Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bewildered. Just. Bewildered.

Actually, I shouldn't claim to be the one bewildered. 

That honor belongs to all the people who go to Book Butchers, allegedly read the site's information thoroughly, and then send notes through that say things like this:

"Need some details on complete services for editing and publishing."

I am curious. I have a book that is approx. 200,000 words. I have done the math and it looks like it would be really expensive. I am hopping my math is wrong. If you could give me a rough estimate, that would be wonderful."

Are they unable to read the very clear, very spelled-out parameters of this service...or are they simply hoping (or maybe hopping...that's a visual that's worth consideration) that despite those very clear, very spelled-out parameters, THEY'RE somehow going to work around them and get a "deal"?

The prices, the terms, and what you get for your money are very clearly delineated. And actually--it must be said--that even if you pay the lowest rate on this site, you get a TON of good work for the price. Not only is this Book Butchers' philosophy, but it also happens to be the way most editors (myself included) work: we can't help ourselves. We always give you more help than, technically, you're probably paying for.

But every day, we still get inquiries like the above, which--it also must be said--strike me as disingenuous at least.

People, if you can't understand the written English text on this site, get someone who DOES understand it to help you.

If, however, you understand it perfectly well but just want to be treated as the special snowflake you no doubt ARE...

You bewilder me. You simply do.
And a bewildered editor, by and large, doesn't tend to be a happy one.

Just sayin'. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thankful, Thankful, and More Thankful

Thank GOD for the electoral college.

And thank GOD they remembered their legal responsibilities and performed them.

Well done, all. THANK YOU from the bottom of this conservative's heart. :-)


Monday, December 19, 2016

Liberal Math

Only in the weird, "common core" mind of a liberal can an electoral total over 300 be a mandate when it's for Obama...and a mistake when it's for Trump.

Give it up, kiddies. Your pathos is showing.


Friday, November 18, 2016

What He Said.

Why I am an entrepreneur at heart:

(Which is good, considering the lack of people pounding down my door to hire me!)

Time to up the income scale...

Frankly, My Dear, I Don't Give a Sh*t

You know, sometimes you dodge a bullet.

A potential client on Upwork had a business book he wanted editing on...about how to keep Millennials happy in your workplace.

You know. How to keep a raft of recent college graduates endlessly entertained, affirmed, praised, and rewarded for basically not PRODUCING anything yet...but they will. Oh, boy! They will! Just ask them about what they're gonna do for you... long as you can keep them engaged with your enterprise for long enough.

While I understand that this, unfortunately, IS the work force that many companies are facing--I found myself reading this guy's tips on how to keep these kids on board, and thinking, "Why in the world do you want to work so hard KEEPING these prima donnas? That's just enabling a delusion at your company's expense."

And that's what it is, ladies and gentlemen. 
In the mental-health and recovery professions, we call aiding and abetting someone in their illness "enabling" them. You clean up the drunk's messes, you call and make excuses for the drug-addict kid, you coddle and protect and shield, because obviously, they're only screwing up their lives and the lives of everyone around them because they were Underloved In Some Important Way and We Have To Make Up To Them For It.


Mental illness is an illness. It needs cauterizing and treatment, not coddling. Yes, it hurts. Lots of things do. But the light at the end of the tunnel is worth going through the healing process to get to.
Drug and alcohol abuse is an illness, but it's also a behavioral DECISION. (At some point or other, you take that first drink or you smoke that first weed. Yes, YOU do it. No one forces you to.) And it needs correction, not cooperation. Accountability, not accommodation. 

Same goes for the mental illness rampant in the Millennial generation's members who believe the world owes them a living, full-blown, luxurious, and debt-free, FROM DAY ONE.
And yes, they'd like it on a scale better than Mom and Dad's, too, thanks. 
Um. No.

If you're sitting behind your desk at the factory wondering how you're going to keep kids like THIS employed at your firm...stop wasting your time and energy.
Because it IS a waste. And worse, it's contributing to the perpetuation of a mental illness.
It's called being delusional.
And the sooner you can STOP catering to it, the sooner it'll get cured.

But if you maintain that you somehow have to change the way YOU do business so that these kids will be motivated to stick around?
Um. No.
Trust me. They won't. The moment someone dares to shatter their "safe place" or fails to reward their special uniquenesses, they'll walk anyway.

Which is where the title of this post comes from. Because, frankly, you shouldn't care if they do. There are plenty of other able and willing hands out there to take their places.

Don't kowtow, wheedle, or try to appease these spoiled specimens. Set them free. You'll be doing them a service.
You'll be enabling them to discover that $7 an hour jobs are plentiful out there for people with no other options, as well as realizing that eating and indoor living cost OTHER people are willing to sacrifice and work hard to get.

