Help the Anderson Family Heal

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Dear Blog Darlings,

Success-Has-Nothing-To-Do-With-What-You-Again-In-Life-Or-Accomplish-For-YoueselfI’ve been busy since directly after Yule trying to help a friend, Kelly Anderson, a fellow writer and Detroit native. Kelly has been overloaded by the universe with grief and sorrow and just plain bad times. My other friend, Tanya and I were just sickened that yet another blow was dealt to her and we wanted to bring some balance to Kelly’s world, especially where her son, Myles, was concerned. It was Tanya’s brainstorm that our old circle of friends back in Detroit could pool together and provide some much-needed assistance to Kelly and Myles. Tanya cranked up a GoFundMe and I helped with language and tech stuff. Here’s the story:

Being a parent is the hardest thing on the planet. Sometimes, we don’t ask for the job either. But, Norma F. Downs not only accepted it, she made it look easy. Downs was Kelly Anderson’s aunt and later adoptive mother after Anderson’s own parents died.

“My Aunt Norma was like my mother even when my mother was alive,” Anderson said. “She got me. We threw chicken bones out of the car windows when we ate fast food.”

Anderson, formerly of Detroit and a Lutheran High East graduate, recently had to say goodbye to Aunt Norma, and very soon after losing her Uncle Robert, Norma’s husband.

“Uncle Robert died first, and then Aunt Norma gave up,” Anderson said. “I became her soldier; trying to motivate her… she never recovered.” Norma F. Downs died December 28.

Anderson felt like a real blow had been dealt to her, coming off of a six-year string of heartaches, including divorce, burglary, a home fire, a cross-country move to a place they knew no one and nothing about, hospitalization, the death of her Uncle Robert, and illness. The Anderson Family knew they needed to go to the funeral.

“Now, we learn my Aunt is gone to heaven…” Anderson said. “The last time we saw her was to let my uncle, her husband, go to God in peace in 2009. I want to show proper respects to my aunt, but I also want my son to see some good from something.”

However, Aunt Norma died in California and Anderson currently lives in Providence, R.I. and is a single parent to a college-age daughter, Ashley, and Myles, 12.

“It doesn’t appear that Myles and I will be able to make it to California for my aunt’s funeral,” Anderson wrote in Facebook post. “It’s OK, we’re still counting our blessings.”

Anderson has tried to share with her son just how good her adoptive parents were, why it’s important to have that kind of bond in your life. There’s that hardest job in the world part.

“She (Aunt Norma) and my Uncle Robert stepped up when my parents died,” Anderson said. “When I was very close to death in giving birth to Myles, they had just left the Midwest after checking on another cousin who was sick. When they found out that I was near death and (giving) birth, after being home in California for only a day or two, they came to Michigan to be with Ashley, me, and Myles. Every time I had a hurt or heartache, Aunt Norma and Uncle Robert were there to shake me into reality, give me a shoulder, give me the words I needed to hear and anything else I needed.” 

It’s then that some of her friends thought that their friend, Anderson, should have her time to say goodbye to her Auntie-Mum, grieve, and begin healing. So, they set up a GoFundMe campaign to help Anderson and her son make the trip to California for the funeral.

“It’s only right that all her friends, the people that love and respect her, help her be where she needs to be during this time of sadness,” said friend and former classmate, Tanya Hasse Parker. “Kelly, a woman who spends her days helping others, working for Thrivent, and then volunteers to help people on her days off, should get a little help, too.”

This GoFundMe campaign is to pay for airfare, accommodations, and per diem, while Anderson and her son go from Providence to Long Beach. They will be traveling very soon for the funeral and may have to be in California until January 11, 2016. It’s the busy holiday travel season and airfares are high, as are accommodation costs.

Help Kelly Anderson and son, Myles, start the healing process, say goodbye to Auntie-Mum Norma. Let her know we’re there for her. Give to and Share this campaign today. Thank you.

Tanya and I have been up to shenanigans like this since the 80s. Dig the hair?
Tanya and I have been up to shenanigans like this since the 80s. Dig the hair?

As you can see, we’re halfway there. If you could help pitch in — anything helps — or even spread the word by sharing the campaign link, I would greatly appreciate it. The universe has made it very clear that 2016 is about helping others. Even though this one technically started in 2015, it sure goes along with the theme. I’m hoping we can make it a successful effort. With your help, I’m sure we’ll get there. Here’s the link again, so you don’t have to scroll back up:

Blessings to you. May your generosity come back to you in triplicate!

