No offense Barnes and Noble. I love you today. Really I do.
The Plan. . . yepper. . . Girls gotta have a plan . . . men in tailored suits my every move.
"only that it is shiny red thing that looks like a vagina with a penis sticking out of it"
Thanks M.S. We know who you are.
Had fun LaVar... thanks. I am still waiting on my Cuban.
Yep, Julia, it's all yours.
was that my movie?
A Note From Barbara
One of the things I have noticed in my travels is lots of folks are just like me . . . curious. So to fill such needs here's a page ALL ABOUT ME. Enjoy
First let me thank everyone who has or is going to purchase Courage of Fear. If you do not already know, you are about to find out, this writing journey has been a long one for me. So, with all my heart I thank everyone who has or is partaking in this journey. For those of you that do not know me read on . . . I think you will be glad you did .
If, by chance, I leave something out feel free to email me. I am generally pretty good about responding to emails and i love getting your notes. I look forward to hearing from you.
From Oklahoma to Hollywood
All rights reserved. No form of this article may be used or copied without permission from the Author.
A brief, and if I say so myself, interesting bio of a girl chasing a dream.
First I must take you back to a little girl who grew up on the New England coast. The imagination of that spoiled little brat was her very best friend, which basically is a very colorful way of saying she was a liar… and not just a little bit, in a very strong, big, fat way. . . oh the stories she could weave.
Later in life, and a whole shit-load in-between, she became one of those tragic teens who found themselves a runaway and yes, pregnant. So now we have a big fat liar with a big fat belly. . . and at sixteen, her mother taken by cancer much earlier, everyone thought the big fat liar should lose the big fat belly… save it for another time in life. Like many story-tellers, her determination only heightened.
Later in life, and a whole shit-load in-between, she had the baby; her name after a baby food commercial, Jennifer Rebecca. Jennifer became the main focus of the story teller's life. After all, the story teller would only be 34 when the Minnie-me went off to college. With little education the shit jobs with long hours (and many drinks) were high on the priority list. After all, there were cloths, electricity, housing, food, involvements in plays, dedication to proving society wrong that single parents rear the worst stock; barby dolls, Nintendo games, stereos, fancy dresses, limo rentals for proms, automobiles, field trips (as simple as the zoo, later escalating to trips to Washington to explore how real journalism was done)… then came the time when the story teller was under the impression that motherhood was about over. Her baby almost ready for college (which of course there was no other choice for the story teller's single parent child.), what would she do with her life?
It was at that point where I began to read anything and everything there was available about screen writing. I swear I read, even studied the good ones, any book written prior to 1993 on the subject. I would read in the library. I would read in my home. I would read in my car. I would read at the book store. And all the while I was writing that master script. I kept reading, writing and studying for almost a year; even took some classes at a local community college. My daughter went off to college. I closed shop on my business and took a counseling job in another state… all the while writing, rewriting, studying, planning for my future in California.
Then the day arrived, two years later, the script was done. It was a masterpiece. Hollywood would welcome me with open arms and praise.
I threw all my belongings into storage. A two bedroom house full of twenty-two years got locked away for my daughter's taking. I gave her the keys to the storage, loaded my cougar with my dog, my cat, my guitar, my CD's, my pillows, my computer, a few cloths and headed out to chase a dream long abandoned in a lost youth.
I took my time driving to California, enjoyed my new-found freedom and the bliss from the terror. Oh, we are truly blessed people, those of us that live in this country. It is so big and so incredibly beautiful; different parts like different kingdoms.
Once arriving in California I began to meet as many people as possible. I started to use every outlet imaginable to learn how to get my script seen. Again, the libraries and the bookstores were my best friend. I even took a job as a clerk in Barnes and Noble when my savings got low, just so I could read and be around readers. (I would like to share what a wonderful experience that was, but it sucked. When I was reprimanded for saying god-bless to someone I started hitting the pavement for an office job.) I spent many spare hours in LA meeting people. EVERYONE there was in the business, even when they were not in the business. Los Angeles and the surrounding towns (Hollywood, Santa Monica, etc) were eclectic Mecca's… way different than anything I ever experienced in Kansas or Oklahoma.
