Monday, July 28, 2014

Why Indie Publishing?

I’ve been doing this ePublishing thing – actually, INDIE-PUBLISHING (since a sale to a “traditional” publisher could result in an ePublication, and createspace means I’m not JUST ePublishing, either) for 2-1/2 years now. There are plenty of people out there sharing their experiences, so I thought I’d take a few moments to document mine, for what they’re worth.
Why did I start indie-publishing? Well, let’s start with why I write.
I’m a creative sort. (This isn’t to say I didn’t play sports – but what little I did has become more story than exertion – part of the lore that defines who I am.) Throughout the earliest portion of my life, I gravitated towards “the arts” :
Music: I started playing trumpet in 4th grade (still have it) – then French horn, B-flat Horn, Alto horn and Trombone, with a bit of guitar thrown in. I wrote a dozen or more songs in my late teens / early twenties (I still have them moth-balled in my guitar case.) I’ve always enjoyed singing, but I didn’t discover karaoke until my late 30’s.
Acting: (formalized pretending – that thing most of us stop doing when we grow up) I got that first taste of living in an alternate reality in 6th grade, and it’s what I went to college for the first time (BTW – I enjoyed rehearsal far more than performance.)
Writing / Story-Telling: I’m blessed / cursed with an overactive imagination. As far back as I can remember I made things up – in my teens it became more formalized and I actually wrote down poetry, plays, stories, even made a couple of starts on a novel. Of course, none of this still exists other than in my mind.
By the time I reached my late twenties, “reality” and taking care of “every-day life” curtailed much of this. Things like nowhere to play my trumpet without disturbing others, no time to be involved in acting, too tired from working over-time and putting myself through school at the same time for a bankable degree (you know – practical, marketable, geared toward getting a “real job”) left me with no energy to do anything else.
Most all my creative outlets fell by the wayside. I believe this happens with most people (we can’t all make money doing what we love); it takes energy to “make a living” and “live” at the same time. But I encourage EVERYONE to do what you can to keep your dreams alive and not too far from your life. You need them for your heart and soul.
In my late 40’s I was hit with my midlife renaissance. I realized I’d let almost all the creativity disappear from my life – I needed to find an outlet. I decided on writing because it was something I could do anywhere at any time.
I could have just written and never let anyone see it, but that doesn’t fit with my personality. I have a little “show-off” in me (“A little?” my wife would say; she’s endured the embarrassment of me singing – loudly – in public more times than anyone should have to bear), and once I’ve created something, I need to share it. As much of a loner as I am, it seems pointless, otherwise.
I continue to pursue traditional publication of my work, but doing that without success means a very small audience (only the editors who are  rejecting me) would ever see my stories.
And then along came the ease of ePublishing and print on demand. I can cut out the middle man (the gatekeepers are no longer just the professional Editors – now they’re you, the Readers.) I can put my stories out there, and if anyone sees something that strikes their fancy, they can buy it and read it.
Why not just give it away instead of selling it? Two reasons:
1       1. Selling is validation that my stories are worth reading (and don’t we ALL need validation?)
2.   I have a hard time finding time to write – the more I sell, the easier it is to justify that time. And who knows - if I make enough money I could do this full time.

We all need to dream, don’t we?

Just saying…
BTW - my last 2 ePublications were done on smashwords and Amazon only. I decided to stop ePublishing directly on Barnes & Noble's “nookpress” tool because:
1. I’ve run into frustrations ePublishing on nookpress. It might just be browser compatibility issues, but I wind up using a combination of IE, Chrome & my Nook to get through the process, and that’s just TOO MUCH WORK.
2. Stories published through smashwords are still available through their premium catalog at Barnes & Noble (although delayed a week or so.)
3. It appears that in many cases my royalties are higher on a sale to Barnes & Noble through smashwords than through nookpress.
4. Why take the extra time to prepare a third document when the first two result in the same exposure? This gives me more time for writing.


William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication “The Re-Entanglement of Grant Decker”) can be found in many places, such as:
·         His Amazon Author page:

Connect with him on Facebook at:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Come Back, Shame!

