Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Self-Publishing Industry

The perennial late developer, I arrived late for the self-publishing party and had to read a lot of the comments on Writers’ forums to understand the industry. Some of the people who have worked in-house for publishing companies say they don’t trust the information on these forums but I take the common denominator as the truth. While it may be true that unqualified people are passing themselves off as editors on these forums, it’s also true that many wannabe authors don’t have the funds for the more experienced and more expensive editors.

In "in-house" work, there are usually many staff members and each is assigned a certain task. For instance, one person does the graphics and book covers, another does the index, another does the structural/development-editing and another does the copy/line editing, proofreading and another does the promotion and marketing.

With regards to self-published authors, these "solopreneurs" have to do as much as possible on their own to make their project cost efficient. They write, self-edit with and without software, get beta readers, rewrite, and get the manuscript pro-edited if they can afford it. They sometimes design their own covers, upload to Amazon by themselves, as well as promote and market their books. These solopreneurs have to be respected for their multi-talents and commitment to their vision and passion. They have suffered much in the trial and error stages and have to be appreciated for sharing their experiences so that those who come after them will be spared the same trials and errors.

When I first got onto the scene, I was wondering what should solopreneurs do if they don’t have the budget for pro-editing? Should they give up on their goals to publish or should they go ahead and publish the self-edited books? The forums were clearly warning newcomers not to engage the cheaper editors on offer as they were “not professional” enough. Even if that is the case, what are we going to do if we can’t afford the “professional” fees of an experienced and qualified editor? Especially for wannabe Asian writers and others from third world countries where the fee of a professional editor in US dollars is equivalent to five months of minimum wage or more. When I was new on the scene, I encountered the sharks in the industry who asked for 9 cents a word for editing. That horrified me as it was the equivalent of the price of a low-cost house in many parts of Asia. In some parts of the world, that kind of money can buy a few low-cost houses — houses that could house the homeless.

Coming from Asia myself, of course, it would be hard for me to justify spending that kind of money on pro editing. So I settled for the other option. I took the view that everyone has to start somewhere and even an inexperienced editor is better than having no editor at all. I knew I had to find an editor who could edit non-fiction/metaphysical/Tai Chi so I took a leap of faith with an ex-newspaper sports editor who offered to edit for a flat fee. More importantly, he would not take any payment upfront. He was happy to be paid after he delivered his work. His charges are like this:

Copy Edit: $150
Line Edit: $200
Proofread: $200
Developmental: $300
Any Two Options: $250
All-of-the-Above: $400

I settled on the first two on the list for USD 250.00. I know it’s not the ideal thing but I did my own proofreading to save some money. I am good at proofreading because I am not a speed reader. I read word for word, line by line and so I am able to spot errors. I proofread both editions of The Dance of the Chi about fifteen times in total and each time, I found myself shortening sentences, adding sentences, tweaking the punctuation, formatting, and spacing.

My second editor offered free editing to go with the fees for some graphic work and indexing. He offered free editing as a sample edit because he was interested in working on my next two books. He offered to charge me half a cent per word with a 20% discount. My first editor contributed to the presentation of the content and prompted me to elaborate certain parts. He set me straight with the commas in and out of the parenthesis. He prompted me to be clear about my choice for the single and double quotation marks, and upper and lower case words and abbreviations. He attended to the nuance of the language and shared his opinion of my material. Overall, he gave very encouraging feedback.

My second editor was on point with the tweaking of the graphics from the first edition and did acceptable work with the indexing for the paperback version and references for the eBook version. His questioning led to the inclusion of an Author’s Note. Some people say editors are a pain to work with. That’s because they question and probe what is not clear to them and that causes a bit of rewriting and finessing but isn’t that what they are paid for? My second editor appeared to be editing the work of the first editor where punctuation and grammar were concerned. He also contributed further to the presentation of the content.

Both editors contributed what they could to the revised edition of The Dance of the Chi. Are they good/professional enough? I have nothing to compare them to, so I can’t say. I don’t know what a cent a word or more cents a word editing is like as I can’t afford them. All I know is, even after both editors had done their work, I still had much to do on my own. I can only assume this is the same with the expensive pro editing. No one will love our creations as much as we do. No one will invest the amount of patience and care that we do. We have to take on the responsibility of dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.” I’ve read comments on the forums to this effect. Even after professional editing, we have our work cut out for us.  I can’t complain about my two editors as they stepped up for me with their offers of affordable, positive, encouraging and favorable feedback.