My first day out, I found an agent. She took my script with much enthusiasm (translation; I did all the work.) I continued to read everything I could to educate myself. I researched production companies that did movies similar to my script. I researched reader's names and contact information. I talked about my story and shared it with anyone that would give me the time. I sent out multiple copies, promising myself I would take my time to accept just the right offer when all the offers came back.
And then they came, rejection after rejection after rejection after rejection… and some, thank the good lord, with great words of wisdom and feedback. Two more years had passed. My law school student daughter and her husband secretly thinking me insane. I was not discouraged. The big fat liar, who once had the big fat belly, got big fat determined. I did what any writer would do, I wrote another script.
Now that script, a girly flick, started to get some attention. My agent was calling me asking questions. Where I was like, "ah, I don't know. That's why I have you." Ron Howard's partners wife's assistant called asking me for more pages (they liked what they saw, but didn't think I sent them an ending… of course I had, yet I claimed blonde) Many other companies called. My agent called with more questions. Time for a new agent I surmised.
I research the hell out of agents. I needed one who would know the ropes, yet have a charitable heart in the community. Someone I could trust. I found just the guy. He and his wife did major work with autism's in the community, he had been around forever in the business, and represented the likes of some major players (now, don't misinterpret that. I am not one of those people who goes ga ga over entertainment folks. Having been a model for a bit, that kind of thing didn't and never has impressed me.) Yet this guy, in my opinion, was perfect for me and for my work. I sent him the screenplay with a letter summarizing the story, only to have it returned weeks later unopened with a nice generic letter talking about unsolicited material.
Well. I just couldn't have that! I prayed. I asked for forgiveness ahead of time. I plotted. I planned. I prayed. I thought, thought, thought… how was I going to get in to see this guy? He WAS going to see me. He WAS going to read my work. IT was going to happen. And then, it hit me.
THE PLAN: I called my day job's florist and advised them of my intentions. I told them that in my spare time I wrote scripts. That my most recent script had been getting a lot of attention and that I was looking for a new agent, which is where they came in. I had an agent in mind and a plan plotted to get in to see him, yet I needed to know his favorite flower. Now, I said, I could either call his office and state I worked for the florist or they could call the agent's office. They wanted to make the call.
I explained to them that if they took this mission it had to be held in the strictest confidence. No matter what happened, my name could not be given to anyone NO MATTER WHAT. My name had to be withheld at all cost for this plan to execute properly. They agreed and were quite excited. I advised that they needed to phone and find out what Mr. S's favorite flower was. Once having been given this information they needed to send him that flower everyday at exactly the same time of day for three days. On the first day the card would read "I". On the second day the card would read "need". On the third day the card would read "you!" That was it. Just that simple and no matter what, they could not give out my name.
They phoned me back with the name of the flower, which to this day I cannot give you—only that it is shiny red thing that looks like a vagina with a penis sticking out of it.-- And of course those are not cut flowers. They are potted flowers and very expensive to a starving artist living in Southern California. I said go ahead. They were to put the plan in motion the next day.
The next day I was more nervous than the time I was in the back of a cruiser for a DWI and the police had discovered I had slipped my cuffs off my wrists. I kept looking over my shoulder everywhere I went. Paranoid as all get-up that I would be discovered.
On day two I was worse. The florist phoned and reported she just had to get my permission to tell the management company who I was in fear of their threat to phone the police… luckily she phoned me before giving out my name. I pleaded no. Just two more days, one for what they had left to do and one for the final stage of the plan, and then Mr. S. would know. I promised I was not going to go psycho and if the agent's office called after two days she could give them my name. She agreed.
Everywhere I went little suited men followed. I was sure I was going to end up in jail. I finally decided, well shit, if I had I was just going to call Oprah… what a story that would've been. Yet still, everywhere I went, it didn't even matter if I was going pee… I just knew someone was going to come and get me for stalking one of the biggest agents in Hollywood, who fool-heartedly returned my script unopened weeks before.
Alas, day three and I was still a free woman. I jotted a note that said nothing about my script (as did the last one). It was just one paragraph about 'how was I to explain to him in a note my enthusiasm for my writing when he wouldn't' be able to see the expression on my face as my hands waved about in the air or…" Yadda, yadda…Then, "Why should you represent me over the millions of others who solicit your attention daily? Because I NEED YOU". I simply stated I would be in touch soon. Signed it, put a p.s. that stated 'over the past few days he had experience a scene from the movie "title"' The letter was sent overnight by FedEx to arrive around the same time as the flowers had the days before.
