Looking For New and Aspiring Self-Published Authors to Interview

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So, here’s the deal. I’m looking for new and/or aspiring self-published authors to interview for this blog. As I delve into self-publishing myself, I’ve noticed that most of the interviews/articles/podcasts/etc. are focused on the already-a-success stories. That makes sense and those articles are great, but, personally, the people I’d really like to hear from are those just starting out.

I want to know what you are working on, why you’ve chosen self-publishing over the traditional route, what your biggest challenges are, and what you’re doing to overcome them. I want to know what you’re doing to market yourself (if anything), whether it’s working for you, and what you plan to do in the future. And I want to know what questions you have – so I can help you find the answers.

If you’re interested, shoot me an email: daphnebluewrites@gmail.com. If you want to know more about me first, I post regularly on Twitter as @daphne_poltz 

Full disclosure: I’m new at this myself, so I can’t (yet!) promise the kind of massive views you’d get on more established sites. But I can promise a friendly interview, links back to your site, work, and/or social media, tips and tricks that I’ve already learned myself, and, most importantly, a chance for you, as a new or aspiring author, to start getting your name out there.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Shit People Say When Your Husband Is A Stay-At-Home Dad

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Ever since my husband became a stay-at-home dad, I’ve noticed that some people are, well… weird about it. Even though the number of stay-at-home dads has nearly doubled in the past thirty years (they now make up about 16% of stay-at-home parents), many people still can’t wrap their heads around this flipping of traditional gender roles. So, to help prepare those who are contemplating this arrangement, I’ve compiled a collection of things a woman might hear when her husband is a stay-at-home dad.

1. From people who think you have it too easy:

  • Work must be a nice little break for you! (Sure. Because there’s nothing more relaxing than working 8 hours a day. In fact, you know how some people use those bath bombs labeled with things like “refresh” and “sooth”? Mine all say “work.”)
  • I’ll bet you’re happy to be back at work! (I had a baby, not an all-expenses-paid-vacation to Maui. Plus, a whole bunch of shit didn’t get done when I was out, so now I’m 6 weeks behind. Joy.)
  • You don’t mind working late, do you? I mean, since your husband has the baby. (Yes, I do mind. I always did, even when I didn’t have a kid that I wanted to get home to. Why would having a loving family at home waiting for me make me want to stay at work longer? How is this a real question?)
  • I’ll bet it’s nice to come home to a clean house and dinner on the table every night! (It is nice, when it happens. But that’s probably only about twice a week at best because, believe it or not, being a stay-at-home parent to an infant is actually a ton of work. Which brings me to…)

2. From people who think he has it too easy:

  • Must be nice! (Yes, he likes it. So, why are you rolling your eyes?)
  • No, I meant nice for him. (Yeah, no, I got that the first time. Seriously, is there something in your eye?)
  • I’ll bet he loves not working. (He works every. single. day. Probably harder than you.)
  • How’d he manage to pull that one off? (I’m a pretty smart gal. He didn’t “trick” me into this arrangement. We agreed on it together.)

3. From people who seem baffled by the very concept of a stay-at-home-dad:

  • So, he’s on babysitting duty today? (I mean, if you call caring for your own child “babysitting” – which no one ever seems to do to women – then, sure. Today, tomorrow, the next day…)
  • How does he like being Mr. Mom? (There’s no such thing as Mr. Mom. He’s just “Dad.”)
  • Is this, like, a “feminist” thing? (Why are you putting feminist in air quotes like it’s a bad thing?)

4. From people who seem, for some reason, to want you to feel bad:

  • Aren’t you sad that you’re going to miss your baby’s first moments? (I didn’t transfer to an office in a foreign country; I work 3 miles away from home. I don’t think I’ll miss them all. Plus, my husband is a whiz with the videocamera.)
  • Don’t you miss your baby during the day? (Yes. Thank you for reminding me. Do you want to see his picture again? No? Then, leave me alone.)
  • I could never be away from my child for that long! (That’s going to be awkward for him when he goes to college.)
  • Do you ever feel like your husband is taking advantage of you by staying home? (No, but I’m concerned that you think someone who spends all day caring for their family is some kind of a “mooch.”)

5. From people who wish they were you:

  • You’re so lucky! (Yes. Yes, I am.)

What about you? What awkward comments have you heard about being a stay-at-home dad or being married to one?

4 (Free!) Resources For Those Aspiring To Self-Publish

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If you’re just getting started with self-publishing, the amount of resources out there can be overwhelming. Google “How to self-publish,” and you’ll get thousands of results. But, which ones are really useful?

