I wrote this for my blog back in 2011, I stumbled across it on FB, reread it and decided it was time to edit, add and repost it for those who may have missed it the first time. It stemmed from an exercise a friend suggested to me, every sentence has to start with “I”.
Here’s my “I Am…”
I don’t remember being born to a young woman who gave me up and a young man who didn’t know I existed. I have no memories from the day I was adopted by the DeGeit’s, but they celebrated every Valentine’s day as the day I became theirs. I knew my adopted parents loved and wanted me. I knew I belonged to them. I was raised in love, understanding, education and discipline. I had a family. I was supposed to have been content. I should have been happy.
I didn’t fit into school. I was weird, I wasn’t really pretty, I was smart. I was the kid they made fun of, the one the other kids teased.
I didn’t make friends well. I tried but I failed. I wasn’t popular and that’s a trait you need in school. I didn’t have what I needed. I just wanted to fit in but I didn’t.
I always had “problems” when I was young. I wasn’t right in the head. I was in counselling from early on. I couldn’t be happy. I tried but failed.
I trudged miserably through school, elementary, intermediate and high…
I hated high school the most.
I still wasn’t popular. I didn’t grow into anything like some did. I got worse.
I was in the school band and library club. I didn’t know of anyone else in the library club. I think I was the only one.
I don’t remember much of high school. I am a perfect example of how we block out the bad.
I was fifteen when I met him, he was 18 and said he loved me.
I believed him.
I thought I needed him.
I dropped out of school at 16.
I moved out and I left my family behind, not for myself but for him…
I know now I was wrong.
I was constantly miserable but too proud to go home.
I thought I was in love.
I still stayed with him and shunned my family.
I shouldn’t have… but you can’t change the past.
I was 16, what the fuck did I know?
I lost my mind. I was hospitalized.
I was labelled with disorders. I was medicated. I have been both uncontrollable and catatonic.
I wasn’t the person you know now, back then. I never thought I would change.
I didn’t think I could live anymore.
I’d hit rockbottom, the scars on my wrist pushed me to leave my hometown.
I had to start new. I knew I had to start fresh. I left my family and all I’ve known… I had no choice.
I walked away from everything I always was, a daughter, a student, a lover and lost soul.
I survived. I forced myself to change. I had to.
I slowly changed. I made it happen, even though the way wasn’t easy.
I could tell you about my move to Ottawa. I could explain how I got a job, moved up in rank and garnered respect and experience. I was a retail manager. I paid off my bills, I bought myself “stuff” and things. I did that.
I could tell you how I worked at a sex store for three years, selling vibrators and renting porn. I really liked that job. I did that.
I could tell you about the photographer, part-time modelling, Bermuda, endless money… and the drugs. I did that.
I could tell you about how I dated a musician and lost everything I’ve owned, but found my love and passion for music. I play the flute and have for a long time but I learned to play better. I risked it all, and lost it all, but I don’t regret anything. I did that.
I could talk about being a gypsy, just doing what makes my heart feel right. I’m still doing that now.
I could talk about how I grew into my looks. I became pretty. I formed an attitude, my attitude. I got louder, unfortunately for those around me. I wanted to be centre of attention, I still do. I became a little more “Mandy”.
I could also tell you how I STILL struggled through all of that, searching to find who I am. I am still doing that.
I want to tell you about how I am still not sure of what I’m supposed to do.
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
I want to be a writer, so I write.
I want to be famous, so I put myself out there.
I want someone to grow old with… no one wants to die alone.
I still don’t have it all figured out, maybe I never will.
I’m 35 years old and I’m still working on who I am.
I do know one thing: I am Mandy, Stronger, Better, More Me… And Now With 100% More Tattoos.
As fellow author and friend, Andrew Wolter proved, this always isn’t the case.
Everything stemmed from a comment left on a sub call by the editor of Twisted Dreams, Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc.
After working your way through the messy (and incomprehensible) guidelines, there was a comment from an author at the bottom of the page. The author was asking about pay rates. Simple enough, right?
