Sunday, December 30, 2012

Handcrafting a book.

One thing I didn't see, which has been pretty delightful, is how in ebooking my efforts I would end up handcrafting the presentation.  Picking fonts, deciding where and when to use chapter breaks, words per page, etc. etc. and so on and so on.  Yes, I'm aware that the final arbiter will be the owner of the tech device on the other end.  Still, there is something about creating the look of a book yourself that is really satisfying.

Especially the covers. 

I thought this would be a problem, but it's been really fun.  One cover came off the internet as an existing work, which the artist modified for me.  The second cover was an original photo who a friend on her own inspiration photoshopped into a nifty image.  The third was a commissioned work from a local artist, who I have gone through a couple weeks of designing and adapting.

How cool is that?

I was watching some show where some actor or another was talking about how hard it was to be an actor -- that a writer can write and an artist can art, but an actor needs an audience.

I took away from that bromide that I was lucky to be able to write -- if only for myself. 

And it's true.

I mean, a writer and an artist wants an audience, too. But that doesn't keep us from doing our thing.

Anyway, the point of this is -- as I wrote these latest efforts, I began with the intention of putting them online with a savvy marketing effort, aided and abetted by young people more savvy than me.

Then, as I realized I was on my own, (I think in the end, writer's -- artists of all kinds -- are ultimately on their own)  I had second thoughts.  I decided I would send my efforts off to an agent.

Just one form rejection later, and I swung back to putting the books online myself.  I would do whatever promotion as was comfortable and natural, understanding that it probably wouldn't be much and as a result my books probably wouldn't be noticed much.

But since this first new book -- NEARLY HUMAN -- is a "training" or "exercise" effort, maybe that's O.K.

FREEDY FILKINS was written as a lark, so it's O.K. there too.

With the help of a tech savvy friend, I now have a website totally dedicated to my writing.  I have a Facebook for both me and my writer persona.  (I've been blocked by my technical ineptitude from doing much with them so far -- but I'll get there.)  That's probably just the beginning, and it's been surprisingly satisfying.  I found I actually LIKED connecting with old friends and family and classmates.  Big surprise.

It's been a process.  No doubt it seems like it's taking forever, since I started talking about this a couple of years ago.  Writing itself has been both easier and harder than I thought it would.  I had fun writing FREEDY, but it isn't exactly deep.  But then again, I've struggled with NEARLY HUMAN, and it isn't exactly literature either.

It isn't meant to be.  It's supposed to be a casual read.  The same kind of thing I like reading. 

I don't think NEARLY HUMAN succeeds -- so the question is, should I put it out?   It worked as an 'exercise' but never quite gelled.  After struggling with the story forever, I'm finally taking a cold hard look at the 'writing' and I'm not altogether happy with that either.

But -- there is enough interesting stuff there that I'm going to go ahead and produce it -- and hope that a few other people find it interesting, but not be shocked if other people don't like it.  I learned from it and now it's on to the next thing. 

I'm proud of myself for making several more efforts to make the book work -- it did improve the story, but ultimately, I think struggling with it any more is counter-productive.

The deciding factor is -- I'm not always the best judge of what I've done, so I'd like to give the book a chance.

I think I needed some creative outlet.  I'm pretty committed to this writing life now and I'm very much enjoying it.

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