Okay I know you were expecting the next installment of the Shoot for the Head series of essays but that will have to wait until next time. This is an important time for me and I need to share it with you. It wouldn’t be a Josh essay without some serious bitching and whining though, ask my middle bother he’ll invite you to join his organization and subscribe to his newsletter.
Alright that was catty but it doesn’t make it not funny.
Anyway read what comes next if you want to. Or don’t, I don’t make a dime off of these (as you’ll read below) so if you’d rather get high and laid more power to you.
Yesterday I was looking through some of my reviews on Amazon. This is something I do maybe once every two weeks. Not because I’m afraid of reviews but because I’ve reached the point where I just don’t give a shit about the bad reviews and I like to be surprised by the good ones. But regardless of what I normally do, I had a wild hair up my butt and decided to read some of the bad ones.
Shoot me I’m as human and as masochistic as the next writer.
The bad reviews, yes there were more than one by the same jackhole, were on my essays. Not just my essays but on the old Cautious Descent essays. These works are clearly not fictious and I am up front on every one of them that they are rough and raw. The reader, I won’t say customer because the opinionated son of a bitch got them for free, didn’t like them and gave me a one star on each.
That’s fine. I mean seriously, who the fuck am I to judge someone else’s taste? That being said I want to address a few things before moving on to the main thrust of this essay.
The first is my charging for my essays. If I could make them free all of the time I would. As it is I keep them at .99¢ and make them free for five days out of every ninety which is the best Amazon allows me as a publisher to do. The essays are written for two reasons. First, they keep me honest. If I put the truth of my views out there I can always point at the essays when people accuse me of flip flopping and say, “Fuck you, check the record!” or some other bullshit. The other is business motivated, the more work I have out there the easier my name pops up in searches.
Yep, I’m a whore… big fucking shock.
The second thing I want to address is a charge the jackass made in his “Review” of my free work. He made the claim that I state I’m a great writer and then proceeds to “Prove” I’m not. I actually went back to the files and read the essays to see what the hell the mother fucker was talking about. I read them three times and still can’t figure it out. Apparently he sees secret patterns and hidden meanings in other people’s writing.
I wonder if his neighbor’s dog talks to him at night.
The final thing he bitched about was my favorite old chestnut. He had a problem with my potty mouth. He also had a problem with my disgusting sexual past. I’m not sure if he means my being bisexual, my having been raped as a child, or both. It doesn’t matter because I won’t be addressing that, frankly he sounds too much like some members of my family.
As to my foul language… he can go fuck himself.
I’m almost ashamed to admit I let this asshole get under my skin. I like to think I’m tougher than that. I almost started second guessing the way I do things. Then I looked at his review history and it became crystal clear that he hasn’t found a written work he hasn’t loved to hate.
I do the things I do, the way I do them, because it’s the right way for ME. If you don’t like it or me, you are free to never read a piece of my work again and return them to Amazon for a full refund… Oh wait, you didn’t pay for a gods damned thing you fucking leech.
Ugh, can’t believe a wasted half an hour of my time on him.
Okay I’m done with that, now on to the real reason for this essay.
It has been two years since I shit canned any desire I used to have of being traditionally published and instead set out on my own path. In July of 2012 I founded Gorillas With Scissor Press and took the biggest chance of my adult life, I self published. I was scared shitless, I know I talk a big game and act like I have a giant writer’s ego but the reality is I am terrified every time I hit that publish button.
My first steps in those early months were tentative and almost childlike. I had no idea what I was doing and instead of reading the instructions or looking towards the people I knew who’d already made the leap, I dove in head first and prayed I didn’t smash my head in the shallow end of the pool. What can I say? It’s just the way I am. That’s probably why my Lego’s never looked like the pictures on the box when I was finished building them.
My first publications were rough to say the least.
I will NOT apologize for this. Yes the editing and formatting was poor, but if I’d have waited until it was perfect I never would have published them in the first place. In the end you learn by doing and the mistakes I made in the first year to eighteen months of publishing are worth more to me than all of the classes and tutorials in the world.
As I did, I learned… it’s that simple.
I stumbled and made mistakes like everyone does. I spent money I shouldn’t, I worked with people it might have been best to avoid, and I jumped at a few opportunities that turned out to be not so great. Each misstep could have derailed me and made me toss in the towel but instead they prodded me to try harder and to do better.
My production rate and quality of work increased with each finished project. The number of projects doubled and tripled as the months went by but it never felt like I had too much to do without enough time to do them. Good, bad, or mediocre each finished project ramped up my confidence. Quantity has a quality all its own. Of course just because you can write a lot doesn’t mean it’s good… but if you don’t write you’ll never get better.
Yeah, it confuses the shit out of me as well.
What was I talking about again?
Oh right, my “self publishing journey” or some such bullshit.
In January of this year I bit the bullet. During the first year and a half of my Indie Writing career I didn’t employ a full time professional editor. I relied on Beta Readers and the help of talented amateurs. I just couldn’t make myself pay the money needed to polish the books when I was barely making a profit as it was.
We all have to take a chance at some point and this was my time.
I tested several editors and editing companies and was less than thrilled with the results. There are some excellent established Indie Editors out there but they aren’t cheap and they usually have a long backlog of projects they are working on. Thus, I was reduced to sampling editors just getting their start.
There was a lot of pain in that search.
Like most things it turns out my answer was near at hand all along.
Jennifer had been a book buddy of mine for awhile and when she expressed an interest in getting an editing company off the ground I was intrigued. I gave her a sample piece, she shredded and reassembled it, and the resulting product was the most professional looking product I’d ever produced.
I signed a one year exclusive contract with her company, Gypsy Heart Editing (www.gypsyheartediting.com), then and there. Since then we’ve been like the Wonder Twins without the implied incest or retarded space monkey. Since that day my work’s quality, both volume and entertainment value, has skyrocketed.
Thank you Blue Falcon!
On August 14th I am making my debut on the convention circuit. I will be sitting behind a table at Gen Con in Indianapolis Indiana. I’m excited and I am terrified. I feel like I did when I hit publish on that fist novella back in 2012. I’m sure it will be fun, hell Gen Con is always fun, but I have this feeling that I’m on the cusp of the next step of the career ladder.
Epicness is bound to ensue.
Alright that’s it. I’ve bitched and crowed in equal measure. I just want all of you to know I wouldn’t be here if not for all of you. Whether you love me or hate me, your readership and spurred me forward. I love all of you, even those of you I’d love to throat punch.