My Publishing Journey ~ Gregory Eaves
MY PUBLISHING JOURNEY
Every writer has followed a different path to publication. My journey started with poetry and short stories, which I wrote entirely for my own enjoyment. I eventually joined some writers groups to see how others were approaching their writing. I was encouraged to try publishing my work, or to enter contests.
For reasons that are murky, to say the least, I had the feeling I could write good fiction. I had no particular reason to feel that way, to feel that kind of confidence. It was just there. Maybe a call from a past life, if one believes in such things. Because my first attempts at writing weren’t very good. I had no technical knowledge of the craft of writing, just a love of reading books, and a sense of what was good writing and what wasn’t.
I’m a self-taught writer. That is how writers have traditionally learned their craft. These days there are dozens, if not hundreds, of graduate degrees in creative writing available, and many seem to think you can’t write if you don’t go through one of these programs. If I had been younger when I decided to become a writer, I might have gone that route, but I had already attended two graduate schools in other subjects, and didn’t want to go for a third one. So I read every book on writing I could find, and started to write.
Eventually the issue of publishing comes up for every new writer. I diligently sent in my short stories and kept meticulous records of when and who I sent them to. Time passed, I wrote more stories, I received more rejection letters, more stories, more rejections, and the grind began to wear me down. It was about this time that I came across Joe Konrath’s blog on self-publishing.
Reading his blog was a revelation. Here was a guy whose novels had been rejected 500 times by traditional print publishers, but who found success in self-publishing. I read more, and liked what he was telling the newbie writers. I decided to write a novel and self-publish it.
Self-publishing is controversial; there is a war, of sorts, going on between traditional print publishers and self-publishers. The authors who have been able to break into the ivory tower of print publishing feel that their work is superior because it was chosen by their publisher, was “vetted” and deemed worthy of consumption by the public. Pretty presumptuous, really, to say that only the big print publishers (Random House, etc.) know what the public should read. The fact is, books get published by these publishers for a variety of reasons, and not necessarily because they are well-written.
Don’t get me wrong – I would love to see my books in print under a famous publisher’s name, maybe Simon & Schuster, or Random House. That would be a great boost to my ego. And I think my writing is good enough to be chosen for print publication. Right now, though, I would rather skip the middleman, and be the captain of my own ship. Through self-publishing I can publish exactly what I want, when I want. I don’t have to change the title, or the cover, or anything between the covers, to please some publishing executive in New York.
In response to those authors who think self-published novels aren’t “vetted”, I just want to say that that isn’t true for all of us. Self-publishing is open to everyone; it’s the great democracy of the writing world, and one can choose to do it any way one wishes. Personally, I always hire professional editors to go over my work, in the same way that a large New York publisher would consult in-house staff. Many self-published writers have friends or writing groups that help them with feedback. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees, and it helps to get outside opinions.
Many authors would disagree with what I’ve said and that’s okay. Self-publishing isn’t for everyone. It’s a lot of extra work, work that is handled by the publisher if you go the NY print publisher route. But it’s my way, and I like it.
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by Gregory Eaves
SCHISM is an atmospheric journey back in time to the year 1970, when drugs and anti-war protests dominated the headlines. This psychological suspense mystery follows the life of a middle-aged college professor, Jackson Boone, as he tries to unravel the truth about his girlfriend. He is in danger of losing his job, and perhaps his life, when he takes on a violent radical group in the process. Haunted by a past mistake, Boone tries to do the right thing in a world of increasingly ambiguous moral shadings.
Like falling down a hole or a shaft of darkness, Boone was sucked back to his bedroom by a drastic change of music coming from the library, and he sat up. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring reverberated through the house, its sudden, exciting blasts from the horn section conjuring up prehistoric imagery instead of the usual pagan dances. He held his head on both sides because it seemed to release a pressure that had built up. He realized he was no longer human, that he was the first amphibian crawling out of the Paleozoic mud. He could feel his gills, not quite lungs, but almost, pulsating with life as he breathed air for the first time. There were no thoughts to form, no emotions to feel, just pure existence. A light seemed to be coming into his head from above, as if he were underwater and the sun was shining on the surface.
Again, he was sucked back to the bedroom, to solid form, and this time he felt like himself. He didn’t know how much time had passed – it could have been eons, or it could have been a few minutes or an hour or two. He was strangely detached from his thoughts; in fact he wasn’t thinking much at all. Boone took his socks off and stood up. Clothing seemed so unnecessary. He was an ancient human now, with strong, callused feet impervious to rough terrain. His feet were alive, as if he had been cut off from that part of his body, existing only as an ego that abused and ignored them. Boone walked over to the window and looked out with a sense of wonder and awe, marveling at the exquisite texture, shape, and color of the shrubs and flowers he saw. It was like he had never seen plant life before and he was viewing it for the first time, as a visitor from outer space would.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Gregory Eaves was born October 18, 1950, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended Speedway High School and Indiana University. In his twenties, he traveled extensively throughout the United States, with an eight year stay in San Diego, California, where he studied and practiced meditation.
Gregory moved to Florida and completed a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida.
Library school rekindled his interest in reading, which had been his favorite activity as a child growing up. Mysteries had been his first love, and he devoured his first mystery books with singular passion and zeal. Nothing else seemed to hit the sweet spot like reading The Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes, and Poirot. He later enjoyed authors like Raymond Chandler, John D. McDonald, Graham Greene, Patricia Highsmith, and others.
SCHISM is Gregory’s first novel. His prior experience with writing included poetry and short stories. One of his short-shorts won runner-up in a contest in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.
He now lives on the east coast of Florida, and when he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing guitar and collecting vintage stereo gear and vinyl records. He is a member of American Mensa.