Another Week, Another 65 New Regulations | Ryan Young   Leave a comment

Found on FEE – Ryan Young Wednesday December 7, 2016

Image result for image of red tapeAs the Federal Register climbed above 87,000 pages for the first time in its 81-year history, agencies issued new rules ranging from landfills to movie theaters.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 65 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 85 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
  • With 3,454 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,722 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
  • Last week, 2,006 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,292 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 87,297 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 94,071 pages. This would exceed the 2010 Federal Register’s previous all-time record adjusted page count of 81,405.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 30 such rules have been published so far in 2016, one in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $23.5 billion to $36.2 billion.
  • 277 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published this year.
  • So far in 2016, 580 new rules affect small businesses; 99 of them are classified as significant.

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

Source: Another Week, Another 65 New Regulations | Ryan Young

Freedom’s Future   Leave a comment

Elections are awful if you love freedom. It’s mostly about politicians making promises they can’t keep through spending other people’s money. There wasn’t really anything different in the 2016 presidential election cycle in that regard. Both Democratic and Republican Party presidential candidates present variations on the same theme:

  • more government spending
  • greater intrusion into people’s personal lives
  • increased political concentration of power and control over economic and social life.

This year it may have been a little more entertaining because the two candidates took the gloves off and let us know what they really thought of each other … and in Hillary’s case, the American people.

NOTE to self – if you ever lose your mind and run for president, refrain from calling 40% of the American electorate “deplorable” mental midgets who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the American political system. They will prove that they understood what you meant and decide to punish you for it.

During election season, it appears to those of us who like freedom that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and we might as well just give up. Stop talking about liberty, because liberty can never win. Depression seems like a justified mood. In 2012, when I threw in a vote for the Libertarian candidate at the last minute … literally deciding when I got into the booth that I couldn’t vote for Obama and wouldn’t vote for Romney, it really was hard to see the future as anything worthwhile. The debt was just getting deeper and that wouldn’t change with Romney, so …. It was a protest vote. Somehow, supporting a candidate who had no chance of winning helped me to feel more optimistic for our future. Casting that same vote this time around helped me to feel a lack of ownership in this election outcome and that too makes me feel our future is brighter.

No, I don’t think Trump is going to fix anything. But I think we the people might.

 

 

Image result for image of freedomWhen Karl Marx died in 1883, wise socialists had good reason to despair of ever seeing the triumph of socialism. The world they lived in was dominated by the hated capitalist system. Governments were relatively small in countries like Great Britain and the United States. Markets were free and there was almost no regulation of any of the economy. Taxes were low and government budgets tended to be balanced or running surpluses. The monetary systems of most countries were based on gold or silver. Most people believed that a free market-based, limited-government liberal system was an overall good. Even “the workers” were suspicious of socialist radical agitation aimed at ending private enterprise and installed a government-managed society.

The socialists could only really hope that Marx had been right in his claim that human evolution would bring about his socialist utopia and bring about a communist future. But, the socialists didn’t sit passively waiting for capitalism’s demise. They talked about what they believed to whomever would listen and they gained adherents as the 20th century dawned, mainly because they understood that history would not move in their direction unless they changed popular opinion. They began to speak and debate with their friends and neighbors. They contributed to public lectures and published pamphlets and books. They founded newspapers and magazines, and distributed them to anyone willing to read them. Though their goal was collectivism, they understood that the world ultimately changes one mind at a time.

In time, they overcame prevailing public opinion, defeated powerful special interests, while not losing lost sight of their eventual goal of a socialist society.

So, here we are, standing on the cusp of a new era. Just 25 years ago, it looked like Soviet-style central planning was destroyed, but it wasn’t. In 2008, it looked like socialism had won in the United States, but in the eight years since it shown itself to be very good at enriching rich people and corporations and leaving the middle class sliding toward poverty. Now, in 2016, we’ve seen the electorate balk against the elitists. What emerges from this is up to us. We can’t look to government to bring people around. We must find that ability within ourselves.

