Monday, June 24, 2013

The Business of Literature

We're going to be espousing these ideas for the next ten years. We might as well know they're Richard Nash's, and we might as well know now.

Yours in laying down the law,


Check out the Trailer for Stuck Outside of Phoenix the Movie, which will premiere in Tempe in early 2013.

Or try Stuck Outside of Phoenix in print form for just $5.

Or try Stuck for your Kindle for just $2.99.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Badge Kickstarter Successful, plus New Class on Self-Publishing

We did it.

Thank you all for making it so I won't lose money publishing and promoting my third novel Badge. I think Badge is worth your time and contribution, or I wouldn't have bothered you with this Kickstarter stuff in the first place. It's taken me seven years and many drafts to write it, and I can't wait for you to read it.

To that end, I will spend July and perhaps August getting Badge ready for the proofreader. Then it's off to the printer. I'll also be planning events in the West for February/March 2014, hopefully with events in other regions later in the year. I'm dedicating all of 2014 to Badge, so I'll be trying to make it to your neck of the woods. Stay tuned.

Also, I'm teaching a class on self-publishing at The Attic this summer. This class was designed to get those interested in self-publishing past the rocky, unknown stuff and to the point where they're ready to publish and promote their title well. We'll talk nuts and bolts for a couple of hours every Sunday, figure out about how they apply to your project, have some fun, and by the end of the five-week course you'll have the hard questions about your self-publishing venture answered, a plan in place, and be ready to take your book to the world. Let me know if you have any questions about the class, and please share or forward this class link to anyone you think might be interested.

It's a brave new world out there.

Yours in laying down the law,


Check out the Trailer for Stuck Outside of Phoenix the Movie, which will premiere in Tempe in early 2013.

Or try Stuck Outside of Phoenix in print form for just $5.

Or try Stuck for your Kindle for just $2.99.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Your Last Week to Contribute to Badge's Kickstarter Campaign, Plus New Reward!!!

This is it, folks. If you've been on the fence about my Kickstarter campaign to fund my third novel Badge, it's time to help push it over the top! We've still got a few days, but boy would a few contributions today make a big difference. 

I've also included a new reward! It's called the Aspiring Writer, and it's for folks who want me to critique their novel or nonfiction manuscripts. You'll get my line-by-line edits of your book (up to 80,000 words) and an extensive, detailed assessment that will tell you what's working, what isn't, and how to fix it. The contribution level for this is $1,000, which is in line with what you'd likely be quoted on the open market. And here's the beautiful part: If you contribute at this level, you'll have up to two years to get your manuscript together! What more motivation do you need to finally get started on that book now? Contribute!

And did you read the first chapter of Badge?

And did you read the essay I published last week at this blog about golfing with the Refreshments

And did you read my essay published in The Rumpus last week about packaging in all its glory

Folks, this is my last blog before this thing is over. Whether I publish a victory blog next week or give my concession speech is largely in your hands. Please contribute.

Yours in laying down the law,


Contribute to the Kickstarter campaign for my third novel Badge.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Life in Golf

Golf, I will love you forever, I will never play you again.

My relationship with this bitch goddess of a pastime started when I was 16. I desperately wanted a job that didn't require my attendance on Friday and Saturday nights--when all the partying was happening--and I got a job at the Indian Bluff Public Golf Course in Milan, Illinois, where my grandpa golfed every day. I washed carts, filled soda machines and generally did what was asked of me, as much as any teenager does what's asked of him.

The people who worked at the course didn't take a shining to me. I'm not sure why. My wardrobe of Van Halen T-shirt and cut-off shorts--not to mention the earring I got shortly after being hired--probably didn't impress anyone. This hurt a little, but I was too concerned with what was going on on Friday and Saturday nights--girls, beer, playing music in my cover band--to care too much about it.

One of the fringe benefits of working at Indian Bluff was that I got to golf as much as I wanted for free (golf cart included). If my namesake meant anything, I would become quite a golfer. My grandpa, Art Edwards Sr., was good enough to once flirt with playing professionally. My dad, Art Jr., was a big hitter. I marveled at his long drives, even if they weren't always straight down the fairway. I'd golfed a little before I'd gotten the job at Indian Bluff, enough to know I needed practice. Now I had a free pass to golf every day. It was my chance to get good.

