you are going to find yourself facing hardships you never imagined. Turns out that writing a consistent, entertaining, and marketable story over 500 pages is easy compared to selling it, accepting criticism, and getting screwed out of every possible dime by everyone in the publishing field (hey, Createspace, after taking the lion’s share of my profits, explain that $8 check processing fee deducted from my meager royalties). This blog will explore many of these depressing topics across future Thursdays.

So you’ll need something to keep you going after you’re in print, something that lets you write again after all that money and pride you’re going to lose. You’ll need a postfix muse.

Here are two of mine:

I was in Atlanta for a model train operations events (if you don’t know what operations are, check out my train blog “At the throttle”). Anyway, I’d run a session as dispatcher on a layout and had knocked it out of the park. Kept the traffic moving, nice and steady. Saw the problems forming and worked around them. At the end of the night, the owner told me he’d never seen it operate that well, not with his old crew, so I was in a good mood.

Caught a lift back to the hotel with a couple of guys (you catch rides however you can). They were in the front, I was alone in the back. The driver asked me if I was a dispatcher in real life. I smiled and said, “No, just an administrator. And also a writer.” At the question about what I’d written, I noted Fire and Bronze, my Carthage-foundation book. At this, the other guy turned around, face wide with wonder. “The one about Elisha? The one about Carthage? I READ that! It was really, really good!”

F&B had penetrated bookstores but I’d never gotten any sales figures (or, alas, royalties). I still have no idea how well it had done. But I’d never bumped into a reader I didn’t already know. What an experience. The driver, listening to us chat about the story, told me he was going to get a copy – he was intrigued. And my reader? He asked if I’d be back in Atlanta for the next DixieRails so he could get a signature. And that was something. Reader feedback, blind and un-mined, brings a heady rush.

The second one came for Early ReTyrement just recently. Was having an early morning chat with our admin secretary over coffee in her office, just joking about this and that. I like her – she’s a fireball who makes the world a better place just by being in it. Anyway, it was just chitty-chat-chat when suddenly she brightens up and says, “Oh, I’m at the horse race to Damascus part. I’m really enjoying it!”

I was pretty suave, meaning I didn’t spill coffee down my front. “You’re reading my book?”

She was. She’d ordered it the very day it had come out on the nook. I was flattered by this – one thing I’ve learned is to never, never, ever ask if someone is reading your book. But she was, and she was enjoying it.

And so now I’m writing more and more…



Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2012 18:38
A writer's blog (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 29 March 2012 00:00

Let this be your first lesson, Grasshopper. I’ve got to blog on a fixed schedule. Nobody is going to check back every day for irregular postings, nobody except crazed stalker-fans. And my mom.

With this in mind, I’m going to start posting up twice a week. As already established, I’ll post book reviews on Sunday. Since I can’t knock down a book a week, you’ll have to deal with some hazy recollections. But still, I’ve read a lot of books and will do my best to point out the more entertaining (for better or worse) of them.

I’m also beginning a workshop, “Dog Ear”, to be carried in the general area of this blog, talking about writing, publishing, presentation, and the gut-wrenching crap you’re likely to encounter in this field. Yes, it’s a hard world out there and likely nobody is going to tell you what to expect besides me. If there is a way to lose money at this, I’ve experienced it. And all this I’ll pass on, once a weeks, postings on Thursday evenings. You’ll find them in the general area, with “(DOG EAR)” postfixed on the name.

As this counts as my first entry, let me mention that I’ll be manning my first booth this Saturday, March 31st, at the UCF Book Festival. By my count, even if I sell every one of the books I’m bringing (about 60), I’ll still fall below the booth cost. And that’s okay – you never know who might pick one up, a film producer, an agent, a book club president, or even a crazed stalker-fan. So I’ll spend the day over there and take a loss and hope it leads to better things. And that’s part of the deal – pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, into humiliation and rejection, because that’s really what this is about. Pain leads to fame (or perhaps just more pain).

I’ll post a special report on this on Sunday, letting you know how it went and perhaps posting a booth picture or two.

So let’s open this chapter, place our finger upon the first word, and begin to read. Thusly…


Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2012 18:37

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