Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Now, My Self?

I'm staying temporarily in an apartment without cable, internet or telephone service. Otherwise, it's quite comfortable, but it is not where I want to be.

I thought it would probably be good for me not to have access to the invidious intrusion of television, and in light of the recent wall-to-wall (I assume) coverage of the national tragedy in the Sandy Hook CT elementary school, it probably has. I would have time to think, to meditate, to shake off what I fear has become a form of geriatric ADD as a result of too much information, most of it wrong.

It's awfully quiet in my temporary digs. I start the day at a chain breakfast place that offers wi-fi access so I can check my email, write and review the traffic on my blog(s), and play with Facebook. Then I go home for lunch or grab a sandwich somewhere, and later on visit my daughter's and mooch her wi-fi until I go home for supper and four hours of reading and listening to NPR. The surprise is that I'm ready for bed at 8 P.M. and the hard part is making myself stay up for another hour and a half. I'm up at 5 anyway if not before, and usually wake up in the night for an hour or so. It's just so damn quiet!

This morning before I left for my morning coffee NPR had a segment about how easy and successful it is to create an eBook. I've heard this one before. Interviews with writers who have made a bundle on their eBooks, almost immediately snapped up by a major publisher and soon to be a major motion picture. All the author has to do is pay an editor, an artist to design the cover, a web designer to create a beautiful website, and wait for the money to roll in from sales of the book.

It didn't happen that way for me. I spent a couple of years hacking out my novel That Was Tomorrow, going over the product with two editors until I felt it was as good as I could make it. I envisioned it making a beautiful movie. After I'd paid all those who assisted me, paid for the formatting of the book into an eBook, and gotten the word out through my Facebook network, I sold about 75 eBooks and all sales ground to a halt. I approached all the groups and individuals I thought would be touched by the content and style of the book and one by one I've sold a few more. There were good reviews in the local press surrounding Fairhope, the locale of the book. But there seemed to be no interest there. Many people responded to my urging that they read That Was Tomorrow by saying they had no means to read an eBook and no intention of ever getting same. Others didn't even respond to personal emails. I was able to garner 13 reviews on amazon dot com and the response was universally good, except for one self-styled writer who took it upon himself after reading a few pages to critique the book as "far from your best writing." I never attempted the Great American Novel, but this is a guy who begged to read it in hopes that I was the next George Elliot. I'm not kidding, he did that.

Well, it will all be a tax write-off, as my other books have. Check out my writing and my website if you'd like to see for yourself why self-publishing is sometimes not profitable (your comments are welcome here), or if by some chance you actually want to read my eBook or buy my other books.

I'm excited to be starting a new life in New Paltz in a couple of weeks. Will I write more? Will I take some university-extension classes that expand my horizons and inspire me to move in another direction? I'm almost sure of it. Will I get cable TV? Almost certainly. And I'll unpack, hang my pictures, and meet some new people. Will I get a new website and self-publish more books? Not bloody likely.


  1. May this new direction in your life, moving to New Paltz, be even more bountiful than ever. I love your writing - don't let the mood of Fairhope get you down. Some of us older folks don't have e-readers (yet - but I will soon, hopefully). I love your other books. Anyone who has ever visited Fairhope, let alone lived here, would love your novel. Your novel WOULD make an excellent movie. Maybe a new PBS Masterpiece?

  2. Just yesterday I was telling Tom that I have the gift of quiet in my life. I can't imagine the noise that most people live with. I am so lucky I can pick and choose my noise. When the tragedy first happened I read about it online. Now I won't go near the news. I don't think it is good for our psyches to hear the negative/hateful/angry words that are all over these days. I think you're right that people are getting an ADD from too much news.

  3. "Not bloody likely".... hmmmmph.... where's the adventure in that, eh..
    Gramdma Moses didn't begin until ..... ya never know if ya just quit. Sooner or later ...... surely there are paths less traveled yet , doors yet opened........... Didja ever ride a horse?