Thursday, June 9, 2011

On "Cheating"

A long time ago I set out three goals for my writing. Here they are/were...

1) The novel is published by a legitimate publisher. I will not self-publish.
2) I have to do a book signing. I don't care if the only people who show up are my family members. I will do a signing.
3) I have to get a photograph of me pointing at my book on the bookshelf at a bookstore. My last name is Heppe. This lands me right between Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert. I'll be insane with joy at the sight of Eternal Knight on a shelf between The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Dune.


Sort of.


I cheated.

1) I self published.
2) I didn't hold my book signing in a book store.
3) The photo (above) was taken in my school library.

How do I feel about cheating? GREAT!

1) I used to think self-publishing was for the riff-raff. Maybe it was. But the times are 'a changin'. "Real" authors are self publishing and the walls are crumbling. Getting published by a "legitimate" publisher was my goal because it would have meant that I had proven myself to the powers-that-be in the industry. I would have passed a test of acceptability. I didn't pass the industry test.

What is the test now? Before I truly feel that I have attained goal #1, I have to pass, not an industry test, but a reader test. Will the readers tell me that I have succeeded? Will the readers tell me that I am an author? That is the true test.

2) The book release party at Wissahickon High School was a blast. It felt real, even though it was a party I threw for myself. It was a coming out party for Eternal Knight. For the most part it was attended by people I know, all of them supporting me in my efforts. Did I attain goal two? I think the true test will be on the 24th, when I do my book signing at the Doylestown Bookshop. There will be a lot of friends, but a lot of strangers as well. And the event will be held in a real brick and mortar book store.

3) The photo. I LOVE that photo. Robert Heinlein, Matt Heppe, Frank Herbert. Soooo cool. But there is only one place in the world where that photo is legit: the Wissahickon High School Library. Will that photo ever be taken in a Barnes and Noble, or in a Borders, or in any other big bookstore? I don't know. I'd like to think so. However, I'm not so sure this goal is as important to me as it once was. More important is the feedback I get from readers who say that they have enjoyed Eternal Knight. It is hard to express how much enjoyment I get every time a reader tells me that they liked something I wrote.

Even more fun is when they ask, "When is the next one coming out?"

I'd better get to work.


  1. We are adaptable and our goals change as we do. Congrats on reaching so many of yours. Seeing your book on a bookshelf must feel amazing.

    I converted my wip from a word doc to .mobi just to do a real thru and I spazed out over the fact that it "looked" like a real book! LOL

  2. CherylAnne, if you use CreateSpace, you can make a proof copy of your novel for a grand total of $5 plus shipping. No upfront money and no obligations.

    It felt great holding that first proof copy!