Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil

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Famous Books That Were Self Published – A Short List

selfpublishercartoonSome inspiration for writers everywhere who want to do it themselves.  A short list of famous books that were self published.

  • The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard and Spenser Johnson
  • The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
  • A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
  • Real Peace, by Richard Nixon
  • A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
  • Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
  • Remembrance of Things Past,  by Marcel Proust
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce
  • The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller
  • What Color is Your Parachute?, by Richard Nelson Bolles
  • The Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer


Super Bowl Soul Searching Pep Talk from a Coach…Writing Coach

Screenshot 2015-02-01 13.43.05It’s Super Bowl SUNDAY…Sunday…sunday….!!  (echo echo echo….)  And I’m giving a writer’s pep talk in the space of my own football locker room of the mind. Huddle around team.  This is my speech. I hope it inspires you to find your own inner talk of empowerment no matter what it pertains to. Here goes:

Don’t ever stop writing because you’re getting rejected by publishers. Remember – so many incredible books have been passed over – Anne Frank, JK Rollings, Golding, Orwell, Faulkner, the list goes on and one. They were all rejected, nonetheless, in time, they found someone who was willing to take a risk and publish them. Even the best of the best have been unceremoniously turned down.  Check out this interesting list of rejected classics. 

So, go all Nike on them and “Just Do It!”

But if you feel you don’t need the Big Man of publishing to get your book out there, consider self publishing! The process can be  empowering! I know. My book “Hitting Water” is out and I have this new sense of power, and I want to share my experience with people through coaching. (More on that to come in the coming months).  I’m still learning by fumbling and making mistakes. It’s practice to get out of the comfort zone and speak up about your work. Be real. Know about budgeting and marketing your work. Think big – expect small as you write and work on the outcome every day.  See what happens. But be prepared for the biz side. If you think your book will sell about $1000 worth of books, formulate your budget within those means. Don’t be dazzled by others who want to help you for thousands of dollars unless you’re already established and know you can recoup the financial output. Don’t spend more than you realistically think you can make back. There are affordable editors out there, who will edit and proof your book at a minimal cost. There are book designers, interior formatters and proofreaders who will clean up your work or give you opinions on how the book reads to a personal outside your head.

Team, I want to make this short since it’s almost game time. So, I’ll leave now with many more pep talks and suggestions to come. Keep the faith. Let the work flow and allow people to see it. “The Big Wherever” has a rich source naturally using you to bring a little heaven down to earth. Don’t block the flow. If you want (not “wish”…want) to create and put a defensive line of attack against the beauty –  you will be sad. And that’s a penalty. Flag on the play. Timeout. Re-think this. Open up and the clock will start, the game will resume.

I’m a baseball person myself, counting down the days to Pitchers and Catchers (18 days till NY Mets training camp in Port St. Lucie, FL!!! Let’s Go Mets!).  But I’ll say this….Seahawks 46 — Pats 21. My Boston Red Sox buddies will hate me for this.

Go forth and write! Celebrate your writing and how you can present it to world like it’s a half time celebration – Katy Perry and all!

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The One Thousand Yard Stare of a Writer

Robin Williams as T.S. Garp in "The World According to Garp" (Warner Bros)

Robin Williams as T.S. Garp in “The World According to Garp” (Warner Bros)

Perhaps the screenshot above is another obsessive motion on my love for Robin Williams. But as my previous post states, I re-watched the film “The World According to Garp” over the weekend, and was reminded of the strange wonderment of this unique story.

The photo above is a moment in the film when Garp is staring into the Long Island Sound. He has just said goodbye to his mother for what turns out to be the last time.  Although he didn’t know she would be shot dead by a crazed assassin, he knew something was going to go wrong. Yet, intermixed with this far away thought, is the far away stare of a writer, who longs to capture the emotions and veracity of the moment.

Much like the anger and frustration T.S. Garp felt when his books didn’t match cultural phenomenon proportions like his mother’s publication, “Sexual Suspect”, the futility of writing pervades the mind of an author, especially one who is about to debut their first book – their first self published book. Yikes!

Today, we writers look at J.K. Rowling, or E.L James who started off as unknowns with a great idea for a book that somehow hits the imagination of a populace.  And we hope, as we write our dreamy little dreamy stories, we’ll find the same success. Yet, our rational brains tend to tell us to calm the “f” down. Be detached from the results of your work. Start the next project wishing and blessing the soon-to-be-published work the best. Onward, upward.  And you know what? I think that works well.

So, today, as rain hits southern California, I have the long stare of Garp, looking into the abyss, sensing that something could go wrong, but knowing that everything will be alright.


And So It Shall Be…

As the 2014 unfolds, I find myself knee deep in the makings of a self publishing career. Since February of this year, after too many years pushing my writing aside, practicing “passive action” and blogging about comedians and television shows on Adult Swim, I’ve thrown in the irony towel and made a pact with myself: I will write at least 500 – 1000 words a day. My brain will spill its gooey brain guts onto the computer screen and scratch out stories that will be formed into books, novels, and eventually, episodic novellas. Tired of rejection from established publishers who have declined my work time and again (and having seen my father’s writings go unnoticed), I’ve vowed to created stories based on my mother and father’s history.

My mother was born in Havana, Cuba. My father was born in Strasbourg, France. I’m a hybrid of two dreamers, who miraculously found each other in the middle of White Plains, New York in  early 60’s after living through revolution and war. My father was a holocaust survivor. My mother left Havana at the age of 29, a single mother with a young son, after Fidel Castro kicked her and the rest of the Jewish working class out.

I’m currently working on a trilogy about my parents. First book will be about my mother, who always said that I would write a book about her life one day.  The sad thing is, she passed away five years ago, having only given me an outline of her life. But I feel her on my shoulder, digging me “Talk about me! Talk about me!” So, “Sea Around Us” (working title), a work of fiction inspired by my mother’s stories, where I fill in the blanks on the vague storyboard she provided, is bubbling and brewing on the back burner.  Next book will be inspired by my father. The third will be about their lives in New York. Two people who lived extraordinary, find the ordinary.  These books will be due in 2015.

As I’ve been toiling away, writing in between little administrative projects at work, and brain storming a bit on weekends, I found myself with a dearth of regular short stories. Some were mildly inspired by my parent, other’s were inspired by my friends. Friends, lost to the battle of drug addiction. Friends confused and shattered by the heavy weight of mental illness. As a way to contemplate the recent death of my parents, I wrote of stories of the dead, giving them voice about their after life. I even gave an long dead rock star a last curtain. curtain call All this writing is gratifying. I hope that it’s good. But that’s not my call. I wrote without judgement.

I’ve compiled my stories into a book that will be out in October 2014.  It’s in the editing stages, but the title has been confirmed. It will be called “Entrances & Exits: A Book of Short Stories”. It will be my first baby. My first foray into self publishing, and the beginning of what I intend to be a prolific library of online books for reading.