Sunday, March 24, 2013


When I finished writing my new book, JUSTIFIED ACTION, I was elated. This book had been around here, alternating between front and back burners, for a long, long time. Finally, I was happy with it.  

Originally, the story centered around chasing and eliminating terrorists planning to take innocent lives.  Over time, it evolved into more of a personal story about Tall Chambers, one of the members of a secretive agency which does that.  I love writing fast-paced action, and I had plenty of that.  When I concentrated more on Tall’s personal life, I added a bit of romance, a murder, the search for a killer, and a lot about how living the kind of life he did affected Tall and those around him. 

Finally, I was happy about how it all came together!  Were I a younger man and athletically inclined, I would have done cartwheels and backflips up and down the streets of Fort Worth. Common sense prevailed over the possibility of broken bones, however, and I settled for grinning big for several days. 

Then I realized I still had a lot of work to do. You don’t simply finish a book and wait for the world to rush to your door. Neither you nor the world are served simply because you have a finished book on your hard drive. You have to publish it. Then you have to promote it.  

By the time I had finished the book, I had already decided I would self publish it. I had a barrelful of reasons for that decision and won’t go into them here.

But that meant I had a lot of work to do.  First, came the final editing. That meant going through the book not as a writer or reader but more like a Nazi stormtrooper looking for escaping prisoners. Yes, I found typos, punctuation and spacing errors, and being a chronic tinkerer, places where I could make little changes to make it better.  The first two times through, I read it from front to back, proofreading each sentence with a hard eye. The third time, I read it from back to front. That’s a trick I learned when I was a magazine editor. Reading the sentences in reverse order, you don’t get caught up in the flow of the story and skim over sentences you’ve already read a hundred times. 

I also had to come up with a cover.  Fortunately, I had a friend who helped with that. She was computer savvy and had experience in graphic layout. The fantastic cover she came up with had me thinking about doing those cartwheels and backflips again.  Again, I convinced myself that would be a big mistake and moved on to the next step – formatting the manuscript for publication. I was fortunate there, too. A good friend with experience doing that stepped up and for that chore. Without those two friends, I would have been totally lost, confused, and befuddled beyond belief. 

After that came the phase of submitting the finished product and getting proofs.  Yes, I proofread it again. 

Now I’m in the final round – promoting.  I have a lot to learn there, too. Self publishing means it’s all on me, and I have to learn to use the social media avenues which have mushroomed over very recent years.  That, in itself, is a lot of work. 

But, you know what?  I don’t mind it too much.  You see, I’m still grinning over the fact that I finished a book I’m proud of having written.  Everything pales in the shadow of a good grin.

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