I was now safely retired for the third time. I was hoping it would take, but if past history was any predictor I would be employed in a gainful way very soon.
Sometimes you should keep your thoughts to yourself, or better yet, don’t even think them.
I had been playing at being an author for the last eight or so years. It all started with a long road trip where I started telling my wife a story about a kid hitchhiking to California from Ohio.
It had some of my life and times as a loose framework but with little basis in reality. She really got into it. As the tenth hour of our drive approached she told me, “You should write this down, it would make a fun story.”
I promptly forgot to do that. Then life changed, I was downsized out of a job. I spent the next eight months looking for one.
During that time to keep my sanity, I did write that story. I posted it on a site called Stories on Line. It was well-received to my surprise. Apparently, there were many old guys with too much time on their hands.
I kept writing and they kept reading, some sending kind comments, others not so kind, but on the whole, it was good.
I did go back to work but kept writing. What started out as a short story became two very long books and two short stories.
Somewhere in there, I decided to retire. That lasted about two weeks, my company had needs for someone on the road, and I could use the money, so back at it on a supposedly part-time basis.
By the end of the year, I was paying my social security out in taxes. Silly me.
So I retired again, for real this time, I thought.
Then I had a late-night snack of sauerkraut on chocolate ice cream. Not really but I have to blame this on something. There is no way I’m going to take personal responsibility for what happened next.
I had the bright idea of publishing them!
After checking around I realized that no traditional publisher would touch them, but Amazon would let me fight it out in the market place.
Say what you want about the Zon it does give Indies a chance. That and the fact I think my soul was mortgaged a long time ago.
The first thing I found out was that if my books were published as they were written there would be two paperbacks that were over a foot thick.
So I combined all the stories and then broke them down into seven separate books.
Now up to this time, my editing consisted of Word, my wife reading and marking it up, then us both listening to the finished chapters in Natural Word.
From SOL reader comments I realized this wouldn’t be good enough for the professional world so after getting the books up on Amazon I went back and redid them with Grammarly, a free online editor. I purposely didn’t buy their professional version because it has a feature to keep your writing PC. News flash, we weren’t PC in 1958.
That was an enormous project going through each of the seven books with an average of eleven hundred spelling and punctuation errors per book. I learned to hate commas and hyphens.
When all was said and down after Book 8 it still wasn’t good enough. There had been several people who had volunteered to edit for me in the past but I had turned them down as this was my wifes and I project.
Now we were past that, besides she was having eye problems. How many of you would like a direct needle into your eye? She has had over thirty of them in the past three years. Glad to say her vision is stable but still poor.
I reached out to three fine gentlemen who I had been in contact over the years. They each agreed to help edit. So they did there thing and I went back through Book 9 three more times to make corrections, picking up some of my own along the way.
Now the book would be perfect, right. Not so much. Since then I have had eight errors pointed out. Everything from geography to spelling to continuity.
This morning I did a mini-edit inserting those corrections after making certain the assertions were factual. I learned along the way not to assume my errors were real errors.
Most of the people who pointed out my errors were very helpful, citing chapter and verse. Others not so helpful, “I feel ripped off because there are so many errors.”
That one stung until I remembered that I’m an author and we have thick hides. Sure we do.
When it all gets down to it, the market place is the final judge. The books are selling. In house payment territory.
My next chore is to write my quarterly tax payment to the IRS.
I am not retired! Dammit!