Classical liberals need to offer a consistent, logical and principled explanation and defense of the ideas of individual liberty within a free market society. We must fully believe in the moral and practical superiority of freedom and the free market over all forms of collectivism. We must be neither embarrassed nor intimidated by the arguments of the collectivists, interventionists, and welfare statists. We must have confidence in the truth of what we say, to know in our minds and hearts that freedom can and will win in the battle of ideas. We must focus on that point on the horizon that represents the ideal of individual liberty and the free society, regardless of how many twists and turns everyday political currents seem to be following. National, state and local elections merely reflect prevailing political attitudes and beliefs. Our task is to influence the future and not allow ourselves to be distracted or discouraged by who gets elected today and on what policy platform.

Because liberty is an individual ideal, we must each become as informed as we can for the case of freedom. The more knowledgeable and articulate we each become in explaining the benefits of the free society and the harm from all forms of collectivism, the more we will have the ability to attract people who may want to hear what we have to say.

Socialism, communism, fascism, Nazism, interventionism, welfare statism they’ve all been tried in the last century and each has failed. If one looks back in history, to the period of time beween 1800 and 1900, you find that classical liberalism, with its concept of the free man in the free society and the free market, grounded in the idea of peaceful, voluntary association and individual rights, was highly effective at lifting people out of poverty and promulgating concepts like the end of slavery, the cessation of cruel and unusual punishment and the institution of the rule of law.If we keep that before us, we can and will win liberty in our time – for our children and ourselves.

If we keep that in mind, we can hope to win liberty in our time.

Announcing   Leave a comment

Release worldwide on December 11th, both paper and kindle format. The kindle price will be $0.99, and free if a subscriber to KindleUnlimited. The paperback version is $12.00US.
Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 11.18.56 PM.png
Michael Reid, Jr.’s website, http://www.michaelreidjr.com has the first two chapters, as well as information about the author.
Dr. Lewis had always found a way to hide his deepest secrets: the abuse as a child, the loss of his fiancé, the reasons why he rejected the lucrative offer from Harvard. But, when Kyle, his lab assistant, convinces him to push the limits of the drugs he’d spent a decade perfecting, his lies begin to unravel.

Kyle’s emotional events during treatment forced him to believe it was an event on another plane of life, a spiritual experience at its highest echelon. Thousands of people all over the world were experiencing similar events to Kyle’s, claiming they’d been to heaven. However, Dr. Lewis disagreed, and spent countless hours searching for a neural pathway within the brain itself as the source of the augmented reality.

More secrets, lies, and love drive the two close friends apart, beginning a cascade of events that point Dr. Lewis toward entering The Beyond Experience himself. He fought the treatment for nearly two decades, convinced his terrifying past would confront him. What he experiences becomes far more world shattering than he’d ever imagined possible, but will finally give him the answer to why his fiancé, Lily, had spoken her haunting final words: “forgive me.”

Looking Back 50 Years to Today   1 comment

Right now, it’s really popular for hysterical people to scream that this country is headed to fascism and it MUST BE STOPPED! Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and, by God, this election must be set aside because it’s unfair that the Electoral College doesn’t just hand her the election.

Would they be saying the same thing if Trump had also won the popular vote? Yes! This is mostly because they don’t understand what fascism is, but also because they haven’t been paying attention.

Image result for image of young ayn randThe United States has been growing in fascist policies for a long time. We slipped over the edge as a nation in the Bush administration and Obama’s administration just deepened that movement. Whoever became president in 2016 would have continued the trend – except possibly if Rand Paul or Gary Johnson had become president and they just would have ended up dead.

If you live in Alaska, you’re thinking fascism arrived here around 1979 when Carter shut down all avenues to economic growth except large companies by locking up access to federal lands. But I digress.

