The Winnfield Rotary club was entertained by novelist John Dye of Baton Rouge at their weekly noon meeting on June 2, 2021. Rotarian of the week, Bob Holeman, secured Mr. Dye, his friend since their days at LSU, to speak at the meeting and gave him leave to choose his subject. Mr. Dye is a retired pharmacist and active novelist. He chose to talk about his current passion, writing books, and provided valuable tips for those who have a novel inside them just waiting to pop out.
Mr. Dye’s first and most important tip was, for those writing on a computer, as almost everyone does these days: back it up on a portable storage device, such as a thumb drive, Zip drive or the cloud, to guard against loss of your work if the computer crashes. This is much easier than getting a computer expert to search for the material after the crash.
Mr. Dye said he keeps his goals in mind when writing a novel:
- He wants to entertain the reader;
- He wants his book to be about Louisiana, or to have a Louisiana flavor, and about a topic with which many people are familiar;
- He wants his characters to embody people he knows well—they should be a touchstone for the author; and
- He puts a message in each book (it is usually about God).
Mr. Dye also recommended an author should write about a topic he knows well, oneself, family, hometown. One may use an idea he heard someone else mention, use family photos to get an idea for a book, or even have an idea come from nowhere. Writing novels is one percent inspiration and 99% hard work. However, he warns that, if one focuses on a book, it becomes an obsession and one’s marriage will suffer due to the inability to think about anything but the book.
Mr. Dye self-publishes his books, as publishing companies will rarely publish any author who does not have an agent. He uses a printer called Outskirts Press himself, but there are other companies out there that provide the same services, even Amazon. To self-publish, one must pay the printer for the services of printing and copying, producing the cover and others. The artwork for the cover, author’s photograph, teaser about the book, and print font must be selected by the author.
Mr. Dye says he writes for the pleasure HE gets from writing the book, and the satisfaction of giving a gift to his family, including the future generations who may learn about him from reading his books. He has written four books, including Better to Be Vile, Bullfrog Moon, The Book of James, and One Bad Day.
After a question and answer period, the meeting was adjourned with the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”
The Rotary Club of Winnfield meets every Wednesday at Noon for lunch at Lynda’s Country Kitchen. For more information about the Rotary Club of Winnfield, you may contact President, Jodi Taylor (832) 573-5085. You can also find club information on Facebook at Rotary Club of Winnfield Facebook Page or online at Rotary.org.