Mr. Swinebottom walks out, spinning and handling a cane with ease and grace. He is dressed in a very dapper tuxedo, complete with top hat, pressed coat and pants, and shiny shoes. And yes, his walking cane is decorated to look like a candy cane. How clever.
“Good evening, ladies and gentleman. This is Reginald Swinebottom Presents. Thank you for joining us this Christmas and holiday season. Tonight we are presenting Blogmas: 2018. And today is December the 1st, the first day of Blogmas.”
Mr. Swinebottom pauses to put his cane in the crook of his arm, while he fishes out some cue cards with his free hand. The cue cards are styled like rounded, peppermint candies and glisten with glitter.
“For December 1st, a shortie but goodie…Yes, that’s what it says. How to Write a Book, written by fellow indie author, A.R. Clayton. Here are her twelve steps, written out for me to present. Our orchestra will quietly play, and I emphasize quietly, Jingle Bells down in the pit below during this evening’s performance…”
The orchestra starts up meekly and Mr. Swinebottom smiles in triumph. He clears his throat and begins the presentation.
“Step 1: Have a great idea.
Step 2: Believe your idea is absolutely abysmal.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you, and/or others, believe you’ve gone absolutely crazy.
Step 4: Commit to writing the book anyway. Don’t worry, you can still keep doubting yourself as much as you want. Have no fear on that score!”
Mr. Swinebottom squints at the cue card and holds it up to the stage lighting, mouthing the words as he repeats Step 4 silently. Finding no errors in what he read, he continues.
“Step 5: Write, avoid writing, and write. Repeat until book is finished. May take months to years.
Step 6: Upon “finishing”, throw it practically all away and start all over again. This, ladies and gentleman, is called revision. Do this at least six times. More may be better. Less is laughable.”
Mr. Swinebottom blinks through his rounded frame glasses at the audience, openly astonished. He lifts his head momentarily towards the heavens, appealing for mercy and patience before continuing.
“Step 7: Congratulations! Now you’ve gotten this far. Now, go find an editor who won’t cheat you, shrivel your confidence to swiss cheese, nor inflate your ego with insincere flattery. P.S.–Also, find a cover artist with similar attributes. Good luck.
Step 8: Get a part time job to pay for Step 7. Or rob a bank.”
Mr. Swinebottom clears his throat abruptly and stammers a bit.
“To be clear, ladies and gentleman, we at Peregrine Arc do not condone thievery. Let’s continue. Saints preserve us…”
Step 9: Once manuscript is assembled, find someone to format the book for you, both for hard print and e-book formats. Step 8 may need to be repeated.
Step 10: Publish using platform of choice. Watch sales crawl and stop. Hang your ego upon one sale a week, then one sale a month. Family and friends may start buying your book out of pity.
Step 11: Consider putting money into campaigns. Re-examine your hatred of marketing and business, balanced with the need to share your book with people. Find yourself in this moral conundrum daily. Extra points for introversion.
Step 12: And finally…repeat steps 1-12. Congratulations, you’re an Indie Author.”
Mr. Swinebottom looks up to the heavens again. The audience can see him talking to someone, raising his arms and shoulders up in gesture, asking questions only he and the listener knows. After a few seconds of this, he turns back to face the audience and composes himself with pristine grace.
“This is Day 1 of Blogmas 2018. Please, share your Blogmas posts below and we’ll take a looky-lou. If you would like to continue this…torture…please join us for Day 2. This is Mr. Swinebottom presents. Thank you.”