Crying Foul at the Hugos and the Potential Alienation of What May Keep It Strong

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download (2)I’m going to put on my ranty pants here. You’re welcome to stay and enjoy the ranty show, or head on down the information highway.

A little background before I start ranting, questioning, and basically trying to wrap my head around this whole political farce in the art world called the Hugos. I know I’m a bit behind the power curve, as they say, about this issue, but I was busy writing this weekend (I’m in a writing class right now) and, you know, living my life away from the computer from time to time.

A fellow writer friend and his wife, both huge fans of science fiction (and fantasy) much like me, talked me into going to Sasquan this year. It was likely the closest opportunity to participating in the World Science Fiction Convention any of us would have. I’ve made it known often that Science Fiction writers like P.K. Dick and William Gibson were some of my earliest influences on the speculative fiction that I write. Being a part of WorldCon (its umbrella name) wasn’t to be missed. Bonus? I got to nominate for the illustrious Hugo Awards. Nice!


Right before the voting closed, I posted that I had some holes in my nominations ballot — mostly in Graphic Novels and Editors. I am very aware of the who’s who in SF editing, but I was not feeling ‘just’ in my nominations and was looking for outsiders to validate or make me reexamine my knee-jerk thoughts. This year I’ve been re-reading many of my favorites from my formative years and hadn’t explored many of the current inventory of Graphic Novels. I also posted in a couple of writing forums very early on if people had suggestions for works I “shouldn’t forget” to send them my way for consideration. There’s so much work out there. No one person can read it all. But, I did want to move forward with what I thought was deserving, especially if it widened the SF community to a more diverse representations of work.

People did send me suggestions. I read (okay, I devoured) many of them. Some of them made my personal nominations ballot, because I was like “Damn! This is way better than I was thinking,” but, also, there’s five nominations slots. I had lots of holes. I didn’t always nominate all five available, either. Just those I thought deserving.

download (3)I don’t necessarily consider myself a SJW, that pejorative Social Justice Warrior label that those who are okay in an oppressed world serve as something bad, especially when it comes to my media. But, this whole Sad Puppies bullshit (read the link, I’m not going to explain it here, thanks) makes me out to be one. Fine, you say SJW like it’s a bad thing. If seeking out literature from across the globe (nay universe) isn’t foundational to the whole science fiction world, I think I’ve interpreted everything wrong. I’m not sure how many others who voted had the kind of angle I did — looking at work not necessarily found on the shelves at Walmart or Walgreens. I hope I’m not the only one.

Of the people I nominated, how many were included in the final short-list for everyone to vote on? Two. Just Two. Both in the Semiprozine category. None of what I nominated made it. Really? You can’t tell me that none of VanderMeer’s Southern Reach books made the cut? That The Three-Body Problem wasn’t on the ballot. UGH. The force with Sad Puppies was strong. Are there still deserving people on that final ballot that I will vote for? Yes. My ballot MAY look suspiciously like one suggested here.

As I’m personally examining the issue, I keep coming back to the thought about what would I do if my work might be the subject of such controversy. If one of the short-list noms happens to be a person who was voted in the Sad Puppies slate, but wasn’t necessarily a proponent of it, would you stay or go? Some folks have chose to not accept the nomination. I can’t say I blame them. But, a Hugo award does wonders for people to find your work, for other editors and publishers to take note of what you’re doing as a writer and artist. It would be a tough call.

oh-you-read-enders-game-tell-me-how-much-you-love-science-fictioThe call would have to be if there is such a political agenda to the Sad Puppies slate. Many have suggested it’s the old patriarchal guard doing its thing (one such nominee was published by Patriarchy Press, and there’s the seeming Orson Scott Card supporter nominee, too). Others have written, including those involved within the SP, that much of what they wrote to support their campaign for one particular slate was crying out against diversity That people, such as myself, that seek out such different voices, which includes world literature, are ruining science fiction fandom. To Brad and Larry, I would say, I believe I make it a more interesting fandom. Insert what they say about opinions adage here.

Some folks have determined other ways of dealing with this, basically take the voting fraud of Sad Puppies and make it void. If WorldCon did something like that, which I highly doubt they will, would it mean the end to the Hugos? I don’t know.

