Busy is good, so a former boss used to say, but at this rate it will be ten years from now next week. No, don’t bother trying to figure it out. I’m confused, too.
I can blame some of it on having a birthday this week, causing a huge rift in the space-time continuum. Or maybe the fact I ate some of Paula Deen’s ooey-gooey butter cake and about passed out from a sugary carbohydrate overload. Damn, but that stuff is evil.
Seeing as it’s the 26th time I’ve turned 29, I think I’m getting good at this. It prompted me to write a short status on Facebook:
You know, one thing about a birthday, especially when you pass the halfway mark, it encourages you to take a good look at where you’ve been and where you are now.
I did that. And you know what? I have walked through fire. Several times. Been burnt to ash, at times with no hope of ever recovering. Of times wishing I wasn’t even here. And when I look at my life now, I am so, so grateful I didn’t quit. I never, never quit. I just kept on going and the result is, I have everything I could have ever hoped, wished, or dreamed of. Two daughters who are the light of my heart. A bubbe who is the joy of my soul. Friends who are the best people I’ve ever met and who are my family. A career that brings me more satisfaction, exhilaration, and challenges than I ever thought possible, a career I love with every last cell of my body.
When I look back, I can see how my journey took me into many dark places, but I can also see I couldn’t have arrived *here* if I hadn’t been *there*. As painful as it was; as close to the brink as I have been, it was all worth it. It was all worth it because today I am the happiest I have ever been.
I am a blessed and grateful woman. In spite of Paula Deen trying to kill my pancreas yesterday.
I had an absolutely amazing birthday. We’ll put that in the WIN column.
Also this week I started a class at Coursera and it’s been fabulous. Go ahead and take a look. Some interesting courses and subjects from universities all over the world–I have a feeling me and Coursera are going to have a long and fruitful relationship.
And last, but not least, I have discovered Windows Movie Maker and fun like this should be illegal. I actually made two book trailers and it was a blast.
All-in-all, it was a Very Good Week. Wrap it up, I’ll take it.
I pumped out a lot of work in January, and February is filling up. I’m happy about that–January was all about getting ‘scripts out the door I’d been working on for a while. I’m really excited to see some fabulous fiction hit the ground running, so keep an eye on my Twitter and Facebook for shout-outs as they release. I also add them to my sidebar, although the list is getting so long I will most likely try to put together a page just for the editing work.
Being a content editor puts me in an awkward position. Obviously, any review I do could be considered biased, and after thinking long and hard about it, I decided it was a conflict of interest for me to formally review any of my clients. Amazon’s TOS makes it very clear they feel the same way. Especially in the wake of the “sock puppet” kerfluffle, which is nothing new to publishing if you know anything about publishing at all. Evidently Amazon feels writers cannot be readers in certain cases, which sucks. Because of course writers are readers. Or they should be.
It’s a sticky wicket. Let’s just say I don’t take on work I don’t like. I can’t. If I don’t like the story, I won’t be able to do my job. So while I may not formally review books my clients produce, you can bet I love each and every one of them, and I support my peeps with a shout-out on their release day and as time allows. I’ll leave it up to you, the reader, to read and review.
Here’s a list of books ready to go or have been recently released:
There’s a lot more where that came from. Lovely, exciting, haunting, fascinating, tantalizing fiction. WHOOHOOO! And congratulations to all on your releases 🙂
All that and here’s my bag of chips–if you haven’t heard about Coursera, hie your heinie over there POST HASTE. You will find college courses offered FOR FREE from some of the most prestigious universities in the world. That’s right, you heard me. IN THE WORLD. These are serious, hardcore college courses with all the hard work you’d expect from a quality college course, but for free? Seriously? And from the comfort of your own home? HELL TO THE YEAH.
Have you heard of the University of Michigan? John Hopkins University? Stanford? University of Edinburgh? Princeton University? How about Duke?
It’s an amazing opportunity, and I was like a kid in a candy store. I wanted to sign up for about 32 different courses, but of course that’s not possible because there are still only 24 hours in the day. (SOMEONE NEEDS TO FIX THAT.)
Wow, how did Friday get here so fast? It seems like last I knew it was Monday. Or at least Tuesday morning.
Busy week was busy. And in the ranks of the self-employed, it’s not over yet. However, in my travels I have come across some interesting tidbits I shall now pass along to you.
On Monday, I read this fascinating article on birth control for men. It seems quick, easy, and relatively painless, which is a lot more than I can say about labor and/or getting your tubes tied. Of course, I don’t have balls (at least, not in the physical sense) so I can’t say for sure, but this procedure may also might have the “side-effect” of destroying the HIV virus. WHOA!
Also on Wednesday I came across this information about Dwayne Johnson, also known as “The Rock”, and one of my favorite prints ever. I actually have a print of it framed and hanging in my bedroom. Is it the teddy bear protecting the child from the monster or the other way around? Maybe we’ll find out when The Rock completes his project. Squeee!