From these two separate experiences, I can say that editors do have their own filters and if they are not familiar with the subject or the genre, writers will find they have a lot of explaining to do. However, I find that could work in our favor as the editors represent the readership out there and if they are confused about some things, we have the opportunity to clarify, elaborate and/or tighten the manuscript. Of course, all these services can be rendered for free by writer friends if you are lucky enough to have such qualified friends for beta reading.

When I first published, I thought I might be able to make writing books a career. Yes, go ahead and laugh; it’s hysterically funny, isn’t it? Two months later, I realized that self-publishing is not about creating income to pay the bills. Not for most writers, that is. Still, I continued to write with the view to publishing; spending my savings on the projects because I have some things to say and I need to say them before I go. As David Icke says, "When you're passionate about something, you find a way."

Friday, December 2, 2016

My Area of Expertise?

Asians are raised to be modest so we don’t as a rule, handle compliments well. We are taught to downplay our assets and strengths so if people tell me I’m beautiful I’m to respond with: No! You need a new pair of spectacles. If they tell me I’m smart, I might say: You’re not too dumb yourself! Recently, a regular on my social media pages alluded to my “authority” on energy, vibrations, and chi. My cultural training clicked in and I made a joke to deflect the compliment. As an afterthought, I realized I should stop doing this as I’m a metaphysical writer. I write about energy, vibrations, chi, the EFAW (Evil Forces At Work) and esoteric stuff. People expect me to know what I’m writing about. I can’t expect to be taken seriously if I don’t “own” my area of expertise. If I’m not an expert on energy and forces, why should anyone believe what I say?

If you’ve been coming to my social media pages lately, you might have noticed there are quite a number of posts to do with narcopaths. Narcopath is a catch-all term to describe people with cluster B personality disorders. This includes the narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths. It feels like I have been taking a course on how to identify them, deal with them, avoid them and move on from them. Hence, in retrospect, I now understand that my parents were on the spectrum of narcissism, even if they were mostly just regular people with personality disorders doing their best to live their lives and raise a family. My parents were probably like most people on the low end to mid-range of narcissism. On the extreme end of the spectrum are the NSP’s (narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths) who make careers out of their narcopath disorders. These are the ones who spend a lot of time on social media trawling for victims. They don’t have regular jobs and they use their victims as energy and “income streams.”

People like to say “go with the flow”, but that only works if the flow is a positive current, not a negative one. When you meet a narcopath, do not go with the flow. These narcopaths need the pure and positive energy of the empaths hence they target empaths as a rule. As well, empaths are known to be more kind, compassionate and giving, so they make good “supply” sources. If you discover you are actually dating a narcopath, for sanity’s sake, do not continue with the flow. Turn the other way, cut your losses, go no contact, protect yourself from the love bombing (if you’re at that stage), devaluing (if you’re at that stage), or the triangulation, ghosting or hoovering (if you’re at those stages). Whatever the stage you find yourself in, the quicker you get out the better your prognosis for a full recovery.

In my opinion, narcopaths want or need unconditional love. Why else would these sicko’s push people to the limits of their endurance if not in the hope of experiencing unconditional love? Healthy people know love relationships are based on good behavior, mutual respect, consideration, and trust. NSP’s are found even among religious leaders and every level of NSP’s have their “Flying Monkeys” to aid them in their dirty tactics of bringing their victims down. Flying monkeys are usually gossipers or people who listen to gossip. If you don’t want to be used as a Flying Monkey, do not listen to or spread gossip. "Gossip is murder by character assassination."

Predators don’t hook up with other predators for neither party fancies being the prey. Sometimes, NSP’s are forced to deal with other NSP’s in a business or political setting and then the bigger predator wins. I use the word “win” because NSP’s divide the world into these two classes of people – Winners and Losers. NSP’s label kind and compassionate people as “Losers.” Most narcopaths would prefer to stick to easier prey. Most don’t prefer to take on their own kind. With their own kind, they only exchange negative energy. With empaths, they get their fill of pure, positive energy.

Experts say narcopaths’ number one fear is abandonment and rejection. They say NSPs (narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths; not to be confused with NPDs (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) aka narcopaths, can’t stand being rejected or abandoned. That’s why they fly into rages and punish and/or threaten anyone who threatens to leave them. When their love bombing and impressing you stop getting them the results they are after, they know you are seeing through their fake personas. At that point, they either decide you are not good victim material and move on to the next supply or they take revenge on you by any means.

