Dale Thele is an author. If there’s one thing I took away from the very generous amount of time we spent together at a coffee shop today, is that to think of oneself as an author (or writer, if you prefer), is important. No, it does not make you good, or increase your chances of publication.
But, thinking of oneself that way is one key to behaving that way. Writers write, right? (Do authors auth?) Luckily, I took away alot more than that one thing, and as Dale was happy to share them with me, he’s happy for me to share them with all 168 of my followers and any new visitors.
A Tale of Dale and A Dude in the City
I first became aware of Dale at my first Hill Country Ride for AIDS participation. (This was before the blog, so the link is to my second HCRA.) Dale gave a stirring speech and had that awesome handlebar moustache. After a while we were connected on LinkedIn, and I started seeing daily pictures with inspirational writer quotes. As I passed 100 blogs and re-started writing my book, I thought I would ask him to meet, and he said yes!
We spoke for a long time, and it’s difficult for A Dude to keep it short, but I’ll try.
Goodreads. Dale suggested I jump on this site for authors, to read stuff, join a group specific to my genre (memoir and sports), and learn what others are doing. So I just did! I found five friends on there already there. If you’re on Goodreads, I’m listed as, of course, A Dude Abikes. Yes, it’s owned by Amazon, but they leave the running of it to the readers and writers.
Beta readers. This is a great idea if you can find several people who like your work and want to help you out. This can be done once you have a manuscript, or even better chapter by chapter. Feedback can be brutal though so you need a thick skin. As much as a third of what you write may get thrown out, so be prepared for that.
Online editing. A number of free services exist to help with editing. Here are a few Dale suggested:
Self-publishing. We spent alot of time on this one, as it’s a very big subject. Of course you need a finished product before getting to that. Create Space is probably how I’ll go (another Amazon joint), but I learned of a new one: www.Smashwords.com . In fact, they will publish a short story, giving you an ISBN (Library of Congress) number, which literally makes you a published author. I plan to submit one after using one of the above editors and finding a beta reader or two or three.
Other tips. Make several copies of your manuscript. Hard drive, portable drive, paper. Send one to yourself. Put copyright symbol, date and your name on everything. First time authors should limit to the moax of 80,000 words. Consider finding a student to be your editor. Use Instagram, not Twitter, and maybe nowadays, maybe not even Facebook, though it’s still a useful platform. Read exclusively in your genre, except for maybe technical books like if you’re learning WordPress. Try to line up alot of reviewers for when you do finally self-publish. If you have enough followers in other places, they can help with marketing, too. Look at what others have done to not reinvent the (bicycle) wheel.
More About Dale
You can (and should!) learn more about Dale at www.DaleThele.com and about his epic Southern coming-of-age novel in progress at www.ClippedWingsTheNovel.com. This is a long book and will be followed by six more in the series that won’t be as long.
One thing I learned about him was that he has a fascination with fountain pens. The fact that he wrote his entire book with one is pretty amazing. Some might call it old school, but to me that’s not a pejorative thing at all.
Aside from being very generous, positive, supportive, encouraging and nice (he reblogged this post before I even finished it!), he’s also funny. He has posted a daily joke on his Facebook every day for 19 years! He uses oil and a glue stick to form his moustache, which holds for a few days. He is a proud user of public transportation, where many people will try to surreptiously take cell phone pictures of his facial hair. What else? He has a ton o’ followers and is connected with at least one very well-known author.
I guess I’ll leave it at that since I’m way over my word limit as usual. Thanks again, Dale!
I had to get a new tire because I wore out my old one. Gatorskins are great for resisting punctures but even they wear out and take abuse from all the glassholes I wrote about in January. I finally put it on today (well, I had Mike at Sun & Ski Sports do it for me).
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