I just can’t wrap my head around it. I think of myself as the average Speculative Fiction Reader. Where I’m not a typical reader is that if you put a small press book on a table next to a big press book and ask me to choose, I’m likely going to pick up the small press book. Additionally, many of the books in my library are author-published titles. I’m not prejudicial to how something is published, is my point. When the Sad Puppies campaign first hit the internet, I was thinking they had opinions and ideas about who should be on the ballot, much like I did, and I couldn’t fault them. But, then an uglier truth became apparent.

Tony Stark readingClearly it doesn’t matter thanks to the folks giving dogs a bad name everywhere. For a newbie to this whole thing, I’ve a bad taste in my mouth. This may be my last year as a WorldCon member (although I get to vote next year as a Hugo nominations qualifying member) or an attendee at the conference. I don’t know. My experience in August and what happens with the final award presentation may determine such a decision by me. There are some that are saying that my participation in this is a potential reason as to why the whole Sad Puppies 3 campaign was created, or that my participation and others like me is what will ‘save the Hugos.’

To all of this, I’m still processing and compiling. I’m not sure what my vested interest in this is. Do I think speculative fiction is important? Yes, I do. Do I think the Hugos help to bring great spec fiction to the focus of the constant rapid change or media consumers? Yes, I do.  Do I consider myself part of the speculative fictions, including science fiction, community? Yes, I do. I may not be a Scalzi or a Hines or even Gibson. Hell, I’m not even at the Jim Butcher level. But, whatever. I’ve been a longtime reader and this is what I write. It should be important.

Now there is the availability to vote a “No Award.” Will I do that? I don’t know. Most of what made the short list, I’ll have to investigate, although a cursory glance has already given me a healthy dose of side-eye. The fact that the final slate has people I haven’t heard of is not scary, but suspect. I’m keeping an open mind, as one is wont to do in Science Fiction especially. Has there always been that segment of the SciFi world that is close-minded and not ready for change? Sure. Every group has that minority. I’m not going to let their existence be the end all be all. In fact, there’s a part of my thought process that believes voters like me — just like the swing vote on Survivor, will be the ones that turn this whole thing around. I also will give some good attention to making sure the nominations I gave to The Hugos are counted in the Locus Awards.

Almost-Human-image-almost-human-36082367-700-700I think much like one of the authors I nominated as a Campbell contender said, much of this Sad Puppy Think of the Children blustering, will just fade away and the Hugos will continue to keep people like me, who are searching the nooks and crannies for good stuff. That much like Elizabeth Bear wrote, fandom will continue and will likely survive, as it has in the fires of other assaults. My hope is that the Hugos community comes on the other end of this as a smarter and better true anarchy.

I’m going to take off my ranty pants here. As you look away (or stare if you like — I was in the Army and have children, I’ve no modesty any more) you can check out what my ballot looked like in the end:

Your nominations for Best Novel:

Southern Reach Trilogy Jeff VandeMeer FSG Originals
Maplecroft Cherie Priest Penguin
The Bees Laline Paul Harper Collins
The Three-Body Problem Cixin Liu Macmillian
The Peripheral William Gibson G.P. Putnam Sons

Your nominations for Best Novella:

The End of the Sentence Maria Dahvana Headley & Kat Howeard Subterranean Press
Where the Trains Turn  Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
Dream Houses  by Genevieve Valentine  WSFA Press
The Beauty  Aliya Whiteley  Unsung Stories

Your nominations for Best Novelette:

From the Nothing, With Love Phantasm Japan Project Itoh
Written on the Hides of Foxes Alex Dally MacFarlane Beneath Ceaseless Skies
The End of the World in Five Dates Claire Humphrey Apex

Your nominations for Best Short Story:

This Chance Planet Elizabeth Bear
Cimmeria: From the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology Theodora Goss  Lightspeed
Childfinder Octavia E. Butler  Unexpected Stories
Sarah’s Child Susan Jane Bigelow Strange Horizons
Lucky Strike Kim Stanley Robinson Strange Horizons

Your nominations for Best Related Work:

Special Needs in Strange Worlds  Sarah Chorn SF Signal
IFLScience Contributors
The Secret History Of Wonder Woman  Jill Lepore

Your nominations for Best Graphic Story:

Aama  Frederik Peeters SelfMadeHero
Ant Colony Michael DeForge Drawn and Quarterly
Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel Anya Ulinich Penguin Group

Your nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):

Autómata Gabe Ibáñez Green Moon
Appleseed Alpha Shinji Aramaki Sony Pictures
The Quiet Hour  Stéphanie Joalland Frenzy Films
Flashes Amir Valinia AV1
Snowpiercer  Bong Joon-ho Opus Pictures

