As a writer I’ve read literally (that might not be the correct use of that word) thousands of articles on ‘how to get your book published’.
Then I noticed something strange about all of those articles, something they all had in common – they’d all been written by published authors.
What? This is a complete travesty! There are so many more of us, unpublished writers, looking for work and those authors are hogging the spotlight. They get books published, then they get articles published about how to get published. What a scam!
I’ve read enough self-help books to know what had to be done, those books (ironically, also written by published authors) clearly tell us that if you want something bad enough, you just have to imagine it, wish for it, and you’ll get it. Or was that a book about fairy tales?
Anyway…here’s my version of imagining it, wishing for it, my 12 easy steps to get your book published, I mean, how hard could it be, there are whole buildings full of books.
How To Get Your Book Published:
1. Write a book.
2. Books or manuscripts (as they say in the biz) are generally typed on typing thingies. Some famous writers in history seemed to prefer typewriters, who knows, maybe they didn’t know about computers back then, I don’t have all the answers. I suggest going for a more personalized approach – handwriting your book. Publishers will appreciate your dedication and they’ll understand you really want this book deal.
3. Go on a book tour. Don’t wait for your book to be published, the public is hungry for your words, bring them to the masses. Go to a book store and start telling customers all about your book. Sign books they’re holding or books on the store shelves – someday when you’re famous they’ll thank you for it.
4. Get an agent. As exciting as it might be, not a secret or special agent.
5. You need a literary-sounding name. If your name isn’t already literary-sounding, change it to something like: J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, Dr. Seuss, Jane Austen, Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer, George R.R. Martin, Shakespeare, E.L. James, Suzanne Collins, Agatha Christie – something really authory.
6. Writing for children is different from writing for adults. For example, don’t use the name Stephen King or anything he writes about…ever.
7. Have family and friends write glowing book blurbs and reviews. If possible, have them use a well-known authory name, see #5 for examples.
8. People love pictures. You should totally get some of those.
9. Have characters in your book. Characters is just a fancy literary term for people you write about, either made-up people or those you know (I doubt anyone will sue you).
10. People like when characters do stuff in books. Have your characters stay busy. I don’t want to tell you what to write, but supernatural, scary, science, and sex (or a combination thereof) fly off the shelves. Have fictitious people who don’t even slightly resemble your siblings, parents, children, boss, ex, celebrities, anyone, living or dead or undead, doing fictitious (nudge nudge, wink wink) stuff.
11. Have your publisher help you promote your book. Sorry, did I skip that part? Get a publisher, preferably one who showers you with money, then get them to help promote your book (see #1).
12. Be prepared. Get ready, not only for fame and fortune, but to discuss and possibly explain your book, at length, on or in: TV, radio, podcasts, blogs, forums, bathroom stalls, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, planes, trains, automobiles, restaurants, conventions, parties, family gatherings, fan sites, stalker fan sites, book signings (see #3 and don’t forget to bring a pen) – yes, everywhere and mostly to people who haven’t actually read your book.
Now you’ve done all the hard work. Take some ‘me time’, relax in a bubble bath, have some tea or wine.
Let those royalties roll in and remember, show some love to those who helped you out. You’re welcome.
In the future, they’ll probably dig up 80’s movies and come to conclusions like: Ferris Bueller was a god, aliens could phone home from Earth, “wax on, wax off” was a common phrase, and paternity results were only told to your child in space, after you cut off their hand. They’re going to think the 80’s were even more messed up than they were.
And what was with romance in the 80’s?
Why sit on a table with a birthday cake and a cute boy? I can think of much better things to do…with that cake.
Everyone was dancing – dirty dancing, flashdancing, Kevin Bacon dancing (don’t know what else to call it).
A guy with a boom box and a trench coat outside your house…nowadays, restraining order, or it would go viral, or both.
Officers, gentlemen, risky business, funny business.
Adventures, in space or babysitting, as long as they were most excellent, dude.
Supernatural, psycho, science, time travel – sometimes all at once.
Where’d they get all the gremlins, goonies, vampires, muppets, and aliens?
Actually, that all sounds like the soundtrack to my 80’s.
Know what also ruled in the 80’s? Political incorrectness. Who could worry about offending anyone when girls just wanted to have fun and boys wanted girls to have fun, especially with them?
