Authors note: My third novel z2 is currently on blog tour through the fine folks at Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours. The post below is part of that tour and it appeared a week or so ago on a wonderful blog called Coffee Break. My thoughts were inspired by a post I wrote on my x0 blog back in 2013, two whole books ago. A lot has changed for me since then, but apparently other things haven’t changed much at all.
We are a thousand miles from home, traveling to visit my husband’s family in a part of the country settled by Italian immigrants. A confluence of scheduling has left us with one night on our own.
“Italian food,” he insists. “Absolutely,” I agree. He’s heard of a new place and we head over eagerly. What do we find? Buca di Beppo, a good Italian chain restaurant that also has a place about five miles from where we live in Texas. We have to laugh. No way.
As we go off in search of more interesting food, I think about my writing. Traditionally published novels are like chain restaurants, I think. Some are okay and some are great but they are seldom awful. You have a pretty good idea of what you are getting. Self-published novels are more like tiny mom-and-pop restaurants. Some are really bad and some are absolutely fantastic and there is no good way to tell the difference from a distance. Good or bad, the contents are always something of a surprise.
We stumble on a tiny place where the menu is hand typed, and the Pollo Maria Teresa that catches my eye is described with honesty as being a pasta dish served with chicken and “some lobster”. I smile at the lack of polish. It’s like homemade gravy or hand-built furniture. One makes both with love and with all the skill that one can.
Each of my self-published books has been similarly created, edited and rewritten to the best of my ability at the time that I wrote them. Then, because I wanted the product to be better, each was professionally edited with what I could afford. Although both I and my editor have gotten better with each one, my books don’t have the polish provided by industry experts. They are homemade gravy and hand-built furniture. They make no pretense to be otherwise, even though I hope that they can be enjoyed by those who also appreciate the style and predictability of chain restaurants.
The Pollo Maria Teresa arrives and it is wonderful. I smile as I enjoy some of my “some lobster” and I think that it is good to have variety in ones life.