Almost-Human-586x310Your nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):

Unbound  J.H. Wyman Almost Human
Arrhythmia J.H. Wyman Almost Human
Long Into The Abyss Antonio Negret The 100
274 Cameron Porsandeh Helix
Boy Parts  Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy American Horror Story:  Coven

Your nominations for Best Professional Editor (Short Form):

Julia Rios
Alisa Krasnostein
William Schafer

Your nominations for Best Professional Editor (Long Form):

Amanda Rutter
Ann VanderMeer

Your nominations for Best Professional Artist:

Abigail Larson
Kekai Kotaki
Kentaro Kanamoto
Yuku Shimizu

Your nominations for Best Semiprozine:

Strange Horizons Niall Harrison
Lightspeed John Joseph Adams

Your nominations for Best Fanzine:

Bookworm Blues Sarah Chorn
People of Color in European Art History

Your nominations for Best Fancast:
No nominations. I for the life of me could not figure out what qualified for this, and honestly, I think this should be separated into pro-podcast and amateur podcast. 

Your nominations for Best Fan Writer:

Liz Bourke Sleeps with Monster –
Sarah Mesle Breakers of Chains review
Genevieve Valentine  Strange Horizons

Your nominations for Best Fan Artist:

Finnian MacManus
Jane Patterson

Your nominations for The John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo):

Usman Malik Resurrection Points
Alyssa Wong Scarecrow –

download (1)

Update: A Safe Place for Bean

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Bean hugging a Great Redwood. He’d hug you, too, if he could. Thank you.

It would appear that my family and me have some folks to help us paddle. As I told you just a mere 10 days ago, we’re in the midst of reaching out for help to assist our Autistic son in launching into adulthood. The story behind the whys and whatfors is found here: A Safe Place for Bean. 

I’m happy to report that we’re just $700 from our goal, which is a phenomenal feat — seriously. My friends, my community, even complete strangers have reached out and validated through sharing and caring that even though there’s no resources for young adults like our son, they understand the “it takes a village” principle and have stepped up.

Our gratitude is overflowing and our hope that we’re on the right path to help our son is growing. Thank you for continuing to share our fundraiser via social media, email, and word-of-mouth avenues. A deep heartfelt thank you to those who have contributed.

Remember, when this campaign of “partial participation to success” is done, these resources will be passed along to another family in our situation in kind.

Thank you again, and may your generosity come back to you threefold.

This Is What A Librarian Looks Like: Ur Doin’ It Wrong Culture Must Die

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I want to stab this attitude and phrase into oblivion.
I want to stab this attitude and phrase into oblivion.

I’m being ridiculous in my headline, because I’m pretty pissed off. Still. Only in 2014 can you try to do something good and be slammed for it. Give me a few minutes to share my tale of woe and shame and how they are besmirching good people, especially librarians.

One of my favorite photographers (War Paint: Tattoo Culture and the Armed Forces holds prominence on my book shelf and in my heart) and internet personalities (if you don’t know about his sports-related injury, you’re missing out), Kyle Cassidy, had a great photo spread in Slate’s This is What A Librarian Looks Like.

Another of Kyle Cassidy's great works that get people talking. Yes, that's a Tribal Talking Stick sitting next to it on my bookshelf.
Another of Kyle Cassidy’s great works that get people talking. Yes, that’s a Tribal Talking Stick sitting next to it on my bookshelf.


Cassidy’s story about the importance of libraries and the people who work in them – primarily librarians – mirrors my own story.

He said, “Libraries and librarians have meant a lot to me throughout my life and there are specific ones that without whom I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Here. Here.

Growing up in Detroit, the library was my refuge. It’s where I would endure tromping through three-feet of snow to go to, and when the world ticked me off, I could sit among the stacks and read and dream and be safe.

Always welcoming, the librarians would share new finds they thought I would enjoy, they’d help me pour through the card catalogs for that one article or book on whatever research I was doing – spiders, guns, drugs (even then my writing tended toward the dark) – they  were always there for me.

When I finally was able to drive my own car and go somewhere? The first place I went was the library. I know other teens went to the drive-in or the tastee-freeze, me, the budding bibliophile and writer went to where there were books full of stories, knowledge, and welcoming people.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATherefore, an article like the one where Cassidy’s photos were featured, which highlighted the importance of libraries in our culture and the people behind them – made even more important in the digital age of the nearly incalculable reach of electronic information systems and social media – was exciting for me to see. It made me smile. It made me nod. It made me know that others know the importance of libraries and the people who study the science behind running them. That we need to question what we think we know and investigate it on our own.

