The key still worked. She entered her empty childhood home after her knocks went unanswered. Calling out for her mother, the silence echoed with no response. She hesitantly opened the door to her old room and picked up her favorite doll. It was as if she had never left. A doll that she hasn’t seen in fifteen years. It was the only possession she forgot as she and her father scrambled to pack their things and flee once her mother was arrested. She unfolded the small piece of paper that had floated out from underneath her treasured doll, and could barely keep her eyes focused, “run, witness protection program”. Alright, you all know I am binge reading for research purposes or escaping reality, you pick. I am delving into those books that have been self-published as I am carefully considering going that route. This particular book drew me in. I mean, come on, witness protection program, trying to find her mother, and being in danger too…..it sounded ideal. Well, it took everything in me not to run screaming. Not because it was a psychological thriller that rivaled Stephen King. Nope, it had too many loose ends. Spoiler alert……no mother was found, she was never in danger, and there were a lot of grammatical errors. Lesson One…..hire an editor.
Then there was the book that began with a man sitting at bar with his tumbler of scotch. He was reminiscing about his addiction to drugs. How it changed the course of his life. He was celebrating being clean and sober. What????? Okay, I have been around a few step programs in my life. I know what clean and sober looks like and celebrating that by having a scotch doesn’t match. Or maybe my definition doesn’t match the writer’s. I am simply gathering more information. This gives me some sort of foundation to guide me through the process and determine what does or doesn’t work for me. Lesson Two………let others read your manuscript before you self-publish it.
I will admit that I thought self-published authors were cheaters who couldn’t handle the rejection of an actual publishing house. But, I believe my perception was distorted. The more I talk to people in the industry, the more I realize that this is the trend. The author has more control over their product. And with a wide-range of marketing tools at the writer’s disposal, a desirable profit margin can be produced. When I am open and willing to listen, I seem to learn more. It kind of burns my butt when my convictions are erased. When I am firm in my resolve and then something or someone shows me a different way. Of course, after the fact, I am grateful, but I am still in disbelieve that I am actually considering this route. But, I am. And with that, is the knowledge that if I am going to do it, I am going do it armed with a tremendous amount of research. Binge reading really does serve a purpose.