“Hi, I used to rob bookstores.”

Even with that opener, some indie authors have it worse than I do.

Mr. ConsequencesI get a lot of questions about what it’s been like to bring my story to market. I hear a lot of gripes from writers about agents, the traditional publishing industry, and whether or not the stigma of self publishing has decreased with our digital all-access passes.

Being congratulated on publishing a book is cool, though what I hear is, “Congratulations on not being a talker” and “Congratulations on learning what follow-through means.” You see, having come as far as just getting the thing out there is a big deal for me, because for too many years I was incapable of establishing and maintaining a relationship with delayed gratification. Today, I feel it’s important to be a resource for other aspiring authors who are navigating the many choices, pitfalls, and publishing models now available. The following opinions are based on my experience. To some in publishing, they’ll probably show what little I know about the very journey I’m on, but others may find ’em helpful.

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The Writer’s Discipline in the Digital Wilderness

The wilderness of self-publishing is where my excuses went to die

Foret Allemagne by Michael LangeAll digital photography by Michael Lange


The digital revolution has forced traditional publishers to look a lot like Dick Cheney. It did the same thing to the music industry, too, before the record labels went out like the inflexible, teeth-gnashing dinosaurs they were. I do respect old-school publishing’s heritage of absolutism, but in the same way I’d defer to the Cigarette Smoking Man from “The X-Files” if he tapped me on the shoulder.

What I no longer fear is the stigma of bringing my book to market on my own. I’m way past the point of no return financially and self-assuredly. No, I had no idea how difficult this was going to be, nor did I know how to avoid making it harder. But then my starting point was, “Hi, I’m an ex-felon and here’s my 480-page manuscript about my prison sentence. Will you read a chapter and…”

Yeesh. I wouldn’t wish that opener on my worst enemy!

But seriously, if my journey could begin at a maximum security facility where I traded soap with murderers with open sores for pencils and paper, you, friends, have no excuse not to put your stories out there, satisfy your creative obsessions, and realize your dreams and goals. Read more

A Twitter Pill to Swallow

The social networking functionality of this blog is horrendous, I know, especially on the cusp of a book launch. But that’s about to change. The new whereexcusesgotodie.com will launch at the end of this month, incorporating everything from Feedburner to Facebook connectivity. And the publicist with whom we’re working recently informed me that my head-in-the-sand days are over. “It’s time to open that Twitter account you’ve been avoiding,” she stated.

She’s right, I know. My excuse has been that a person’s journey, abilities, and goals should matter more than following trends. Besides, whether published by a major or self-publishing, the whole experience feels like standing at the bottom of a freeway off ramp rattling a foam cup at cars: Twitter and the like will only exacerbate that.

But the real question is, do I want the public to decide the value of Where Excuses Go to Die (the book), or do I want to wind up bitter ’cause I was too good to play the game – or failed to do everything I could to tell the world what it has to offer?

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