The fact is that this was predicted a long time ago. In a letter written on March 19, 1944, Ayn Rand remarked: “Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism are only superficial variations of the same monstrous theme—collectivism.” Rand would later expand on this insight in various articles and speeches. Google “The Fascist New Frontier” and “The New Fascism: Rule by Concensus.”

Rand grew up in Soviet Russia and knew better than to accept the traditional left-right dichotomy between socialism (or communism) and fascism, according to which socialism is the extreme version of left-ideology and fascism is the extreme version of right-ideology (i.e., capitalism). She characterized fascism as “socialism for big business.” (The Ayn Rand Letter (1971). Socialism and fascism are variants of statism so occupy one end of a continuum. The other end is held by liberty based on individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism.

The world conflict of today is the conflict of the individual against the state, the same conflict that has been fought throughout mankind’s history. The names change, but the essence—and the results—remain the same, whether it is the individual against feudalism, or against absolute monarchy, or against communism or fascism or Nazism or socialism or the welfare state.” Rand

The placement of socialism and fascism at opposite ends of a political spectrum serves a manipulative purpose, according to Rand as it is used to buttress the case that we must avoid “extremism” and choose the sensible middle course of a “mixed economy.”

If it were true that dictatorship is inevitable and that fascism and communism are the two “extremes” at the opposite ends of our course, then what is the safest place to choose? Why, the middle of the road. The safely undefined, indeterminate, mixed-economy, “moderate” middle—with a “moderate” amount of government favors and special privileges to the rich and a “moderate” amount of government handouts to the poor—with a “moderate” respect for rights and a “moderate” degree of brute force—with a “moderate” amount of freedom and a “moderate” amount of slavery—with a “moderate” degree of justice and a “moderate” degree of injustice—with a “moderate” amount of security and a “moderate” amount of terror—and with a moderate degree of tolerance for all, except those “extremists” who uphold principles, consistency, objectivity, morality and who refuse to compromise.

In both of her major articles on fascism (cited above) Rand distinguished between fascism and socialism by noting a rather technical (and ultimately inconsequential) difference in their approaches to private property.

Observe that both “socialism” and “fascism” involve the issue of property rights. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Observe the difference in those two theories: socialism negates private property rights altogether, and advocates “the vesting of ownership and control” in the community as a whole, i.e., in the state; fascism leaves ownership in the hands of private individuals, but transfers control of the property to the government.

Ownership without control is a contradiction in terms: it means “property,” without the right to use it or to dispose of it. It means that the citizens retain the responsibility of holding property, without any of its advantages, while the government acquires all the advantages without any of the responsibility.

In this respect, socialism is the more honest of the two theories. I say “more honest,” not “better”—because, in practice, there is no difference between them: both come from the same collectivist-statist principle, both negate individual rights and subordinate the individual to the collective, both deliver the livelihood and the lives of the citizens into the power of an omnipotent government —and the differences between them are only a matter of time, degree, and superficial detail, such as the choice of slogans by which the rulers delude their enslaved subjects.

In the 1960s, most conservative commentators thought we were at risk from socialism, but Rand contrarily maintained that America was drifting toward fascism, not socialism. She believed this descent was virtually inevitable in a mixed economy. “A mixed economy is an explosive, untenable mixture of two opposite elements,” freedom and statism, “which cannot remain stable, but must ultimately go one way or the other” (“‘Extremism,’ or The Art of Smearing”). Economic controls generate their own problems, which generates demands for additional controls. The controls must be abolished or a mixed economy will eventually degenerate into a form of economic dictatorship. Rand conceded that most American advocates of the welfare state “are not socialists, that they never advocated or intended the socialization of private property.” These welfare-statists “want to ‘preserve’ private property” while calling for greater government control over such property. “But that is the fundamental characteristic of fascism.”

Image result for image of continuum fascism communism libertyRand wrote the most insightful analyses of a mixed economy—its premises, implications, and long-range consequences—ever penned by a free-market advocate. She compared a mixed economy to a system that operates by the law of the jungle, a system in which “no one’s interests are safe, everyone’s interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it.”

