What Constitutes Self-Publishing Success?

soccer herdKeeping Pace With the Competition

I’ve been blogging lately about establishing writing platforms, fighting writer’s block, writing book descriptions, selling my books, and winning awards.

I even wrote about an award-winning indie book by Paul Michael Glaser. Remember Starsky & Hutch? If so, you’re as old as I am. If not, you really don’t care (sorry Paul).

I went over those blogs again when I sat down with the notes I’d made as preparation to write this one, and you know what happened? I almost went to sleep. Admittedly, it was late … but I think the problem was deeper than that. It was the subject matter. It was me.

Who wants to read this shit?

That was the first thought I had. Along with my friends and family there are other self-published authors and author wannabe’s who follow this blog … and I sincerely thank them all for that devotion.

But I sat here last night asking myself who else would want to read it?

If you haven’t known me for years or aren’t trying to figure out the mysteries of the self-publishing world, why would you stop here long enough to see what this blog was about?

Worse, I thought, if I really can’t interest you in reading this small sample, why would you ever want to read my novels?

That was a scary thought. I imagine it would be to any author, self-published or not. Why would anyone want to read my books?

I was reminded of an incident a couple of (or was it three?) decades ago. God, I’m getting old.

Soccer had finally become a decently followed sport in this country, and all three of my sons were involved in it. I got involved too. Along with several other Dads, I became a coach. I coached soccer for very young house teams in the area, and for older travel teams.

I told myself, my wife and my sons that I wanted to be supportive (and I did), but I really just wanted to be around them when they were having fun. I thought by doing it they might always remember having fun with me, too.

I helped my youngest learn the game, and coached with my two oldest boys on an U-19 State Champion team. I really enjoyed it.

When I went over the whole blog-writing thing again, and who I could get to read my books, I remembered a friend of mine (I won’t mention names) who was also coaching a young house team back in “the day.”

The kids were still young enough we called their brand of play “herd” soccer. There was no such thing as “offense” or “defense.” Wherever the ball was, that was where the herd of legs would be found. It was cute and the kids were having fun.

My friend, however, was diligently trying to teach those six-year-olds the fundamentals of positional play.

He had them sitting on the ground all around him and they looked like they might be listening. He went on-and-on about it, even to the point of drawing diagrams in the dirt for them to study. When he had finished his lengthy explanations, he asked the kids, “Does anyone have any questions?”

Most of the kids just had blank looks, but one little boy timidly raised his hand. “Yes, Timmy, what is it?”

“Coach … how many gopher holes do you think there are in this field?”

When I think about it now, I laugh pretty much as hard as I did when I heard it back then. My friend had been talking to them for over an hour and not one bit of it had mattered to his audience.

It certainly hadn’t made them eager to come back for more. They were bored, and thinking about holes.

And it made me wonder … how many readers of my blog are more concerned about gopher holes than what I was saying?

Worse … how many readers, after perusing my blog, would assume my stories might be as boring as my blog had seemed to me last night? I didn’t want to think that could be true. “Reichold Street” was a Readers Favorite Gold Medal Winner, after all.

But then it occurred to me … my blog wasn’t.

If I was really confident I’d put up a poll, and find out. But maybe I’ll just promise instead to make it more interesting around here from now on, and wait for some comments.


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8 Responses to “What Constitutes Self-Publishing Success?”

  1. James Sloan Says:

    I enjoyed your blog…. Do what makes you feel good….and gives you a sense of satisfaction. Take pride in what you have accomplished with your awards … It is more than most. Not every joke Johnny Carson told was a winner so don’t expect everything you write to be a winner either. Sounds like you had a dose of realism but just remember you are an award-winning writer… Not too many people can say that… Congratulations by the way!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. lisa evola Says:

    Lol…we used to call it magnet ball! I agree…..content content content….that’s what they say. I used to be a cubscout leader and i have to tell you…whoever wrote those badge books is boring…if i ran my group like that i think they all would have left a few weeks in…..hey why didnt i think of that before!!!


  3. T. W. Dittmer Says:

    Hey, Ron, we’re all learning this the hard way (just check out the flat spot on my forehead from banging my head against the wall πŸ™‚ ).

    You do quality work with class, and that’s success in itself.

    Can we get better at what we’ve chosen to do? God, I hope so.


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