Ms. Kozak, if you want to beef up the word count, you can always put in a dissertation on whales in the middle of your novel or a ship’s manifest. My favorite is to put in a boatload of “thats.” Indeed, remember that 100,000+ word novel? I’ve reduced it to only 96,000 words though I still call it my 100,000 word novel. I trimmed five thousand “thats” from my novel plus “verys,” “as’s,” “thens” and many more of the so called forbidden words. But that is the business of writers, right? Or is it?
Kim and I already have four businesses we manage. We have the inn and the guests who come to the inn. Take a gander at the Inn N Around blog. We have the painting school! We have the fiber art school! Not to mention the workshops blog. Kim is responsible for these blogs now. I started off doing most of the writing for our workshops blog but she has taken over. And, of course, our sweetest venture, Life By Chocolate. You are already on the LBC blog so no need for me to put a link to it.
We not only handle all the accounting, ordering, cooking and managing of our four businesses but also all the marketing, advertising, making and selling of chocolates, scheduling of teachers and, of course, the famous answering of the phones. Who then, I ask you, was the brilliant wunderkind who decided to add another business to this crazy mix? Whoever he or she is, tell them to stop it. Oh, that’s right, I have added the writing and selling novels to my workload.
“Now hold on there a second pard!” I hear my devoted guests and students saying back to me. “Doesn’t Kim also manage Crazy By Design AND create all the art quilts for it? Isn’t she revitalizing the Esty store? Doesn’t Kim also manage your gallery space? Huh? Huh?” My answer to that is, “Yes.” Yes, Kim is doing quite a bit. And so, instead of hunkering down and concentrating on our 4, no, 5 businesses, I have started another one, Brylcreem not withstanding.
“But now,” you tell me in a firm voice, “now you have decided to self-publish! Are you completely nuts? Looney? Around the bend? A full house short of a deck?” I made that last metaphor up. Nice, huh?
And that, gentle reader, you know who you are, is my problem. How can I possibly justify adding another business. I am definitely a manager and could easily become a writer/manager rather than “a writer, not a manager” of Charles Stross fame because I do have the business savvy. I freely admit that Kim has more business savvy than I do even if she isn’t as tough minded as I am or as some people call me, a hard ass. Though, she is developing that side of her business skills rapidly, much to my chagrin. (No, sweetie, I wont spend more money than the budget allows for fixing the outside lighting. Not without your approval. Never, my love. I promise. Honest.) And as I said in a comment on Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s blog post The Business Rusch: The Logic Behind Self Publishing “to recommend to anyone, especially painters and writers, not to worry about business is insane.” (If you read the post, please note that I did put in two line-returns at the end of each paragraph and yet the blog software only put in one. Ouch. I wish the comment function of whatever blog software Ms. Rusch is using had a preview function.) Having said and meant that, I am staring at adding not just self-publishing to my writing tasks but a sixth business to our already strained business life, we have no other, and busy marriage. (While I was commenting on Ms. Rusch’s blog, an old French chef and restauranteur, who is a great customer, interrupted me to buy some chocolate, par exemple.)
Many of you are probably thinking the exact thoughts I thought while I wrote this. I have a great life at the inn with my wife, Kim. I have wonderful friends who work with us. Bob helps me in the kitchen and does all the cleaning I don’t have time for. Nancy is my right hand woman. She’s my sous and pastry chef and she is a more than competent stand-in as chocolatier. I’d go one more step and call her the chocolatier, relegating me to helper. I did train her and she has learned more than she knows about chocolate. Our two waitresses, Pippy née Kadi, and Rebecca née Regina, are fantastic, bright, sunny and wonderful. Why would you want to change that? Why add more headache?
Our guests and students are a joy. They come from around the world and all walks of life. We have brilliant students who are all excellent artists in their own right. We are lucky and blessed. And those who know me know I don’t toss around words like “blessed” easily or often. Finally, on Facebook, I have reconnected with many of my high school pals and chums as well as old college buddies and pals. I already mentioned my old cronies from software. When am I going to have time to administer my publishing business, self or not? When am I going to have time to learn how to become an agent, never mind a publisher? When will I have time to writer? Maybe Mr. Stross has a point. This is worse than academics.
“There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and to find sensible men to read it.” –Charles Caleb Colton
Stay tuned next week for the Counter Point.