The next day on my cell phone was a message from the agent's assistant asking me to call, that Mr. S was very interested in talking with me. I thought. Absolutely not! I had spent a few hundred dollars, not to mention three days in hell after his sorry, but successful, ass returned my script unopened… he can damn-well call me himself. He did the next day. We had a very nice conversation, full of humor, and as he put it, my celebrity ism.
I spent almost three hours in that agent's office talking about my work and his. To have come from where I came from and to be sitting there, and him asking me to leave my work with him, for almost three hours was bigger than life itself. All things are possible if one only believes... An unexpected writer's dream caught by the hopes, and the hoospa, of a starry-eyed story teller.
Sometimes life is so good, I could just wet my pants.
Btw… all of this is 100% truth. Stay tune for part two From Hollywood to the Big Screen.
From Hollywood to the Big Screen
This article is owned by the author and cannot be used or duplicated without the author's permission.
In From OK to Hollywood I covered pretty much from youth to getting in to see one of Hollywood's biggest agents.
After getting in to see mega agent Mr. S. I pulled together my two screenplays, and a synopsis from another piece I was working on at the time. I dropped them by his office as promised.
I wanted to learn the aspects of screen writing that cannot be taught in the books or learned through the internet. What happens to the script after The End has been written and a producer signs off on a project? I needed to do what any big fat liar would do, become an actor and literally overnight. After all, I had been a model in the past. I rubbed elbows with famous musicians and movie producers. On many occasions in my life I faked it till I made it. Surely such a feat of acting couldn't be much different or bigger than any of those. Really? How difficult could it be? It wasn't that I expected to be Julia Roberts. I wanted to be a lingerer. Someone who stood in the shadows watching how things went, incognito I would mix unnoticed amongst the crowd watching and learning. Yeah, right.
Again, I did my research. I found just the right production company. In blue jeans and a t-shirt, careful to leave the Map Quest and research in the car, I walked on the lot like I had been there a million times before, found the right trailer as if Divinely lead there, and then completed the paperwork with little perspiration. During the interview they asked if I could sing or play an instrument. I replied "yes, however most people would pay me not to" (keep in mind, one of the few items that made the trip from OK to Hollywood was my 125th made Alvarez Guitar. When people used to come to my home they would inevitably ask, "Oh, who plays the guitar?" I would reply "Eric Clapton."). I was assigned to work the next day on location for some Showtime flick about some guy named Tiger Woods (again, I pretended).
Arriving on location at some golf-course in God knows where remote location waiting with the herd I had to ask, "Okay, so the big question of the day is, who the hell is Tiger Woods?"
Everyone within ear shot broke into laughter. The gentleman next to me said, "You're joking, right?"
"Next you'll be asking who LaVar Burton is."
"Okay. I'll play. Who's he and he's important in my world why?"
"Jesus, you're serious. What truck did you just fall off of?"
Like this guy could shake the world of the big fat liar. "The Oklahoman," I said very matter of factly.
"LaVar's our boss. You know, man, the director."
A sudden excitement had fallen over this guy, "He also was in the Next Generation, like, you know?... Star Trek series? The black dude with the cool shades?"
Jesus, I was expecting his reply with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Robert DiNiro or at least one of their lover's or something. I got a bloody Treky. Not saying there was anything wrong with that, but really. "Okay. And Tiger Woods?"
"He's like the first black man ever to be a pro golfer."
"Well, there you have it." Why would I know shit about golfing and Treking before now? It's not like the fools in the trailer tell you anything. Learning. Getting my bearing straight. It was all good. I looked around scanning the faces of the many extras. One black guy in the whole lot of'em. This shouldn't be difficult, shouldn't be difficult at all.
Me and the lone black man, whom I came to nickname Sammy, cause he looked and acted just like Sammy Davis Jr., got to be really good friends during our weeks of shooting… and we were both up front and center in most of the scenes, usually goofing around and having one hell of a fun time.
