Life by Chocolate

Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Websites: Whoa Nelly! Blogs: OMG, I'm a dunce!

Here I am debating with myself about self publishing and guess what? I have no website. I have been sending out queries and synopsis and even whole manuscripts to publishers and I have included the Life By Chocolate website. I did this thinking to myself, "OK, they want a website, I have one handy." Holy moly. I would have done better to send them my Publisher's Marketplace website. Me pongo rojo. =%-}

And writing experience. I have included not only my scientific and technological writings, all well and good, but also my small press and literary journal publications. The short stories and poems I have written. All of these, while cool, are not recent and are pretty moldy by now. I forgot to mention my blogs:

Life By Chocolate Blog

The Art Workshop Blog

And most damning of all, I did not mention that I was a featured publisher and writer for FoodBuzz. Sure, that might not help me with fiction directly. If I had been writing that cookbook everyone wants and I haven't done yet because I'm too involved writing novels that aren't yet selling, it would be a big selling point. Even for my fiction writing, it's a selling point because it shows that other publishers have wanted my writing.

Kim has suggested that I get another blog for my book writing and I think she is right. I'll get a website and power it with blog software. I'll also get Chip, my brother-in-law to pretty it up.

This doesn't mean that I will cancel the debate on self-publishing but it does mean I am taking the first steps to create the framework for self-publishing and marketing any book that I do publish. I am a dunce! You heard it hear first, folks. But I am correcting that glaring bit of ignorance. Painful but true.

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My Story So Far, only a sprinkling of chocolate

I have been remiss in writing for this blog. There are only so many times I can talk about chocolate bunnies, hearts or bark and there are only so many recipes I have to publish. (See, I even published my Egg Nog Recipe AGAIN.) I don't publish any of my chocolate recipes because the work involved to bring you up to speed on how to make beautiful chocolates would be daunting. And let's face it, I'm lazy and I'm busy. I know. I know. Everyone wants me to write a cookbook. I have more than enough recipes to make it worth my while to write and to make it worth your while to read.

So, then, why have I not written those cookbooks? The answer is simple, I've been spending my time writing Fantasy Adventure novels. Yes, you heard that right. I've taken up, once again my aged Mac laptop, a hand-me-down from Kim, and started writing. Or as the kids say, a hammy-down. (I take comfort by reminding myself that at least it isn't the old Royal I used in the past.) I am sending queries out to agencies, for example, BookEnds Agency, and to publishers, for example, Istoria. Indeed, Jessica Faust's blog has been most helpful.

My friends from the good ol' days of software, large paychecks and stock options, have asked me repeatedly why I don't self-publish. They have wondered aloud at "why I am going Old School." And today, after reading Kristin Kathryn Rusch's blog, especially the article The Logic Behind Self Publishing, I am beginning to wonder myself.

As most of you know, I am on Facebook and I have been giving my friends there a blow-by-blow. I have very vocally and visibly given an accounting of my rejections and successes. (Five (5) rejections, four (4) from agents and one (1) from a publisher who requested my full manuscript. Of those five (5) rejections, two (2) said that my work was intriguing and one (1) said they would happily look at my next book to see if it fit with their business. I currently have one (1) manuscript request outstanding. Waiting on either a contract or a rejection slip. Not that nowadays one actually gets real paper slips. No, no, I am waiting on an email.)

I am not new to publishing. I am well published in science, technology and the social sciences, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science (graphics, automatic programing), Linguistics (phenology, theoretical syntax and computational linguistics), Psychology (consciousness and cognition, computer implementation of memory wrt language), and Space Sciences (don't ask.) And, in the past, on that old Royal, I've had short stories and poems published. That was back in the day when there still was such a thing as a rejection slip and it took money and stamps to send work to hardcopy, I can roll them up and swat flies, magazines. I took a slight detour into writing software rather than fiction and didn't stop once to look back. (OK. Maybe once.) Why? For the fun and the money. Oh, it was once a lucrative career.

Now that I am an innkeeper, I find myself with some free time. Remember, innkeepers don't get days off, they get months off. Or as I say in my novel, The Inn at the Crossroads,

"There’s an old saying in the inn trade, 'Innkeepers don’t get days off they get months off.' Meaning, when you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Either you had people at the inn or you were bleeding cash. As a software consultant, we had a similar saying but with, I thought, a better outcome. 'When you’re on the beach, you are on the beach.'

'On the beach,' is consulting jargon for 'not working.' It’s sort of a play on 'beached' or 'beached up.' If you aren’t working as a highly paid software consultant in Silicon Valley California, you were literally having a party with friends on the nearest beach, drinking beer, or expensive Premier Cru Bordeaux, and grilling burgers, steaks or fajitas."

So, I come to a crossroads in my life, do I self-publish or do I continue with writing queries and sending out my manuscript to publishers and agents or both? Ms. Rusch makes some bang up points in her article, and in her blog in general. She's a hellofa business woman and I recommend her website/blog to everyone. Here is the rub. How do I KNOW when my work is good enough to publish? If I self-publish I have to also self-judge my writing. I take and have taken comfort in the past that a professional editor and/or agent was at the other end of my pipeline judging, helping and editing. Indeed, my wife was a technical writer, a writer of eBooks in the early 1990s before it was popular, before Amazon. My sister Colette Polsky was and still is an editor. I have not been just sitting on my books. I have sent them to friends, Ed Leed, for example, for great feedback. I have read them to my wife and have gotten valuable feedback. I have sent them to my sister, Colette, and her husband, Donald, for terrific editing and feedback. And yet I dither still. I am at a crossroads. Do I turn left and die? Do I turn right and live? Or do I just stand in the crossroads and wait? You decide.

I have a feeling that many of you will start pestering me for the recipes of my new dishes. Please pester away. You know I encourage you to do that. It wont get written unless I hear from you either in person or on this blog.

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." -- Samuel Johnson

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