By: Dennis Bates
Inspiration comes slowly some days and this is one of them. Perhaps it’s because I‘m in transition right now wondering where to go next and how. Maybe it’s because I just put the finishing touches (again!) on a story I’ve been writing and rewriting for three years now. Ironically enough, it’s a story that uses the verses from Isaiah about waiting patiently on the Lord while it asks at the same time whatever happened to the Baby Boomers?
I am one of those Boomers, although in a lot of ways my boom, like a lot of them, hasn’t been all that loud. The book deals with that subtheme also. It is the first novel I ever wrote…well, sort of. It’s changed almost as I have in the three years and if nothing else, it has taught me how to wait patiently until something is really completed.
My good friend Staci has advised me many times to back off a project when it seems to be stuck and headed nowhere. She says that we only get stuck when God isn’t ready to give us the next piece of something yet. That’s hard for a guy to do, especially this guy. We are taught that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, along with a lot of other not so subtle platitudes. Just put you head down and plow ahead; hopefully, you will come out the other side a stronger person. That which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.
That isn’t always true.
Sometimes being stubborn and bullheaded (my wife’s descriptions of me, not mine) just tears us down and hurts, ultimately making us weaker, not stronger. At the very least we end up confused and frustrated.
That’s kind of where I am with my writing at the moment. Perhaps I am being just a little stubborn and bullheaded. I prefer to think of myself as having focus and perseverance, but even I know I am kidding myself sometimes.
I pretty much self published my first two books if you include Staci as part of the self. She served as editor, critique group and publisher, although the actual printing was done through Lulu.com, a print on demand publisher.
I chose to go that way for several reasons. I am older and don’t have the patience or the connections to find an agent and do things the traditional way. In addition, I’m not sure I want either an agent or an editor rewriting what I’ve written, and most would. I know that everybody can benefit from a good editor, and I am no exception. However, I do not want to significantly change my themes or my characters just to make them more marketable.
Money is not always the object for me, and most of my stories carry that theme to some degree or another. Therefore, I do not want an agent or an editor that wants to change what I’ve written just so they can have an easier sale and make more money. That puts them in a spot. They make their livings selling, so the more they sell the better. I understand that.
When you sift through all of those reasons for self publication, you end up with one basic conclusion: I am stubborn and bullheaded, but we knew that.
So why not continue the self publishing way? I may. It has tremendous advantages for someone like me, but it also has a down side. The person who self publishes has to be good at everything, from writing to marketing. I love the writing part, but I stink at marketing. For one thing, it is a bit overwhelming; for another, it just takes too much time.
In the movie “Field of Dreams” a voice from the cornfield whispers, “If you build it, they will come.” There is no similar whisper from the cornfield for writers and I live not too far from the Iowa cornfield where that movie was filmed. If you write it, they will read hasn’t proven the case for me. I suspect that there are few writers where it has.
So, how does a writer get his or her books to the public? I don’t know for certain. As I said, I am in transition, but I am also waiting patiently on the Lord to show me what He wants.