Thursday I saw a post on Facebook from Kathy Frederick which really struck a chord. I mean, I know eventually I’m going to die, like we all are, but due to a recent and minor health disturbance, the question came to my attention–what happens to your computer shiz when you take the Next Step Beyond? Yeah, okay, maybe I should be worrying about what’s on the Other Side and all that, but there’s nothing wrong with taking care of business on THIS side. To that end, Kathy posted a link to help you Get Your Shit Together. Take the time, people. It’s worth it. Once you step across the line, it’s over–and you may have some specific ideas of what to do with the shit you leave behind. If you love the people left alive, don’t leave them with a mess.
Also on Thursday, I talk a little bit about the prep work in my Editing With Netta series. Next week we will discuss story structure. I also took a rare time-out and watched the pilot episode of The Following, starring Kevin Bacon and JAMES FREAKIN’ PUREFOY. Oh holy shazzam! Twisted, demented, cerebral, graphic, and totally mesmerizing, I have found my Next Favorite Show.
And last, but certainly not least, I’ve discovered Coursera and signed up for “Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World”. I am so excited! And they’re not playing, y’all. These are actual college courses taught by universities from all over the world. FREE. I’m like a kid in a candy store, and I had to physically restrain myself from signing up for eight different subjects. (One at a time, Netta. These aren’t peanut M&Ms.) What really thrills me is not only the material (Grimm, Stoker, Doctorow, Wells, Poe, etc.) but the fact the students in the class are international, affording a broad perspective I probably wouldn’t experience in a “traditional” college course. Did I say I’m excited? WELL I’M EXCITED! It’s a lot of work, but I think the benefits will be well worth it.
But we’re not done with 2012 just yet, even though January is looking really busy, and busy is good. Everyone I know seems caught up in productivity and it’s a glorious thing to behold. It’s also that time of year for awards and nominations, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes out of your busy day to nominate and/or vote for your favorite independent authors and artists. Next to word-of-mouth, it’s one of the most supportive things you can do for someone whose work you have enjoyed or admired in 2012.
Personally, I’ve been nominated for Best Editor in the annual Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll. I’m really honored to be nominated, but I’d be a damned liar if I said I wouldn’t love to win. But even if there’s an editor you love more than me, you really ought to show your support and nominate and vote for your favorites in all categories. These awards really do help your beloved creatives continue to do what they do best. Support, support!
And while you’re at it (it really only takes a couple of minutes, promise) the eFestival of Words Awards are open for nominations as well for the Best of 2012. Every category you can imagine regarding independent publishing is represented in both polls, from cover artists to editors to writers. As I said, this support can really make a huge difference in the career of any of the people working their heinies off to bring you the absolute best for your reading pleasure.
Not only is this a chance for you to acknowledge your favorite author, but also the artists behind the scenes. If you are a book lover, forget about the Oscars, the Grammys, the AMAs or CMAs or Kanye West’s “I’mma let you talk”. THESE are the award ceremonies for book nerds to cast their votes and have them count.
Yes, I’d love it if you voted for me as Best Editor. Yes, I’d love to have Sally Mae nominated as Best Novella or Best Short Story. But honestly, most of all I’d love it if you showed your support to ANYONE who has brought you pleasure through the written word. They deserve a nod, they deserve to be acknowledged for their passion, dedication, and talent. It only takes a few moments of your day to vote, nominate, and spread the word. Not only is it appreciated wholeheartedly, it is motivating, validating, and just plain COOL.
It’s a hard row to hoe on your own, and easy to take the work for granted. Many, many thanks to all of you out there who know what a difference fiction can make in someone’s life. Here’s a chance for you to say thank you for the indie books of 2012 that made you laugh, cry, scream, sigh over the cover, or appreciate good grammar and a strong story line. Go forth, ye book lovers! Nominate and vote, Tweet, Facebook, G+, call your mother. The more the merrier, and I bet she has her favorites, too 🙂
WARNING: This is a true NettaRant. You might want to wear a helmet.
“I’m just feeling kind of truthsome right now. Life is too damn short for ifs and maybes.” ~ Capt. Mal Reynolds of the Serenity
Instead of your regularly scheduled programming in which I feature some form of Fabulous Fiction, I have instead decided to shake things up in more ways than one.
As you may well be aware, I am all for supporting the self-publishing wave, also known as the Indie Movement. (Although some contest the moniker, “indie”, as it really applies to a different aspect of the publishing business…still, I’m not one to split hairs.) I believe passionately in self-publishers coming in to their own without the stigma of “if you’re self-published, your work sucks hot rocks.” That being said, some self-publishers are making it VERY difficult to don the pom-poms and rah it up.
Oh, not on purpose, I’m sure. Pretty sure. Right now it seems like it’s the “American Idol” of publishing, and like American Idol, some people are just not right for the stage, and that’s my nice way of expressing it. It’s a buyer beware world out there — I’m not saying it hasn’t always been that way, but at least with the Big 6 as gatekeepers you had some assurance of quality. (You can argue about their control issues another time. I’m on to something else right now.) In this Wild West Frontier of self-publishing, as a reader you have to do your own due diligence as far as sniffing out quality material to read.
Okay. Now that I’ve laid the groundwork, I need to vent. Consider this your wake-up call.
