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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Year One

One year ago on Dec 24th 2014 my first book Dex Territory was published. It was exciting. My publisher took a chance on me and we worked really hard to get a novel out the door. I was never in it for fame and fortune and good thing, because if I were, I'd be sorely disappointed.

Writing isn't a get rich overnight endeavor. It's a lot of hard work. In the case of Dex Territory it was four years of writing, rewriting, writing courses, and time spent learning English composition all over again. It was a long time since college. Even with that, I had no idea how to put a novel together. I wrote a story, but I didn't know where things belonged, I had issues keeping things in their proper tenses. It took me another four years of sending my book out to publishers to get reams of rejection letters. They weren't even the nice hand written ones. I hated that I could put so much time and effort into something and not even get a human response. That's the game. Getting a book published is really, really, unnecessarily, soul-crushingly hard. (FYI, remember that when someone expects you to give them a free copy and I'm not saying don't; I am saying, be selective.)

Today's world is a little different. In today's world there are choices. A writer can self-publish, there are vanity presses and there are small presses. Self-publishing is a double edged sword. The writer can put their own work out. It's completely up to the writer to do everything, write the book, edit it, create a cover, and release it. Then the real work begins of marketing and showing the world that the book is worthy of a reader's time. Does that sound exhausting? Well, it is. Self-published authors have complete creative control over their work. That also means the book can vary between masterpiece and complete drivel. It's a crap shoot and I've read books that fall into both of those categories. The smart authors have done their work, hired an editor, found a good cover artist and they put out the best product they can. There are a lot of passionate people that put out amazing work and I urge anyone to take a chance on self-published authors, many live on the cutting edge and can take you to new worlds. Be prepared to lay eyes on a few rocks before you find that diamond.

Vanity presses are for anyone who has written a book. They advertise everywhere. For a fee, they will publish a writer's book. I looked at a few of these and my advice, don't just walk away, run. I don't know anyone who has had a good experience with one of these companies. If there's someone out there that had a great experience and became a success with one of these companies, I want to hear from you. I want your story. I want to be proved wrong, because I've heard nothing but nightmares. I've been shown books that were "edited" and still full of mistakes and in some cases made worse. Poor cover art that had nothing to do with the story and even on author who has his name misspelled on his cover. Buyer beware. Again, I'd love to be proved wrong, because an author trying to get their work out and frustrated by publishing houses can find this option very tempting. I seriously looked into it. Luckily, I followed up with some of the authors that went that route. I invite anyone looking that way to do the same. Be informed.

The route I went with was small press. In my case, it was TWB Press out of Denver, Colorado. My book was referred to my editor, Terry, by a good friend. At that point I'd given up. I had thrown Dex Territory in a drawer and I was done with writing. I had been done for two years. I had written some stories for some magazines, did some interviews and was content to get on with my life and write just for fun. Then I was invited to send in my manuscript. I did. I figured I had nothing to lose and I really didn't. Terry liked what he saw, it need a lot of work, but he really took the time to help develop the story. I turned in a hundred thousand word manuscript and by the time we finished it was a tidy sixty-five thousand words. We left a lot of good stuff on the floor, but get rid of anything that wasn't necessary to the story, we worked on tenses and sentence structure and I think he normally wouldn't have take on something so rough. It was a lot of work for us both, but from my side, it felt like a had a partner. That what a relationship with an editor is, it's a partnership.

There was a lot of tough love involved. His job isn't to tell me how great my words are and what a great little author I am; his job is to tell me how I can make the work better. Sometimes, it was really hard and sometimes it was triumphant. It was absolutely worth every sleepless night when I held that book in my hand for the first time saw my name on the cover and saw my words spread between my open palms. There were tears that day.

2014 was a hard year for me. The year started off with the death of my Dad and about everything negative life could throw at me, home repairs, job insecurity as my company was bought by another and I didn't know if my life was about to make an unexpected turn. Then I had a published book. While it didn't solve my life's problems, it let me put a solid landmark in a chapter of my life. I'd have a almost equally sized landmark ten months later when TWB released Knight and Dex my second book on October 31st. I'm currently working on book 3 Dex Machina now and my goal is to have that out on the shelves late next year. I'm really looking forward to the next book. That's the one lesson I've learned through all of this enjoy the now, but work toward the next. The next book, the next project, the next day, the next chapter, the next word, because anything can happen next.

My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback and e-book on, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher has copies also! Support small business and please buy from them direct.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Keep those reviews coming!!

Where can you find me?

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:


  1. Your story on self-publishing sounds a little like mine. My first publisher was iUniverse which I thought was not a vanity press but it really was. The only good thing I got out of them was a professionally prepared and edited book. I got lots of compliments but it was downhill after that. They served their purpose and I moved on to Createspace. Use them if you can produce the book yourself or you will pay through the nose for their services; and they are affiliated with Amazon which I find a little suspicious. Anyway I re-published through them & was a little bit sorry I did. Having said that, its done and if I can find another way to re-publish & get the editing done better, I will. I love your story. Its very helpful.

  2. Thanks Shirley! Remember, money flows to the author when it comes to publishing. Editing is crutial. If you find a press, editing should be part of the package. If you stick with self-publishing, hire one. Even if you have a good beta group, nothing beats an editor that's dialed into your work. My editor loves sci-fi and fantasy, he has a real passion for supernatural. I think that's made huge difference in my work. He's definitely elevated my game. Not sure I'd get the same level with someone who's passion lies in romance, or military history.

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