Between those two insights, they might come to their senses and understand, finally, that it's not up to The World to cater to THEM...but the other way around.
And THEN, they might be staff members worth keeping. Because they'll actually understand that they need to show up, and be on time, and keep their mouths shut, and learn a few things, BEFORE they'll get that corner office.

Then, you'll have great people to work with.
But until then, please, stop bending over and inviting these special little snowflakes to kick you again.
It's not doing any of us ANY favors.
And that behavior certainly doesn't deserve an owner's manual to encourage ANYONE to perpetuate it.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Why I Left Facebook (which may or may not actually END UP on Facebook!)

Two Months Away from Facebook….

What are the results?

It was two months ago, to the day, that I decided I’d had enough of Facebook. I’d had enough of the political sensationalizing, the absolute absence of manners--or even common sense, politeness, and decency--shown by the VAST majority of people who interacted with me and others, and I’d had enough of the time-drain that Facebook becomes when you check in to it more than once a day or so. And, let’s face it…most of us check in on it WAY more than once a day.  (!) After realizing that I was arguing senselessly with strangers--or with people who may as well have been strangers, for all the attention and courtesy they paid me--I decided Facebook was a bad, bad joke on most of us, but especially on me.

And I left.

What did I miss?

I missed connecting with people with whom I have little in common EXCEPT Facebook friendship, but whom I still consider friends. These people, I’ve encouraged to contact me independently via e-mail. Out of the invitations I issued, I got a couple of responses, most of which urged me to come back because they appreciated my insights and status updates. But it was sharing my insights that got me abused, harassed, and yelled at in the first place…so frankly, I’m in no hurry to go back for more of that. The rest of the people I invited to contact me didn’t bother. I understand we’re all busy, so there’s no indictment there…but it WAS discouraging to realize that I could drop out of sight with so little impact on people who claimed to be friends.

I missed a ton of book promotional “opportunities,” most of which go to the same half-dozen or dozen people repeatedly--and most of which, it MUST be said (and said and said), do no good whatsoever. Have I seen any sales from Facebook? I doubt it. Have I seen a marked uptick of sales at all, on anything I’ve written, despite repeated and faithful updates on the books and on different promotional sites? Not a bit. So, unfortunately, for me and for TONS of other folks out there, Facebook promotion is, quite frankly, a waste of time.

In that vein, I also missed a ton of book promotional info from complete strangers whose books I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. No offense to anyone being creative out there; I understand MY books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, either. But when I see 10 or 20 soft-core porn books being promoted to every 1 book I might actually read and enjoy, it gets a little tiresome spending time “ignoring” a bunch of this stuff just to get to something that might actually provide me honest entertainment. Have I discovered a few new authors through FB? Yes. Would I have discovered them through other sources? Without a DOUBT, yes. I regularly scan Amazon listings for all sorts of categories, and that’s much more of how I’ve discovered some delightful things.

So is the advice we’re all given, and given, and given, about being “present” on social media all the time, valid? In my case? Nope.  

More importantly, it may not actually be a good idea AT ALL for some of us. Ditto for Twitter, or any other media form out there. Unless we’re a thoroughly participating member of all that is cool, hip, politically correct, and culturally approved today--and those parameters are getting narrower and narrower, belying ANY claims to the contrary--Facebook and other social media aren’t worth the potential damage they can do to our tempers, our peace of mind, and very real tangible assets.

I’m not culturally correct. I’m not politically correct. I was born without the tact gene, I’m a natural contrarian, and my B.S. detector has been working so hard of late that it’s in need of A Week at the Home. I am constitutionally unable to resist jumping into some arguments; hard as I try, when I see my faith being bashed, my principles being trod underfoot, or sheer stupidity passed off as scholarship and proceeding to lead TONS of people off into Neverland, I find it almost impossible to resist engaging.

And therein lies a double-edged sword.

If I do, I’m not only wasting time that could be better spent doing something else; I’m also laying myself bare for potential damage, either emotionally or in terms of very real things like book sales and potential writing gigs. That’s why they all tell us, “Watch out what you put on social media; it’s out there forever, and people will judge you on it.”

To which I say a profound and deliberate raspberry.

If you’re going to take my beliefs and trample them underfoot, and then get mad when I defend them…that says something about YOU, not about ME.
If you’re going to harass me for my political stances, my world views, or my moral compass…again, that says far more about YOU than it does about ME.
And if you’re going to refuse to read my fiction because you don’t like my opinion on something? See above.
Unfortunately, in the Wild West atmosphere of social platforms, no one--and I mean NO ONE--takes such responsibility to heart.