LaVar and his assistant liked to tease me a lot. They called me the cigar lady. Fools were always walking around with what my eye saw as Cuban cigars. Now, I am no cigar connoisseur. I enjoy a good cigar every now and again. I am a Macanudo Red label girl, myself. Cuban's were like being on the movie set. They were a totally new experience for me. I told LaVar one day that I thought it incredibly rude of him to be walking around toting on one of those bad boys from his lips and not share with those of us peons who were working and starving our asses off for him… hence, no cigar, but from that day forward I was known as the cigar lady, always followed by a chuckle. Every now and again I would hear that distinctive voice of LaVar's over the megaphone (yes, they really do use those things) "Cigar lady? Cigar lady? Where are you? Get up here by me and stand here." Fun times (I never have seen the movie, btw—starving artist's don't get Showtime, unless they are hijacking yours).
Outside of traipsing on the movie set for long hours, I worked as a script reader for my agent; simply for the experience mind you… I read and reviewed hundreds of really bad screenplays. The whole experience gave me a new appreciation for agents and production company folks.
In my spare time I went places where I thought artist would go. I met many artists from many mediums, painters, writers, poets, musicians, actors, sculptors, etc. I learned early not to tell people what I did right off. Everyone is working on the next big screenplay and they seem to come out of the woodworks wanting you to read their masterpieces; and many of them need lots of work (they were actually painful, I tell you). In response to me not calling myself a writer an artist friend of mine, who I got very close with, asked me what would need to happen to make me feel like a successful writer? I said, why seeing my movie on the big screen of course. I would learn, somewhat, to regret sending that out in the Universe.
A few weeks later the call came in. As much as Mr. S. liked me, my work didn't do anything for him. He like the idea for my my work, yet they weren't ready in his opinion. He advised me he would be glad to read anything I had in the future. He even advised me that he would continue to talk about me around Hollywood tables. Keep at it he said.
That is exactly what I did. He gave me exactly what I needed, no matter how discouraging. A few years passed where I was side tracked, mostly by a very handsome, young Irish man… whole other story for a whole other time. . . I like to call it research today.
Needless to say, life got a little dark. I needed to get back to my journey. I needed to start then or else. I did what all weepy women would do. I went to the movies.
I was a bit peeved because in that particular movie house, at that particular movie, there were teens running in and out of the theater. At times they would sit for a bit, talk on their cells, talk amongst themselves, etc. Like any good story, they merely added conflict.
As I watched the story I began to see a lot of similarities between my last script and this movie. Don't misunderstand, there were some major differences. In my story the protagonist was a woman. In this guy's movie the protagonist was a man. In my story there was Jimi Hendrix. In his story there was something else. My story took place in California and Massachusetts. His story took place in Chicago and some bohemian country.
The kids were pissing me off.
The movie was making me shift between anger and feeling flattered (let's face it, there had to be some merits to my screenplay if someone would steal the concept, right?). I got to see what worked and what didn't. I swore if the protagonist had done a certain thing at the end I was going to jump from my seat and strangle the little shit right there in front of God and everybody.
Someone complained about the teens, because they were escorted out. The story wasn't working. It wasn't that good.
My emotions topsy-turvy; popcorn wedged between my teeth, no amount of water moistened my dry throat.
Then it came, the ending. He didn't have the one thing, the little SOB found one though. My heart raced, my fists clinched.
That was it. Thoughts of Smith and Wesson and internet tracking circled my mind. All the years, the work, so that already rich MF'er could get richer and exclude me and my sacrifices. Oh, he would pay alright.
As the theater emptied, I remained. What the hell? Ah, well, good thing it sucked. Now, don't get me wrong. I considered myself a spiritual woman. I worked hard for years to cultivate that relationship… but there was a time in my life--.
In my mind this guy, who starred in many movies, had more money than a fraction of the world, very likely came across my script and saw the concept and covered his sorry-ass making changes to make it his own. I stayed in my seat and watched the credits roll. You can tell when someone had a concept because the movie would have several writers; I learned that from several of the books I had read. When one person cannot produce what someone else is looking for they hire someone else and so on and so on. I waited, counted, seven writers total.
Well maybe it was coincidence. Maybe there was no link at all between this movie and my screenplay. Maybe this was the Universe's way of giving me my success as a writer-- seeing my movie on the big screen.