The editor in question’s answer was mean-spirited and ugly. Andrew posted an open letter/comment to Andrea, who wrote back in return. While the comment’s been removed from the Twisted Dreams website, you can see the entire conversation on Andrew’s blog, HERE. (Please take the time to check out the link, her response is egotistically driven, unneeded and appalling.)
The publisher’s level of professionalism is non-existant. New and aspiring writers, please remember just because you are new, this does NOT allow publishers (or anyone else for that matter) to use you or abuse you. They are making money from the work you have created and should treat you just like anyone else wants to be treated.
Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking otherwise.
“Hey Mandy, is there any chance you’d write a quick and fun post about what you want or Christmas. I have a few authors on board and want to hear what craziness you’d have to say.”
Well, funny he would ask that, as I do have craziness to share. (There’s always enough crazy to go around in my world.)
Here’s a fun blog post about what I would ask for Santa to bring me for Xmas…
IF, I can stay off the naughty girls list.
Thanks for reading.
“…and they lived happily ever after.
In the world of writing/publishing, once the writer is done his part, the story doesn’t magically disappear, only to reappear on someone’s bookshelf as a completed novel. *(While that would be really nice, it doesn’t happen.)
The step between writing and reading—and the topic of this article—is publishing.
“To publish or to self-publish?” seems to be the question on a lot of minds these days.
With the addition of D-I-Y programs through websites such as Amazon and Smashwords, Self-publishing has become a much simpler task. However, a recent article* from The Guardian states, “Half of self-published authors earn less than $500 a year”.
So what is an author with a finished story to do?
Here are some points that may help facilitate the decision-making process
-You’ll make more money: (PRO) You will pocket most of the profit from your book sales. (CON) There’s no guarantee the book will sell a single copy if you self-publish.
-You get paid faster: (PRO) Places like Amazon send monthly payments for royalties, whereas publishers pay royalties by the quarter. (CON) Publishers pay quarterly, but they may offer advances.
-Retain all rights to your work: (PRO) Self-publishing allows you to retain all your rights, whereas publishers will try to retain some rights to the story. (FYI: Don’t forget authors have the right to question/change their contracts with publishers prior to signing.)
-Book comes out quickly: (PRO) Self-Publishing can have a book up in 12 hours whereas publishing houses can take months or even more than a year. (CON) There is a prejudice against self-publishing: Self-pubs have an amateur feel to them (as they were, more than likely, put out by an amateur).
-Publish at your own pace: (PRO) You can set your own deadlines and write at your own pace. (CON) If you wait too long between books, your fans will lose interest.
-Total Control: (PRO) No more waiting for acceptance/rejections. You are in charge of the entire project. (CON) You are in charge of the entire project, which means in charge of the editing, formatting, marketing, advertising and anything else that comes with writing a novel.
-Complete Freedom: (PRO) You have complete freedom to market your book as you see fit. (CON) Time becomes an issue when you are juggling writing and marketing your own work.
-Time to find an audience: (PRO) The author has time to find an audience, it’s not as time-sensitive for their books to sell compared to being put in a bookstore. (CON) How much time do you really have to invest in marketing yourself?
Personally, as a fledgling author, I’d prefer to go the route of the publisher rather than self-publish (for now). While I do have one self-published short story, (due to the extenuating circumstances surrounding it), I am focusing on writing and leaving the publishing up to the professionals. This decision allows me the time to build my writing skills and learn to be a writer. I’d much rather spend my time writing new stories and honing my craft, than trying to build my audience or learning to myself as an author.
Overall, a good mix of both publishing houses and self-publishing will allow you expand your reach as an author, generate more sales and create a larger fan base. (A good example of someone using both methods for her benefit is author Kelli Owen. All of Kelli’s new work is released through her publisher and she is using the self-publishing route to put her older titles back on the market as the rights revert back to her.)
I leave with two final thoughts.
Just because it’s been rejected, doesn’t mean it’s no good.
Just because you can self-publish, doesn’t mean you should.
MDG aka Mandy DeGeit