122 Michael Deeze
On this episode of The Author Inside You podcast we are joined by author Michael Deeze who reminds us that we all have to believe in ourselves to get over our inferiority complex. Michael also explains how he is using YouTube to strengthen his audience, plus he shares a few tips for working with copy editors.
Michael Deeze YouTube Channel
announcer: [00:00:00] you're listening to the author insides you podcast, a weekly podcast designed to motivate you to finish writing a book, choose a publisher, and build an audience. Keep listening if you're looking to get propelled into the next chapter of your life. And now it's the author inside you podcast.
[00:00:23] Matt: [00:00:23] Hello, I'm Matt Rafferty and I'm Leah Rafferty.
[00:00:25] Joining us today is Michael DS, author of fiction crime novels. Forgive me, father, and for I have sinned, his newest book. The heretic is due out in may of 2020 named one of the most exciting independent writers for 2018 by indie authors magazine. He's also creating the legacy project aimed at showing people how important their life stories are and teaching them how to produce their own legacy by creating an oral history of their life experiences.
[00:00:55] Welcome, Michael. Thanks for joining us today.
[00:00:57]Michael: [00:00:57] I'm really glad that you guys asked. Thank you.
[00:00:59] Leah: [00:00:59] Well, Michael, can you tell us the process of you becoming an author? Boy, that's a long travel journey. I guess late in life when my father was, uh, disappearing into dementia. He became aware of it and he gave me a copy of his, well, he gave me actually the original diary that he had kept while he was a world war II tailgunner wow, that's interesting.
[00:01:28] And it was something that he would never speak of when we were kids. You know? Boomers, and you know, we all wanted to hear about our father being a hero and one, you know, what did you do in the war dad? And he used to always say, if you have to talk about it, you probably weren't there. And that was again, the conversation.
[00:01:49] And so he handed me that diary and it was in fact a recounting. Of every mission that he, well, at hail gunner, the truth was, is that a tail gunner had a life expectancy of five missions. Oh geez. 26
[00:02:13] and in these missions he recounted how. It's absolutely hair raising and you know it, the hair right on the back of your neck stands right up and you immediately understand how he couldn't make personal friendships or relationships he had. He'd steal himself from being able to form any kind of emotional bonds because everybody you knew got killed.
[00:02:42] And so it made me start to think if I had known. That I would have seen my father in a completely different aspect, and I would have understood how lonely he was his whole life. Maybe it could have been his strength. Wow. So it was, you know, a very poignant tale, obviously. But what I began to realize was that, um, my children.
[00:03:11] I think that I am a strange duck as it is. You don't really know why. And I was somebody before they rolled in and I should tell them who he was. And so I started writing these little little stories and you know, kind of putting them away, sort of like my dad did, you know, maybe for one of those times when you know, he was a strange duck, but, Oh, look at this.
[00:03:39] Well maybe that's why I acted that way. And one thing led to another and then led to another, and it started to have some sort of a linear quality. And the next thing I knew, I had a. 400 page novel in my hand. And so that was the first book. Bless you, father. Um, about my journey into becoming the man that my children finally got to know, but why?
[00:04:09] And so it's a historical fiction based on your events. And in a very loose sort of fictionalized way. I am one of the characters. Oh, very interesting. So what type of research did you do besides your father's diary? For the book. Um, luckily I lived through most of the year of the sixties and seventies, Hades, but also, um, you know, Google is a wonderful thing of course.
[00:04:41] Uh, but I had also become a student of those crimes and alright, come ask quite a library of. Factual information that I could go back to. Um, the hardest thing was the second book, which is for I have sinned because that incorporates the story of the person who could be my father. Yeah. Those historical documents.
[00:05:07] And also have video and. We're really excellent. And it was like an eye opening journey into, you know, expanding my own knowledge and then just, you know, basically writing it in a way that I, that I hope. He's entertaining. So obviously this is a passion of yours, but when did you get the idea that I'm not going to just keep this to myself.
[00:05:35] I am going to share this with others, not just my family. Well, I made the mistake of showing it to somebody. I had a friend who is a magazine editor and writes for a major. College university in the Midwest here, and who was asked, you know, what is that that you're working on, you know, you seem preoccupied with.