It’s a basic rule of human nature, especially online, that we’re way more ready to believe the bad about someone than the good; we’re all prone to operate under the old adage, “If you haven’t got anything good to say about someone…SIT NEXT TO ME.”  And all it takes is one person deliberately misinterpreting something I say (and yes, they’ve done it) to go viral, and the damage can have ripple effects that I have no way to refute or counteract.

No cloud-based medium should ever have that much power. But it does. And thus, it comprises a potential hazard that anyone with an opinion uses at his/her peril.

Because yes, you’re not going to please all of the people all of the time. But this goes way beyond that.
On Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media, all it takes is one loudmouth to make sure you never get the chance to even INTERACT with thousands or millions of others. There is no “verification of sources” check or balance here; its vast majority of participants’ idea of engaging in conversation seems to consist of, “What I say is true because I FEEL it. If you don’t agree, you’re a hater and a hateful person, and I will smear you every chance I get.”

THAT downside goes way beyond getting my dander up. That downside isn’t a healthy place to be…I suspect for many, if not most, of us.

Can social media be a valuable thing? Yes, if it’s truly social--and not just a graffiti board for people with foul mouths and even fouler minds. Unfortunately, it’s way more the latter than the former.  For me, that’s neither a place I want to spend time in nor a place that’s good for me. I’m a firm believer in “garbage in, garbage out,” and I didn’t like the person I was becoming from the many tangles I’ve gotten into on so-called “social” media, either.

Some of us just aren’t born to BE social, I guess.  At least not in this artificial, electronic way.

Which is why, after two months, I will probably stay gone.

With one notable exception:

I DID miss connecting with the Facebook Write-a-Thon group. Because it was supportive--and more than a little instrumental in getting at least one book done and another one generously written on already. Of course, I wrote regularly for a ton of years before Facebook came along, so I could more than likely do it again. But the competitive spirit of the sprints, and the cheerleading that goes on for each other? If I do stop in at Facebook AT ALL, it will be for this. And nothing else.  

For those of you who actually did miss me but don’t know where to find me--let me know that through a PM on Facebook. I haven’t permanently deleted the account yet, so I will get the message, and I can give you an e-mail address we can use to share all the wonderful stuff we need to share. OR, better yet, just comment here with contact info, and I'll get in touch with you!

As for the rest of it…leaving something behind has rarely ever felt so good.
Going further into Luddite-ville also appears more and more appealing by the day.

Have fun, all! But keep the bandages handy, nonetheless. Hang around the electronic street corners long enough and you’re bound to need them sooner or later.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

You'll Forgive Me...

...if I'm somewhat skeptical about your publishing credentials when you use words like "anyways" when you mean "anyway," or "setup" (which is a noun, by the way) when you mean "set up" (the verb)...or when you say, "Every author should have their book professionally edited."

Trust me. When a professional editor reads your blog, with each instance like this she becomes less convinced that you know what you're doing. And when she counts all these (and misplaced modifying phrases and lack of needed hyphens, among other things) IN THE SAME BLOG POST...

That, boys and girls, is what we call "Publishing FAIL."

It's a shame 99.9999999999 percent of the sites out there do these errors, and more, yet want me to believe they're giving me competent publishing advice.

Do yourselves a favor, people.
Edit your own damn WEBSITES correctly first.
Then, I might start believing you. 

Want the down-and-dirty on who the guilty party is THIS time? Check the post labels. (heh heh)


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Does Anybody Actually Work Anymore?

OK, you may think I'm being a little facetious here...
But as a freelancer, I notice things like big influxes of job listings, or big SLOWDOWNS in activity. And patterns in same.

Awhile back, I posted on social media about how things seemed to "shut down" about noon on Thursdays. From a fairly brisk pace beforehand, it seemed like clients were getting ready to power down for the weekend...shall we say...rather early. I'd see regular traffic, and then it would get sparser and sparser, bit by bit, as Thursday afternoon edged toward Thursday evening.

NOW, however, the ebb is starting on WEDNESDAYS.

And this week...I'm starting to wonder if anyone's working at all in any offices, anywhere, during the month of August. Because things have gone from fairly respectable streaming to a trickle to, now, a DRIP.

(This is not a comment on the quality...merely the quantity. :-) )

So there must be a secret I don't know about as to how people are paying their bills when they increasingly DON'T DO A LICK OF WORK PAST LUNCHTIME ON TUESDAY.

Could someone fill me in, please?

I need a job that pays like that!