In doing so, she also predicted with eerie accuracy what would happen today. A mixed economy divides a country “into an ever-growing number of enemy camps, into economic groups fighting one another for self preservation in an indeterminate mixture of defense and offense.” Do you have goosebumps yet? I still have them every time I read that phrase.

The economic “chaos” of a mixed economy resembles the Hobbesian war of all against all in a state of nature, a system in which interest groups feel the need to screw others before they get screwed themselves.

A mixed economy is ruled by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies, all fighting to seize a momentary control of the legislative machinery, to extort some special privilege at one another’s expense by an act of government—i.e., by force.

Yeah, eerie!

Rand never claimed that America had degenerated into full-blown fascism. She thought our freedom of speech would win out over the lunacy. She did believe that the fundamental premise of the “altruist-collectivist” morality—the foundation of all collectivist regimes, including fascism—was accepted and preached by modern liberals and conservatives alike, and she wrote more than one scathing critique accusing conservative leaders of “moral treason.” There were times in her writing where she seemed to detest modern conservatives more than she did modern liberals. She was especially contemptuous of those conservatives who attempted to justify capitalism by appealing to religion or to tradition.

Related imageRand illustrated her point in “The Fascist New Frontier,” a polemical tour de force aimed at President Kennedy and his administration. She began her 1962 lecture by quoting passages from the 1920 political platform of the German Nazi Party, including demands for “an end to the power of the financial interests,” “profit sharing in big business,” “a broad extension of care for the aged,” the “improvement of public health” by government, “an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education,” and so forth. All welfare-state measures, this socialist-sounding platform concluded, “can only proceed from within on the foundation of “The Common Good Before the Individual Good.”

Rand then quote similar proposals and sentiments from President Kennedy and members of his administration, such as Kennedy’s celebrated remark, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what America will do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” Rand dismissed the idea of “the public interest”, complaining that Kennedy and other politicians used this fuzzy phrase without definition, except to indicate that individuals have a duty to sacrifice their interests for the sake of a greater, undefined good, which left those who wield the brute force of political power to define that actual meaning.

[T]here is no such thing as ‘the public interest’ except as the sum of the interests of individual men. And the basic, common interest of all men—all rational men—is freedom. Freedom is the first requirement of “the public interest”—not what men do when they are free, but that they are free. All their achievements rest on that foundation—and cannot exist without them.

The principles of a free, non-coercive social system are the only form of “the public interest.”

When I was reading these essays recently, I realized that Rand might as well be talking about today. We could substitute “President Obama,” for “President Kennedy” or “President Johnson” and her points would be even more pertinent than they were during the 1960s. It’s the same sense I got when reading Fahrenheit 451 and feeling like I was peeking into our living rooms today with our widescreen TVs and ear buds. I don’t believe in calling writers “prophets”, but Rand did warn us that this day was coming.

So what do we do about it?

Well, there is that whole “freedom of speech” thing. We might want to start exercising it while we still can.

Posted December 8, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy

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Why Literary Fiction?   Leave a comment

I’ve circled back to the story that became What If … Wasn’t several times, never quite sure where it was headed … until I finished Objects in View and really needed a break from my two series. They are ongoing. There will be more books. Fount of Dreams is about 1/3 written. A Threatening Fragility is about the same. But this book needs to be published.

This coincided with a local author friend who writes romance asking me to alpha read her latest, which includes the typical felon who didn’t commit the crime, but gets accused for more crimes because well, he’s a felon, and he wins the girl, is found innocent and lives happily ever after.

It’s probably not wise to ask a non-romance reader to read your romance novel, but I have a really low tolerance for the white-washing of reality. I circled back to What If … Wasn’t because I couldn’t find a single reality-based  prison reentry fiction on Amazon. There have got to be some, but I couldn’t find them.

