Well, I finally did it...made my first ever Instagram post.
Yes, I am officially an old man.
'So why the picture of a sprinkler head and an exposed water line?' I hear you asking (because I need you to in order to make this post work).
For starters, I've had a lot on my plate with prepping for the L.A. Times Festival this coming weekend, getting words written, blah, blah, blah. Suffice it to say I wasn't thrilled with having another distraction to pull me away from the eternal 'Publishing To Do' list.
Readers of my Lainey Grace book won't be surprised by this, but my frustration vanished once I got out in the yard and started digging to find the source of the busted pipe.
All told, I spent about an hour in finding the leak, heading to Lowe's for a replacement part, coming back, and fixing it all. No big whoop, right?
No, not really. But, as I was wrapping up with the newly fixed water line, I found myself continuing to look at the yard around me, remembering the dump that it was when we bought the place around five years ago.
Here's some pics from back then:
Being that I"m originally from Indiana, the above pictures did not qualify as a yard to me. (Yards have grass, no?)
Thus, I set out to try my hand at running new water lines, switching out station heads, researching and prepping to lay sod, etc. despite that I had no experience in doing so. The learning curve was steep and the employees at Lowes came to know me on a first name basis by the time I finished with "my yard."
Here's how it turned out:
I'm not usually one for reflecting on the past too much, (or for too long for that matter), but when tamping the earth back my fixed water line, I kept thinking how frustrated the inexperienced guy I was had been with those stupid, stupid irrigation lines. Back then, it had literally taken me a few days just to figure everything out - what kind of adhesive to use, how many sprinkler heads can you have per station, how far of an area can they cover, etc.)
Fast-forward to a couple days ago and I knocked my replacement line out, travel time and all, in less than an hour.
Sitting out there in the grass, my hands muddy, I thought it oddly coincidental that this busted water line happened on the eve of my 3rd anniversary in self-publishing. Moreso the realization of just how far I've come in that journey too.
Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I had taken on both projects in the same year and, like fixing up the yard, I had no idea about how to find editors, book designers, or interior book designers. What were reasonable rates for their services? Could I do any of it myself? Where do you even go to self-publish? Can you make it work financially? One by one, I figured those answers out. (**I now have a thousand more unanswered ones, BTW).
Like the yard, I've made a ton of mistakes in self-publishing and will likely continue to do so. Granted, instead of screwing up water lines and timing valves, I was instead screwing up book covers, story beginnings, and genre when starting out. Oh, and here's pt. 2 of where I screwed up just in case you didn't think one post was enough.
But as it sits right now, I feel pretty good about entering my 4th year in the biz. The third (and fourth) Salted books are currently being edited by the always awesome Annetta Ribken, with both books due to be released later this year. Meanwhile cover designer M.S. Corley continues to blow to my mind with his newest cover design - (check back soon for the grand reveal)! And finally, this weekend, I'm headed back to the L.A. Times Festival of Books for a third time.
I'm not alone this year either.
I now know many of the other exhibitors on a first name basis and I'm stoked about teaming up with an amazing duo - Dana Melton and Jessica Alexander - who have written The Autumn Series under the name Kirby Howell. If you're headed to the USC campus this weekend, come say hey. We'll be in booth 740 all weekend long.
So yeah...feel like I have a good handle on those areas now..
Then again, like the yard, who knows what could break tomorrow that I"ll have to go back and address, eh?
Author. Actor. Rascal.