That there was a diverse collection of portraits included in the piece made me cheer outwardly. One of the librarians from my youth wore these really kooky brooches every single day; the other memorable librarian – the teen librarian (a very progressive thing at the time), daily donned very iconic eyeglasses. Even during the more restrictive 70s and early 80s, the strong personalities of my local library’s librarians showed through. Cassidy’s piece, from my perspective, mirrored that image I had in my head:  strong individuals, knowledgeable, and very passionate.

But, then, the unexpected happened, when people got sight/read the article. The ugly internet and its culture of Ur Doin It Rong (cue the twitch in my inner grammar Führer) blasted the electronic pathways with a vitriol many might not have expected. Well, unless you have come to be trained over the last decades that the level of acceptance in the internet culture is nonexistence, that people can’t have a discussion or a conversation in a civil manner. It’s all, my way or the highway.

The tweets, facebook posts, blogs, etc. that vilified the article on basis that X wasn’t represented, or Y wasn’t brought forward in the article, was untenable to me. Oh and the “Why is HE featured?” comment really boiled my blood. I was upset, because these folks who volunteered to have their portraits done were brave and stepped forward and saw an opportunity to show the Slate readership that what you maybe think about libraries and librarians is wrong. (For a good detail on what vileness some of the featured librarians endured, see here.)

Like much of Cassidy’s work, as any artist’s work is often, This Is What A Librarian Looks Like was meant as a conversation starter. His photos and the Slate blogger, Jordan G. Teicher, were bringing forth the good of libraries and its librarians. How they work for every possible type of person, how inclusive they are.

The most distressing part of the response, for me, came from other librarians. This part I could not understand, since I’ve yet to meet a librarian that wasn’t one of the most patient, think-good-about-humanity, and positive individuals in the room.

Then Cassidy’s words in the story came to me. He said, “I realized I had a stereotype in my mind of what a librarian looked like, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do this project. Whenever I think something is true, I’m often wrong.”

I guess I was wrong, too.

Libraries tie a community together. They allow for the sharing of knowledge. They are the one public place where no matter your background, your gender, your economic status, your creed, or religion, you are welcome. The article, bless its beaten-on-the-internet heart, brought that forward, too. Many of the librarians featured via their portraits said that, too, “We are the great equalizer.” Here in Western Washington and many other places across the United States, it was the librarians that resisted the Patriot Act – almost like a last line of defense. To me they are knowledge warriors.library

But, libraries are just buildings, the people who run the joint – the librarians are what make it the tie that binds, the inclusive place to an oft-times exclusive world.

I’m not going to let some internet trolls, even those who claimed to have been librarians steer me away from the belief that libraries are good and necessary. But, they sure gave some ammo for those who would board up the windows and lock the doors of our libraries.

In the meantime, more power to Cassidy to continue his mission in capturing a community that is important to many other communities. Oh, and I’m going back to the “Do Not Read The Comments” rule I have. Because if you’re saying, Ur Doin It Rong, I’m likely going to know you are entirely ignorant.


Write Life: Self publishing does not mean self-editing

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Photo copyright Craig Lloyd
Photo copyright Craig Lloyd


My write life went through a whole lot of ups and downs this past week.

First thing Monday morning, there was a rejection hiding in my email.

Jeff VanderMeer tells the audience a story about being charged by a Wild Boar, at his Seattle reading, Feb. 3, 2104. Photo by C. Brewster

On the up side, that evening, I got to meet Jeff VanderMeer, one of the writers and editors I greatly admire. I got to hear him read from his new release, Annihilation, which I was cruising through until I hit a dip and upside down part in the aforementioned rollercoaster ride that is my writing life. I should probably finish soon, will re-read, as is my habit, and provide a review. It’s the least I can do to make sure Mr. VanderMeer is supported, as any great author/editor should, especially given that he signed three of his books for me that evening. Plus he did his signing at one of my favorite book stores ever – Elliott Bay Books in Seattle.

Then I got a rejection the next morning.

I countered Wednesday by taking a class with Cat Rambo on submissions. I learned I’m doing things right – at least according to her. She has decades as a successful writer, so I trust she’s leading me down the right path. She also gave me many more ideas to up the ante in my submission algorithm.

