Widower Wednesday: The 2 Biggest Mistakes Women Make when Dating a Widower (Part 1)

Thanks for the feedback on the first Widower Wednesday video I made. It was good enough that I decided to make some more videos. In today's video edition of Widower Wednesday, I discuss the 2 big mistakes women make when dating a widower and what you can do to overcome it. Enjoy!

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If you like this video, then you'll probably enjoy one of the books below.

Widower Wednesday: My Widowed Father is Rushing into a New Relationship

The following comment was posted last week on a past Widower Wednesday column.  My response follows the comment. (Note: For readability, I've broken the comment below into paragraphs.)

So I would like to get some input on this matter. I am the adult child of a recent widower. My mother and father were married 45 years, the last couple of which were rocky due to some mental and health issues of my Mom. Having said that I can assure you that my parents loved each other until the day my mother died. My mother died completely unexpectedly after a successful surgery 11 months ago.

My father's now girlfriend was a friend of the family before my mom's death and she began pursuing my father 1 month after my mother died. Within 2 months after my mom died they were dating and a serious item and by 10 months after they sat the adult children down and told us they planned on being married 2 weeks after the 12 month anniversary of our mother's death. Needless to say this rush to nuptials did not go over well with me. I love my father and don't want him to be unhappy or lonely but there is no chance that my father (nor anyone else that loved my mother) has had time even adjust to her passing let alone be prepared to have some one absorb her space so quickly.

Thankfully they have moved the wedding date back a couple of months but my father has broken every foundation of grief counseling. Within months he has emptied the house of most of my mother's belongs (clothes, decorations, furniture, possessions) by either giving to myself, my brother or family or donating. He has redecorated, resurface, pack up or passed on most of the fingerprint my mother left on their home and has jumped into a new relationship with 2 months of my mother passing.

To be fair, I can honestly say I really like my Dad's new girlfriend and can see that she makes him happy. I would never want to ruin that for him. I do have difficulty with the fact that they have no boundaries when it comes to my parents house. They don't have any concept of how inappropriate if feels to have this new woman absorbing my mothers space in her house. I have gotten to the point that I don't even feel comfortable in my parents home anymore. Yesterday while I was at my parents house visiting family his girlfriend was actually tending and rearranging my mother's flower beds!!! She doesn't even live at the house yet. My father keeps referring the house as "his house" to make the point to me that she is gone but just because she died does not erase her life. I am well educated enough to know how unhealthy my father's approach to his grief is.

Rather than deal with the sorrow and loneliness of the loss of his 45 year relationship (no matter how trying the last few years were) he has chosen to remove physical reminders of my mother and jump into this new relationship, become consumed with all these new loving feelings rather than deal with the loss of the old. I get that this is how he has chosen the deal with his grief by trying to barrel past it at mock speed. What he doesn't take into consideration is that he is forcing all the rest of us to keep up his break neck pace by forcing this new relationship on us. I don't want him to stop dating this great lady I just want some respect and appropriateness (within a reasonable time frame) where it comes to my mothers last standing footprint on the earth......her home.

--Can't believe we have arrived here already

Can't Believe We Have Arrived Here Already,

Losing a parent is hard thing for anyone to go through and seeing your father move on so quickly must feel like losing your mother all over again. But just because he's opened his heart to someone else so soon after her death doesn't mean he no longer loves your mother or that he's not ready to start a new life.

It seems like your biggest complaint is that their home no longer feels like their home. Since your mother passed, it's no longer their home but his home. He can do with it as he wishes. You say you don’t feel comfortable in your parent’s home anymore. Think about how you’d feel if you were or engaged to a widower only to have to live in a house that reflected the tastes of the late wife. Would you feel comfortable living there?

I'm curious as to what grief counseling rules you believe your father is breaking. I remarried 15 months after my late wife passed and have been married to Marathon Girl for 14 years. When I got serious with Marathon Girl, most of my late wife's things were either packed up or given away to those who wanted them. Though the length of time it takes someone to move on from the death of a spouse varies from person to person, those who do have successful remarriage almost always put physical reminders from their first marriage away in order to make room in their life and their heart for their new spouse. I see nothing wrong with your father’s actions. It seems like the healthy way to start a new chapter in his life.

