You know what’s interesting? At some point, I remember this blog landed on some top … whatever number political bloggers list. That really
freaked me out surprised me!
I know some authors are afraid to talk politics, but let’s get real. We are all entitled to our opinions. And I believe in free speech. You don’t have to agree with me. That’s the awesome part.
Now … here’s just one last part of the shitty first draft of that chapter I’m working on. I hope you’ll find it interesting.
After a time, I noticed acupuncture seemed to provide small amounts of relief. While it didn’t fix the problem, I could feel a difference in my capabilities. These benefits took time to register on my radar. In addition, when my acupuncturist tested my grip after I underwent several months of treatment, even I could tell there were small improvements that I hadn’t noticed and wouldn’t have if he hadn’t bothered to check for them.
On top of this, acupuncture helped my overall relaxation and improved my mood, to an extent. I’m assuming that the theory would be that by balancing my body’s chi, acupuncture was treating my problems overall, at both a physical and emotional level.
I began to notice that after a session, I’d have thoughts that seemed almost revelatory. I started blogging about my post-acupuncture thoughts, because they seemed important and I wanted to share information, as usual.
These were thoughts I posted on my first blog, because I could write about anything there. So, in effect, my first blog became like an online shrink, a place where I could vent about my problems and breakthroughs. However, I didn’t limit myself to talking about dystonia. I continued to fear being shunned or categorized, based upon my health problems. Further, I’d reached a point in my writing career where I had achieved enough success to where I was being taken seriously by my peers in the business. So, I worried about making too much of my condition on one blog, while marketing myself as an author on another. Given the still unhappy state of my physical and mental health, I’d begun discussing my problems more openly on my author blog. Always I would turn my problems into a joke, because the whole purpose of the blog was to laugh at my own misfortunes. This approach worked until it didn’t.
I eventually became so worn down by exertion and emotional baggage that I became depressed. When it reached the point where I thought I couldn’t bear to move or do anything, I knew I had to take action. No one could fix this problem and I needed to respond in a meaningful way, so that my life would continue to be worth living. In short, I recognized that I was responsible for managing my chronic problem. I couldn’t simply continue down the path I’d taken, because it led nowhere and didn’t address the real issues.
I’d reached an epic low outlook, when I decided to start taking antidepressants. I’d tried them before and, for some reason, chose not to keep taking them. However, when I realized that I’d become so depressed that I could barely muster the strength to get up in the morning, I knew I had to do something. So, I took another crack at managing my moods through pharmaceuticals.
A few things happened, all at once, that turned me around quickly.
The first thing I noticed was that I was willing to try new approaches to my work. In fact, I seemed to find new resolve in taking the mood-enhancing drugs. But the drugs weren’t the only thing that changed my outlook. The acupuncture was bringing out long-buried thoughts and feelings that I needed to work through, as well as providing some relief from my physical symptoms.
By the end of 2011, I’d enjoyed more financial success as a fiction writer than I’d ever have thought possible as a new author with two novels and a handful of short stories. I was on the cusp of publishing my third novel in an increasingly competitive fiction writing market. And I could already read the writing on the wall. The boom days of self-publishing ebooks were over. My huge success the previous year, along with making the New York Times ebook bestseller list, were temporary states of being for an author who couldn’t or wouldn’t crank out books as fast as possible or, in essence, sell out to Amazon.
The publishing world had changed, in both good ways and bad. Now, everyone was jumping aboard the self-publishing bandwagon. This made it much harder for any one author to stand out, especially one without much name recognition. Unless you were willing to support the Amazon monopoly model, which I chose not to do.
The pressure was on for me to adjust to changing times, even as I struggled with my own physical problems. However, I wouldn’t compromise the value of my books or my personal values while making those adjustments.
For all the years I’d been writing and selling fiction, I was shocked to read that some people considered self-published authors to be part of a cult or weird alternative lifestyle type movement. The publishing world seemed to be dismissing us out of hand. At least, at first, until it became obvious that self-published authors were actually smart entrepreneurs, who knew how to market and sell their work, as well as create it.
By the time I started taking antidepressants, I was looking for new outlets. Something to rejuvenate my passion for my work. In January 2012, I registered for an indie film seminar that covered all the details of planning, financing and creating films as an independent producer. Even though I’d never thought about producing films, the seminar seemed like a good way to step away from my computer, meet new people and learn the ropes of the film business. I also had not only a feature film script, but hopes that someday my novels might be turned into movies.
In short, I fell back upon what I knew about personal networking. In my opinion, there’s no substitute for going places and actually meeting people. I’d found this to be true, before I got dystonia when I attended more writer’s conferences and events.
So I attended the seminar and learned about film production. I even realized that I could be a film producer if I chose to be, since it entailed using the same skills as organizing a fundraiser, something I’d actually done before. This realization was such a positive affirmation in itself that I blogged about it, and even attributed my dystonia as the spark that set things in motion.
My thinking was that if not for getting dystonia, I wouldn’t have organized the fundraiser, thus I never would have realized my own ability to be a producer. However, this epiphany was just one of many to come related to my dystonia.
I realized that coping with a bad condition was up to me. I realized that I could adapt and thrive, despite everything, if I wanted to.
Given what I’d learned about film production, it was only a matter of time before I realized that the same skills applied to producing books. And since I was actually a book producer, because I published my books under my own publishing imprint, all I had to do was use Internet resources to distribute them.
Part of the reason I feel so strongly about not supporting Amazon’s monopoly business model is that I believe that the owner is supporting authors for completely self-serving reasons and will probably turn on them, eventually, because his business model is ultimately unsustainable. At this time, self-published authors receive subsidies from Amazon if they agree to sign up with them exclusively for a 3-month period. Authors can sign up for as many exclusivity periods as they want. After they sign up, they’re allowed to offer free promotions of up to five days on their books. I feel that authors who jump on this are simply playing right into Amazon’s take-over strategy. As the competition heats up between technology companies, Amazon most likely won’t be able to throw away money on its mid-list authors forever. But it will have used them to dominate the publishing business to the point of monopolizing the market, for all intents and purposes.
At the film seminar, I learned about crowdsourcing. This gave me an idea that I thought could result in a win for me, for readers, bookstores and other authors. And I thought it was the perfect solution for self-published authors. One that wouldn’t create an Amazon monopoly and would allow books to be distributed directly to readers.
This development was so positive I got right to work thinking about how I’d structure it. It could even be done in a way that would support bookstores, libraries and literacy groups that contributed.
And the result is this Indiegogo campaign. Any contributions or help in spreading the word would be greatly appreciated.
Now … last December, when I felt like I was going to die, I wrote this post called Miracles and Leaps of Faith. Please
pretty please click on the link!
And now, a few words from Michelle Obama!
And what better tune to leave you with than “Brain Damage” from Nik Nak’s Old Peculiar! Blue collar blogging … for nutters … ! Ha ha ha …
And here’s the awesome quotation: “I read, I study, I examine, I listen, I reflect, and out of all of this I try to form an idea into which I put as much common sense as I can.” – Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette 6 September 1757 – 20 May 1834
Yeah, man, I hear ya!
UPDATED: Happy 46th anniversary, Star Trek!