I’ve been researching self-publishing like mad for the past several months, in preparation for the upcoming launch of my first self-published books. Here are four (free!) resources that have become my “go to” places whenever I have a question or just want to hear more from other self-published authors:

  1. Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast: Each week, Simon Whistler, the host of the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast, interviews a successful self-published author about how they “made it.” The interviews are long (about an hour) and super informative – people seem to spill secrets a little more easily when they’re chatting in an interview. One thing I’ve found particularly inspirational about this podcast is how many authors started from nothing or close to nothing – one guy went from living on people’s couches to living off of his writing in 8 months!
  2. r/eroticauthors: Don’t let the title of this subreddit scare you off! I do not write erotica; in fact, the major stuff I’m working on right now is mostly non-fiction. Nonetheless, these folks know their stuff. This subreddit is chalk full of helpful tips on everything from marketing to design to, of course, writing. While it is geared toward the erotica and, to a lesser extent, romance genres, much of the information is easily adaptable to other genres.
  3. Kindlepreneur: Created by successful self-published author Dave Chesson, this site is filled with marketing gold. As the title indicates, he focuses a lot on self-publishing through Amazon (maker of the Kindle), which is by far the biggest market out there. At last check, he was earning close to $10,000 a month from self-publishing, so he’s worth checking out. Bonus: he was featured on episode 159 of the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast!
  4. Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! Beat Sheets Page: For those who write genre fiction, this collection of “beat sheets” is indispensable. If you haven’t heard of a beat sheet before, it’s basically a story outline showing all of the major plot points, or “beats” that a story should hit and in what order. Since Snyder’s page is for screenwriters, he’s created beat sheets for a bunch of different movies, showing how they fit into traditional story-telling structure. The concepts are essentially the same as for genre fiction, so this is a great way to quickly analyze plot structure and figure out the main scenes you need to include in your story to meet reader expectations.

These are just four of the many great free resources out there for those trying to get a start in self-publishing. Go ahead and recommend others in the comments!

Losing Louis C.K.

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I love comedy. I regularly check out the latest specials on Netflix, read books written by my favorite comedians, and watch their sitcoms and movies. I’m an avid listener of Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, and I’ve seen more comics’ live shows than I can count, both national acts and local folks trying to get their big breaks.

But it’s hard to be a female comedy fan. While there are a ton of great female comics, watching male comics can be a bit like sitting really close to the field at a baseball game – you’re probably going to see a good game, but you can’t stop flinching lest a baseball labeled “random sexist bullshit” suddenly lobs you in the head.

That was why I loved Louis C.K. Sure, he could be crude, crass, and kind of gross about sex, but so are a lot of my favorite female comics. And he also always seemed to genuinely like and appreciate women as people. C.K.’s self-deprecating style and willingness to self-reflect made him one of the few male comics who really seemed to “get” his female fans – or at least try too.

In other words, a woman could watch Louis C.K. without flinching.

At least that’s what I thought. It turns out that while I was regularly singing his praises as one of the best comics alive today, he was regularly (or at least more than once) masturbating in front of unwilling women, most younger and virtually all far less powerful than him. It turns out, he was causing A LOT of women to flinch – he was just doing it behind closed doors.

This probably shouldn’t have been as startling a revelation to me as it was. It turns out, these rumors have been swirling about him for years. But I’m not a comedian or an insider, and, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t do a lot of research on him. I just watched his shows, read a positive article about him here or there, listened to his appearance on Maron’s podcast – one of the best Maron has done.

The only time I remember having doubts about him was when there was some controversy over a particular episode of Louie, his former show on FX. In the episode, he basically chases Pamela Adlon’s character around his apartment, trying to force himself on her. The episode made me uncomfortable, and I didn’t really buy his or Adlon’s explanation that it wasn’t rape-y just because his character was so clueless.

Still, it was just that one mistake, I thought. A miscalculation about the line between funny and creepy, between satire and disturbing. He was only human, right? People make mistakes.

Right?

Unfortunately, it turns out that episode showed a little more about C.K.’s twisted views of consent than maybe he meant to reveal. His recent statement about the accusations against him, in which he admitted what he’d done before weirdly pointing out that he’d always “asked” first only drives the point home further. It didn’t matter to him that the women weren’t interested. It was ok, so long as he asked. In fact, his need to keep emphasizing their “admiration” for him in his statement indicates that he subscribed to that age-old notion of self-justifying sexual offenders everywhere – that no means yes, at least if the woman “admires” you.

I was so profoundly saddened when this story broke a few days ago. Not about losing Louis C.K. in particular. There are plenty of fantastic comedians out there today to watch instead.

Instead, I’m saddened by the fact that, even the seemingly “good guys” in comedy may have skeletons like this in their closets. That now I have to wonder about all of the other male comedians I adore. That now I have to watch their jokes like a hawk, looking for signs of hidden sexism, instead of just relaxing and watching the show.

That now, every time I watch a male comedian, I once again have to flinch.