I sincerely hope your father is ready to move on and that he's not rushing into a relationship he’s not emotionally ready for. There are too many women who date widowers and end up with nothing but a broken heart. But this is his life and home—not yours. I’m glad that you like the new woman. Be happy that your father has refused to dwell in sadness and misery for there is too much of that in this world. Your mother lives on in you and your brother. She also lives on in your father and the sweet influence she was in his life for 45 years. Just because the house she lived in doesn’t look like her house doesn’t mean she’s been erased from your father’s life. There will always be a special place in his heart for her.

Hope this helps,

Abel

 

Helen Dennis: Learning to date after losing a spouse

A chapter of Dating a Widower (not Marrying a Widower as mentioned in the column) was extensivly quoted mentioned and quoted from in a Helen Dennis column in the Long Beach Press-Telegram in answer to the following question:

My father is 80 years old and lost his wife of 60 years about six months ago. He moved to a retirement community with lots of available women. The problem is that his first try at dating has backfired. He is distraught over what he perceives as a failure. I think he moved too fast, wanting to live with this woman after dating for only a few weeks. I would like to gently advise him without preaching. I might add, my mother did everything for him and was a full-time homemaker. Do you have any suggestions?

You can read Helen's answer here.

 

Author and Widower Gives Advice to Women Dating Widowers

Me and my book, Dating a Widower, got a write-up in today's (Provo) Daily Herald. The story also includes stories about widows and widowers who successfully remarried.

The holiday season can be especially challenging for those who have lost a spouse, but as the season revolves around hope and love, widows and widowers should have hope for the future and may find love in unlikely places. Such was the case for Spanish Fork residents Randy and Melanee Bronson, who in 2007 each lost their first spouse to pancreatic cancer.

Randy's late wife Gayle and Melanee were roommates at BYU, but parted ways when they married. Randy and Gayle moved to Alaska and Melanee and her husband Kev moved to Connecticut, but they continued to keep in touch with Christmas cards every year.

When both spouses died, Melanee continued to send a Christmas card to Randy, and he reciprocated. A year and a half after both their spouses passed away, Melanee and Randy began to correspond and date.

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There is a source available now for those who may be dating a widower, just as Melanee did a couple of years ago. Eagle Mountain resident Abel Keogh's latest book, "Dating a Widower -- a Guide to Starting a Relationship with a Man that is Starting Over," analyzes the mind and actions of widowers who have dived back in the dating world, giving women dating widowers insights into their motives. Keogh taps into his personal experiences as a widower as well as research and case studies from widowers around the country.

Keogh started blogging about his experiences as a widower back in 2002, while recovering from his wife's death. The blog's popularity grew as women dating widowers sought advice and insights from Keogh.

"I decided to write the book to get the most common issues and concerns out there," he said.

Keogh's blog, www.abelkeogh.com, continues to have Widower Wednesday, a column addressing issues regarding widowers, dating widowers, and moving on.

Read the full story at The (Provo) Daily Herald.

My Next Book

I want to thank everyone for the support they’ve given my latest book, Dating a Widower. Sales have surpassed expectations and the reviews and feedback have been very positive. As a result of its success, I’m thrilled to announce that a follow-up book, Marrying a Widower, is in the works and will be released the first half of next year. Look for more details in January. Like its predecessor, I’ll be asking for readers to contribute their stories. So if you’re engaged to, married to, or divorced from a widower, start thinking about a story you might want to share. A full list of topics will be posted in January.

And no, I haven’t stopped writing fiction. I expect to release a novel next year as well. Look for more details on that in early 2012.

More Book Availability

A couple of quick book updates: The Third

  • For a limited time publisher of The Third has reduced the price of the Kindle version to $4.99.  Download your copy here.

