Total Control

[Note: This blog entry was originally posted on the I love Smashwords website on May 15, 2011. It has since been taken down. I recovered it from the Wayback Machine, because it has particular significance to me. I don’t use Smashwords anymore, but the sentiments are still valid.]

I suspect nobody but me knows this one, but have you ever heard the old Michael Nesmith song, “Total Control,” off one of his solo albums? It’s a lighthearted song about how the singer wants “total control of the airports. Total control of the sea. And total control of the freeway. Total control of police” (Source ). Smashwords gives me just that feeling–that I have total control.

I hit a bad patch of crazy at work a few months back where I was demoted from a job I created about 12 years ago, completely out of the blue or left field or from whichever cliche abrupt changes come. It arrived on top of negative self esteem issues related to my weight. And turning 51. My inner voice felt like the complete opposite of total control. (Good thing I was already seeing a therapist!)

And along came Smashwords.

I’m not even sure now where I found out about this marvel of the e-publishing world, but discover it I did. And ideas starting churning in my head. I had two novels whose pixels were covered in dust. The first novel, Second Death, had been turned down by multiple publishers, with numerous “almost, but not quite” rejections to its credit, despite paying a professional editor a lot of money to edit it (and she loved it too). Why not publish them? What could it hurt?

First, I threw myself into Research Mode. When I get enthusiastic about something, I get enthusiastic in a big way. (Obsession is an ugly word. I prefer euphemisms.) I researched the marketing of e-books, particularly J. A. Konrath and his irascible style. I read every detail about how to upload to CreateSpace and Kindle and Smashwords, their requirements and caveats. I was excited.

When at last I held my breath and pressed the upload button, I felt such a feeling of control. “Total control of all variables,” as Mr. Nesmith would say. I realized I’m not bound by what a publisher thinks of me, what an editor might say, what the fashions and trends in publishing might be. Granted, I’m a firm believer in editors, and cringe at the low quality of many Smashwords descriptions (dang, if the description is that poorly written and edited, I sure won’t read the book). But that’s all up to me. I choose what I want to write, what my cover looks like, all within the boundaries of what Meatgrinder the Mighty will accept. I’m fine with that stricture. (Again, it’s a quality thing. E-published authors won’t get rid of the reputation of “vanity publishing” if we don’t produce quality work.)

Smashwords has given me freedom, and challenged me to write more. I want the instant gratification (well, nearly so) that comes with uploading my own manuscript. I want to see lots of books written by me in my list. So I’d better get busy and write them. I don’t even stress over work anymore. I’m a writer first. My job’s way down the list of importance.

And I have Smashwords to thank. Now I have control of some aspect of my life. And I’m grateful for it.

Blogalyser result

The Blogalyser reveals…

Your blog/web page text has an overall readability index of 16.

This suggests that your writing style is intellectual
(to communicate well you should aim for a figure between 10 and 20).Your blog has 32 sentences per entry, which suggests your general message is distinguished by verbosity
(writing for the web should be concise).
 

CHARACTER MATRIX

male malefemale female
self oneselfgroupworld world
past pastpresentfuture future

 

Your text shows characteristics which are 58% male and 42% female
(for more information see the Gender Genie).
Looking at pronoun indicators, you write mainly about yourself, then the world in general and finally your social circle. Also, your writing focuses primarily on the present, next the past and lastly the future.

Find out what your blogging style is like!
 

Updated word count

My novel is proceeding pretty well. I’m up to the end of chapter 2:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,799 / 100,000
(4.8%)

Novel progress

Back this summer, I posted that I was going to work on a past novel. I didn’t pursue that. I’ve started a brand new novel instead of picking up from long ago half-written bits. It doesn’t have a name yet, and I’m not really comfortable discussing it at this point. My chief (or possibly only) blog reader knows what it’s about and has been very helpful in research for it.

Here’s my progress on it:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2,751 / 100,000
(2.8%)

Doldrums 2

Rejection for "Detour" from Arkham Tales. Oh well. Not really the venue I was hoping for anyway.

I’m really at loose ends these days. There’s a writing project scratching at the edges of my subconscious, but it’s not there yet. No gaming for awhile, and I won’t push that. I need some kind of creative stimulation.