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I wrote a novel.

What possessed me to think that I could do so, as well as the story behind the process can be found at an earlier diary of mine here at Daily Kos. In that diary, I made an appeal to the community for some guidance about what to do with my ‘finished’ novel. I knew there were authors out and about the great orange-ness of Dkos, and I wanted to pick their brains.

I received a lot of feedback about various options available to me – some encouraging, some not so much. Nevertheless, through divine providence, random happenstance, or blind luck, I found a pair of sisters whom are responsible for my book being published on December 1, 2010.

Without Daily Kos, none of this would have happened.

This is that story.

I knew that I could sit and wait forever for some literary agent’s intern to send me a polite ‘I thought about taking three minutes read your query, but then I thought I maybe I would go get a latte instead. Your book is not for us’ response. That was disheartening.

Kossack Dkistner, Production Manager and Associate Editor at FutureCycle Press, read my diary and heard my plea. She wrote a long reply delving into the options I had before me, suggesting that I consider taking things into my own hands. After getting in contact with her, she patiently answered my many, many, many questions about print-on-demand, self-publishing, and what it takes to found a small publishing company.

Replying to her post was her sister, Donna O. Donna O had been involved in the self-publishing of a rather successful novel (and one of my own favorites) a few years ago. The book did very well in its self-published version, was picked up by a major publisher, and went on to become an international bestseller.

I took a chance and asked if Donna O would mind looking at my novel and give me some feedback. I had wanted to know ‘Do I have what it takes?’ for months during the writing process. And here I was, presented with an opportunity to get the opinion of someone who had been involved with one of my favorite novels. Lucky, right? Try incredibly lucky. Of course, for a few days while I waited for her to read the sample chapters, I was terrified that I was going to get back a response that might be summed up as ‘meh.’ Thankfully, that did not happen.

For the six weeks, Donna O has been trudging and weaving her way through the manuscript, waving her magic copyeditor’s wand, fixing all of my mistakes, getting it in prime shape. Once done, she laid out the interior and kerned up a storm, kicking around every widow and orphan she could find (for non-writers, that is not as bad as it sounds). To top it off, she walked me through cover design, ultimately delivering what I have to admit is a sharp looking book.

In mid-November, my proofs arrived in the mail. (Yeah!)

I cracked open the box, pulled out my book. (Wow... look at this!)

Book Covers

I opened it to page one and started to read. (Hey, this is pretty good...I wrote this?))

I got halfway down the page. (Wait... doh!)

On page 1 – page one! – I found a silly contextual error. Thank goodness for proofs. With encouragement from Donna O, I read all 655 pages in a two-and-half day period and she worked with me to eliminate all of remaining errors (we hope). Now, I have a book I am damn proud of.  

Dkistner, for all of the tolerance you have shown a novice in the industry, thank you.

Donna O, for all of the patience and encouragement you have shown a new author, thank you.

I have no idea where I would be without the two of you.

‘Good days ahead’ to you both.

PS - Markos, for creating DailyKos , thank you. Without the site, who knows where I’d be.

If you are interested in the book, visit  If you would like to purchase a copy there, use the code 5DEBFVYY for a 15% discount.  Or, here is a direct link to Amazon as they have the whole title already: Progeny at

A signed and personalized copy of the book is up for auction at the Netroots Nation Auction site.  If you win, you can choose your inscription for the inside.  Go to the auction site, click on books and you will see it ther. You could get a signed copy of Keith Olbermann's book, or move 100 pixels to the right and get mine (for much less, I'm assuming).
Progeny spine

Originally posted to R.T. Kaelin on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 08:20 AM PST.

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