[00:06:03] And I told her a little bit about it and she said, Oh man, can I look at that? She took a look at it and she called me back in a few days and she said, Oh my God. She said, you have to publish this. This is amazing. So there you go. Three years later. Third book just left for the publisher hours ago. Wow. Well, after your friends saw the book, what was the process like getting it published.
[00:06:34] Well, there's the rub, as you probably know. And as I was, uh, to find out that's not just a push the button. And here we go. First of all, um, according to my editors, I am the master of the run on sentence punctuation. At all. And in fact, I was a terrible English student in school and didn't learn a thing.
[00:07:02] Apparently we heard that about a lot of people. Well, that's what the editors are for right here. That's why they're so important. So the first problem when it comes to stuff like that is, first of all, you have to buy into it, of course. And if there's any advice that I can give anybody. It's, you have to believe in yourself and you have to recognize that you are the person that drives your promotion.
[00:07:31] And it is hard and it can be discouraging and was for me. But the first thing then you have to do is find somebody to proofread and edit. And of course, you know, the airwaves are full of those, but finding one that's a good one is a process. And if you're not careful, it's expensive. Well, my process was tried and fail, try and fail being naive and also a person that wants to trust people.
[00:08:04] There were a couple of false starts with editors that were willing to read it. When the, when the product was returned, it wasn't it really any better than it was when it went out. It was, you know, what was really, uh, it was really a good lesson, although a hard one, and that is believing in yourself. I want it to accept their critique.
[00:08:30] Has gospel because after all they were editors and when I looked at their suggestions and their corrections and everything else, I realized that it was changing the tone of what it was that I was trying to tell. It took me a while to recognize that if I believed in myself. Well, that's very good advice because it's all subjective, isn't it?
[00:08:55] How someone reads your books, and I liked that you said you're staying true to what. Who you are in what you wanted the message to be. That's very important. I can see how people get swayed very easily. So thank you for saying that. Well, you're right. It's absolutely true. And you have to get over that inferiority complex that you walk into the situation with recognizing that you're not a professional, or even if you are a professional, let's say these people are supposed to know more than you do, and one of the ways that I fixed that was.
[00:09:30] I joined author groups and fate always plays a funny role in things. I was at Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda. Two years ago and was undergoing a surgical procedure there as a disabled army veteran, and I went down to the, so you got a hotel and went down to the bar in the evening to have dinner, and I was the only one in the bar.
[00:09:59] A place was dead except for two sitting at the other end of the bar, way at the other end of the bar. Also eating dinner right at the bar because there was nothing going on. And they walked over and asked me if I could tell them what was the best sipping whiskey that they could order. So I told them, and one thing led to another and turned out that they had both written books recently.
[00:10:25] Oh, what a coincidence. And we're actually on a book tour. And then it turned out that the bar tender was also a aspiring author and, uh, several drinks. Later we formed the consortium and became good friends. And now I speak regularly. Since that time, they have met other authors and now we speak and exchange thoughts.
[00:10:52] And I can't tell you how helpful that's been in this. Wow. That's wonderful. Just a chance meeting at a bar. You just don't know who you're going to meet. Yes, and probably one of the best pieces of advice that I've ever gotten was I was talking to a woman who said, so how's that writing working out for you?
[00:11:18] And I said, what do you mean? And she said, it's a business, you know, writing and you can't, it's not recreational if you're really serious about it, it's a business and you have to treat it like a business. You need to understand that you're in charge of sales promotion, advertising. And as well as producing your product.
[00:11:39] Then she proceeded to spend 30 minutes explaining to me what exactly meant, but she's absolutely right. That's what we're finding out. A lot of people have problems with the last promoting the book. Well, they don't want to talk about money. You look at your writing as an art and an extension of yourself, and then you have to start trying to put a price on it.
[00:12:01] And that's where everybody falls down because they don't, they bring their inferiority complex to the table instead of their self promoting tablets. Right. Well, Michael, what are you doing to promote your books? There's really some easy ways to do it there. There are several sites that pretty much catered to independent authors and independent publishing.