(No, I’m not misspelling dialogue from the western classic…)
There used to be this thing called shame – there were social mores – norms – taboos – established standards of accepted behavior; guardrails that we used to function as a society. It helped to reinforce standards, and even violators of the rules helped strengthen society’s overall behavior by not advertising that they were doing it, because the village was going to give them an earful if they did.
Just like when you might spank your child to emphasize how they’re not supposed to touch a hot stove to keep them from WORSE things than a spanking (of course, it’s hard to know whether anyone still spanks their kids with the threat of arrest or having your kids taken away), we would also use shame to express our disapproval of what someone was doing, because there are worse things than shame, too.
Shame - used on a regular basis – was part of what helped build a conscience.
That’s probably not a welcome concept these days – negative reinforcement is – well – NEGATIVE, and we live in a world where we are told we should only use POSITIVE reinforcement – a reward (payment) for doing the right thing instead of punishment for doing the wrong thing. Of course, it’s hard to know who has really done the right thing when everyone gets a prize now just for being there…
Look – I know some people actually have empathy, and learn not to do things to other people because of how it makes those other people feel, but if you think about it, it’s still rather self-serving – we feel bad if we make other people feel bad, and we don’t want to feel bad, so… The Golden Rule seems wonderfully altruistic, but when you tell people “treat others as you want to be treated”, some of those people do it because of intimidation; they don’t want to be treated badly themselves.
We used to keep a very clear connection between a person and their actions. Society has worked hard to separate the two. Some time back (maybe in the 60’s), spankings became this horrible thing that no one should inflict on their children. We started worrying about what happened in this serial killer’s past that made them kill, and blamed ourselves that they were sociopaths instead of holding them responsible for the choices they made. More recently, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the “I like you, I just don’t like what you did” school of parenting, because we certainly didn’t want to “Johnny’s” self-esteem by holding his actions against him.
Look around you. If you’re like me, you see your world in upheaval – social standards are falling by the wayside. The underpinnings of our culture (social, economic, political - what have you) are being vilified as though they are the cause of the problems instead of the foundation civilization needs to survive. Things that have been considered common sense, ethical and moral practices have been turned on their head and ignored by people who have been raised to have no regard of RULES or the REALITY behind them.
Society has taken away spankings and shame as teaching tools. What are we using to take their place? Is it possible that the upsurge in self-centered sociopaths (by which I mean people who don’t care about other people and won’t conform to social norms – which includes bullies and mass-murderers, as well as people who can stand in front of millions and claim that they feel your pain, and then continue to cause more of it) is due to a failure to adequately chasten these children (and that’s what they still are), with the result that they think whatever they want they should have?
Just saying….

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication “The Re-Entanglement of Grant Decker”) can be found in many places, such as:
·         His Amazon Author page:

Connect with him on Facebook at:

Monday, July 14, 2014


I’m not a salesman.
In my youth I tried selling door to door (not my idea – a family home/ business.) I was never comfortable with walking up to someone’s door and bothering them to try to get them to buy something.
In my late teens, I applied for an advertised office job and was told that the job had been filled, but they did “happen to have” some sales openings. I spent a week training to sell Filter Queen vacuum cleaners (this shows you how in short supply good salesmen are – they have to trick people into trying the position.) It was a really good vacuum, and if I’d had $400 (in the late ‘70’s) and needed a vacuum cleaner I would have bought it, but asking other people to buy one just wasn’t working for me.
I could probably sell something in a store – but that’s only because people are coming in intending to buy. That’ not really selling – it’s just customer service. A real salesman would know how to get the people to come into the store in the first place.
I was thinking about the woeful state of my ePublishing sales. Yeah, I’ve only been trying this for a couple of years, and I’m supposed to be patient and watch those sales figures slowly climb as I build up stock (stories) on my shelves, but I don’t think it’s happening the way it’s supposed to.
It could just be that my product isn’t any good, but I don’t think that’s it; I’ve gotten close enough to a “traditional publisher” sale on some of my stories to merit a personal (instead of form) rejection. If quality was all that mattered, it should translate into sales – not into the drought that 2014 is turning into.
Fact is, there’s A LOT of product out in the market, and A LOT of competition. It isn’t just the ability to write – I have to be able to SELL that writing; show someone that I have stories out there, and convince them that they want to read them.
This adds to my conclusion that SALESMEN ARE GODS.
This may just be how our culture works, but I think it’s something more tightly bound into human nature, and explains why CAPITALISM is ultimately the fairest and most productive economic system. People decide what they want and what they are willing to buy / sell for what price. Someone who can sell can influence the process.
But it’s not just about goods.
Who can get buy-in? Collaboration (pulling groups of people together for a common goal) counts on somehow getting these people to cooperate. Historically, this used to be done this by force of arms or religion (some places still do it this way), but there is a built-in resistance, a less than 100% effort given, when you coerce people. In the modern world (USA, anyway), we count on our salesmen to convince people that either we have what they want or they want what we’re selling. In every transaction, every relationship, we have to be able to sell – our ideas, our desires, our product.
(Politics IS sales.) Life is a big bartering session, and if you want something, you have to be able to convince the other party that they want what you have to offer, too. A good salesman finds the WIN-WIN to make it happen.

