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Print Editions Are Now Available! Also, Kindle and Nook Versions Have Been Updated.

Hello dear readers and potential readers.

Joy, joy, joy!  The long and incredibly arduous process of getting the print editions of Junebug and The BodyThe Bottle Tree, and No' Chance, is finally over the files have been approved and the printed books should be available on Amazon as we you read this. If you want a signed copy (it still feels weird and slightly arrogant to ask that) you can drop us an email.

Many of my readers have asked questions about the actual process of indie publishing so I thought I'd share a little about it. 

I can't believe the amount of edits we had to do just to make the format come out okay. Since digital publishing is still in its infancy there are a lot of problems to work through and the ability to get formats correct is one of them. We would find a problem, correct the error, upload the file only to find out that a new problem had now developed. On three occasions we uploaded a file, ordered the printed copy to proof only to find out that entire sections had disappeared! 

I suspect that part of the problem had to do with the fact that I originally wrote those books, at least in part, in WordPerfect (my preferred program now) and then converted them to a MS Word file, then later edited them in a later version of MS Word. The problem with all of these is that they just aren't the best programs for writers. They are great for office work, but a little cumbersome for authors.

As always, if you notice a problem in the books please let me know.

Why I Write for the Kindle and Nook

A couple of people have asked if I'm going to publish print versions of my books and the answer is, probably so, but I'm not in a big hurry to do so.

Yes, many people don't have access to Kindles and Nooks and that limits my market right now. I know, people can read them using the free viewers for Kindle and Nook available for computers, but I'm not a big fan of reading on the computer and I suspect many others feel the way I do. Reading on the Kindle is a pleasure as it appears to be for the Nook. As a side note, as I get older the ability to increase the size of the font on the Kindle becomes a favorite feature.

One main reason that i write for the Kindle and Nook is that it's easy. I can write what I want, how I want, and don't have to listen to anybody telling me to change it so it looks more like something else that is on the market. I could mimic someone else but then it's not really me writing and, as other writers know, we write because we have to write not always because we want it to be marketable. As a character in the television series Supernatural whined, "Writing's hard!"

Another reason I write eBooks is because I can set the selling price. Since I got my Kindle I have gotten very, very conscious of what books cost. For some reason it sticks in my craw to pay $1 less for a Kindle book than a print copy. Certainly, I still do it sometimes but I know that the prices the big publishers charge for eBooks could be cut, they just choose not to and fight the market. I have found some great books on Amazon that were priced at $4.99 or less, and some for as little as $ .99 (even a few for free) and so I now look for more independent writers and spend less time looking through the bestseller lists. Sure, some have a few spelling or grammatical errors and some have formatting issues (I know from experience there are still bugs in the conversion programs)  but I can forgive a lot for a $20 savings.

I LOVE the feel and smell of a book, but realistically eBooks are the wave of the future not only for the reasons cited above, and I will again emphasize the ability to increase the font size, but also because they read well in the sun and are extremely convenient. I can carry hundreds of books around with me in a package smaller and lighter than most printed copies. Since I travel a lot, this is also a big deal.

How Do I Write?

A couple of people have asked about when the next book will be out in the Noah Chance Series as well as the Junebug series. On both of these my best guess is within a few months. I'm over a hundred pages into both of them, but the story is still going and the characters are still working. All I can tell you is they will be ready when the characters say so.  It is on them at this point. The editing I'll take responsibility for, but the time required to finish the first draft is the fault of the characters and the story.

I'll explain what I mean by that.

Every writer works using their own style. I have read tons of books and taken a few seminars/classes on how to write and now know that the best way to write…is how you write.

One lecturer espoused the position that all books should be carefully plotted out and gave a great explanation of how it helped them to produce great books, and I agreed they are a very good writer so I took their suggestions to heart. I bought note cards to help move plot points around and to write character sketches, sat down with a good idea and…nothing. I apparently have a mental block against outlines, which is strange because in a prior career incarnation they ruled my work, although I was always willing to deviate when necessary. In writing, though, my attempt to use an outline created the dreaded writers block. I know now it's because I create characters first, put them in a situation that gave me the idea for the book in the first place, and then let them go. The characters write the story as they take off on their adventures.

Another tip that seemed great was to work on only one project at a time. I have always been a "jump around-er", writing bits and pieces of several different projects as the muse directs. When I set myself to work on only one project and refuse to work on anything else I find myself spending great lengths of time…not writing. Writers block again. As I write this blog entry, which i don't really consider as work, I am actually working on four different large projects. In the works are a movie script, the second in the Noah Chance series, the second in the Junebug series, and a thriller/drama about a lawyer.I work on whichever one that my mood says to work on and, if I get bored or run out of ideas, go to another one.

That's not to say that I don't sometimes work on a single project to the exclusion of everything else. The Bottle Tree, one of my favorite things I've written, is a long novella. It started out to be a book, was written to the exclusion of every other project over a period of a few days, and wrote itself to a large extent. I had actually written the first chapter and knew the ending a year or more before I wrote the rest of the book. I was laying down for a nap one day, that book not even in my mind, and my mind turned to the pine covered hills of the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana, and the next thing I knew the rest of the book popped into my head.

My goal here is really just to say, write however works for you. It's what i do.

Why Self Publish?

Someone asked me the other day if I was still going to look for an agent and publish through conventional means if I had the chance. 

Really, my answer is probably, but not if I have to spend a lot of time doing the things other than writing.

I wouldn't mind if I was asked to do interviews and book signings, although I've been through the "seeking fame" route in another career, what I really mean is that i'm not going to spend hours and hours trying to find an agent, hassling with them, then rewriting my stuff because someone thinks "this is what it needs to sell". At least not without money up front.

I write because I like to write.

At some point I lost sight of that and started writing to get published, which is a completely different concept. 

I wrote Junebug and the Body, which I am still waiting for a cover to publish, because I liked the characters and the story, and the time in which it was set. In 1974 I was about the same age as Junebug and Joe Ben, and the town which I consider my home town, Natchitoches, Louisiana, was a lot like St. John, the fictional town in the Junebug series. As a matter of fact, when the boys enter the drugstore to get ice cream cones I'm describing one I used to visit when I was a kid.

At one point, an agent asked me to rewrite it and set it modern day. Use video games, a lot more television, and make them modern kids.

I actually did that, and cut the size of the story down a lot. Unfortunately, the story lost its soul , so the version I am publishing is back to being set in 1974.

So…I went all the way around the bush to get to this: Why self publish? Because I can write what I like and how I like. If it doesn't sell…well…I may try something different on the next one, but at least I only have myself to blame. 

Oh, and Agents…feel free to contact me, info on how is on the home page. I'm still willing to be a fabulously wealthy and famous writer, but I'm not going to spend hours sending out cold call letters any more.

I'll still have time for you if you contact me.

 

UPDATE: Junebug and the Body is now available at both Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com!