[00:12:22] Good reasons. A really good one, and there's a couple of other ones that it's free to do a line. They will put their books, your books up for them and allow you to tailor them a little bit in addition to that. I have a websites and websites are incredibly important. So I am told, create your website that has your information on it, and then you get the word out and you start with your Facebook friends and your brother.
[00:12:55] I mean, that's really what social interactions is supposed to be there for anyway. So you add that now, recently, uh, really having a good time with a YouTube channel where I'm putting little seven to eight minute videos that are in creating and what I'm doing is narrating some of the chapters that didn't make it into the book.
[00:13:18] And I'm pretty amazed at how many hits. It, they've been getting, and with each one, a little promotion for the books and a little fun for me and a way for me to keep my hand in it. So during my sheltering at home, I'm still working on the book. Great. Yeah. That is a really neat idea to give people a little bit more than they can get with the book, and so it keeps them interested in your story.
[00:13:47] As long as the stories are interesting. I am blessed with a pretty good Irish storyteller. Even the crappiest story can sometimes be made into a really good one if you know how to pace it. Well, it's also interesting, I would think, like sometimes you tell someone, Oh, I think you'd be interested in this book.
[00:14:08] And they're like, Oh, you know, but now they could say, Hey, go to his YouTube page and listen to. Michael speak, and then maybe that would also help pique interest or that's another way to, yeah, market even to people who aren't your fans yet. It's kind of a left-handed marketing ploy, but it's a lot easier to say something like that than it is to say, here, spend some money, and then whether you like it or not.
[00:14:34] Well, sorry about that. Sure. And then also it builds momentum for people to, Oh, when's the next book coming out? You know? Yes, exactly. And of course now with a new book coming out, it's kind of a doubly important, but the best part of all of that is, is that with almost minimal effort and they can share it with other people.
[00:14:58] Yes. So it sends ripple out in a lot of different directions. Well. Speaking of spending money, what's the best way for people to find your book? The books are on Amazon and through Barnes and noble and Amazon, they are also available through outlook press in Colorado, and the third book is going to be published by Indies United.
[00:15:20] They're just excellent promoters of independent authors. Andy's United is really full package, author website and group, and I really can't say enough about that. So what is it exactly that you like about them? Well, first of all, they're very hands on. And they're very engaged. Uh, one of the things that I find is no matter what publishing group they go with, no matter how much they're guaranteed personal service, it's a volume business.
[00:15:54] What you find is, is that answers to your questions are not always prompt, and there is a lot of difficulty in communicating what it is you need. Um, it's easy. To get criticism back, but when you have questions that you really need to answer, it's because you're between one sentence and the next and a manuscript and you want the answers right away, and more than anything else in DG United has been very good about that.
[00:16:25] I find them to be comparable or even more affordable. Then the other groups that I work with. So I liked that man and I don't mind doing a little promotion for them. They've been good. Indies is tied in to all these other groups, good reads, and the many other ones. And so a lot of that promotion. It doesn't have to fall to the author.
[00:16:50] We will have a link to Indies in our show notes, so if you're interested, you can click on the show notes and you can find a quick link right to their webpage. This episode of the author inside you podcast is brought to you by scuba file. If you're writing a book and you need some help with some professional writers looking over your work, then you need the join scuba file.
[00:17:09] Go to dot com and sign up. One aspect of scribble files that I really like is the writing Academy. It is a free writing resource produced by members as a scrip of five community who are writing professionals in the Academy. There are some really cool courses that you can click on and learn all about specific types of writing, such as cliches or, or how to make dialogue flow naturally while writing.
[00:17:32] Perhaps you're thinking about writing a screenplay. There's help for you on scribble firewall. So one of the articles on the writing Academy is common screenplay mistakes, how to format a screenplay, and one of my favorites is correct semi-colon usage. If you're writing a book or a screenplay and you'd like some professional help.
[00:17:53] Go to dot com the best thing about it is it's free to sign up, so go to dot com well, Michael, what kind of advice do you have for somebody who's working on a book right now and is stuck? The hardest thing, of course, when you're stuck and believe you. I've been there is step away from it. If you sit in front of it and grind on it, a character that you're, or the tone that you're trying to create gets farther and farther away from you.