The following was lifted off various YouTube videos:

Once you unmask a narcopath, you expose him for the fraud he is and when you reject a narcopath, you are rejecting the false self they have so carefully constructed to impress you and to victimize you. Psychologists say once their false self is negated, their entire reason for existing collapses since whatever true self they may have left is completely inaccessible to them and the false self cannot survive on its own. Their false self is completely dependent on the approval and attention of others, who it feeds from like a vampire. When a narcopath is rejected, he is forced to confront his own emptiness and nothing scares him more than that. He has done everything to avoid confronting who he truly is and the narcopath will try to destroy anyone who threatens to expose him to himself or to the world.

Narcopaths hate being made fun of or to be made to play second fiddle to any activity in their victims’ lives. They may laugh cruelly at the misfortunes of others, and they may chuckle at the discomfort of someone else especially if the discomfort was caused by them. Most narcopaths are sadistic and have no empathy. They treat other people like objects for their entertainment.

Experts say for a victim/survivor, success is always the best revenge and the healthiest way to move on. I’m not comfortable with the word “revenge” but I agree it’s best to move on. We move on by focusing on what we want; not what we don’t want. We move on by focusing on what we can do; not on what we can’t. We must stop giving our energy to the narcopaths. People should be warned that the evil is very real and the narcopaths never change. There is no such thing as an ex-narcopath. Once a narcopath, always a narcopath.

Yet, there is always an exception to the rule. I read of a case where a child psychopath was cured of her illness and grew up into a normal, loving, human being. But the odds are stacked up against them. Research has been inconclusive as to why narcopaths are the way they are. Some studies say it’s in the genes yet siblings don’t all turn out to be narcopaths. Other studies say it’s to do with their upbringing yet siblings raised the same way by the same parents don’t all turn out to be narcopaths. I say, if we leave the soul and EFAW out of the equation, we won’t be seeing the whole picture. The soul and EFAW have to be factored in. Would you take a chance on a narcopath to change? Many have and many have been destroyed by the narcopaths’ trails of destruction.

Many survivors have taken to YouTube to expose their narcopaths and to share their stories and lessons with these narcopaths as a way of validating their experiences and to do meaningful work to help other victims and would be victims. The abuse, they say, is beyond what is acceptable in society and they want to stop these narcopaths from doing more harm. They consider this an evil that must be exposed.

I recently realized the reason my whole life has been about coping with narcopaths (in various degrees on the spectrum), is because I was to develop my EFAW theory and demonstrate my beliefs to the world as a published author. Spiritual teachers tell us at some point in our lives, we will be called upon to demonstrate our beliefs. My time is now.

Being of a metaphysical and spiritual nature, I find myself trying hard to take something positive from my narcopath experiences. If it’s true every event has something to teach, some good if we look hard enough, I want to dig deep to find what even the crazy, destructive experiences with narcopaths may leave us. So I came up with these following points. Victims and survivors, please don't strafe me over this exploratory pattern of thoughts. I'm just trying to appreciate the big picture.  Granted, for most victims, the pain and suffering endured by being on the receiving end of the narcopaths’ evil madness render them incapable of forgiveness much less being able to see any positives from the experiences.

-  Even if they were not being sincere during the love bombing stage, the emotions they invoked in us were real. They made us smile, laugh, and we did feel joy in our hearts for as long as the fake "love relationships" lasted. In this sense, the narcopaths leave both their positive and negative marks on us. We just have to find something positive to take away from life's otherwise negative experiences.

-  When narcopaths mirror us to manipulate us to like them or fall in love with them, they show us who we are. And when we respond to who they present themselves to be in the beginning stages of the "hit," we know what we are looking for in other people. There is some clarity offered up there.

-  Since there is currently an epidemic of narcopaths around the world, it means there is no short supply of victims. It means there are a lot of empaths and good people around to feed these narcopaths or else they wouldn’t be proliferating at this rate. Knowing there are so many good people around should warm our hearts and give us hope.

-  I wish to set an example of accepting responsibility for my narcopath experiences. I wish to stay compassionate and calm in my assessment of the situation.