And I had one marked advantage in this game, according to my grandpa. I was left-handed, which meant if I golfed right-handed, my strong hand could sit at the top of the club, allowing for more torque during my swings. It was about time being left-handed--which my dad had tried to "cure" me of at one point--proved an advantage.

I enjoyed taking my whacks that summer, walking the course. I liked trying to figure out which club would yield the best result. I'd often duff or “worm-burn” shots off the tee, only to lambaste the next one from the fairway. My chipping was a nightmare, often resulting in two or three jerky strokes to get the ball onto the green. On my first hole of my first round at Indian Bluff, I sank an eight-foot putt, which led me to believe putting was the best aspect of my game. I estimate one out of every three of my shots went the way it was supposed to go. The others veered in some random or unbecoming direction. I averaged 110 per round.

Any golfer will tell you 110 per round is not something you want, and everyone tried to help. Once, during a particularly bad round with Art Sr. and Jr., it was discovered that my wrong, lower, right hand took over during my swings. When golfing right-handed, the right hand is supposed to “just sort of come along for the ride,” my dad said. My hands were doing each other's jobs. So much for my left-handedness helping me.

That fall, when Indian Bluff closed for the year, I told my boss I wouldn't back the next spring. No one begged me to stay.

I didn't give golf much of a thought for years. I graduated from high school, went to junior college, played rock music, moved to Arizona, got involved in the Tempe music scene, graduated from A.S.U., got married, and became a founding member of a band that signed a two-album deal with Mercury Records. 1996 found the single from our first album on the radio and the band touring the country. In 1997, waiting for our second record to come out, the band had a lot of time on its hands. Our drummer, P.H., was quite a golfer, and someone came up with the idea that we should all golf together. This was, after all, the Hootie decade.

We golfed a few times as a foursome that summer. I don't know how we got Brian, our guitar player, to go along with it, but he dutifully showed up in trucker's cap and soul-concealing sunglasses. Roger, our lead singer, seemed uncomfortable with the whole concept of golf, but he played anyway. P.H. put his golf shoes on in the parking lot. Hearing his spikes crunch the pavement, I realized too late my sandals probably weren't the best choice for the day.

We were all pretty bad, except for P.H., whose hits were all elegance, an old-money swing bred in Chicago's suburbs, his fairway shots yielding the correct amount of arc, his pitches landing with a thump on the green. Roger seemed befuddled by the game, taking swings that sometimes yielded nothing but his ball trickling to the left or right. Brian cracked his first Miller High Life by the second hole.

I was stoked to get another shot at the links. It'd been ten years since I'd quit Indian Bluff, and I felt like being married and somewhat settled might translate into a quieter, less neurotic game.

It was not to be so. I still had a weirdly excited swing that yielded worm-burns or worse from the tee. I remember once hooking a drive so drastically it threatened cars driving by on Dobson Road. My pitching was atrocious, despite following to the letter P.H.'s instructions about a more open stance. And I couldn't back up my earlier bravado on the putting green. One time in the fairway, I missed the ball entirely, causing an embarrassed silence amongst my foursome. That summer I once again averaged 110 per round. It was a relief when our second record came out and we had to hit the road. There would be no room for golf bags on the tour bus.

In the wake of this period, I took a more contrarian view of the game. Who cared if I wasn't any good? Golf was evil anyway. What activity better symbolized the gross extravagance of our society? The Phoenix area has 132 golf courses. All that water to keep those fairways green, an environmental travesty. If you're going to suck at something, it might as well be something that's just plain wrong in the first place. I quit the game, losing my clubs in the junk corner of our garage and all but forgetting about them.

My band broke up in 1998, and my wife Kel and I moved to San Francisco, where we both worked day jobs while taking art and writing classes at night. When I finished my degree, we moved 350 miles north to Ashland, Oregon, where I spent my days writing and Kel making and selling her art work. In 2007, business was going well enough that, when an artist friend asked me to go golfing, I said yes.

By this time, golf had intrigued me on a different level. In 1999, while combing the fiction shelves of a used bookstore in Sausalito, I came across the U section, which was dominated by John Updike. I'd been avoiding Updike's work for years, believing--without actually reading any of it--there was something staid and conventional about it. He seemed boring compared to the modernists, who got more lip service in college classes. Still, I knew Updike's fiction had been ubiquitous during the last half-century. That day in Sausalito, I gave in and bought a copy of Rabbit, Run.