Following the class, an email came in with not so good news. I had a contract declined. The declination reason was fully in my blame court due to my lack of clarity in the initial meeting with the client. This sometimes happens when you’re trying to do too much. Even though I proffered some other free work to the prospect, the sting was already felt. My bad, entirely. I’m confident as a writer and editor, but sometimes my business sense is not on point. Lesson learned. Here the roller coaster went way low and I was kicking myself endlessly for this dumb mistake.

The next morning, there was yet another rejection waiting for me. Thursday was very unproductive. I did lots of “business” stuff to support my writing life, but little writing or editing. I ended up watching a lot of television and the movie MELANCHOLIA, which fit my mood perfectly.

Photo copywrite Seth Sawyers
Photo copywrite Seth Sawyers

Then, I was offered another contract for editing – a novel manuscript – but when I read the first five pages of the work – I had to refuse. Even if I charged my top rate, which is still cheap by going-rate standards, the work would be so intense that it would take longer than it should, making it not worth my time.

This is the first time I’ve refused work. I hated to do it, especially given that I had that other contract declined. I need all the work I can handle and then some, at least until I start getting paid more often for the writing side of my freelance life. My editing rate is lower than the typical standard, because I’m still building my business. So, I work six days a week, sometimes seven. Refusing work seemed to go against my DNA coding. But, this manuscript was not ready for prime-time, folks.

It harkened me back to the fervor that has been happening over in Chuck Wendig’s world with his post regarding improving the reputation of self-publishing by not putting out, well – crap. Herr Wendig is a huge supporter of indie publishing, I believe. He’s a hybrid writer himself, successfully straddling both author-publishing and traditionally publishing chasm. And it is a chasm. Do both worlds put out trash? Yes – I’m always quick to tell you stories about the errors I’ve found in big-name author’s books; however, those instances are story-worthy simply because it happens less frequently. Is the scale heavier on the indie publishing side? It is. When Wendig says there is a self-publishing shit volcano out there and it’s a problem, I can’t disagree. The manuscript I refused to work with until, at least, the writer did another revision is only one such example.

Listen, all you self-publishing people: hire an editor. Every author I’ve worked with (and they are mostly in the author-publishing realm) are just floored when I return a manuscript to them with the errors I find – both mechanical and craft-wise. Some of these are manuscripts that the author has revised multiple times.

Yet, it’s amazing to me that so many writers do not know how to do proper punctuation. Many novelists are so caught up in their own world that they forget the reader doesn’t know what you know as the writer. Then there’s continuity errors, foreshadowing that is never fulfilled…and on and on. Recognize, at bare minimum, that we are human and make mistakes. Editors help ensure your mistake-ratio is harder to calculate.

Therefore, every manuscript needs a seasoned editor’s eye, regardless of frequency of revision. Especially, if the only other people you’ve had read it are your family and friends. The final product after they’ve paid me (or another professional editor) to do editing? A stronger sell in the market that is just inundated – near a million books a year between traditional publishing and self-publishing. You want something strong to stick out from the shit volcano, my darling fellow writers. If you have a good story, it won’t matter how it’s published. People will be drawn to it.

There’s been many other blog posts, outside of Wendig’s, recently by both traditionally published, as well as, indie-published writers who say, self publishing is an option. As creative word smiths we are in an incredible time with heavy opportunity to get our work out there. We should take advantage of it, but do so only after you’ve invested the time into properly vetting your work. It’s simple, the reason why:  if you don’t put a good product out there, no one is going to take you seriously. Your best friend might be a good beta reader for you and tell you, “Hey, that’s a great story.” But can you trust them to be objective? Can you trust your entire creative reputation on a best friend or spouse wanting to encourage you? Some folks have the rare relationship, where, yes, you can. But that’s the exception, not the rule.

Photo copyright A Geek Mom
Photo copyright A Geek Mom

Self publishing does not mean self-editing. That’s a horrendously bad idea. One of the reasons I haven’t self-published yet is because I don’t currently have the dough to shell out for a professional editor. I won’t self publish until I do. You want to add to the argument that self-publishing is less-than? Put out a manuscript that hasn’t been professionally edited. Be an example for the Big 5 (or six or three…whatever) and other indie-publishing naysayers as to why their format of traditional publishing is the only way to go. Personally, my goal is to be a hybrid author: one who is traditionally published and one who does author-publishing, as well. I won’t limit myself. But you bet your bootie I’m going to do it right. I won’t be an example for how to do it unprofessionally.