IndieView with Tom McHale, author of The Constitution – A Revolutionary Story

Where else are you going to see the actual itemized bar tab from the night the boys took George Washington out to drink after the Constitutional Convention? My workflow goes from Scrivener to Grammarly, then back to Scrivener. With all the angst over politics these days I wanted to make sure this book didn’t fall into the same trap. Knowing the events leading up to the American Revolution and formation of a new government is key to understanding the Constitution. You’ll also just need to start in order to get paying work. That actually turned out to be easy. Born in Corona del Mar, California, I found myself on the east coast in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, MD areas for second grade through high school. I’ll have a high-level idea that I think will work. The O’Jays are particularly effective at breaking mental writing block jams. This book aims to package constitutional knowledge in a fun and easy to digest format. Part of that is freelance work while I allocate some of my time most days to book projects. About Writing
Do you have a writing process? I grew up everywhere. The Martian was a great read, and more recently I’ve gotten hooked on Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache Three Pines books. After hearing the 13 billionth accusation that something in the news was or wasn’t constitutional, it became abundantly clear that many people really have no idea of what the Constitution says and means. Calling all dorks! The historically accurate and decidedly entertaining owner’s manual, The Constitution – A Revolutionary Story covers the how’s, what’s, and why’s of the United States founding documents – but with a healthy dose of political humor. I was worried about how to keep this book strictly non-partisan. I’ve worked with professionals on some covers and done others on my own. Did you hire a professional editor? Hint: it’s not to subpoena and investigate each other. Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? It allows me to write small blocks of text and then easily shuffle them around as my outline takes shape. Ewww. Michener’s Space fed that as did Andrew Chaikin’s Man on the Moon. Do you have a target reader? The heart of the book is a simplified and fun walk through the events leading up to the creation of the founding documents and a section-by-section look at what it says but in plain language. To flesh it out, I just start writing. The other easy parts, because they were fun to research and write, are the “Matter of Fact” historical soundbites. If so can you please describe it? Both actually. That’s easy. Where do you live now? As I get into it, my brain is figuring out the structure that will support the idea. You’ll learn what Washington’s false teeth were really made from and why Andrew Jackson wouldn’t kiss babies on the campaign trail. I love a good mystery from Patricia Cornwell. The book is a non-fiction, so the characters are real. That actually turned out to be easy. Of course, the final stages were a full-on cram session – just like final exams in college. I have to stop now, or I’ll end up listing another hundred great authors. My random playlist includes everything from Devo to 80’s music to piano jazz to blues to Motown and…
About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? The Constitution – A Revolutionary Story covers the underlying concepts of natural rights and the real purpose of consent-based government. As you’ll see in the book, it was a unique set of circumstances that enabled the great experiment. For real. I love unwinding with the quirky characters in Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar Series. James Clavell’s historical fiction gave me the reading bug many years ago. On a given day I probably crank out 3,000 to 4,000 words. That helps test flow and find errors and opportunities for improvement. What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? We’ll guarantee it to be at least 137% less boring than the original. With all the angst over politics these days I wanted to make sure this book didn’t fall into the same trap. It’s interesting that you asked this question. When it comes to favorite authors, I have a big list ranging from serious to not so much. I am just starting my search for an agent. The left loves some and loathes others while the right reveres different parts and resents others. I use a software product called Scrivener for my longer work. If you write daily with an eye towards continuous improvement, you’ll quickly see the quality of your work grow. Then keep writing. Finally, it goes to eBook and paperback formatting software where I do more editing passes using both eReaders and paperback proof copies. I have a fairly structured marketing plan for my books that include social media presence and support, promo and seed copies to potential influencers, and advertising. It took me about six months of consistent work to get it done. I edit sections as I go but that’s just the first step. But seriously, anyone who believes that they can learn something new every day. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Tom McHale – 25 January 2018
The Back Flap
Who would think that words carved into a 200-year old tree could cause so much controversy in this day and age? It means that there was some serious compromise in the process. Start writing. All true stories, they provide some interesting context. In the founders’ view, that’s a good thing. I see that when working with great editors in the freelance space and am anxious to develop that for my books. As a freelance writer who produces articles in magazines and online publications, I have to or else I don’t eat. Get your copy of   The Constitution – A Revolutionary Story from Amazon US or Amazon UK. While early drafts of the Constitution were likely written on hemp paper, the final was considered significant enough to warrant going out and skewering a sheep to make parchment. The mission is simple: to make the Constitution so easy to understand that even a career politician can grasp it. Regardless, most people arguing about what’s constitutional and what’s not know less about what it says than they do about the chemical composition of spackle.”
