2011, there really wasn't anything special about you, was there? Maya apocalypse is next year, as are the Summer Olympics. AND a presidential election. 2010 was the end of a decade (and just as equally, the beginning of a decade, I suppose.) 2011 was just supposed to hang out, like Justine Bateman in FAMILY TIES.
But I liked Justine Bateman. I could never understand why she wasn't more famous than Molly Ringwald. Molly Ringwald wasn't even funny (By extension, if humor was a legit reason to be attracted to somebody, I would've been all over Anthony Michael Hall.) Whatever happened to Long Duk Dong, BTDubs?
So 2011 is another year to be filed away and forgotten. Just like 2003. Some things happened back in 03. This year is no different. Some things happened. I got on my mountain bike a lot more than I did last year, and didn't break any bones. Wrote a few songs for the book. Went to Florida and to the beach. I wrote A LOT.
So, maybe it's the writing that'll make 2011 different than the rest. Putting THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK out there was simultaneously the most gratifying and terrifying thing I'd ever done. And it opened more doors than I ever could've on my own. I've met more awesome people and made more friends than I have at any other time since Seton Hill. And now, almost 9 months later, the book has a life of its own. It's out there in the world, and there's no stopping it.
But I wouldn't say that the biggest thing to happen to me was self-publishing, and then ultimately finding a publisher for, THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK. And this is what I want to make clear as the year winds down, especially with a new flurry of self-publishing-related news (Kindle Fire. KDP Select, etc.)in the air. The stigma of self-publishing will remain as long as folks release books that aren't quite fit for human consumption.
'Published' and 'self-published' are temporary states. And the biggest thing to happen to me in 2011 was I realizing my novel was good enough to be read without waiting for an agent's approval. Stepping out of the queue and taking action--a trait I respect in my fellow self-publishers regardless of their writing ability. The capacity to take action is a permanent state, much unlike the states of 'published' and 'self-published.'
Raw Dog Screaming Press is releasing THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK next fall, so I can now check the 'published' box. Working with them has been an absolutely amazing experience, even if it did make me question my southwestern Pennsylvanian dialect. (Question--what's wrong with the following sentence: This car needs washed. Answer: Not a damn thing, jagoff.) The education I received by doing it myself taught me one thing--I learned that if you wait until AFTER you're published to figure out your marketing plan and who your readers are, and how to interact with them and on and on, it's already too late. A lot of writers talk a good game. But if they're focused on agents instead of readers, they aren't in the game.
Heidi told me I have to make sure I don't diss anybody in these little posts, so I'm not really sure how to end this. Had I been allowed to diss, you can bet there would've been some hardcore dissing right about here. Instead, I'll leave you with a Bateman family fun fact:
Because of TEEN WOLF TOO my brother, Mike Miller, hates Jason Bateman so much he refuses to watch ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.