[00:18:21] If you step away for a minute, sometimes it's just not right to write right now. But in addition to that, I usually suggest go back and read what you already wrote. You know, a lot of people write it and an immediately is a turn the page kind of thing because they want to keep going. When that happens, you start trying to write, and when you try to write a, you're trying to create something that isn't really there and the writing becomes very thin.
[00:18:52] It loses this substance. So if you go back and read. What you were trying to write. You can recapture the emotion that brought you to that point. And. Nine times out of 10 that gets me where I need to go. Great. That is great. We have, we've, we've never had anyone suggest that to go back and reread what you've written in order to, you know, sort of beat the writer's block at that time.
[00:19:20] Well, there's time. So when I read back and I go, Holy crap,
[00:19:28] he should be fired.
[00:19:33] Well, how are you enjoying the process? I absolutely love it. The writing part has been so fun. The legacy project, which you mentioned early on, is really what I'm all about. Yeah, so tell us a little bit about that. My dad's diary was an eye opener for me. He was well into his nineties when he passed away, and he gave me the diary when he was 88 or 89 and for all those years he had had these secrets.
[00:20:05] Tied up in him. When he got older, he suddenly realized how heroic the things that he had accomplished were. There isn't a person walking this planet that doesn't have those stories. Yeah. I'm not talking about the story where, you know, aunt Bess got a little tipsy at Thanksgiving and sort of laugh. Peter pants.
[00:20:25] Those are not the stories that we should be telling our kids. The stories we should be telling our children is. How did we get here? Not the ancestry.com things where they tell you, so what, whether I'm Irish, you know, German or Swedish grade, you know? But that's nothing to be proud of. How did my dad become the man he was?
[00:20:53] And how did I take this job that I have now. That I'm putting food on the table with. What were those decisions and why shouldn't we be sharing those? Shouldn't we create lore, right? Children. And our children's. I think that's a wonderful gift that you're giving your family. Well, there is that, but there's, why can't everybody do that?
[00:21:20] Why shouldn't, it's absolutely necessary because that really is our heritage. Well, it is interesting. Matt would try to get a video camera out and get in front of some of our older. Relatives and have them speak, and a lot of people just clam up. You know, they always say that, you know, my story's not important, or I have nothing to say.
[00:21:40] And then you, you know, you, you put the camera away or you put it down and then they tell you, you know, some fantastic story that you never heard of. You know how they got hit by a car when they were four years old and spent three months in the hospital when you're like, what? I've known you my whole life and you never told me you were in the hospital for it.
[00:21:56] And that's why I walk with a limp. One of my most cherished possessions was my mother when she got to be a little bit older. Well, I asked her and, and I had a tape recorder and I said, Hey mom, just tell me a story. It doesn't have to be a big deal story or. You know, anything like that. Just, you know, tell me a story about growing up, because she was a child of the depression.
[00:22:21] So she told me this silly story about how she had to go up to her uncle's house who lived several miles away and bring back one of the horses because they needed to. Put in the crops. And uh, she went after school. And so she had to ride the horseback. And it was a big horse, you know, a draft horse. And so she was riding back the horseback and she got caught in a rainstorm and she got all wet.
[00:22:49] And then these other kids came by in a car. And of course she was. You know, riding those big holders in a dress, and they were banging on the sides of the car trying to get the horse to spook because they wanted to look up her. And she said, I was so embarrassed. She said it was the most embarrassing thing in the world.
[00:23:09] She said, and then she looked at me and she looked at me. Uh, well, she was talking and she smiled, but I knew they liked me,
[00:23:20] so I had, I have that tape and just that tape of my mother's voice, it doesn't make any difference. What the story was. My mother's voice brings tears to my eyes almost every time. Yeah. It's certainly nice to hear relatives again. Not that big a deal. Right. Well, Michael, it's been great talking to you today.
[00:23:43] Thank you for sharing all your wisdom with our audience and we really appreciate it. Well, I certainly hope it wasn't too much or too little, and I really thank you for the opportunity guys. Well, Michael gave us some new information explaining his YouTube channel and how that is helpful for him and his audience.
[00:24:03] And thanks once again to Michael Dees for joining us on this episode of the author inside your podcast. And until next time, right on, thank you for listening to the author inside you podcast with your host, Leah and Matt Rafferty.