I kind of miss it. Sure, political correctness is good in theory, don’t say unto others what you don’t want said to you, but has the correctness over-corrected? I don’t know if you can change human nature, people just say weird stuff.
“That’s the best kind of cancer to have.” Let’s review that sentence. Nope, still looks weird. The best kind of cancer is no cancer.
“Don’t worry.” Why are they telling me not to worry, is it because they know I should be worried and they don’t want me to panic?
“Do you have a bathroom?” Did you mean to ask if you can use my bathroom, because yes, I have a bathroom, I don’t ‘go’ in the yard.
“Money won’t make you happy.” I think money and I would be very happy together, we’d make the perfect couple (couple of million).
“Time heals all wounds.” Not true. Time doesn’t heal anything, it just passes.
“If you get lost in the woods, don’t panic.” Of course I’m going to panic! I’m lost, in the woods!!! Surrounded by bears, badgers, and bugs, maybe zombies in the dark (when I picture being lost in the woods, it’s always dark), and with my luck, zombie bears, badgers and bugs (note to self, pitch a spin-off to AMC, working title, The Walking Bears, Badgers, and Bugs™ ).
“Everything happens for a reason.” Technically correct, but I’m not sure that’s how people mean it.
“I think therefore I am.” Not true for everyone, have you been on the internet?
“I know you are, but what am I?” This one is actually timeless.
Back to 2015, my Don’t Worry, Be Happy 365 day project enters Week 3, will I falter?
Week 1, amazing: https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/03/dont-worry-be-happy/
Week 2, a revelation: https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/09/to-blog-or-not-to-blog/
1. Remove 15 minutes or more per day of sitting time (replace with dancing, but with less enthusiasm to Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus, my knee will thank me).
2. Remove another 100 calories per day (Again, not veggies…perhaps cake, but not, like chocolate cake, right?).
3. Remove 15 minutes or more of screen time per day to read or research.
4. Do 1 thing I’ve put off doing.
5. Read a book I said I’d never read (doesn’t leave me the range you’d think it would).
6. Pay it forward, aka do something good and don’t tell anyone what I did.
7. Try a food I haven’t tried (I guess I can’t sneak cake in and pretend?).
That’s not always a good thing.
Read some of my stuff, comment, critique, praise, ignore, puzzle, or just do whatever you want.
That’s my blog bio…everything else you’ll learn in my posts or you don’t care.
Every time I think I understand, even vaguely, how the world works, it tilts on its axis, spinning me right round, baby right round, like a record. Turns out, the blogging world is no different. Like everyone else on the planet (that might be a slight exaggeration, overstatement was never my strong suit), I have a blog. If I had a cat it would have a blog about sleeping, eating, and occasionally chasing a mouse lurking around the property. The mouse would have a blog about his adventures trying to escape the cat that bothers him while he’s trying to lurk around the property. And so on.
August 2013, I started this blog to relax, to practice writing, and to be more concise, with varying degrees of success. My Very Me-ness doesn’t always translate well, but no need to worry (hear that brain, no need to worry…forget it, it’s not listening), I’ve been embraced by readers, bloggers, etc. and I feel snug as a bug in a virtual rug.
Blogging has been difficult in many ways, but has made me fall in love with writing again, which guided me to start a year-long project to add even more happiness (Or contentment? Peace of mind?) to my life.
I more or less doubled my 7 goals in my first week https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/03/dont-worry-be-happy/, even giving up 4 TV shows, but then I added 2, drum roll please, ok, I really only gave up 2 (math rules!).
This week’s goals:
1. Remove 15 minutes or more of screen time per day and play a game with my son (I want chess, he wants Pokémon, maybe we need a Pokémon chess set).
2. Remove 100 calories per day (No cheating, it can’t be veggies…Step away from the cookies).
3. Remove 15 minutes or more of screen time per day and just write, doesn’t matter what.
4. Remove 15 minutes or more per day of sitting time (replace with Yoga and Tai Chi).
5. Spend 15 minutes or more per day submitting articles and manuscripts, especially knowing they might be rejected.
6. Change 15 minutes of internet time to relaxation and rest.
7. Give away, use, or get rid of 1 or more items a day.
1. Blogging is solitary. Wrong. Blogging, my friends, is social and addictive, like sugar, and as the song by Maroon 5 says (I’ve tried to get it out of my head, believe me), I need a little sweetness in my life, your sugar, yes, please!
