Try a Different Door!

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My publisher went out of business in January!   That means my books went out of print, and out of distribution.  It was a door suddenly slammed shut in my face–totally unexpected, although there had been signs, had I been more perceptive.

So, what now?

I had three novels in print, one of which was a second edition.  I had worked with my wife on a nonfiction book we published two years ago.  On top of that, I’d spent much of the previous year writing a biography that I anticipated getting published.

Boom!  It felt like hitting a brick wall.

My first thought was to seek a new publisher.  Major problem:  I had no money to invest.  Some people suggested crowd funding.  I wasn’t so sure, but took a shot at it.  Nothing!

Backstory…I’m an artist as well as a writer.  When I started writing I stepped away from painting.  I guess I have a narrowly-focused muse.  As publishing doors seemed to close, I took another look at the unsold paintings I had in my garage.  “Okay, maybe it’s time to change focus.”  I had some opportunities to exhibit my work, so I jumped back in.  Lots of publicity. Painted some new things.  

It worked!  I hung 23 paintings in a month-long exhibit out-of-town, and sold one.  The next month I entered three pieces in a local exhibit and sold one.  This month I entered five in another remote exhibit and sold three.

So what now?  Am I going back to painting?  Probably not–well, maybe an occasional piece.  What happened during this period of art shows was that I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing.  It has opened a  whole new world.  I think I want to dwell here for a while.

Becoming an independent author with Kindle is like going through a different door.  No up-front costs means I’m free to explore where else my writing might take me. The first benefit was it provided a way to publish the book I had just finished writing about my mother’s life.

The book’s titled When Love Prevails, and chronicles her journey from an Ohio dairy farm where she was born, to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where she blossomed.  Along the way she experienced the Great Depression, World War II, the raising of two handicapped children, founding a residential school for severely physically handicapped adults, the loss of those who children, her husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease and death, and a few years as the least assisted resident of an assisted living facility.  Her faith gave her courage and wisdom for a journey that lasted 105 years.

When Love Prevails is available now in e-book format for kindle reader, tablet and smart phone–and also in paperback through Amazon.  

My task now is formatting e-book editions for each of  my Dinkel Island Series novels:  A Change of Heart, Return of Bliss, and Secrets at Lighthouse Point.  Each book has a new cover, and some good re-writing.  In September my wife and I republished her book through Kindle:  NPH Journey into Dementia and Out Again.

The Kindle door has been a great re-awakening for me in terms of writing and publishing.  Once I finish all the resets, I’ll get back into book four of the Dinkel Island Series.  Meanwhile, I invite you through this door with me…visit my books at Amazon.com.  Read an e-book edition on your computer, tablet or phone, then write a review of your impression of the book and send it to Amazon.  That’s how the system works inside this new door.

Today I’m thankful I tried a different door!  I wonder how many more “different doors” await me in the future?

Can This be Patched?

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Nope!

It’s gone!

Nothing to do now but pick up the pieces.

In its day, this workboat plied the Chesapeake Bay with pride.  Its skipper took it out in all sorts of weather.  Sea gulls played in its wake.  Its crew dredged oyster beds.  The comradery of watermen sharing laughter, anger, anticipation, disappointment, triumph, and brotherhood echoed in its timbers.

One day, probably all too soon for its owners, the boat gave up its seafaring days. Propped up ashore to fade away with dignity, it is remembered by many.  Some will never see it again.  Few will know what it was like to walk its decks, man its equipment, or store fish in its hold.  It has made its contribution.

Life goes on!

This old boat that I photographed decades ago came to mind two weeks ago when I opened an email saying my publisher had suddenly gone out of business.  Tate Publishing and Enterprises is no more.

Gone!

Like the old boat, it can’t be patched up and refloated.  The watermark of its presence in the publishing and music world is left to fade into the background.  Hopefully, its authors and artists will not!

I have been a Tate author since 2013.  I signed on in 2012 when I had polished up a manuscript I had worked on over a twenty-year period.  In the confusing world of e-books, self-publishing, and predictions that print media was outdated, the editorial staff at Tate showed me how to lose 40,000 of my 122,000 words, ending up with my first novel, A Change of Heart.   

Since then Tate enabled me to develop my Dinkel Island Series, which includes book two, Return of Bliss, and book three, Secrets at Lighthouse Point.  When my wife, Sharon, and I had gone through the neurological sidetrack of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH), Tate published the book we wrote together:  NPH Journey into Dementia and Out Again.   

So, what does Tate’s closing mean for us?  Is it the end of our books?  

We don’t know what’s next, but we’re not ready to have our writing propped up on shore to fade away.  Several publishing houses have contacted us.  I don’t know if the Dinkel Island Series will continue, or simply be allowed to live on as a trilogy.  Sharon and I both have other writing ventures underway.  One of my goals is to finish the biography of my mother’s life, Dairyman’s Daughter:  Story of One Woman’s Enduring Faith and Courage.  I also have another novel partially written.

Once we find a new publishing boat to board, we’ll be underway again.  Meanwhile, we have books available for sale.  Amazon has both paperback and kindle editions up on their site for all our books.  Barnes & Noble has them all up in Nook editions.  Soft cover books are still available at Book People in Richmond, and Buford Road Pharmacy in Bon Air.

Sharon and I are grateful to all the people who have bought our books.  We also extend our prayers for the Tate family, former employees, and our fellow Tate authors.  As we move on from here it’s good to remember that my books are about redemption and hope.

That’s our centerpiece!