Musings on the Art of Writing

As a child, I discovered fantastic worlds created in books. When I began writing about the worlds of my own imagination, I realized how hard authors work to set their characters free to live for our enjoyment. This blog will explore that weird and wonderful process.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Many years ago, all the how-to writing books I read cautioned against 'vanity' publishing. One could spend thousands of dollars and have a printing/publishing company make a few copies of your book allowing you to see your name blazoned on a book jacket. Hence the descriptor, vanity. Then your books would languish in the garage as there was no follow-up marketing (i.e. book tours). In the end, you were no further ahead in your writing career.

I took this advice to heart and struggled through years of writing, editing and mailing out manuscripts. I received more rejection letters than I care to remember. I then began to question the label I had given myself. Was I really a writer?

Recently, I read that the late Martyn Godfrey said if you wrote, edited your writing, and sent it out to publishers, then you were a writer. I met with him years ago and he recommended I talk to an agent about a fantasy I wrote called The Wizard's Stone (written 10 years before JK Rowling published her first Harry Potter book). That advice resulted in thousands of dollars spent on a similar result--no published work bearing my by-line.

Then came the advent of on-line publishing. Vanity publishing now takes on a whole new aspect. For no cash outlay, an author can publish their work on-line and see what happens. The book is not printed until someone buys it and is often sold as a version for those with electronic readers. No fuss; no muss. There are even sites associated with big-name publishers who won't accept unsolicited manuscripts but troll their on-line publishing house for books which show promise.

"If you build an audience; publishers will come." Many on-line authors have proven this mantra true so, after so many years of beating my head against the publishing wall, I decided to try it. I still submit publishing proposals but as the market for unsolicited manuscripts dries up, on-line publishing becomes more alluring.

Last year I wrote on this blog I was on the penultimate edit of The Quest of Balthasar. I lied. I finally finished editing it this spring then set about publishing it on-line at Lulu. This required several more edits to get the look right then I bought a single copy. When it arrived, instead of elation, I felt disappointed. It was not what I had envisioned. It sat on my coffee table as I decided what to do. In the end, I went back to the Lulu and revised it.

To see the results, go to:

Here you may purchase this speculative fiction novel for young adults -- Prince Balthasar (Tarr) of Lochnaera, haunted by the grizzly deaths of his parents, searched the galaxy for a legendary ring to bring peace to his planet and fulfill the promise made to his dying father.

Have fun reading The Quest of Balthasar and I'd love to hear what you think.