There it was, my story on the big screen (did i cover that yet?). If it wasn't my story it sure was enough like it that my friends were calling me asking me if I saw it. They picked up on the similarity. At first I wanted retribution. I remembered one of the perks when registering my script with the Writer's Guild was if something like that happened, you got to use their attorneys. I phoned the Writer's Guild and they gave me the attorney's number to phone. Their response? "I wish I had a nickel." They asked me several questions; was any location the same? No. Where any characters the same? No. Were any of the names the same? No. I wish I had a nickel… great, me too.
Oh I had to spend lots of time in prayer and meditation over that one. Conclusion?
One afternoon I was having coffee with a musician friend of mine. We were talking about our respective mediums of art, sharing stories. I told him about the movie. Now keep in mind, this guy had known me for some time. He had also been through a similar experience with a prior band member who left the band and freely used the material he had written. He said, "God, Barbara, I cannot believe you haven't found that son-of –bitch already and done something to him, at least called him out or went public. That just really pisses me off, how people can do that without any repercussions."
I held my hands up like a balance scale and said. "Trust me. It wasn't easy. I had to ask myself," I weighted one hand. "Barbara's wrath?" I weighted the other hand, "The Universe's wrath? Like the attorney said, I don't even know if it was my script for sure… but blank blank knows. Karma. If it was my script I am confident the Universe will take care of it."
I do not know if this means anything, but that happened over five years ago. That actor has done Jack since… his flippin' wedding got more press then any movie he had been in since.
Stay tune for part 3, where we go from Big screen to Published Author.
From Big screen to Published Author
| This is the property of Barbara Boyer. No portion herein can be copied, duplicated or used without the permission of the author.
I love artists. All types of artists. In general the imaginations and creativity of a group of artists can bring you to the speckle of a grain of sand or a vaporized airy blanket around the world, and one needn't leave their seat to experience either and everything in between. Artists have a passionate energy that flows from them, whether it is pleasure or pain, that one cannot help but be one with. Their emotions, raw, deep, intense exposed to the very tips of their fingers, through the wisp of their lips. And that folks is the reason why I chose to be a screenwriter.
During the time I was doing my research on what I wanted to do with my newfound freedom known as my life, the reason I chose screen writing verses any other medium was because the thought of all the artists involved to complete a project, well, it was almost orgasmic to me. Through all the books I read and studied I found the screenwriter to be the mustard seed planter, the script merely the seed. In order to get it to flourish to the final cut it needed so much more creativity… more artists; the director, producer, actors, gaps, sound, edit, the list goes on. So for the same reason I loved artists I came to love the idea of being a screenwriter. I wanted to surround my life with that eclectic group in Oz and Wonderland.
On that lonely dark evening, when I sat in the movie house by myself, annoyed and distracted by the teens, and watched what I believed to be my movie played out before my eyes, all that mustard seed crap was flushed down the stool at the rest stop of this girl's road trip. For several weeks, possibly months even, afterward I found my head in my hands asking, "Now what?" My heart burned with what felt like betrayal. Even though I was blessed to have my wish of seeing, what I thought to be, my movie on the big screen. I was left out of the process that attracted me to the profession to begin with, working with all the artists. Now granted, I could forgive the individual who I thought had my script rewritten to his liking and failing to put cash in my pocket. Yet could I truly forgive him for the other—raping me from the process? A question I still seek to resolve. And that folks is the reason why I chose to be a novelist.
My screenplay had parts that worked and parts that did not work. I was given the gift of an objective eye. I now needed to utilize that and make some changes. So what did I do you ask? I did what any long term single parent learned to do; plan b.
I went back to the libraries and bookstores. I read and read and read about how to write a good novel . . . all the while thinking about Angela, Jackson, Jimi, Culann, Bird, Sammy, Leo, Martha, and Lizzy (all the wonderful characters that were going to tell my story--make my point.) I swear, people around me must have believed me crazy because there were times walking or driving in my car I would be having mumbling conversations with my characters. My head and heart became consumed with their everyday lives… who these people were; what they did in their spare time; what type of music they listened to; where they lived and what they owned; who were their friends; where did they go grocery shopping; what bad habits did they have; if they watched tv and what they watched—many details that would never find their way into the book, yet they still found their way on the page. As a result of that compulsion, the characters began to speak to me again in this world they created within me. They actually began to retell me their story, yet this time, in detail.
