Saturday, September 29, 2007

MY STORY: Wolf DeVoon

1) Why did you choose to self-publish and what were your expectations?

It was a last straw, last ditch effort to archive my work. Too many web domains were robots.txt-blocked or expired or banned by ODP and Google. And it bugged me for two decades that everyone else had paper and ink, except me. Twenty years is a long time to be anguished.

2) Why did you select your specific publisher?

Lulu was cheap, and I couldn't justify throwing big money at a small target. My expectation of sales in bookstores is precisely zero.

3) How is it going so far? Are you achieving your goals?

I published three books to see what the POD process was like. I discovered that it is basically impossible for me to do anything without help. And it took two disasters to find a really excellent text formatting service. I sent a few hardcover copies to people I respect. I'm still mulling what to do with my sci-fi novel. Perhaps burn it. Or print one copy for -- who? Me? My kid? William Morris?

4) What advice would you give a person who has completed their manuscript and is considering self-publishing?

I'm all for it. I encouraged a friend to self-publish recently, despite the fact that he's not very creative and I particularly disliked his book project. I suggested that he send review copies to area celebs, magazines, newspapers, etc, and visit bookstores to set up book signings. I did this with a traditionally published book ten years ago, and it works. Authors have to fight for recognition. Plug it everywhere you can. I'm not even sure it matters what your book is about. You need to sell yourself.

Wolf DeVoon

author of "First Feature" (clothbound, 189 pp., Lulu 2007)

Compelling, candidly realistic story of ambition and harrowing odds of failure. Born to be a filmmaker, young Robert Whitney fights his way to the coveted, sordid prize of success in Hollywood. Adult sexual situations, graphic language.


Wolf DeVoon said...

Thanks, Emily. I appreciate the link and an opportunity to encourage others.


Rob Anderson said...

Congratulations, Wolf, on getting published.

Queenie De Voon said...

I am amazed that the story of Robert Whitney is not yet published, as all your other works as they are superb. I know them well. If you want to find me, I am in London and my home is always, yours.



Anonymous said...

Full text pdfs of First Feature, Mars Shall Thunder, The Good Walk Alone and other works uploaded to a free (no spam, no membership, no advertising) web site Wolf DeVoon Library

temp said...

I finally cracked last night. Tears filled my eyes and blurred my vision of the laptop. I gambled everything and lost my wife, bank accounts, credit cards, health, dignity, friends, reputation. I wrote material that no one likes, no one buys. My inbox is empty. The phone never rings.

There's no undoing it. I self-published because I couldn't depend on anyone to preserve my work, can't rely on an old laptop that has screen cancer and a weak battery, don't trust heirs to perceive any value in my legacy. So, the work was uploaded to POD.

My books are overpriced by a wide margin. Nothing to be done about that. Net royalty from selling a book is a few cents. If someone decides to buy a copy, those pennies would flow to a bank account that was closed, overdrawn. Fair's fair. Chase Bank owns whatever pittance my books might earn. I have a dozen titles in print, an honorable term used loosely, because nothing exists except digital text files and crappy cover art.

I don't mind being hated. I don't mind being old and poor. Eventually, I will find a minimum wage job, so I can eat, buy gasoline, pay insurance. It would be better to sell the car. I don't entirely trust myself to drive at highway speed, although I need to drive an hour to get the dog shaved for the summer, so he doesn't suffer. All winter I trimmed his silky hair with a scissors that became too dull to cut effectively. I need new scissors.

Absolutely do not trust myself with a gun. Hemingway ended his life that way. Fitzgerald and O. Henry were destroyed by alcohol. I'd rather not amplify further punishment for the crime of writing. Poverty is plenty of torture, thanks. I can't afford to buy alcohol or drugs. It's been years since I bought a dead man's shirts and shoes at a resale shop in Houston.

I regret being ugly and disfigured. I used to be handsome, charismatic.

I don't regret my characters, Chris and Peachy (The Case Files of Cable & Blount), Janet and Archie (The Good Walk Alone), or Harry and Laura (Mars Shall Thunder). I don't regret being a dinosaur who sees the world as the dominion of heterosexual men and women who discover romantic love and earn it with passion and courage. I don't regret their patriotism and valor, putting their lives on the line for justice. All of my nonfiction stuff addresses the notion of justice, also, but justice is unsaleable and unwanted in the modern world.

That's why I broke down and wept last night, the first time it came home to me, that my work is unwanted. If it were a matter of incompetence -- awful, klutzy writing that fails to clear the lowest possible literary hurdle -- it wouldn't hurt so deeply. What hurts is being punished for the good, the real and true, the beautiful and thrilling.

'The Tar Pit' puts the issue as clearly as anyone could, that official police and governments of every description are incapable of doing justice. They always try, always fail. What matters is private actors, private action, private desire and daring and danger and determination. Not a Politically Correct mechanized mob with guaranteed pensions.

No matter what happens, Chris and Peachy were worth it. They love each other.