Before I self-published The Lives of Dogs: An Average Soldier’s Tale on Amazon, I googled about a dozen different how-to articles. Most of them were garbage—basicaly links to buy physical books on how to publish e-books (I know… I know). Anyway, I greatly appreciate the free resources that did help me on this journey.
Even with all the weird technical hurdles, self-publishing the book was infinitely easier than writing it. The thing is, no matter how many books on books you read, most of what you’ll need to know will be learned the hard way—and that’s a great thing.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to fail. That’s a privilege I take advantage of daily. My day job is sales-related so rejection and failure are occupational hazards. Getting used to disappointment is difficult, but everything in life becomes so much easier after those callouses form.
Here’s the point to this tirade: TLOD is not a perfect work by any means, but it’s mine and I love it all the same. Yes, I know the language is offensive and some of the characters are unlikable. Yes, I’m aware you’re not supposed to indent the first sentence of the first paragraph of a new section. Yes, I know the book is basically a collection of anecdotes that comes off a bit clunky. There are things I can control (dialogue, plot progression, character development) and things I cannot (Kindle’s odd auto-formatting), but when all is said and done, it’s mine.
I wrote a book. It has a beginning, middle, and end. I did that shit. That’s what matters. Know what else? I’m going to do it again, and again, and again. For the record, I don’t think The Lives of Dogs is a failure. Rough, yes; failure, no. It is the story I’ve wanted to tell ever since I left the Army and reintegrated back into the “real” world. If that book helps one person get through one horrific day of their life, then it will be worth more than all the gold on this planet combined.
I leave you with some requests. If you have the slightest intention of helping me in my career as a writer, then tell me the truth. If ever I write something you feel I could have written better; tell me. If ever I tell a story you hate; say something. If ever my writing sounds like something you’d find in a penny-a-word content mill; leave a nasty comment. Give me constructive criticism or get out of my way.
My growth will continue. This journey has just begun. I sincerely hope you will be a part of it. Thank you for your time.