After about six months of this kind of thinking and conversing I was ready. I left California for Georgia to write Courage of Fear, the novel. After about two weeks of working from 9am to 5pm, the beginning, middle, and end had been put to the pages. I literally lived in sweats and t-shirts. Like a good Sheryl Crow song, caffeine and nicotine were the fuel of my obsession. The story was down yet far from complete. I took a few weeks away from it. Back to the library, book stores I went. I read more on editing, character, description, plot, and conflict. I read other greats, like Wolfe, Twain, London, and Hemingway. I read today's best-sellers like Sparks, Roberts, Patterson. I didn't read these authors for enjoyment. I read them to find their mistakes and their strengths as i had learned in the books. Unlike in screen writing a pen for detail was a must with novel writing and so therefore a precise discipline not to be taken lightly if i wanted to succeed. In screen writing your work has a director and actors who brings details to the table. A novelist is alone with their audience, so therefore has full responsibility for the story.
After a few weeks, out came the sweats, t-shirts, caffeine and nicotine, and back to the beginning I went… yet now with an eye of an editor. Ten months later (that includes the month I took fighting with Angela, my protagonist, about her fate—she won, btw) I believed the story was done, and with no time to spare. God, what a grueling insolated life the life of a writer. I forced myself to join a writer's group to not only get solid feedback on my genius, yet also to integrate my then antisocial ass back into society. Oh, I learned a lot from that group (Harriet Austin's Writer's Group in Athens GA). Most importantly I learned that the bloody edits were far from done (at one point Ms. Austin who so graciously agreed to work with me one-on-one asked, who is your favorite author. I said Virginia Wolfe. She said, well you are not her so stop trying to be her. Be yourself.) … yet I had to get back home, back to California.
After I had settled back in San Diego, back to the internet, libraries, and bookstores I went to research top notch editors.
During the next year and a half of correspondence and corrections with my editor I began to research publishing. I researched everything from agents, publishers, to self-publishing. I researched exactly what agents, publishers and self-publishing did and didn't do for new writers. I researched and analyzed numbers that went along with being a new writer, from revenues to sales. How many copies does it take to be on a best seller list and which best seller list did what?
When the final edits for Courage of Fear were done I decided it was time to let the public give me their feedback. At that time the book was given to about 25 people requesting open honest comments returned to the author. Some of these people I knew and others I did not. The reactions were amazing.
The next step was the competitions. (During the time Courage of Fear was in the competitions I queried about 26 agents and publishers and received about six requests for reads, and one publisher requested to take on the project.) In the competitions I was again equally surprised how well Courage of Fear did. Courage made it through a few rounds in a Gather "First Chapters" competition with some wonderful feedback. It made it from over 7000 entrants in the Amazon "Breakthrough Novel" down to the last 100. All-on-all these processes took about another year and a half.
During all those releases I kept analyzing data so by the time the critics had their way with Courage of Fear I had decided on its destiny. As much as I had looked down (another lesson hard learned though humble pie) on fiction self-published authors, that was the route I chose for Courage of Fear. My reasoning for that was the amount of return on my investment and the amount of time getting the word out.
From what I could gather most new writers published through traditional publishers sell tops 100 books per year. Then because they are not making revenue for the publishers they are pulled from the shelves. This told me agents and publishers do little for new writers… and after all is said and done, the author going through traditional methods makes approximately 6% from book sales. If and when a new author went beyond those statistics it was because the new author took the initiative in marketing their book for themselves. If a new author went the traditional way through a publisher any and all marketing would also have to be approved by the publishing house.
To me, (the long time single parent always with a plan b and who beat the odds in the hardest possible area in life—raising a productive member of society) it just made good business sense to finish what I started. So, the girl with the big fat belly was to try to complete this task with as much commitment as she completes single-parenthood and everything that goes with it; and with as much enthusiasm, passion, and determination to boot. After all, I could sell my grandmother to a complete stranger, why not a book to a friend I had not met yet? It was decided, in order to gain as much capital as I could—to make up for the lost revenues of the nine years prior chasing this bloody dream, I would do the project myself, hence publish and market my own book. Outsourcing was never my thing and lack of control was never my problem. I had entrusted my screenplays to complete strangers and as a result went hungry and indeed homeless on more than one occasion. Yet I continued to stay determined. I continued to educate myself. I stayed on the path of the dream-chaser. It wasn't like I had gone into this thing half-cocked and naïve.