Things changed in the rewrite. Conditions have changed in the real world since I first began working on this story. I adjusted some of the story to make it contemporary. And, as always, I wrote long in my work-in-progress that I didn’t think I’d ever publish, so I had to remove some material to focus on what was important.

Although Peter is a product of my imagination, his experiences are loosely based on stories people have shared with me or that I was privy to as a psychiatric transcriptionist. I have carefully parsed those stories so that nobody can say I used their story, but all of the experiences are based on real stories.

As I alluded in the earlier post on prison re-entry, this is a HUGE subject in our country right now. I don’t write propaganda. I’m a novelist, not a pundit. But I hope people will learn from my book and come to empathize with people like Peter who made a mistake and is just trying to find his way in the world afterward.

I’ve published four books so far, all in the speculative fiction arena, so this may seem like a stretch for me, but in reality, I started out as a literary fiction writer who dabbled in speculative fiction. So, in a way, you could consider this to be a return to my roots.

World Wide Release   Leave a comment

Release worldwide on December 11th, both paper and kindle format. The kindle price will be $0.99, and free if a subscriber to KindleUnlimited. The paperback version is $12.00US.
The Beyond Experience by [Reid Jr, Michael]
Michael Reid, Jr.’s website, http://www.michaelreidjr.com has the first two chapters, as well as information about the author.

Dr. Lewis had always found a way to hide his deepest secrets: the abuse as a child, the loss of his fiancé, the reasons why he rejected the lucrative offer from Harvard. But, when Kyle, his lab assistant, convinces him to push the limits of the drugs he’d spent a decade perfecting, his lies begin to unravel.

Kyle’s emotional events during treatment forced him to believe it was an event on another plane of life, a spiritual experience at its highest echelon. Thousands of people all over the world were experiencing similar events to Kyle’s, claiming they’d been to heaven. However, Dr. Lewis disagreed, and spent countless hours searching for a neural pathway within the brain itself as the source of the augmented reality.

More secrets, lies, and love drive the two close friends apart, beginning a cascade of events that point Dr. Lewis toward entering The Beyond Experience himself. He fought the treatment for nearly two decades, convinced his terrifying past would confront him. What he experiences becomes far more world shattering than he’d ever imagined possible, but will finally give him the answer to why his fiancé, Lily, had spoken her haunting final words: “forgive me.”

Interview with Clare Pedrick   Leave a comment

Today’s interview is with Clare Pedrick. Welcome to the blog, Clare. Tell us something about yourself.

clarepedrick-authorpicThank you Lela. My name is Clare Pedrick and I’m a journalist, and I am originally from England. But then, one rainy November day in the town of Brighton where I worked as a young reporter, I saw an advertisement in a newspaper for a house in Umbria. Actually, it was a rambling old ruin, though incredibly beautiful, at least in my eyes. So I got on a plane and three days later I bought the place. What followed was my adventure to restore the old house on the hill, some of the extraordinary people I met there and who helped me along the way, and a love story, which was to change my life forever. Chickens Eat Pasta tells the story of this journey, with all the culture clashes, colourful characters, joys and frustrations, love and heartache that I experienced along the way.

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

To be honest, I’ve always been a writer, since I’ve been a journalist all my life. But of course that’s a very different type of writing, as I was to find out to my cost when I first started writing my book. My journalist’s nose told me it was a good story, and I knew I had to write it. Then a literary agent I met in New York – I was working there at the time for a features agency having reluctantly left my Umbrian idyll for a while – persuaded me to get started.

clarepedrick-lake-piediluco“The only thing that’s missing is the love interest,” she said. “It would be so much better if it had one.”

I was single at the time, and licking my wounds after a very painful break-up with a long-term boyfriend in England, so, as I told the agent, there was absolutely no chance of any love interest in my Italian tale. That was just a few months before I met a handsome young man from Naples, in the very village where I had bought my house, so fairly soon, my agent’s wish was granted, and although I don’t want to spoil the story, it was certainly a love story with plenty of ups and downs.

