Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Novel Resurrected, Maybe

Two posts down I was doing “Streets of Laredo” over my novel: one last bouquet and I let the clods fall. Here two weeks later that’s all changed, thanks to some new-found friends in a new-found writers’ group. Happens to be hosted in the UK, but most of the stuff translates pretty well. (Will it work in the other direction? That first sentence up there may tell us.)
With encouragement from the group I’ve decided to self-publish. What that means is that I now have to eat some of my words about self-publishing. If you have, or if you do, read or read what I wrote about that you’ll see why it’s going to be hard to swallow. Publicly reversing your position on something you’ve been sarcastic about isn't easy to carry off. I'll find a way to rationalize it, though.
There does remain one last consideration before publishing; I have to make sure I haven’t libeled someone. There’s the off-chance, if a lot of people were to read the story (!) that someone might say, “That character sounds like my Uncle Herbie, and you’ve insulted him.”
Back when -- and it does seem like a long time ago -- when I had the idea I would be working with a real publisher, I assumed an editor there would note the potential problem and it would be referred to a huge legal department. That’s not the case any more; I’m on my own now. I have sought advice, and what I’ve heard so far is that you can’t libel a dead person, and given the time setting of the novel, “Uncle Herbie” should be dead by now. A good thing, too, because he comes off looking pretty bad in my story. 

And there’s another startling development that’s come with membership in the new group. I’ve been invited to send the link to this blog. Readership could go from zero to a positive number. I’m not sure I could handle that.