Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, June 13, 2008

Questions From a New Author -- Guest Blog: W. Dave Free

Given the experience, skills, and wit of those who usually write here, I’ve stressed considerably about what I might add to the conversation. My first books were published just last month and, frankly, I have more questions about the business of writing than answers at this point. So rather than just providing fodder for the identification of additional grammatical pet peeves (I’m pretty good at dangling participles,) I thought I’d use the opportunity to ask some questions.

Is it possible to publish a book without errors? It was more than a little disappointing to discover my book wasn’t perfect. We certainly tried beforehand to make it perfect -- countless revisions, lengthy editing discussions (around vitally important words like bison and dude) and even a last minute cover change. All that effort and within five minutes of handing my first copy to my wife, she pointed out a fairly significant error. I love my wife. Needless to say, I took it pretty hard. My first thought was, “All that work wasted.” Thankfully, even imperfect books sell. Next time I’ll work harder to avoid errors and try to bask in the glow of being published for at least an hour before handing my wife a copy.

How many other hats do I need to wear? As has so eloquently been stated on this blog, being published is just the beginning. I’m quickly learning that a successful writer is also a publicist, lecturer, marketer, sales person, and probably several others I haven’t realized yet . . .

How can I ever thank my family and friends? I did my first book signing last Saturday. I was a little worried about sitting all alone behind that desk, watching customers walk by with their eyes diverted. So, it was nice to see familiar face after familiar face come by for a signed copy. Their kind reviews and encouragement throughout the process kept me going. I know that readership has to extend beyond family and friends, but it’s been a great place to start.

How do I maintain the balance? I now understand that being a successful writer is more than just the creative process of writing a good story. I don’t resent the business side of the equation. I know that it is necessary and hope to become very good at it. What worries me is the time it requires. How does a successful writer handle all the aspects of the business and still find the time to create?

And finally, why does counting books take six months? In an age where you can track the travels of a great white shark in near real time:
pay all your bills without writing a single check, and/or watch a movie on your phone, it still takes publishers six months to add up how many books were sold and mail you a check?

Something smells fishy here and it’s not the great white.

If you haven't already read Journey of the Heart and/or read Jee's Bones to your kids, let me be the first to recommend them! I don't know what the W in his name stands for, but it might be Wonderfully Witty, Wise Writer. For sure he is destined to be a bright new star in the firmament of LDS fiction. (And, remember, you met him here first! Well, some of you did . . .)
You can read more about Dave -- as well as excerpts from his books -- HERE!


At 6/13/2008 12:02 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Dave, I review LDS novels for Meridian, but I've never received a review copy of a book from Leatherwood Press. I'd appreciate a contact address or a hint to your marketing manager.
Jennie Hansen

At 6/13/2008 2:14 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

You walk ahead of me so all your questions sound very valid to me and I offer no answers, esp about the balance. It's good to know that we all muddle our way through.

At 6/13/2008 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've mastered the art of creative spelling and punctuation on line and in my writing so I am grateful to the Shakers (I'm not sure which group but someone like that)who purposefully mismatch a piece on their quilts as they begin working so that they don't have to worry about making the first mistake. It's like the first dent in your new car. It happens. By the way, I haven't opened my book since the first day when I looked at a page where the editors had changed a few words (and I had approved). That was last July. I still don't know if the audio is read by a male or female. I decided I didn't need to whine about spilt milk and started writing again.
Thats the fun part and think of how relieved it makes the rest of us when we see that someone else didn't get it perfect but their book is great!


At 6/13/2008 6:59 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Out of curiosity, are you related to Matt Free of Orem?

At 6/14/2008 12:19 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Congratulations on your new books!

At 6/14/2008 1:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Dave. I feel like I know you. Actually I do. And I've read your stuff online at your CTR Stories website. So happy for you. May you publish often.


At 6/14/2008 8:55 AM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...

Sounds like a great book. Hope you return and let us know how sales are going, Dave.

If you ever want to be a guest blogger on my blog, you're welcome any time. Just let me know.

At 6/14/2008 12:04 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Thanks for the comments! Glad to hear I am not alone in my wanderings.

Jennie - I would love to have you review my books. I mentioned it to my publisher and they said they would follow up with you.

Jon - Yes, Matt is my younger, taller and more handsome brother. However, I still have my hair so there is some justice in the universe...

Anne - Thanks for the offer to guest on you blog. I'll be in touch.

At 6/18/2008 1:58 PM, Blogger G. Parker said...

Dave! How exciting! Is the Bones story the one off of CTR stories?? And do you know what happened to the site? I can't seem to get it to come up today...
Anyway, great news!!!

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