Getting back to the writing part, I didn’t find it particularly difficult, because as a journalist I’m used to working with words. But what I had never considered was that journalists are trained to get a story out as quickly as possible, without too many frills. It took me quite a while to shift from my  breathless reporter’s style to a more measured, descriptive pace, which was critical in creating mood, setting the scene and accompanying the story itself as it moved forward. I got there in the end, but I have to confess that it took me no fewer than five drafts before Chickens Eat Pasta was finally ready for publication.

 

 

clarepedrick-winterI’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you?

Oh thank you! I think I will thoroughly enjoy the break. I love anything to do with the outdoors, and camping is my idea of heaven. I’ve never slept in a log cabin (I so hope it’s a log one?), but I have always wanted to. We often go camping with the horses here in the Umbrian hills – books aside, the other great passion in my life is horses and I organise riding holidays for foreign guests here, which are a lot of fun. I think I’d be pretty good at fishing, though I wouldn’t enjoy killing the poor things, and of course organising a cool place in the stream or lake to stash the beers that I am sure you are going to leave me. If not, I will definitely be bringing some of my own. I think I’ll take a hammock (I have one here), which I find a wonderful place for relaxing and reading. Also a very good camera, to take some great shots of the beautiful landscapes and hopefully some wildlife. As for books, it had better be something meaty if I’m going to be there for a month. So I will certainly take some Charles Dickens, especially The Pickwick Papers, which never ceases to make me smile, then Ulysses by James Joyce and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, whose romance and tragedy would carry me far away when life in the cabin got too lonely. I’m actually going through a bit of a Russian phase right now, so I would probably put Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Stalin in my bag too. That’s sitting in my pile of books to read, but it’s more than 700 pages, so it’s hard to find the time in my normal routine.

 

Talk about your book individually.

clarepedrick-housebeginningChickens Eat Pasta is really my story, though it’s written more as a novel than an autobiography. It’s the tale of how one day, completely out of the blue, I made the rather strange decision to buy this old wreck of a house in what was then a very little known and quite remote part of Italy. And although I was totally bewitched by the house – or what was left of it because it had hardly any roof, no electricity and gaping holes where most of the floor should have been – it wasn’t an easy experience at all, and some of the situations I encountered were really very raw and challenging. But I was incredibly lucky, and met some wonderful people who took me under their wing and helped me. So the book is also about these unexpected friendships, and some of the very colourful characters who I met along the way. And it’s about a way of life in rural Umbria that was, and to some extent still is, light-years from anything most English or American people have ever seen. And of course, it’s also a love story, with a man I met there, and all that it led to…

 

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading your book?

clarepedrick-roofI would like them to care about the characters in the book – and that doesn’t just mean me, by the way, as there are a number of other characters who more or less creep onto the stage and almost steal the show. For me, that’s one of the litmus tests for any book I read. If I care about the people who I come to know in the pages, whether they are good, bad, funny or tragic, then I am far more likely to keep on reading and to remember the book afterwards. I would also like readers to imagine that they are there in this spectacularly beautiful, though quite remote and at times forbidding, corner of rural Italy. And I would be very happy indeed if anyone felt inspired by my story to try changing a part of their lives that they no longer found satisfying, or do something life-changing on the spur of the moment, as I did. Judging from some of the comments and reviews I’ve had so far, I think I’ve managed to achieve most of these goals for quite a few readers, and I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful that feels.

 

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

I had quite a few small, independent publishers in the UK who said they were interested in the book. But the whole process dragged on and on, and I think the traditional publishing industry has become very tame, and really only interested in surefire commercial successes. Of course there are trends too, and I was told more than once that I’d missed the moment after books such as A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun. That’s my fault for not getting my act together earlier, but I had a busy career and a young family.