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S GOOD AND HOLY, PEOPLE, GET YOUR SHIZ-NIZ TOGETHER!
It’s not just a “let the buyer beware” world out there, it’s a “let the seller beware” world! Wake up! I understand you want to jump on the bandwagon and present your work to the world, but have some patience! Is it your best work? Could it be better? Have you EDITED your piece? Have you hired a professional editor or just let your sister who has a degree in liberal arts have a whack at it? Did you put it away for a few weeks to look at it with fresh eyes, or did you mindlessly throw it up on Smashwords or Amazon so fresh off the word processor it’s bleeding from a thousand knife wounds? You guys are KILLING ME.
And while I’m at it, let’s take a look at formatting. Is it formatted properly? Is it consistent, or do you have flawed formatting throughout the entire novel? You know, like it starts off with indents, then goes to block, then back to indents? Are there proper spaces between paragraphs? ARE THERE EGREGIOUS TYPOS?? Did you even bother to put it through a simple spell or grammar check?
Am I perfect? Oh, hell no, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that. It’s not perfection you’re going for here, but at least aim in the general vicinity!
Oh my GAWD, you make me stabby, cranky and want to spank you so hard you can’t sit down at your word processor for a YEAR.
I have seen so much potential absolutely RUINED by LAZINESS and that makes me NUTZ and quite frankly, it pisses me off. As a self-publisher myself, every one of you that is too damned lazy to make sure you’re putting out a quality product is adding to the very stigma you’re trying so hard to dispel! I know you’re in a hurry, I understand why you’re in a hurry, but slow the hell down! Will it really kill you to take an extra few weeks to make sure your work is polished, professional and ready to fly?
If it’s not, you run a real risk of wrecking any chance you might have of a successful launch, and instead you’ll be thinking oh, this self-publishing stuff is bullshit, just like you think the Big 6 is “The Man” and keeping you down, when in fact it’s your own fault! If this is any example of the kind of material you have sent to “traditional” publishers, it’s no wonder they kicked you out on your ass. And if your baby is NOT ready, then roll up your damned sleeves and DO THE WORK.
You’re doing even more damage than that. You are tearing down the credibility of every single writer out there in the self-publishing process who actually works their ass off to make sure what they produce is as good as anything from the Big 6. It’s aggravating, defeating and embarrassing.
I realize this post is not going to make me popular at parties, but someone had to say it. Go ahead, make your voodoo dolls and stick pins in me, but in your heart of hearts you know I’m right or you wouldn’t be so annoyed at reading this.
I am really frustrated (no, Netta, really??) by starting off reading a book by an indie and being unable to continue because of the above-mentioned flaws. I am frustrated because many of these pieces have great potential, but have sadly fallen victim to the author being in a big fat hurry or just not caring. And if YOU don’t care, why should I? That’s right, I don’t. I’m not liking your damned page, I’m not liking your damned book, I’m not re-posting, re-twittering or re-anythinging your work if you can’t actually give a rat’s ass about what you’re putting out there. I’m sorry. I just can’t do it. If that makes you hate me, oh well. I’m over it.
Self-publishing is not the easy way — NEWSFLASH — there is no easy way! Unless you realize that you’re not going to be successful and you’re just clogging up the works like a hairball in the drain.
Hire out what you can’t handle, such as formatting, book covers or editing and if you can’t afford to hire it out (and BELIEVE ME, I am so in touch with that!) then impose on good friends who do know how or learn it yourself. Stop pimping writers who aren’t ready. And for the sake of all of us out here, buyers and sellers alike, have enough respect for yourself, the profession and the potential fans to take your time to put out the very best you can.
Yeeehaw! Okay, it’s not that kind of round-up. There are no cows or bulls, no ropes and no manure (although that might be a matter of opinion). What I thought I’d do is re-introduce you to some of the Fabulous Fiction Peeps I’ve had the honor to host on this blog.
Next up is an interview with Jeremy C. Shipp. I think he had the best answer I’ve ever heard about the future of publishing. Although I haven’t done a review of “Cursed” yet, it is on my list. Which is about as long as my left leg, right now. *sigh*
Of course, I have a soft spot for editors, and I have two I’ve interviewed here. First is the “Goddess of Flash”, Esther Schrader, the Editor-in-Chief for Flashshot. Second is the Mad Aussie, aka Matthew Glenn Ward. In addition to his editor duties (although Skive has been regretfully retired) he found time to compose his novel, John F. Kennedy Lives in the Future! and is one of my favorite people.
Podcasting is a fast-growing portion of the fiction market, and to that end I wanted a word or two with Kate Sherrod who also composes some brilliant sonnets in her spare time. Besides the podcast point of view, Kate is A Very Interesting Person, and you can read the fascinating interview here.
Quite a stellar line-up, if I do say so myself. Every one of these artists are hardworking, dedicated, twisted, demented and brilliantly talented. The have all inspired me in different ways to become better at my chosen career, they have offered hope that it can be done and lead by example. These guys don’t just talk the talk, people, they walk the walk. Every one has marched to their own beat and represents a different aspect of the writing journey. I hope you enjoy the interviews as much as I did conducting them.