About the book
What is the book about? When I need to concentrate, loud, loud music is the key. There’s a slight chance that the partially-completed manuscript might have collected dust here and there. Write every single day – at least something. I do my best work while wearing headphones and blasting music at volumes that would make OSHA inspectors have a coronary. At this point, I recruit Beta readers from my friends and family circle. “OK, so maybe that figure is more of an estimate than a carefully researched fact. You can write for niches of readers with particular interests. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller? Constitutional issues just are. Before putting pen to paper (OK, fingers to keys), I was worried about how to keep this book strictly non-partisan. There’s no reason that one can’t learn history and have a few laughs in the process. Where did the inspiration come from? I’ve always loved his irreverent and somewhat silly style. She has brilliant insight into the minds of her characters. Do you outline? As I devote more of each workday to future book projects, I want to find a professional cover designer who can help me communicate the book’s meaning to potential readers. I love the flexibility and creative control you get in the Indie market. A book topic doesn’t necessarily need a potential audience of 10 billion like a standard publishing book title does. Do you listen to music while you write? We all know how important it is for writers to read. A close second to the “is it constitutional or not” debate has always been the related one over what rights really area. Well, technically, it’s not even a tree. Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? About You
Where did you grow up? “197.23 trillion people have never read the actual Constitution,” observes author Tom McHale. Where did you get the idea from? It’s known as the Lowcountry because it’s full of what marketing-savvy realtors call “wetlands.” Those of us in the know call them “swamps.”
What would you like readers to know about you? The most cursory look at constitutional history makes it very clear what types of things do and don’t qualify as natural rights. The “Matter of Fact” stories will shed some light on the human side of history. Yes, I know that’s entirely wrong and will probably take decades off my life, but it’s the way my brain works. Oh, there’s one more attribute. Write for free at first until you start developing a reputation in your niche, then people will want to pay you for your work. I like variety. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? What came easily? When did you start writing the book? I love to learn, and I love to share. Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? How long did it take you to write it? Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? End of Interview:
For more from Tom, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, or like his page on Facebook. The history leading up to the Constitutional Convention was the most fun and easiest to write. OK, to be honest, it hasn’t taken me nearly four years of continuous work to finish it. I find that I see the words differently as I “pre-publish” to eBook and paperback formats, so that’s an important editing step. Being a certified dork who can laugh at most anything, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dave Barry. It’s amazing how much the right editorial partnership can improve the final product. While it’s historically accurate, I had to have some fun with the style. Digesting the Constitution can be a bit boring, in part because it’s full of strange words like “attainder.” We’re pretty sure that ‘attainder’ has never even been on the Master’s Series of Wheel of Fortune, so how is anyone supposed to know what that is? Now I read everything. It offers a historically accurate and informative background on the nation’s founding documents, but unlike the original, it won’t put you into a coma or lead to irritable bunion syndrome. Charleston, South Carolina. Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? Not really. I started this book on February 6, 2014. If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? When a rough draft is complete, it then goes to work for more editing passes. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? Life is way too short to be serious all the time. I write every single day. Arguably one of my favorite books of all time. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? Yes. Social media. I outline my work part way through the process. My target readers have to be able to find the humor in most anything. This is all just a side gig until I can realize my dream of becoming a celebrity Hamster Cosmetologist.