2.You need to have something to say to have a blog. How snotty and daft was that assumption? Everyone has something to say.
3. Blogging is simple. Wrong again, complicated, yet worth it, despite the intricacies that sometimes make you feel like your head might explode. Mistakes have been made and more shall be made; it’s all part of learning.
4. Success! I thought I needed to be a world-famous writer, then I saw comments that said I’d made people laugh, smile, and think. Anything else that comes along would be the icing on this delicious, chocolatey cake of a blog experience thanks to you, dear readers.
5. Blogging is constant. Wrong. As with life, the only thing you can count on in blogging is change.
For example, I believe the WordPress motto is: If it ain’t broke, fix it a few times a day.
Twitter seems to have a midlife crisis every few weeks and I don’t know what happened to Facebook.
There are: trolls, traffic, topics, taboos, privacy issues, time, concentration…what was I saying? Oh yes, so the question today is, to blog or not to blog?
For now, the answer is…why not?
“People are people so why should it be you and I should get along so awfully? So we’re different colours and we’re different creeds and different people have different needs. It’s obvious you hate me though I’ve done nothing wrong. I never even met you so what could I have done? I can’t understand what makes a man hate another man. Help me understand…” ~Depeche Mode
How can we assume that by birth, or race, or religion some people are somehow less? It’s easy. Just make sweeping generalizations.
Drunken Indians. Stupid blondes. Lazy fat people. Violent black people. Muslim terrorists. Nerds all grow up to be millionaires. People with Autism don’t have empathy. All rich people are greedy and unfeeling. All poor people are lazy and want a handout. If you’re depressed you just need to cheer up. Everyone can beat cancer if they fight hard enough. Fibromyalgia is just another word of lazy. People with anxiety just aren’t trying to get over it. And on and on.
I can’t understand why you could automatically like or dislike someone, love or hate someone just because of their: colour, height, weight, religion, bank balance, celebrity status, education, ancestry, culture, etc.
People are people. You should feel the way you do because each person has earned what you feel for them, as an individual.
We need less arguing and letting ourselves be distracted from real issues.
Tolerance isn’t over-rated, it’s just withering away from lack of use.
Imagine a school with no playground, but with a cemetery. It sounds like something out of a horror story. It is.
Schools are about: learning, growth, safety. Aboriginal Residential Schools were just named schools to hide an ugly truth, they wanted to kill the Indian in the child.
Children torn from their families and physically, emotionally, and even sexually abused. Not given proper medical care or nutrition. Used for research and experiments.
This cultural genocide was not only government sanctioned, but paid for by taxpayers.
Generations flayed at the altar of religious and government depravity, because they not only lived on coveted land, but they had the audacity to worship a different Creator, speak different languages, have different customs, and a different skin colour.
At least 6000 children never made it back to their families. Approximately twice the number that died on 9/11. The odds of dying in residential schools in Canada was about the same odds of a soldier dying in WWII.
Many who returned home felt those who died were lucky.
So damaged, they passed that damage along.
How do we reconcile this? Broken systems still abound, half of children in foster care in Canada are Aboriginal; over 40% of water for indigenous populations is high risk; suicide rates are skyrocketing; Aboriginal students get 30% less funding than non-Aboriginal students…yet there’s billions in lapsed funding, arguing, corruption, prejudice, and endless political games.
We like to think horrifying residential schools, workhouses, orphanages can only be found in the pages of a Dickens novel. I wish I could pretend everything has changed since the times of the horrifying details in The Truth and Reconciliation Report and Nicholas Nickleby (recently watched 2002 adaptation with Charlie Hunnam, Jamie Bell, Nathan Lane, Anne Hathaway, Christopher Plummer and a veritable who’s who of UK film, by the by, quite decent). Yet each day, children around the world are: abused, neglected, sold as slaves, used as child soldiers, tortured, and raped. If we close our eyes, can we pretend it’s all fixed? It’s not.
The world is looking more and more like Disney’s Fantasia where the Sorcerer’s Apprentice/Mickey Mouse tries to find a solution without doing the right things. Everything gets out of control, all the problems multiply, and get poured back in.
No matter the intentions, we need to face the truth, too many children and adults aren’t being treated well and don’t have enough.
They look to the future and see darkness instead of dreams. That needs to change.