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Bill The Self-Publishing, Self-Congratulating Non Dom

He approached me, draped in black leather duster, black button-down top, black slacks, reeking of false confidence. His eyes, attempting to look seductive, could not hide the cloud of despair swirling inside his pupils. My host intercepted him, and asked who he was. The man introduced himself as Bill. Bill’s from Baltimore, Bill found out about the event on the community’s boards. Bill wants to watch the scene.

My guy gave me a look, and I responded with a ‘no worries’ look back. Bill’s weird vibrations penetrated me, annoying me, and if I’m annoyed then he’s causing discomfort to the others in my group. I volunteered to get him away from them, so I invited him to walk with me to the bar. My guy pulled me aside and expressed his concern. I thanked him, and reminded him I have my knife.

Bill leads the way, and I immediately break him down. Left knee incapacitated, permanent limp. Shoulders lack motion, so upper spine or major shoulder injury. He puffed out his chest after removing his duster and tossing it over his left arm. Right handed.

He offers to buy my drink. Sure. I tell the bartender, “I’ll have a Jack and Coke.”

“How much is a Jack and Coke?” He called out to her. She started to make the drink. “How much is a Jack and Coke??”

Along with being a creeper and cliche dresser, he’s a cheapskate. She says $6.00, I hand him $3. Don’t want him to have to bust open his piggy bank.

My goal at this point is to let my friends comfortably hang out during the next scene and keep Bill and his bullshit away. So we sit, sip, and I, always one to field open-ended questions, started with, “Tell me your life story in 29 seconds.”

A pink-and-black corseted pixie passes by, intending to chat him up, and overheard my question. “Yes! Your life story in 29 seconds.”

He gives me a face conveying inconvenience, but I hold my interest, and he finally volunteers, “Soldier. Writer. Relocated here for work. Dom.”

Dom? As in Dominant? As in, a dominator? No, son. No, you’re not. I do my best to freeze my facial expression to placid.

My 29 second story went like this: Wasn’t born here, wasn’t raised here, finished high school here, went to college, worked in military, state, local, and federal positions, retired two years ago, writing full time, publishing my first fiction novel in February, love living in Florida.

“And what do you identify as here?” He asks, as if he can’t figure it out.

The choices are simple. Either you’re a submissive or you’re a dominant. “I’m a dominant. But tonight I’m here with my friends. Getting back into the fold after many years.”

“It’s because you were married.”

?

“You were married.”

“Years ago.”

“Lots of people get out because they get married.”

Well, now we know why you’re here. I see one of the girls searching the room outside where we are. Yes, it’s been quite some time away from them. She gives a look of relief as she approaches me. I already sense he sent her for me, to check on me. Love that man. She sweetly pats my shoulder like a concerned parent. “He just wanted me to check on you, make sure you’re okay.”

I glance across the table at shifty-eyed Bill. He doesn’t like that my guy has eyes on him. Really Bill? You really think I was gonna glom onto you because of your awesome ability to not intimidate me? Your natural ability to exude complete wussiness? Boy I’ll have you bent over this table under a flogger in 2.3 seconds! I pat the girl’s worried hand to convey confidence. “Don’t worry, darling. I’m fine. Tell him I’ll be right there.”

Bill is sipping his Coke in quick bursts. “So, what genre do you write in?” I don’t care, but he did throw out ‘writer’ in his 7 second life story. Asking out of sheer curiosity, but I can already predict his answer.

“Science fiction, creative non-fiction. I’m a self-publisher.”

“Great. Your books are on Amazon?”

“You’re publishing your own work?”

“I’m going through an independent publisher. Local.”

He actually rolls his eyes. Bill smugly offers, “I do it all. I self-publish. I’m an editor. Everything I publish is pristine work.”

Riiiiight.

“I believe in an extra set of eyes to ensure a marketable piece of work.”

“I can do that for you. It’s my specialty. I can do it all. I’m a one man house. I already have clients.”

This is sounding way too familiar, so I cut him off with, “I’m my own marketer. If I have a successful campaign, then I’ll be taking on clients.”

The point being, so what if your book’s on Amazon? If no one’s buying it, it’s not a marketable work. It’s just a work. I don’t want to get into it, after all, I have a $3.00 pint of Jack and Coke and my friends who want me at their scene. Bill the self-congratulating non-dom can go distract himself elsewhere.

I get up, walk over to the special room, assist where needed, then fall in on the display. My successful conveyance of lack of impression keeps Bill away from us. I did a good job, then.

Not until way afterwards, did he come up to shake my hand, and asked how to contact me. I pointed at my guy. “Through him.” Bill looked at him, back at me, and limped off.

Everyone Stinks And That’s Okay

Original Post Date March 13, 2013 at 12:12 AM

The path to a concise published work is angled in many places. Collaboration and cooperation with a professional works the kinks out. We explore the advantages of editing.

2013-03-11 19.40.28Yesterday was my first meeting with Trace Taylor Publishing since I turned in my manuscript for editing. I had the expected nerves.  After all, this was my first attempt at non-academic, non-technical writing and I really had minimal certainty that I did a proper job of it.

I pulled out my notebook and pen and prepared to take notes. I was ready to receive her input and learn from her critique.  She seemed thrown by my enthusiasm.

Trace mentioned her experiences working with authors who were defensive or straight up distraught after having their works edited. Tissues had to sop up tears on occasions.  I couldn’t understand why.  Like I told Trace, what am I paying you for?  Gold stars?  Smiley faces? We had a good laugh about it.

Eventually we deviated towards a general conversation about expectations from both ends.  I thought I’d note the top takeaways from our talk here:

Axiom 1:  Everyone needs editing

Borrowing from a popular children’s book describing the natural processes of the human body, everybody poops. It has a distinct smell.  There are people we know that will insist their poop doesn’t smell.  But we all know the truth.

It is the editor’s job to present a work for publication that resonates with the intended audience.  An author may use graduate level vocabulary in a book intended for preschoolers. Another author may spend a hundred pages describing how the light hits a coffee mug in the middle of a table in a book intended for fans of fast paced action fiction. We authors can’t tell when we stink. A good editor does that gracefully.  A good editor reminds you, yes, even your poop smells.

Axiom 2:  Critiques are not criticisms

Before you click on the comment balloon, I’m talking contextually here.  A critique is an evaluation of a literary work. It is meant to be objective with the intent of adding value to the development of the work.

Criticism, which I use here contextually to describe abject judgment and faultfinding, is subjective in nature and is intended to degrade or insult the merits of the literary artist.

A good editor is going to support your dreams by ensuring your work can stand alongside other literary works in Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.  They are not out to get you.  They get you; they’re just offering insight that will enhance the readers’ experience.  Which brings me to Axiom 3.

Axiom 3:  Your publisher knows your audience.  Better than you do.

We have an idea of who’s going to read this work as we’re clickclickclacking away, creating the most sublime work known to man.  A good publisher is well informed as to what readers look forward to experiencing.  While you have a clue, your publisher has several clues. So if they suggest something, don’t take it as an affront to your epic opus.  They’re on to something.  Get over yourself, and cooperate.  It’s only going to benefit you.

 

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