Support your local author

My wife and I went to the Dover Mall yesterday for some Christmas purchasing and one stop was at the book store. We seldom leave Borders empty handed. A woman was seated near the door signing her books. It appeared to be nothing controversial so I just glanced had her and exchanged a few pleasant words. My wife then engaged in some price negotiation with an oriental woman at a kiosk.

I left her to do her thing and chatted with the woman signing her books. It was a science fiction book dealing with a cowboy (!) and space pirate (!!). That certainly is an improvement over the BEM tales and the concept may have great cinema potential. The author was L. S. King and the title was ‘Deuces Wild-Beginners Luck‘. She seems to have gone to great lengths to properly deal with technical details and that is a worthwhile trait associated with the top writers in the field.

I glanced through the book and decided to go back and get another copy as a present for a rather distant friend.

Getting a good book published can be a daunting task and the worst route to follow is ‘self publishing’ through a vanity publishing firm. The author in mention did not have to do so and this speaks well of her. We had a pleasant and wide-ranging conversation that even touched on the political scandals of her native Detroit.

She impressed me as a person with a natural affinity for her craft and a love for reading and writing that began early in her childhood. Since I have not had the time to immerse myself into the book yet, I will put it off a few days until I can treat myself to a non-stop readathon.

We really should check out new writers and respect them for putting so much of themselves in an effort that is so much more than a day labor task and is often more daunting an effort after the last word has been written.

I once took a short story writing class at Loyola College in Baltimore and the instructor had three books to his credit. Each took twice as long to write than the previous work yet brought in less money. He briefly worked as an editor in a local aerospace firm but did not last that long. I always wondered about his fate.

3 Comments

  1. A friend of mine published her book earlier this year. It’s been interesting watching the progress, slow though it seems to be (we toasted the contract about a year before the book ever hit the shelves). I’ve been to her book signings and watched how others have reacted. And I get a little thrill when I walk into Barnes & Noble & see her book on the shelf.

    You’re right, Art. We need to support local and new authors. Often, the sales from Book One are the only incentive Big Publisher has to agree to Book Two.

  2. A friend had one of the rare successes at self-publishing. His effort was prepared as camera-ready copy so it could be offset printed rather cheaply,

    His topic was ‘black collectables’ and was based on his private collection. There were photographs and price information. Some might have found the material politically incorrect. He shelled out a few thousand dollars and sent free copies to people who wrote articles on collecting such items. Word got around and there was enough interest to warrant multiple printings.

    He and his wife handled the mail orders and it appeared that a good percentage of his readers were in urban zip codes.

    This is an exception rather than the rule and it is not the path to attempt. Most victims of the ‘vanity press’ scam are going to have a lifetime supply in gifts to store in the garage (perhaps next to their AMWAY inventory).

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