In Order to be Out of Order

I tend to do things out of order. I’m not one to follow prescribed rules or scripts. I think most people think that about themselves. And I think most people think most other people do follow scripts and such. But it’s really ok if one person buys the Mustang and another buys the Camaro, or one votes left-wing and another votes right-wing. Just don’t say the other side is evil.

Say they are out of order.

So recently I finished editing and re-writing my second novel, Virtual Silence, and I am very pleased at how it turned out. I had a great idea for a new cover, but that project may be delayed a bit.

I just wanted to clear up the order in which I published my books, even though I started them in completely different order.

My first novel, published in 2004, is currently called The Dying Art of Conjugation, although I published it under another title and under a pen name. I have taken it out of print and plan to one day completely revamp it. But don’t hold your breath. I have better things to do right now.

Virtual Silence, originally published in 2010, is my second novel. It is about the lack of soul in modern American businesses, and how people need to free themselves from Cubeland, get out and paint, draw, be mutually intimate with real people.

Fugue in C Minor is my third novel, published in 2013. It’s about a fellow who has lost his memory, and has to figure out if this beautiful woman next to him is really his wife, or someone trying to sabotage his family. It’s a sexy, paranoid thriller.

I am doing research and organizing the structure for my fourth novel right now, so I haven’t written much in the actual manuscript.

You don’t want to write your novel before you’ve researched and organized. That would be out of order for me.

Review of My Novel, Fugue in C Minor

Kevin Wallace reviews Fugue in C Minor in Goodreads:

I read a draft version of Fugue in C Minor and found the story interesting and many of the issues fascinating. Having now read the new version, I face the challenge of seeing it on its own terms. I gained certain impressions of the novel from the draft, and found that in the end these were not quite the direction Dickinson took it in the final edit. So my perspective needs a little adjustment. As I am fond of saying to my students, every text provides its own set of reading instructions, so I had to relearn them for the second version.

In doing so, I definitely enjoyed it, as I have all of Dickinson’s published stories thus far. He is very good at developing plots that are not always straightforward, surprise-laden, and which bring in and integrate issues of characters and theme that would sound disparate if I were to list them. One late revelation about a principle character in appears jarring, and I felt I was not properly prepared for it. But that is just one, amid many that I found quite satisfyingly unpredictable. For the most part, he integrates them well and makes good sense of them. To mind mind, his stories reflect the complexities of real-life characters: while I may not see myself in Maxim Edgars, I can recognize in him my own frequent confusion, and the way my life story is buffeted in various unpredictable directions by the often contradictory impulses to which I guess we are all subject.

Fugue’s real strength isn’t so much the analysis of an amnesiac rebuilding his memories. Instead it is his protagonist’s growing understanding of himself as part of a love relationship. Maxim has the unique opportunity first to reinvent his life, and then, due to his brain injury, to reinvent his own relationship with his past, and the way his present is affected by it. The story shows what such an experience could mean – to be freed from the influence of past errors, betrayals, the real and the imagined selves that one must live up to. As Maxim rediscovers his past, he’s in the enviable position of being able to choose between his various possible selves, and to sidestep (but never erase) the guilt and regret that, for most of us, make such choices so difficult, no matter how many times we have to make them.

In a way, the “fugue” or amnesia aspect of the story comes off, in this version, as more of a device – a situation – that makes Dickinson’s unique discussion of love and marriage possible. I found myself wanting more psychic angst – the fear, the distrust, the paranoia – that I suppose such an experience might entail. But that’s because “angst” is my personal oeuvre. To be sure, Dickinson doesn’t neglect these aspects; but I admit I was hoping for more of it.

These minor caveats aside, I “really liked it” (to quote the Goodreads rating criteria). Of the three novels I’ve read by this writer, Fugue in C Minor has been my favourite (I look forward to the rumoured rewrite of Virtual Silence). What I like best about Dickinson’s storytelling is here in strength, and I have to say, I learned a few things. Can’t be bad!

My Goodreads.com Giveaway Has Started

In the first two or three hours of the giveaway promotion, 23 people “added” my book to their interested list. That’s not a bad start. Only one person has signed up for the actual giveaway so far, but there are 29.8 days to go!

Hard Copy Giveaway

I’m going to setup a book giveaway for Fugue in C Minor in Goodreads. I’ll probably start that tomorrow. I have five copies, so it’s likely that’s how many I’ll use in this promotion.

Wish me luck on getting eyes on the book! It’s still all about getting reviews right now.

Marketing a Self-Published Novel

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago called “The Process of Writing a Novel.” In it I listed my steps for writing a novel, how I do it. The last step had to do with marketing, and I haven’t written that section yet. A lot of people will sell you snake oil. Some people will get lucky. Most of us, whether our novels are good or not, won’t sell anything. Every news report I read says the same thing. Everyone has a poster child for marketing indie books this way or that. Good on them when it works out.

I tried something simple and inexpensive. I paid $15 for an advertisement on Kindle Boards. They have 52,000 fans on Facebook. I figured a one time ad would get some eyes on my book and maybe get a few sales. I wasn’t expecting 1,000 sales, or even 100. But when I asked them where my ad was, they wrote back and said, “Click this link.”

Be honest with me. Are you likely to click this link?

And then scroll down to find my novel? It’s the yellow one. I have an image of it and a link to my Amazon page right over here, anyway. ———————–>

Let me know if you’ve had better luck.

Random Updates

I made my novel  Fugue in C Minor available as a free download in .mobi format (for Kindle readers) on Goodreads.com. I’m hoping lots of people download it, read it and review it. I really don’t like the idea of just giving it away. I worked on that book probably 20 hours a week for something like 30 weeks. You put 600 hours into something and you feel it’s right you should get paid. But who’s going to pay you? No one knows you wrote it.  One of my assignments the next few days is to search for lots of book review blogs and ask for a read.

I’m still working on re-writing that older story. It’s going to take some time. I want it to turn out just right, you know? And then I never want to look at it again!

I applied for three jobs in the public education field this week. It takes traditional universities a long time to make these kinds of decisions, apparently. Silence, here, is not golden. I’m seeing fewer and fewer job openings each week. And that’s after expanding my searches to broader fields, larger geographic areas, and a broader range of pay. That’s a horrible thing to have to do after enjoying a certain standard of living for so many years.

My cat caught another starling today. This one was only a couple of days away from being able to fly. I’m planning to feed him and try releasing him outside of town this weekend.

Paperback Writer

The paperback version of my new novel Fugue in C Minor is finally available for sale! Click on this hyperlink to see it at CreateSpace.com. It’s also at Amazon.com.