The First Century Philosopher Epictetus Said . . .

. . . “The secret to wealth lies not in having many things, but in having few wants.”

Picassos Dora MaarRight now, I just want to stop looking like Picasso’s Dora Maar. I want be able to blink my eye, have my smile back, and look at the computer without everything seeming blurry. Few wants = great wealth.

Anyway, I’d planned to do something different with Palace of the Blue Butterfly by this time in my blog postings, but alas, I can’t quite see well enough to get the thing done.

I have to proofread and make changes to my manuscript anyway before I send the book to the e-book formatter (where it will be proofread one more time), and I thought — why don’t I just put chapters up in serial format as I go like the podcasts.

This would be for folks who couldn’t figure out how to download the podcasts or whose internet was too slow, or who didn’t realize until the seventh episode that they could get up from their desk and move around, straighten the house or what have you, as they listened. True story. And this person is in all other ways completely brilliant, has a Master’s Degree and speaks four languages.

What can I say? My reader’s age group and Scott Sigler’s are a little different.

I’d thought about just putting the text up on my site long before the podcasts, but it’s not much fun to read that way, or rather it wasn’t until I checked out what this young self-published author named V.J. Chambers had done with her novel on her website. Along with writing, Ms. Chambers is a high-school teacher in West Virginia. Bless. Her. Heart.

All she did — a simple solution and totally cool — is place a column of text in the middle of the screen against a black an white photograph.

Publetariat BannerExactly what I’m going to do. That is when I can see well enough.

Don’t know where I found out about V. J Chambers, maybe on . . .

Publetariat is a site I go to for information, encouragement and inspiration. Somebody is always doing something terrific which they write about on that site. Even as readers you might want to check Publetariat out. You’ll get an idea of what you aren’t seeing in print and why.

River Panj by David RatermanHere’s a little tidbit of one of the most recent stories of life in self-publishinglandia.

The River Panj is a novel by David Raterman — an emergency relief worker and published author — who, when unable to get this novel published the traditional way, decided to self publish.

Here’s a little tease about the book . . .

On Sept. 11, 2001, ex-Notre Dame football star Derek Braun is doing relief work in Afghanistan when his fiancée and elderly colleague are kidnapped along the border with Tajikistan. With no one to help, he goes in search. On this dangerous journey, he faces Islamic terrorists, heroin smugglers, corrupt Russian soldiers, Iranian spies and helpless CIA agents, witnessing an assortment of terrible acts that culminate in his own kidnapping.

Meanwhile terrorists begin using bodies of released hostages to export radioactive material to America. They want to . . .

You’ll just have to buy the book on Amazon if you want to find out more.

The article in Publetariat included one of the rejections Raterman’s novel got.

Here it is people. I’ve been there.

The vividness of Raterman’s descriptions are stunning and I can certainly see what it is that has you so enthusiastic about his work. However, I am concerned that the book’s subject—while timely—has fiction readers a bit weary and unless it is covered by an established name in the marketplace, will have a hard time breaking out commercially.

It’s an exciting, adrenaline-fueled read, and interest in and awareness of the area of the world at the heart of this story have never been higher. But, ultimately, as intriguing as Central Asia is, I think it makes for a tough setting.

I’m always up for a page-turner, and not only can David deliver the fun, but his writing possesses a certain level of political sophistication that’s rare in these types of novels. As promising as it is, though, I am going to pass. For me it’s really a question of positioning—while it has its strengths, I’m just not convinced it will break out beyond its core audience. Alas, something we need for our select number of fiction titles here.

BTW . . . this is just one example of many rejections you can read on Raterman’s website. All of them say pretty much the same thing. Can’t make any money on it. Not commercially viable. Central Asia is a tough place.

That place. You know the one where there’s the war that’s been going on for ten years. Readers are weary? What about the guys in the army?

Amish QuiltSo if you aren’t reading any books set in Central Asia, you’ll know why. Or any number of places for that matter. Mexico City maybe?

Anyway back to old Epictetus. Few wants = great wealth.

He also said this — Everything has two handles, one by which it can be carried, one by which it cannot.

Here’s the handle I use to carry my writing life: I regard my novel writing the way I imagine an Amish woman regards her quilt making. It is the pattern I make with the scraps of life I have lived, seen, heard about or imagined.

This website is the wall I hang my work on.

Simple as that.

The stories will find whomever they find.

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