Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Using Contractors

Sandy hit us all where it counted the most. The strange thing is that I am totally unscathed by the storm. Not even a minor inconvenience. Nothing, but JP has been without power and hot water and I don't know what happened to Vladimir and his company. Yeah, that's right, I sent Vladimir a check to get started on my web page. Then the storm, and then nothing. He didn't even cash the check. Nothing. Maybe it got lost in the mail system which has also undergone some surprising outages and difficulties. Maybe this is the reason that I haven't heard from him.

I've spoken to JP and she also had bad news for me. The storm had set her back and it won't be until December before she can get back to me and start working on my manuscript. That seriously blows my Christmas release of Cover of Darkness. This may even get in the way of a New Years release. I have to say that I'm not stunned or hurt over this. My thinking now is that the book will be completed, but in its own time. Nothing that I do can speed it up, or conversely slow it down. The book has a life of its own, and I'm a simple custodian. My job is done. I wrote the damn thing. I'm a writer and that's all I do. I'm not an editor, web page designer, cover designer, proofreader.

That's what you have to understand when you're becoming your own publisher, you are not in as much control as you think you are. That is the thing that is most disconcerting. Further, without good references, you are going out and finding contractors to do your work for you and you are trusting in them to get the work done. You are depending on them not to rip you off. That is the rub. You are just building your manufacturing base. This is crucial if you want to get your book in the hands of your prospective readers. Even after everything is finished and done, you are stuck with marketing and promoting your book. Further areas where you'll have to depend on others to get the word out about your novel. What are you going to do then?

You are going to reevaluate what you do and what you are. You will be wearing many hats, but you will be managing even more. First and foremost, you are a simple writer. Your jobs will expand and touch on a number of things in self publishing but you will still only be a simple writer.

Your book will get done, especially if you persevere, but the long and the short of it is, it's like a Mars Lander, which travels millions of miles to the planet, strikes the orbit, separates its landing portion and down it drops. On Earth, at JPL, they separate the orbiter from the lander and then hold onto their hats. The Lander, the Orbiter the trip into the atmosphere, all under the control of the luck of the draw. Their monitors go static and they chew their nails. Minutes later their monitors come on, the radio kicks in, and the Lander reports that it's okay.

Your book is the Lander and you are the engineers at JPL. You build it, do the best job that you can, and then others, plus the luck of the draw will do the rest. It's launched by other contractors, steered into orbit by other contractors and then landed by luck and other contractors and there you have it. It goes into space and you watch it leave. The same with your book after you write it. Other contractors do their part and you aim for the stars. That's the beauty of it all...'re not alone. You're never alone.

Gregory Delaurentis