I want money in my pocket. You want to be entertained. I have a story you’d be willing to pay to read. There; that should work.

Just saying….

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication “The Re-Entanglement of Grant Decker”) can be found in many places, such as:
·         His Amazon Author page:

Connect with him on Facebook at:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Making Things Up

Making things up is a BIG part of who I am. Some of my numerous character flaws come into play here:
1) It is very difficult for me to just say “I don’t know”, stemming from a reputation of being the top of the top (back when our fates were all sealed in primary education.) Whenever I raised my hand, it was with the answer – not a question. I could have shaken this reputation when I moved to Texas in the middle of high school, and NO ONE IN SCHOOL knew about my reputation EXCEPT ME (but you see, that was the problem – I’d read my own press clippings, so to speak.) It has taken me nearly 40 years to get semi-comfortable with “I don’t know.”
2) I’m analytical to a fault, so when someone asks me a question that I don’t really know the answer to, I work out the answer on my feet. This is reflexive, and although I do a pretty good job of thinking things into a reasonably believable answer, I’m sometimes wrong. This is further complicated by my failure to explain that I’m making my best guess (because “I don’t know”), so my answers are remembered a statement of fact rather than supposition.
3) I have an overactive imagination which feeds on and creates unintentional streams of word and image associations. I find my mind wandering off topic far too often (and this is not improving with age.) I can’t admit that I’ve lost focus (and “I don’t know” what we were talking about), so I pretend (former acting skills fully in play) that I’m keeping up.

When confronted with the opportunity to say “I don’t know”, the voices in my head start whispering in a panic: “Quick Bill - make something up!” (a hazard of imagination, intelligence, and ego, to be sure.) It takes a lot of self-control (something else I find in short supply) to not listen to that advice.

Some people refer to fiction writers as paid liars. Now, I have lied on occasion – I am not proud of it - but I have never been paid to do it. (Regardless of my amateur status, lying is still a despicable act- I’ve reduced mine to a respectable level. That doesn’t mean my reputation is fully recovered…) I have been able to rehabilitate myself to an extent, and make a sincere effort to keep my fiction on the page as it were. I am a work in progress (or is it that I’m a piece of work?)

I think the paid liar label is somewhat unfair – the art of fiction is built around imagining things as they aren’t and fabricating it so that others can see what you are imagining. There is an understanding – a covenant with the reader - that the content is not intended to be taken as real. We’re actually BUILDING A DIFFERENT REALITY.

A paid liar would be someone like Baghdad Bob ("There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"), who deliberately stated known falsehoods in an attempt to pass them off as the truth (a plethora of recent Administration spokespersons also come to mind. “You can keep your doctor.” “It was a spontaneous protest.” “It was a couple of rogue IRS agents in Cincinnati.” “We lost the emails when the hard drives crashed.”)

Caution: Making things up can damage your reputation. Once you’ve lost trust, it doesn’t come back without A LOT OF EFFORT. Sometimes, it doesn’t come back at all.

Just saying….

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication “Broken Down: Detective Jimmy Delaney Collection #1”) can be found in many places, such as:
·         His Amazon Author page:

Connect with him on Facebook at: