When I was just a kid, I wondered what I should do when I grew up. Mum had no answers for me but she strongly urged me to clean out the chicken coop before the hens quit laying in protest. Mum pointed out that if we took care of our animals, they in turn would take care of us. Fine, I picked up the pitchfork and slowly dragged my feet towards the coop where the strong odor of ammonia awaited me. The long prairie winter had taken its toll on the cleanliness of the coop so with the hens scratching around in the pen, I set to work.
Chickens are unusual birds with their flat head and bulging eyes. When they examine you with those keen eyes, they turn the head sideways so one eye has a full view of you, then rotate back one hundred and eighty degrees so the other eye can examine you too. One hen did just that to me while I was forking around in the coop, her house, so to speak. I suppose she wanted to go set a spell and drop an egg. But the place wasn’t ready yet so I said shoo, go away. She looked at me again with those crazy eyes and I swear this is what she said to me: booook, book, book. And thus came my inspiration to write.
As I write and edit about this grand adventure for lost treasure, I study books in the library and in book stores. There is certainly some great competition out there. How will my modest effort stack up? What is the average shelf life before a book gets the big discount sticker? I pay particular attention to covers too, that first hook used to grab the reader’s attention. Some covers really don’t seem to work, at least not for me. But how will mine stack up? How can I make mine stand out?
I think that alone is a good reason to self-publish: retain creative control over the entire project. If a writer has a vision for the story, why not have your own vision for the cover as well? Of course I’ll delete this post if I get to that point and the cover proves to be a flop and everyone says so. Yet still, if I have one chance for a book to represent my dream, well damn-it, the dream will encompass the entire project. Meanwhile, I continue to edit and try to improve the read to the point where an editor will appreciate my efforts and make appropriate suggestions. I admit that editing is dull and boring for me and yet so vital. With every ‘next edit’ I think how can I make this better? How can I have the reader experience what I felt through those exciting times of searching the forest on my ultimate treasure hunt? With luck and a good editor, I will try to do my best. And soon, I hope, real soon.