Friday, 6 April 2012

Self-Publishing / PTSD - A Passage of Passion

Lately, I feel like a puppet whose strings are tangled, trapping my arms behind my back and my feet up over my head.  My thoughts are scattered like my many projects.  Focus comes in spurts and splatters with so many loose ends eager to be tied.  This Gemini sure wishes the other me would get busy and do her share.

Then I remember - I'm on a journey - a PASSAGE, much like life itself, where we never know what to expect.  A passage of passion isn't always neat and tidy.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. 
          ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The last few months have been tumultuous.  My eyes crisscrossed and my brain scrambled with the plethora of self-publishers available online.  Far behind schedule I had to make a decision . . . flipping a coin entered my mind more than once!

July 4th seems to be approaching at the speed of light!

I did a comparison of the top POD (print-on-demand) companies and their services - amenities that were included / add-ons / other options / and cost involved.  The scenario's went every-which-way.  I weighed my alternatives like labor pains until I reached a DECISION . . .

This company's goal is to get a quality book quickly into the market (usually in a month or less) with the lowest out-of-pocket cost to you, greatly increasing the time it takes to make back your investment.  The majority of their revenue comes from public book sales, not service fees, which is why they request a writer to submit their manuscript for APPROVAL prior to acceptance.  Their acceptance rate is less than fifty percent. 

To be honest, this was one of the reasons I chose this company, and I'm pleased to say my manuscript was accepted.  Now I must wade through their multi-paged contract, but this should be a walk in the park compared to the last 30 days. 

"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." -Jose Narosky

Combat and PTSD go hand in hand.  One is usually enmeshed with the other.  Yet I often wonder about those who do not suffer PTSD after combat.  Who are these survivors and why them?  What makes them different?  What unique attribute do they possess that shields them from the horror of war?  What is their common thread?

One day, I plan to research this phenomenon.  

My last post announced my decision to donate a portion of the proceeds from my memoir, Diary of a Vet's Wife to Pets for Vets, a group pairing veterans suffering with PTSD and rescued dogs.  As a courtesy, I sent them an email confirming my decision.  Their response was electric!  I was welcomed with open arms.

On March 23rd, they posted my blog on their Facebook and by the feedback, I knew I found my audience - others who know what it's like to live with PTSD.  Pets for Vets has offered to put my memoir, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, on their website when the book is released - I'm aiming for July 4th, 2012.

Pets for Vets reaction far exceeded anything I ever imagined.  I'm humbled by this experience.  Please check them out at and see what a unique service they offer our veterans.

"According to the thread on Zoetrope, which came from an article in the Guardian, it cost one author $1500 to quote two lines from a Bob Marley song in his novel. The concept of fair use doesn't apply to lyrics."  

                             - Dawn Copeman,

The final chapter of my memoir contains song lyrics that are crucial to the end of my story.  It was written exactly as it happened - my proof is safely tucked away in the back of a drawer, along with my husband's bronze stars.

Last week, I started the copyright search pertaining to these song lyrics.  My publisher advised that such permission could cost "hundreds to thousands of dollars" - which I do not have.  My plan was to beg on bended knee, if necessary, not knowing if these fees are iron clad - or flexible. 

I contacted ASCAP via email because the song in question did not appear on their database.  A reply sat in my email the next morning with namesthe Work ID and the ISWC.  But it lacked an email address. 

I called the first name on the list in New York city at the phone number provided.  After explaining my request, the male person on the line supplied a name and an email address.  That afternoon, I emailed them my Copyright Permission Letter along with the last 3 pages of my manuscript.  Within minutes, it came back undeliverable.  I tried 3 different times.  NO LUCK!

The next morning, I called and reached the same person.  He asked what addresses I used. "Oh, those are the wrong addresses."  I knew that.  Then he gave me with another . . . it went through.

Research online stated it could take anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months to receive a reply.  Start early!  This was a main concern . . .   

Two days later, a formal "quote proposal" for the lyrics requested, appeared in my email.  I was ECSTATIC!  It's good for 30 days.  The pricing didn't SEEM outrageous, however, it's written in legal terminology.  I don't have a literary lawyer, so I sent an email to my new publisher, asking if she would be willing to look it over.  Hopefully, I hear back on Monday.

Lessons learned . . . my two cents

A manuscript should be professionally edited prior to submission to "any publisher," verifying the writers confidence in their own work.  That is, unless the writer is qualified to edit.