31 Months Until I Quit My Job

31 Months. That’s how much longer I will be working for someone else. 31.5 to be exact.

And then, I’m done.

I have wanted to be a full-time writer pretty much my whole life. I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, and I’ve even won a couple of small contests over the years. But I grew up working-class, and my parents regularly drilled it into my head that, whatever else I did in life, making money was my most important task.

I can’t say I fell for that completely; I have, on numerous occasions, chosen happiness over money, including recently when I decided to cut back on my work hours to spend more time with my family and to pursue my writing career. Still, I’ve always had a practical streak, and I’ve spent far too much of my time over the years focusing on my safety net and not nearly enough time focusing on the dreams the safety net was supposed to make possible.

(This old Onion article, which I first read when I was 27, hits a little too close to home now that I’m about to turn 40).

Earlier this year, a few weeks before my son was born, my husband and I had a long talk. I explained to him that I really want – no NEED – to give this writing thing a go. I am so tired of being afraid. I need to give this thing a shot; I’d rather fail than never try at all.

Unfortunately, it isn’t realistic for me to quit my job right now. Currently, I’m the sole breadwinner in our household – a position I took on gladly, so that my husband, A.W., could stay home for a few years to raise our son. We wanted one of us to be able to stay home with Baby Blue, and, given our incomes, it made a lot more sense for it to be A.W. – even with reduced hours, I make over double what he made before he left his job. 

So, instead, A.W. and I developed a three-year plan. I’ll support us and work on my writing on the side for the next few years until Baby Blue is able to go to preschool. Then, A.W. will go back to work, armed with more education, which he is currently pursuing, so that, hopefully, he’ll be able to earn a little more than he was before. We’re going to do it sooner if we can, but three years is our do-or-die expiration date. In the meantime, we’re saving as much as we can, and I’m trying to get my writing career going, so that I will be able to quit my day job without us having to rely solely on A.W.’s paycheck.

I don’t mind working. I just want to work for myself instead of someone else.

The three-year clock started ticking in July. Only 31.5 more months to go. I can’t wait.

First Book From The Imagination Library!

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Baby Blue’s very first book from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program has arrived! A.W. is stoked that it’s The Little Engine That Could – that was his favorite book when he was a kid.

Weirdly, I had never read this until today. The ending was…predictable. 😉

Work is not “refreshing” just because I’m not a stay-at-home mom

The other day, I overheard my mother-in-law telling my husband, who is a stay-at-home dad, that it’s ok to hand the baby over to me as soon as I get in the door because I come home “refreshed” after working all day.

Huh?

I have deep respect for stay-at-home moms and dads, and I truly believe it’s just as tough to do that job as to work a “regular” job. Still, I’m truly baffled by people who, in acknowledging that, start acting as though just because I now have a kid, regular work is somehow no longer work. When I was single and childless, no one ever acted like going to work was, secretly, actually a vacation. No one expected me to get home at the end of the day feeling energized from working my ass off for 8 or 9 hours.

Suddenly, though, since I’ve had a child, work is supposed to be my “downtime.” I’m expected to leave the office at the end of the day happier and more energetic than I ever did when it was literally my only responsibility besides brushing my teeth and doing laundry a respectable number of times per month.

I think the idea is that, because I don’t have to deal with a persnickety baby all day long, I’ll be more tolerant when I get home. And I think that’s partially true most days. Not having seen my son all day certainly makes me, on an ordinary evening, more tolerant than my husband of any baby moodiness that might strike, since my husband has had to deal with it all day. I only get to see my son a few hours a day during the week – I’m not going to waste them being annoyed.

Nonetheless, my job has not magically transformed into a magical fairyland of snuggles and relaxation just because I have a baby waiting at home for me. Nightmarish days are still nightmarish days. Last minute deadlines and petty vendettas from random colleauges don’t stop for birth announcements. If anything, my job is MORE stressful now because I’m trying to get the same amount of work done as always but in a more limited timeframe. No more evening and weekend work for me – if it needs to get done, it needs to get done before I’m home with my family.

So, yes, I’m happier than I thought possible to see my little bambino at the end of a long, hard workday. But, no, that day is not “refreshing” because I wasn’t hanging out with my kid and changing diapers and doing feedings all day instead. I am still as exhausted as I ever was when I walk through that door.

And that’s why my husband and I SHARE duties when I get home. He works hard all day and sometimes needs a break from being a stay-at-home dad. But I, too, work hard all day and need a break from being a working mom just as much. I am not “refreshed” after sitting through the latest 2 hour meeting figuring out how to deal with budget cuts or an incompetent, rude colleague. I’m stressed and exhausted and angry, and I try my damnedest to be over it before I pick up my little boy in the evening. Not because I’m refreshed, but because I’m his mom, and that’s just what we do.