I finally understood what my latest narcopath’s strategy was in publicly announcing himself to be an “ex-NSP.” He just presented himself one day, on my social media page and announced he was an ex-NSP. Not only that, he also announced he was a recovering alcoholic, was recently homeless and that he had spent some months in jail. He said he would wear his past and that his life is an open book. I asked him why he was here and what he wanted from me. He replied he didn’t know. He said he was just going with the flow. (It rhymes! Lol …) By doing that, he came across as very honest and I would give him the benefit of the doubts. What a masterstroke in cunningness. What a master class in NSP deception. By telling you he was all these in the past, you would look and feel bad if you held his past against him.

The Chinese believe that if a bad person is able to change his bad ways and become a good person, he is better than a person who had never been bad. The Chinese believe such people should be given the chance to turn over a new leaf and that we should help them achieve this by not turning away from them.

Today, I believe he initially came to me for some help. I believe he had done some research on my background and he hoped I would be able to assist him in his personal energy battles. He was savvy enough to discern that he had a problem with the EFAW. I believe he thought that being an energy expert, I would be able to guide him and that he could learn from me how to cleanse his energy. It was his soul that was reaching out for help.

He was not wrong. I used to have a shaman friend (who I write about in Different Realities), who would take on cases of the EFAW aka demon possession. At the very least, the shaman would advise people what to do to neutralize the EFAW that was disturbing them and preventing them from being the best versions of themselves.

The more this latest NSP would share with me of his horrible past, the more I felt pressured to show him unconditional love. It was as if I was being tested or more accurately, it was as if my spirituality was being tested. He would tell me that as soon as he disclosed his past to others, they would all “run away” from him and he would say to me, “you can run away now.” Of course, I would try my utmost not to run away. I always thought it was not fair for society to tell us, “Honesty is the best policy” and then when someone chooses to be honest, society would punish this person for his honesty. I wasn’t going to punish this “ex-NSP” for being honest, was I?

He needed unconditional love. He needed help. He hoped I would step up for him and I tried. I felt the EFAW energy driving his behavior and actions at times, across the distance of thousands of miles and toward the end of the “experiment” (I believe that was what it was for him), we both knew the game was up. When the games began, he had announced: “The music has begun; shall we dance?” I actually felt a chill in my body just reading those words at the time. After three months of what seemed like effort on my part and what I know must have been entertainment on his part, the music ended and we stopped “dancing around the pole.”

What saved me from this latest NSP was that he was only a virtual connection. As long as I remained true to myself, my path and purpose, he would see that I am not good victim material and he would go away sooner rather than later. For the past ten years, I have been able to expose narcopaths within three months as long as I stick to my boundaries and let them expose themselves and disappear quickly so I don’t waste too much time and energy on them.

Especially for romantic links, I think it’s safer for women to stick to traditional models where the male is expected to do the wooing. Traditionally, the male gives to the female first. That would protect the woman from narcopaths as the narcopaths can’t give much or for long without wanting something in return and they will expose themselves in quick fashion.

Are you familiar with the saying, if we are looking for people with no flaws to be our friends, we will have no friends? Well, I usually get into trouble when I make it a point not to be too judgmental. Being judgmental is using discernment. Without discernment, our experiences and knowledge count for nothing. When I lower the bar, the quality of friends get lower and lower and before I know it, I have another narcopath in my life!

Just as narcopaths have their “harem” of victims to fall back on for energy, entertainment, sex, money, favors, etc., the rest of society also has a “network” of contacts for some of these resources. Most of us generate our own energy so we don’t need that from others. Most of us like our own company and don’t need others to entertain us. If we need sex, most of us need it from only one partner or we choose to be celibate. Most of us create our own income streams and work hard for the money to pay our bills.

What that leaves are favors and services. Healthy networking will allow us to have a pool of contacts to exchange favors with and/or for paid services. No one is so strong we couldn’t do better in life with a support system. Only the narcopaths go about it the selfish, destructive way. They enter fake relationships based on what they perceive their “prey” may be able to do for them.

Healthy people have narcissistic traits as well but on the lowest end of the spectrum. We are told that is healthy and necessary to a degree because it's helpful for us to feel a bit special. These traits aid the confidence that allows us to take risks, put ourselves out there to be judged or simply to flirt with an attractive stranger. We know relationships are about giving and taking; you help me, I help you. Nothing wrong with you scratch my back, I scratch yours. If narcissism is a continuum, then a diagnosis of pathological narcissism sits at the very end of the spectrum.