It would not be an exaggeration to say the next decade of my reading life was dedicated to reading Updike from end to end. Among the thousands of things Updike wrote well about, he was a master at writing about golf, teasing out the game's beauty with his words. I was somewhere toward the end of my Updike phase when my artist friend asked me to play and, my head full of Updikean tropes, I couldn't wait.

So, did my game change? Was it any different at 36 years old than it had been at 26 or 16? The sad part of this story is that my golf game altered not one lick during any of these decades. I still hit worm-burners off the tee. I was hit-and-miss out of the fairway, and I couldn't find my asshole with a pitching wedge. My friend of course helped, and I did my best to do what he said. Nothing seemed to work. Once, I got so mad I launched my three-iron boomerang style into the distance. It went farther than most of my shots that day.

Still, my frustration didn't come without a consolation prize. During one round, I discovered my problem with golf: It's all in the divot.

When I swing a golf club, I have a natural, instinctual aversion to causing a divot in the grass. For some reason, I'm squeamish about digging out a chunk of earth. It's not some hyper-environmental concern or anything like that. I just don't like the way it feels to dig up the earth with a golf club. This causes me to pull up ever so slightly when I swing, and this adjustment drastically affects the way I hit the ball. All those worm-burners--I was topping the ball because of my aversion to hitting the ground. Repeated swings proved my theory valid. It's an ingrained flaw, and it pretty much means I'll never be a decent golfer. As time has passed, I've learned to accept this. The golf gods aren't my gods, and that's okay. It's going to have to be.

Still, I look on fondly when I drive past courses, watching a golfer ease back his club, head down, nice follow-through. It's like a poem written in a language I'll never understand, but the sound of the words no less beautiful for that reason.

Yours in laying down the law,


Contribute to the Kickstarter campaign for my third novel Badge.

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Why Do You Need $6,000 to Publish a Book?"

We're over halfway to our Kickstarter goal, folks! Thanks so much for supporting it, and if you haven't yet, feel free to jump in now

So, why do I need $6,000 to publish Badge? Good question.

First, know that every dollar from this campaign will go to the publication and/or promotion of Badge. No trips to Bora Bora for Art and Kel. Your money will be spent on the project.

But books can be published for next to nothing these days. Why the big price tag on Badge?

Because I want to do Badge right. This isn't my first rodeo, and I know how much it costs to publish and promote a novel well. 

For example, I want to hire a proofreader, which is something I didn't have for either of my first two novels. Remember the misspelling of "customer" in Stuck? How about my inability to spell "Buddha" in Ghost Notes? Not this time. I want Badge perfect when it goes out to the world.

Also, I want to ship copies of Badge months in advance to sites for review. Again, I didn't get to do this for Stuck or Ghost Notes. Wow, just like a real publishing company.

Finally, I want to have a promotional tour in the first month of its release that takes me--at minimum--to every major market on the West Coast (SEA, PDX, SF, LA) and of course Phoenix. These appearances will probably feature reading, music and general mayhem. I can't imagine releasing Badge without also taking it to the street.

Considering the above, here's a rough breakdown of the costs of publishing and promoting Badge:

-KS/Amazon Fees - $600

-Taxes - $800

-Proofreader Fees - $400 (this is a screaming deal)

-"Calypso" (theme song) Fees - $100 (also, screaming deal)

-Printer Setup Fees - $500

-250 (mostly reward and review) Copies of Badge - $1,100

-Shipping Reward and Review Copies - $1,000

From our original $6k, this would leave $1,500 for the promotional tour, which should get me at least to the cities named above. I also plan on doing more promotional stuff in 2014, hopefully getting to places like Chicago, Denver, Atlanta and the East Coast ... but I don't want to put the cart before the horse. I need to get funded first.

So, that's why the price tag is $6,000. Anything less and I'd have to compromise Badge, and I'm not going to do that.

So, please contribute! You're my hope for making this happen.

Yours in laying down the law,


Contribute to the Kickstarter campaign for my third novel Badge.


Check out the Trailer for Stuck Outside of Phoenix the Movie, which premiered in Tempe in May 2013.

Or try Stuck Outside of Phoenix in print form for just $5.

Or try Stuck for your Kindle for just $2.99.