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The latest in Regge's series of Endless Mountains ghost stories is available on Amazon:

The Boy in the Toy Room: An Endless Mountains Ghost Story

Nora is haunted. She's haunted by the past, haunted by the future, and haunted by the boy in the toy room. Wanting desperately to fall back in love with her husband, Nora moves back to the country to work on building their dream home. Building dreams isn't easy, though: she'll have to fend off a drunken ex, contend with an interfering mother-in-law, and try to keep a battered rental house from falling down around her.

Meanwhile, someone has been breaking into the house, and her daughter's imaginary friend, the boy in the toy room, seems to be trying to burn the place down. While the men around her rage and bluster, it's Nora's job to hold things together and keep her daughter safe, whatever the cost. 

 

And don't forget Waking Up Dead: An Endless Mountains Ghost Story

If Deidra Shay had known she was dead, she might have made other choices -- but she didn't. When her best friend, Jesse, finds her body and is pulled away screaming and crying, Deidra follows her home and all hell breaks loose! Friends and family are pulled into a maze of love and sex, revenge and redemption as Jesse and Deidra struggle to figure out how to go on living after waking up dead. 

This is romance, a testimony to friendship, and one answer to what life might be like beyond the grave for both the person moving on and the people left behind.

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Monday
Jan232012

The Rejection Letter

I should entitle this "No Rejection Letter." Lots of thought went into my decision to write some books specifically aimed at self-publishing.  Mainly, I'm not happy about how publishing houses treat authors.  It's simple, really.  In this day and age, when a rejection letter can be sent with an email address and the push of a button more and more houses are saying, "Due to high volume we no longer send rejection letters.  If we are interested in your work we will contact you.  If you don't hear from us in (3 months, 6 months, a year) please feel free to submit your work elsewhere." They add insult to injury with the statement, "If your work is accepted elsewhere we request the courtesy of letting us know." Courtesy?

First, without writers there are no publishing houses.  Second, I don't have any more time than you do so if you can't give me the courtesy of a rejection I hardly think you need to know if someone else accepts my work for publication.  Third, if you are so outmoded that you don't make use of form letters and email accounts, which cost you absolutely nothing and take only a second to utilize, I'm not sure you are worth dealing with anyway.

Self-publication isn't new.  Writers use to take their stories to the local paper and have them published.  Sometimes they had to pay something to do it.  When people liked what they read they asked for more and the paper would, in turn, offer to pay something to the writer to provide more of their work.  But publishing houses had contacts, had longer reach, eventually had financial resources the writer didn't and so they became a better way for the writer to get their work to the public -- until they started thinking that writers couldn't live without them. 

Welcome to the age of the Internet.  While publishing houses started looking for the sure bet and only accepted agented work; while the entire institution of publishing became more and more conservative; while people like Stephen King and J K Rowling spent time and money being rejected for years, writers gained direct access to the public. 

I don't enjoy reading poorly crafted plot lines and books full of misspellings and incorrect grammar.  I get shocked when Writer's Digest lists their criteria for entering a contest and it includes "no handwritten manuscripts." That being said, I read copiously based on the fact that, as Stephen King says, "Reading is the apprenticeship to writing." And I have to say, there are publishing houses that release books with poorly crafted plot lines, misspellings and incorrect grammar.  I know; I'm reading one right now.  As a matter of fact I'm half way through a book written by a New York Times Best Selling Author and even though I'm half-way through the only thing I've read so far is the back story from the five books previously published.  It's so boring I keep putting it down and coming back to it when my stomach stops churning.  If there is a story in this book I haven't found it yet.  Some agent or publisher should have told the author to get a new story line or just forget it. They didn't, of course.  They figured that they could put "Author of ..............New York Times Bestseller List," and the book would sell itself, garbage or not; that's how they got me to read it.  Meanwhile, there are good stories by good writers being passed over because they aren't a sure thing -- no one knows their name.

