Saturday, October 15, 2011

Publishing Lessons From WWII

In 1943 my grandfather drove an ambulance into war and carried wounded and dead soldiers out of battle and drove them to safety. 

Bullets flew past his ears, bombs exploded in the near distance; men screamed, searched for lost limbs and fought for their lives.

When he returned home, he said very little about his experience. Truth is, like milliions of other soldiers, he suffered a bout of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

War does that. 

Gene Spica was one of millions who fought in WWII and returned to quietly live the rest of their days as hard working individuals. Thus, they were named the “silent generation”. They were, and continue to be strong, patriotic, hardworking and independent men and women. 

Since then, much has changed. Some aspects of life are easier and some are harder. But one thing is for sure, my grandfather’s legacy has taught me how to work hard and that I can do anything if I’m willing to put forth the effort.

As an author, I’m carrying the strength of the silent generation, like many other writers I know, into the digital era. We are diligent, technically savvy, creative, and yes, independent, a word that not too long ago left readers with a bitter taste in their mouths.

The notion that “indie” or independent is a sign of weakness or poor quality is very puzzling to me. I’ve always been taught that it’s not only important, but a sign of excellence when one demonstrates a skill, coupled with the ambition to bring a project to completion on his or her own.

That’s what my grandpa taught me anyway.

Benjamin Franklin is a perfect example of a man who took his destiny into his own hands, worked to get what he wanted out of life, buying his own printing press, producing his own publication and selling his work to a world hungry for content. 

And here we are in 2011; a year many thought would never come (Except the Mayans). Books are on our computers, on our phones and in small digital tablets where we can store thousands of titles in the palm of our hand. No doubt the day will come when we download ebooks directly into our minds via Amazon’s Whispernet!

Nonetheless, the time for the indie author is now.

The time for men and women to pull their manuscripts from their dusty closets has come.

The battle is on, and those who are strong, shrewd, and with the least overhead will be the victors. If you understand the qualities of the silent generation, you have what it takes.

But remember, in World War II, where there was a soldier, there was a medic; where there was a medic, there was a driver; and where there was a driver there was a doctor.

Independent doesn’t mean a solo act!

Independent musicians need bass players (God help us) and drummers (God, please help us!).

Independent filmmakers need makeup, producers, actors and key grip (whatever that is).

Being independent is not about being a rebel; it’s about being a cylinder that doesn’t fit into the square provided by traditional publishers.

All to say, don’t go indie alone. Do it with resilience and the guts to pull your story together, even if, and you should, use a team of likewise talented folks (art, editing, formatting). Then, if you play your cards right and get a nod from the Good Lord, you might even sell a few books.

I have to say, I’d probably stick with writing queries everyday, if things were not what they were, because that would simply be the right way to get published.

But I don’t have to. Times have changes. Were at war.

Besides, if I listen carefully, I can hear the ghost of my grandfather whispering to me, “Charge forward, young man. Take the bastards down and live your dream before it's too late.”

I am.

Now you might think I’m fighting alone because I claim to be an indie author, a lone soldier. The truth is, if I ever need an ambulance, I have a driver, a medic and a doctor near by at all times. 

#unity #diligence #independence

Jeff Bennington  is the author of Reunion, Creepy, his forthcoming supernatural suspense, Twisted Vengeance and other thrillers. He blogs here at The Writing Bomb and is the creator of The Kindle Book Review.


  1. I like the analogy. You are so right, an indie author must have a team to survive and prosper, just as a fighting soldier needs his brothers in arms, medics and drivers. Independent doesn't necessarily mean solo. Great post, Jeff.

  2. Since I have a co-author, I've never felt totally alone in this battle to be heard. I do feel at times disheartened by those who choose not to carry our message forward. Kudos to you Jeff for saying what needed to be said in a way that others of our generation can understand.

  3. Excited for you..Great Post/Story..Your followers Have your Back..#believeinyou

  4. @Kelly ~ Thank you. I think Triberr is definitely one of theose sites where you share the experience with your "brothers in arms".

    @LJ ~ Welcome back. I've been wondering where you've been. Wish you the best with your story...Incidentally, LJ writes a killer blog and will need beta readers for her YA novel (I think).

    @Lynn ~ Hi. I'm not sure how I'd do with a co-author. Glad it's working for. Detailed question. Does Amazon split the royalties and direct deposit to each contributor?

    @Susan ~ Thanks for dropping by and for having my back!

  5. Thanks for sharing. Pretty well said. Although, I'm thinking that you meant "'we're' at war" not "were at war".

  6. Your grandpa sounds like a fantastic gent. Great post, as always!


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