If anyone thinks publishers and agents don't make their money. Think again. Putting a book to print sounds easy enough, but I am here to tell you folks it is freaking difficult. All aspects of publishing a book falls on your lap and could mean your success or your failure, no matter how good your story. If the header is properly formatted, the italic title on one side, the author name on the other; the page numbers only beginning on page two of the actual read; the copyright properly competed; the rights properly obtained and paid for; every minute detail in the text properly corrected with a keen, fresh, meticulous eye; and ending just so on the page to be appealing to the eye and consistent; a proper format for the copyright page; even a well thought-out acknowledgement page (praying you don't say to much to possibly make that persons life hell when the book sells like crazy, yet saying enough to let them know how much all of their support means to you during your times of isolation and struggles… cause lets face it folks, those folks on that page pay as heavy a price as the writer themselves), did you mention everyone—leave anyone out; which page you begin writing, which page you place a title page; and the list goes on.
None of this is done without knowledge. No sir. More learning. More planning. More failures. More successes. During the few months passing while you get the copy-edits completed the bids return for the front cover art (not text folks, art). The bids you requested at 2 in the morning from your laptop. These bids run from $1000 to $2500. If you have any balls at all as a starving artist you pray for mercy and possibly pro bono. After all, you know of your own giving spirit you just know someone out there has to have compassion for what you are trying to accomplish, right? You even give up your pride and beg. When that fails you learn a new software program, another do-it-yourself er. Another few months pass and you believe the cover is professional (sorry to some of you guys who got that version of the cover—send me a note and I will send you the real one), only to pay some preview company hard earned starving artist money to tell you it looks like the flippin amateur that you are. So back to the drawing board you go with smiles of gratitude on their well-earned honesty.
All the while the publisher also has to incorporate its marketing plan. Again, you do not do this without knowledge so when you are finished with working the desk-top and cannot bear any longer that you cannot feel your ass anymore, you move to the laptop and begin to research marketing on the web from your bed till your eyes fail to cooperate. There are press releases, press kits, website design (again putting away your pride, begging; and when that fails learning a new software program—and trust me to do that right, there is a hell of a lot more to it then you would think), marketing avenues (all again that you must teach yourself the publisher) like myspace, facebook, other websites that will list you, the starving artist for free; gathering local rags and finding out who does what; strategizing what is the best way you can market yourself to get the press, get a buzz going; finding out who is who in reviews and getting and sometimes paying big bucks to possibly have them tell you how much your story or writing sucks (thank god, all the reviewers have loved my story and my story-telling, cause if they hadn't we wouldn't be talking about this here and now); gathering all the resources possible to get your books in the store or at least get people requesting them in the stores… and trust me folks, I won't bore you with the many facets of marketing. It is a plethora of endless mind-boggling chaos and information. Let me just say the list goes on and on and on and on and on with more life than the pink bunny. And all of this and you haven't even approved your book for distribution yet. Indeed, publishers and agents don't get paid enough.
For every meal I have missed . . . for every night I spent in my car or in my tent . . . for all the things I have done without . . . for all the disappointments to myself and those that love me . . . for all the free hand-outs that were given and that I had to humbly accept . . . for all the money I have had to borrow . . . for all the debts I have had to pay down . . . for all the sacrifices I have had to make . . . for all the people I have disappointed and who thought me crazy. . .In addition my travels from coast to coast to give my daughter away to the most incredible man alive at her wedding; see her do the walk to get her law degree; cheered her husband through his thesis; witness the births of two incredible miraculous, beautiful grand babies; met new friends; healed old wounds; loved a man more than I thought was possible; reacquainted with past friends, and even mourned the loss of loved ones--If I were given a re-do, I would like to think I would do it exactly the same.
Folks, Courage of Fear is told with all the emotion of a starving artist and through a writer's dream caught by the hopes, and the hoospa, of a starry-eyed story teller. Buy your copy today. Then the story that was so freely given to me, the one i worked so hard to bring to you, can also be shared with the story of the little runaway who thought she could. Much love and gratitude to all who share my vision and my determination . . . and if anyone knows Oprah, I am available.
"big fat liar."
Can we all say "God Bless?
Yepper, I was going to get arrested for stalking this agent and then be on Oprah.
To buy Courage of Fear now click the cover above.
Love never dies, it merely shifts.