Actually, Chickens Eat Pasta is very different from the Under the Tuscan Sun kind of book. That’s partly because I was so very young when I started on this adventure – just 26. And it’s partly because it’s more of a warts-and-all account of my move to another country, not a syrupy tale of unblemished happiness. I had some extraordinarily happy times, and met some truly wonderful people, many of whom have become lifelong friends. But there were also some quite dark moments and situations, especially for a young woman on her own, in the middle of nowhere. And the sun doesn’t always shine in that part of Italy. In fact, in the winter, it can be really quite bleak and extremely cold, though always unfailingly beautiful.

Going back to your question about publishing – at the end of the day, I got to the point where I just wanted to get the book out there. It was my agent who recommended going down the self-publishing path. At first, I was slightly reluctant, as I associated it with vanity publishing. How wrong can you be! Things are changing in the publishing industry and I am very happy indeed that I made that decision.

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

clarepedrick-housenowSelf-publishing, of course gives you tremendous freedom, and also a far greater degree of control. If you think a passage or a character in your book should stay the way it is, there is no question of it having to be changed, because you are in charge. The same goes for the cover, and for how it is marketed, although of course that is rather a double-edged sword. I think the truly liberating thing is that the shame has gone out of self-publishing. Everyone is doing it, and some highly successful authors now start out that way. So that is really good news for the creative writing sector per se, and especially for authors, many of whom have terrific products to offer but were being stifled because they didn’t tick the right box or fit into the publishing trend of that particular moment.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

As anyone who has self-published is painfully aware, the downside is that you are left very much on your own when it comes to selling the fruits of all your hard work. When they write ‘The End’ on the last page of their book, I don’t think many authors immediately reflect on the very hard slog that awaits them to get the book known, and therefore bought by the general public. This problem is definitely compounded by the fact that most writers, like many creative people, are not given to trumpeting about their own achievements or making canny commercial decisions. Fortunately, there is an incredibly supportive community of book bloggers and other social media outlets, which is developing in tandem with the self-publishing industry itself. Tapping this rich source is probably an indie author’s best option these days, but it’s a steep learning curve, and extremely time consuming, as I myself have discovered.

 

Who designed your book cover/s?

This is rather a lovely story in its own right, and I am happy to say that I have received a great deal of compliments for the cover. It is taken from a watercolour done by a very dear childhood friend of mine. Her name is Colleen MacMahon and when we were at school together – in those days she was Colleen Harbottle – she and I would spend hours scribbling stanzas of epic poems in our jotters and passing them to and fro between each other, mainly during Maths lessons, as I recall. She left to go to drama school and we lost touch for ages as our lives went separate ways. But then about five or six years ago, we suddenly got back in touch and met up again. And it was as if all those intervening years had simply never happened. In the meantime, Colleen had become a very accomplished artist, as well as a writer herself, and she painted this watercolour when she came to stay at my house in Umbria. So when I finally got my book finished and ready for publication, there was no question of what I would use for the cover. The painting itself is on my bedroom wall in my house and it makes me happy every time I look at it

 

 

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Yes I do, absolutely, at least if you are talking about the production side of things, as opposed to the content. I have no patience with poorly presented written work of any kind, and I don’t see why self-published books have to be full of typos, or have hideous covers. I went to great lengths to ensure that my own manuscript was perfect, and with spellchecking and editing tools, there is really no excuse any more. I also went to quite a lot of trouble to find a publisher who would produce a professional product, by which I mean quality paper and an attractive typeface, a good binding – so it doesn’t all fall apart after a few days – and of course a well designed and produced book cover. It may mean paying a little more, but I am convinced it’s worth it. And I see that quite a few indie publishing companies are now getting very choosy about what they will and won’t take on, as they don’t want their reputation soured by shoddy products.

 

Where can readers find you and your books?

Amazon

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009425110723

Facebook book page https://www.facebook.com/Chickens-Eat-Pasta-376747612525269/?ref=hl

Twitter: @ClarePedrick

Blog (about the story behind the book): https://chickenseatpasta.wordpress.com/

 

 

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