sherlock holmes

Attention underdogs – Today is your day!

In society, underdogs are those who often fail, consistently lose, and are just generally disadvantaged. December 17th is the day we recognize and celebrate all underdogs, all the while rooting for them to win. Everyone loves to cheer for the underdog because if they can succeed, then the rest of us will feel like anything is possible.

There is no better underdog to celebrate today than world famous Homer Simpson. Coincidentally, the 1st episode of The Simpsons was aired on Underdog Day in 1989. Since then, Homer has overcome so many obstacles that we can’t even keep track anymore. Despite his obvious drinking problem, his dependency on donuts, his low I.Q, and his tendency to neglect his wife and children, Homer Simpson has proven himself the reigning underdog in many ways over the years: He rescues Springfield on numerous occasions, “donates” a kidney to Grandpa, becomes a mascot for a major league baseball team, travels the world, battles Tony Hawk in a skateboarding competition, and even goes into outer space.

You probably all have a favorite literary underdog, even if you didn’t know it. Here is a list of some well known underdogs to celebrate today:

1. Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes. As the sidekick he is often overshadowed by Holmes, but we all know how important he is! As the narrator for all but four stories, where would the series be without him?

2. Samwise from The Lord of the Rings. Yes, sure, we all know that Frodo was the one who carried the great burden, but Sam was the one who carried all of their provisions, rationed their foods, kept the night watch and fought off the giant spider, Shelob. He was also able to fight the temptation of the ring and rescue Frodo from Orcs. Without Sam, the ring never would have made it to Mordor.

3. Oliver Twist. He’s an orphan in a Charles Dickens’ novel. If anyone is an underdog, he is.

4. And of course, Harry Potter. From the little boy who was kept under the stairs and bullied by his remaining family members, to the great leader of the resistance against the lord of darkness and master of black magic – Harry is the ultimate underdog.

Here are a few books about overcoming for you to read; it’s time to root for the underdogs!

Lancelot is an orphaned joey growing up on a farm. One day he comes across a kangaroo mob and wants to join it. He escapes from home and injures his arm so badly that it has to be amputated. Left alone in the bush he has to overcome dangerous situations.

This story follows the life and adventures of a puma from kitten hood to adult. Swept away from his mother by a wild river he learns how to survive struggling against danger from other animals and the threat of man.

You'll laugh and you'll cry as you follow the lives of a group of amateur criminals who decide to rob a resort hotel and get more than they bargained for, changing their lives and the lives of their friends and families forever.

Self Publishing: Don’t Get Conned

con artistNo one likes being taken advantage of, but it happens all the time. When I think about professional cons, I’m mentally infiltrated with ideas of ponzi schemes, investment scams, time share rip-offs and the like. But when I started to hear horror stories of self published authors being conned, my ears perked up.

People can be talked into anything, and writers are no different. These days there are various self publishing “services” that provide more financial gain to the middle man than the writers themselves. But don’t expect them to tell you that. Authors generally don’t take the self-pubbing route for a chance at a huge paycheck. Surely they wouldn’t object to being the next Amanda Hocking, but for all intents and purposes, money isn’t the only incentive. Having said that, the proceeds of a self published book should go to the author, not someone else’s pocket. This is where doing your research is important.  Writer Beware has been the whistle blower for various scams and cons that have impacted new authors. Before you write that check and sign on the dotted line for a service, put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and investigate.

Completing your masterpiece has always been the hard part. Once you’ve got that out of the way, pat yourself on the back. Next step – editing and creating a book cover. To some this may sound overwhelming, but honestly – it’s a relatively simple process and can typically be done with minimal cost. Marketing is where it gets tricky. As many of you know,  BookRix offers an online community filled with thousands of readers with a thirst for new material. Rather than pay money hand over fist to have companies market for you, use our community to post portions of your work, interact with readers and start building a fan base. Essentially, marketing is the act of getting your name (and your book) out in the open.

Is Social Media not your forte? Grab a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer!) and kiss your keyboard cause in a few days you’ll be Twitter/Facebook/YouTube/Google+/Tumblr savvy. Not convinced? Challenge yourself! Take 30 minutes and create an account for each site (you’ll probably be done in 20). When you’ve finished that, log into Youtube and get your turorial on. The beauty about YouTube is that they have thousands of user created ‘how-to’ videos for pretty much every topic you can think of, including Social Media. So type in your inquiries, i.e. “How do I create a FB fan page?”, “How do I use Twitter to market my business?”, etc., and LOADS of results will surface. Sure it might sound time consuming, but trust us. It’s worth it. If you decide down the line to delegate this task to a marketing team, then at the very least you’ll understand how it works and will be an educated shopper. Just remember, no one is going to work harder for you, than yourself!

Everyone knows that self-publishing is the exciting wave of the future. But there’s also someone at every corner looking to make a money off those who let them. Don’t let ‘em get you down. Beat them at their own game! Know your options, educate yourself, and have fun. You’re about to be a published author! What can be better than that?


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