2018-04-08 A Lotta Work, But It’s Exciting

Screenshot 2018-04-08 04.01.42

Autumn, Winter, Spring now. Thanksgiving and Christmas both were great. Got to host my whole family here in Long Beach for both holidays. Nothing better.

New Year’s till now. Still working on the ol’ book.

First, previous post I promised to publish a short story (later expanded aspirationally to a 3-story collection) as an interim publication before launching The Art of Lying.

That’s not going to happen. I certainly could do it. The stories are ready. But between the time I considered the idea and now, I’ve realized that I will do much better with the novel by not turning away from it for any extended period of time. That might be a good idea at first or second draft, but not now.

When I revise a piece and finish it, the process is slow and laborious. But it gradually accelerates as there is less and less to do. I’m in that last stage now on The Art of Lying. Where, in the early stages of revision, I make grand structural changes and redo entire scenes and sequences, now I’m down to aligning details, fixing timelines, proofreading for style consistencies. These things are best kept foremost in one’s mind at this stage. Setting aside the novel for six weeks to publish a story collection does not help for remembering those tiny details.

As I’ve gone along, I’ve dabbled in the forthcoming phases of self-publication: formatting, cover art, marketing, Amazon positioning, etc. My current draft, #6, includes final formatting decisions including drop caps on chapters, chapter title style, a chosen font for print publication. Likewise, certain elements of art, marketing, and positioning are starting to emerge from the swamp as well.

At times I despair that this book will never amount to more than the 5-12 purchases my family and closest friends will make. While, most often, I swell with optimism that this is just plain a good book – better than 95% of what’s out there – and that is enough for now. The other bookend (pun intended) of these fears/dreams is that The Art of Lying will meet good reception, and gradually develop a following and momentum that establishes me as a full-blown author and member of the $5,000 a year club. Why not?

Where am I now? I’m just three weeks into my most recent draft and I’m already through 22% of 359 pages. The last half has already proven a quick run. So per my evaluation methods, it will go much more quickly once I’m past halfway. Perhaps this (final?) draft will be done in six weeks?

Hopefully my cover artist will come up with something great. But if he doesn’t (or doesn’t in time), I’m working on alternate ideas. Please, Lord, let it be June 2018 and I’m in the last stages of putting The Art of Lying out for publication!

2017-07-13 Rounding The Final Turn

I see my last post was upon (almost) finishing the second draft of The Art Of Lying. That was back in mid-November. That means I’m getting better at this. Just around six months for another full draft.

Good news is that the last third or so of the novel read well and didn’t need a lot of massaging or reconstruction. I feel like the first part is also just about there. So this finds me to the brink of the next stage: Another run through the whole thing – this time an even more expedited process – and then the publishing chores of formatting, cover design, audio book recording, and God knows what else.

I’ve been trying to read a lot of Kindle-published indie novels lately. Truthfully, I’m dismayed at the literary quality, and sometimes even at the grammar and sentence construction. I believe The Art Of Lying is going to show well in both these respects. However, the most popular indie fiction is pretty cheesy and low-brow. I have no idea how a sprawling, often introspective novel, 3 or 4 times the length of most indie books, is going to get a foothold in the market. But I just hope it will. I already know from lots of research that I’ll need your help in spreading the word, pardon the pun.

Meantime, I plan on finishing a short story and then using it as a Kindle test run. I’ll get a cover, format it, etc., and establish myself on Amazon. In the process I’m sure I’ll learn a lot about these nuts and bolts aspects of the process.

So next, look for my short story, tentatively titled, “No Place To Start.” Don’t worry, I’ll remind you here.

I hope everybody continues to have a great summer. Or else start having one now.

Today Was A Good Day


As Ice Cube said, “Today was a good day.”

Just minutes ago I clicked the diskette icon to Save the second draft of The Art of Lying, ringing the bell on a full run through the 400 single-spaced pages.

Jesus, it was almost exactly a year ago I started the rewrite, expecting to slash-and-burn through it in a couple of months.

But I just couldn’t do it. It required too much fine-tuning, too much verbosity to excise, too much awkward sentence construction to knock down and build over. So I had to comb through it, line by line. It was the only way. Perhaps because it’s just the way I rewrite, or perhaps because that is merely what this project required. In any event, I worked around five days a week, an hour or so a day. And that’s how long it took.

Now, I’m not lighting the victory cigar just yet (though I am having a martini). I will make another run at the last, important, sixty pages. Then I’ll go to the beginning in a quick scan to make sure I’m starting it right. Then I will officially crown it Revision 2, Complete.

But that’s hopefully only a couple/few weeks more.

I’d like to note that despite the labored revision, I have truly retained the tone and the perspective of the original. The story is a time capsule of sorts, both of the era and of myself at that time. I’ve left unchanged some things that are certainly politically incorrect per current values. I have changed a few physical and cultural details to be more correct of the era (that I nevertheless had wrong whilst living in the same era).

Anyway, it feels good. And the book feels good. I look forward to your reading it, and people you know reading it, and people they know reading it.

Max•Ed: A Serialized Novel – 1996

So that was almost 20 years ago. I had tried my hand at everything from short stories to screenplays to TV scripts to regular print novels. Being that was during the early stages of the internet, I thought why not go Manifest Destiny into the great wide open?

So I began to write an online novel. Which commenced February 1, 1996, publishing weekly chapters of 2000 words.

The title was Max•Ed: A Serialized Novel.

Yes, I’m a knucklehead who used a practically inaccessible character (the bullet between Max and Ed) in the actual title of my novel. Not even a hyphen, which would have been bad enough. So much for blowing up in Ask Jeeves, Webcrawler, or AltaVista. Those were some of the search engines before Google came along and fixed everything.

Author photo on my website back in '96.

Author photo on my website back in ’96.

I had a good time writing that novel. It was a great exercise in dedication and perseverance. I published/posted 101 chapters (that’s 200,000 words) over the following two and half years. So I didn’t miss a lot of weeks. I recall giving myself a little time off over Christmases, and probably during summer vacations.

Upon publishing the final chapter June 30, 1998, I took a little break then notified my rabid readership that my next step would be to soon take down Max•Ed (which was now to be called The Art of Lying), revise it privately, and hopefully get it into shape for a conventional publishing submission.

That never happened. I’m almost sure I never had a rabid readership – large or infinitesimal. I received about three pieces of fan email, the most substantial of which from a woman who chastised me for my portrayal of women. I gave that message a mildly defensive response, followed by later messages where I flirted and attempted to arrange a date should she ever find herself in Southern California.

I did hear from a couple of magazines about listing the novel, with a short review. These were real magazines, mind you. Believe it or not, there used to be paper magazines compiling the best places to visit on the internet. Anyway, I got listed as a recommended site where you could read a serialized novel, along with a fairly nice blurb.

Home page image on my website, produced by my mom, Myrna Jacobs.

Home page image on my website, produced by my mom, Myrna Jacobs.

Amazingly, the novel did help get me laid, though. I gave printed copies of a couple dozen chapters to a girl I was dating, and she liked it a lot, and liked me a lot better for it. The next girl I gave it to insisted on reading the whole thing. And she eventually married me.

Maybe it’s like the “Entertainment” in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. Be careful, ladies if you decide to start reading.

Yes, that’s right. You will actually have that chance fairly soon. (You too, fellas.)

I’m writing today to announce that The Art of Lying is getting a sponge bath and a clean set of clothes over the next few months. And then I will be publishing it for real on Amazon Kindle Publishing. Print On Demand availability will probably follow, as well.

Meantime, it’s possible between now and then I will post a sample or two from The Art of Lying.