I wrote a middle-grade-coming-of-age novel about a boy who is called Chunkie Two Boys by bullies at school.  As it turns out, Charlie (aka Chunkie) has to buddy up with his enemies when they are accused of attacking Mr. Scrod based on the simple fact that they are "city kids." Charlie realizes eventually that "everyone seems to hate someone," and he solves the mystery of exactly who hit Mr. Scrod, which not only clears his name  but also makes him a hero. Two well published authors, one being a field agent for a major publishing house, gave it a thumbs up and had me send it to their personal contacts at specific publishing houses.  The same book was revised multiple times under the tutelage of several professors who are also well published and who all agreed that it's a good book and ready to go.  I have submitted it to ten houses; I have one rejection letter and that is from an agent who asked to see my next book because she "likes the way I write."

Ten places are not that many to reject a manuscript.  I should and will continue to put it out there, read it for things to tweak. revise if I find something that could be bigger, better or stronger, and continue to find it a good home.  But I'm pretty upset about the lack of rejection letters.  I'm insulted and pissed off.  Every time I send out a letter, synopsis, outline and three chapters it costs me a respectable amount of time and money.  I deserve a rejection letter.  I deserve to have an end to the hope that pops up with every unknown phone number on my cell phone and every large envelope that arrives in the mail.  I deserve an email that says, "Thanks but no thanks." My time and effort is worth that much. It's just plain good business.

So, I have done a ton of research, talked to a lot of people, read great and horrible literature and come up with what I think will sell to the thousands of readers who are skimming titles on Amazon and Kindle.  These aren't books thought up with self-publishing in mind; they are books I was going to write anyway but which I know are commercial in a way my non-fiction children works series won't be.  These are books for the person who wants a fun read full of excitement and romance and fresh ideas. They are books people will find when they type in "romance" or "paranormal" or "ghost" or "women."

I've done the same careful research, have a professional editor, a graphic designer, and a well educated, in some cases published, group of readers.  I still draft, revise, edit and revise again and again -- and I'll be thrilled if I can eventually say to an agent or publishing house, "I am the author of these books and here is my readership and here are the reviews; I believe this is the type of book you are looking for and I have proof that people like what I write."

Self-publishing isn't easy.  People scoff and act like every yahoo who imagines they can write is simply throwing a Word manuscript at Kindle and -- voila! -- they dream of sitting back and letting the money roll in.  Maybe that's true of some; I don't know.  I know it took me a week to get my book formatted to look good and meet the requirements.  I know I'll probably borrow the money to have Create Space upload it to Kindle for me.  I know I've given very careful thought to the cover, gotten feed back from trusted colleagues every step of the way and that I have already made marketing plans for getting it out there.  I also know I would love it if someone else did all of that for me.  And I'm not expecting to get rich.  I want a little bit of money to come in which will buy me time to write other books and submit them to agents and publishers, hopefully along with a little bit of success I can wave around as collateral.  You see, I don't have the benefit of another job.  I don't have six months or six years to wait.  But more than that, I believe in myself and my work.  I'm good at this. 

Mainly, I don't like the way publishing houses do business.  I don't like the death of the rejection letter or the months and years it takes just to get something read.  I don't like it at all.  I've led a different kind of life -- taking chances, betting with my heart, following a different path.  This is just more of the same.  By the way, Waking Up Dead  is a good book.  You'll be able to get it from the Kindle free library for 90 days.  Give it a read; you might even be moved to write a review.  If you think it's garbage, say so.  If you like it please say that, too.  I'm always up for constructive criticism. 

One final note: my fellow writers are pretty much disapproving of my decision to self-publish.  I hope they're wrong.  I accept, support and respect the choices they make; hopefully they will do the same for me.

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    Response: this content
    Neat Webpage, Stick to the excellent job. thnx!

Reader Comments (3)

Where do I get the book if I don't have a kindle?
Best of luck to you Regge. Great blog post!

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Episale

In a few weeks you'll be able to buy the book or, even better, I'll have books and you can host a reading with your friends where I will read a sample and sign copies. Readings are fun and it would give me a great excuse to finally get to New Jersey! Meanwhile, I'm starting on the next one and very excited to be losing myself in a new story :) Much love, Marie.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOld and Still Evolving

I love your book and your blog. I find it interesting why you decided to do self-publishing. It definitely makes sense after the non-response from the publishers. You said you have a marketing plan, what is it? I am really proud of you, to follow your dreams and get your book out there. You are an inspiration. I have started writing my book now. It is scary but in is exciting!

March 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Autiello

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