Monday Musings – Saturday is Bastille Day in France

Monday, July 9, 2012

My wife and I celebrate our anniversary on Bastille Day because that’s when we met and we missed our first 5 “real”anniversaries because I was always away flying for the navy. But each of those years we managed, somehow, to be together on Bastille Day, so that became our traditional day of celebration.

This is my first real blog and I must admit the stimulus to get off my assbutt rear end and do it was this week’s publication of my debut novel in trade paperback, No Commitments. I expect it will be a few more days before the “Look Inside” edition, along with a Kindle, is up on Amazon, and even longer to reach stores, but I’m excited.

I’ve been told that writing a book is the easy part (not necessarily true), but that getting people to know it exists and to read it requires shameless self promotion.   My intent is for this to be a permanent, ongoing  blog  eliciting interesting stories, comments and serious discussion about whatever from whomever. And  I promise those who participate that I will do my best (note caveat) not to shamelessly promote my book.

“Serious” does not mean that comments and discussions cannot be witty or humorous.  On the contrary I welcome that.  But it’s my blog and I reserve the right to publish only what I please, allowing no more than one F-word per submitted comment, no back-stabbing slander or lewd pictures.  Also ruled out are what I may consider distasteful comments about subjects my father told me when I was a young boy to never talk about in public – race, religion and politics (what else is there to talk about??).  So please keep them “tasteful”, whatever that means.

Today I’d like to share with you some of the self publishing experience.  A decade or so ago a New York Times editor wrote: “Misjudging one’s ability to knock out a book can only be a serious and time consuming mistake. Save the typing, save the time, save the trees, save the high tax on your vanity.  Don’t write the book; my advice is don’t even think about it. Keep it inside you where it belongs.”

Well, I couldn’t, so I put it on paper.  But after wasting a few weeks querying a handful of agents I said to myself, “Self, this is dumb.”  Why spend time obtaining an agent who will want an exclusive and then may spend months unsuccessfully trying to sell publishers while your book sits.  And assuming a publisher is found (unless you are a Clancy or a Grisham), your book will probably go into a queue with a publication date set for 12 – 18 months in the future.  I think that model for newbie authors is broken given today’s technology, and while we will always have publishing houses, I expect them to go the way of travel agencies after the advent of Orbitz and Expedia.  I would not want to send a daughter to Vassar to study English with expectations of  her entering the once glamorous world of publishing.

As I mentioned, writing is the easy part, but proofreading can be a bitch if you are self-publishing.  I can spell and know a bit about grammar,. so I had some confidence in doing my own proofreading.  But after spending a week going over my double spaced manuscript word for word three times before sending it to Amazon, when I received my physical proof  I found 76 errors (3 Amazon’s,  73 mine)!  Most were tiny (the omission of a two letter preposition or a misplaced apostrophe), and having written much dialogue, I failed to catch about 30 dropped quotation marks.  So it’s not as easy as I thought.  Now I’m finished, and I’m sure there must still be an error or two somewhere.

I hope you join my blog and that we make it interesting.  I aim to   publish it every other Monday, but I may miss a day or two.  I would love your input on topics.  The range could be anywhere from women’s shopping habits to the workings of the honor system at Annapolis, or simply  why people have such different life styles and spend their money in such multifarious ways.

Thank you for stopping by.

11 thoughts on “Monday Musings – Saturday is Bastille Day in France

  1. That is so very sweet, talking about your anniversary. I love that a guy wrote a novel about a romantic relationship! Awesome! Please follow my blog too, if you don’t mind. I am a self published author too! Author of FLYING SOLO.

  2. Congratulations on the publishing of your novel. Enjoyed the blog, and there is a feeling of a connection. I still remember the cigars your father in law passed out after the wedding with the instructions that they had to be lit with a match.

    • As I say on the copyright page, the novel is strictly fiction. But you may recall a scene in Paris, waiting in line to buy a train ticket, when a good buddy decided to change his mind and hitch a car ride back to Nice.

      Hope to see you at the 50th. — VS

  3. Val, congratulations on your book. Your blog is well written and interesting to read. I am a political junky and I believe this upcoming election is as important as any in our lifetime. I know, I know…politics is a messy business/topic, but, with all due respect to your father and mine, it might be worth a few slings and arrows to have an intelligent and “tasteful” exchange of ideas (if that is still possible) on where our country is going. “All we have to fear is fear itself!” Warmest regards to you and Chris; see you at the 50th. Ron

    • Ron:

      Good to hear from you. Intelligent, worthwhile exchanges are always welcome. Just don’t want one-sided politicized rants in either direction. Best regards to you and another Val, and we must see each other at the 50th.

  4. How exciting to be able to see your own work in print and available to the public! I’ll be checking Amazon to get your novel. It’s nice to personally know a real celebrity – even if it has been 50+ years…lol! Miss Haw would be proud!

    • Thank you Charlotte. Miss Haw was the only writing teacher I ever had. They certainly didn’t teach it at Annapolis – only boring stuff like boilers and turbines and weapons systems. VS

Leave a Reply