Dating a Widower

Dating a Widower Officially Available Today!

I can finally make the following announcement: Dating a Widower: Starting a Relationship with a Man Who's Starting Over is officially available today! It's available in the following formats:

Paperback | Kindle | Nook | Smashwords

Those who want a signed copy can get one here. (Please note there may be a slight shipping delay if you go this route.)

Read an excerpt.

About Dating a Widower

Are you thinking about dating a widower? Your new relationship will have unique challenges you won’t find when dating single or divorced men. For it to work, the widower will have to put his feelings for his late wife to the side and focus on you. But how do you know if he’s ready to take this step?

Drawing on his own experience as a widower who’s remarried, Abel Keogh gives you unique insight into the hearts and minds of widowers, including:

  • How to tell if a widower’s ready to make room in his heart for you
  • Red flags that may indicate he’s not ready for commitment
  • How to handle family and friends who aren’t supportive of the widower’s new relationship
  • Tips for dealing with holidays and other special occasions

Dating a Widower is your 101 guide to having a relationship with a man who’s starting over.  It also contains over a dozen real life stories from women who have gone down the same road you’re traveling. It’s the perfect book to help you decide if the man you’re seeing is ready for a new relationship—and whether or not dating a widower is right for you.

Widower Wednesday: Dating a Widower Chapter 1

I need your help. One of the most frequent topics I’m asked to write on is how to deal with the feelings of being compared to the late wife. As you know, the late wife often becomes a saint once she passes on. Sometimes she was a saint in real life. Either way it’s common to feel like you’re competing against a perfect person and being held to a high standard of perfection by the widower and/or his/her family and friends.

I’ve tried several times to write on this topic but don’t feel like I’ve done the topic justice. As a result, I’ve never posted my thoughts on that matter. This is where you come in. I’d like you to email me your stories on how you've dealt with feeling like you’re competing with a saint or things your widower had done to make you feel that he loves you for who you are. (I’ll use a pseudonym if you don’t want your first name published). Again, this is one of the most common topics I’m asked to write on so your story could help a lot of women. I’ll include a few thoughts as well, but I’d rather have the focus be on you and your stories. All I ask is that you keep the email to 500 words or less and let me know if you want your real first name used or for me to come up with an alias. So send me an email. If you want to see a Widower Wednesday column that contains past contributions from readers, click here.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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This week I’m publishing the introduction and first chapter from the upcoming Dating a Widower book as well as the story's from readers that I accepted. The manuscript is just going through typesetting right now for those who want a hard copy. eBooks (Kindle and Nook to start with) are ready to go live once I push the button. Look for an official announcement soon.

Introduction

You've met a man that knocks you off your feet. Everything about him is perfect except for one thing: He’s a widower. And that makes you pause. Is he ready to move on and start a new life with me? Is he done grieving? If the relationship works out, will he love me as much as the late wife? These and a thousand other questions go through your head. Well, you’re in luck.

The purpose of this book isn’t to discourage you from dating a widower. Rather, it’s to 1) give you insight into the heart and mind of a widower so you can better understand his behavior and 2) help you decide for yourself if the widower you’re dating is ready to start a new life with you, or whether he’s just looking to fill the hole in his heart.

As a widower who has since remarried, I’ve seen too many men (myself included) start dating before they’re emotionally ready to make serious commitments to the women they claim to love. I’ve also corresponded with hundreds of women who have fallen in love with men who claimed to be ready to move on but, in the end, were not. Most of these women could have avoided heartache if they’d been aware of the red flags.

The good news is that there are many widowers out there who are ready to make room in their heart for another person. As I write this, I’ve been married to Julianna for eight years. I also personally know many other widowers who are happily remarried. We know how fortunate and blessed we are to have someone else we can spend the rest of our lives with.

I hope the widower you’re dating is one of those men.

Abel Keogh August 2011

Chapter 1: Widowers—They’re Still Men!

Widowers are men. It doesn’t matter how long they were married, how their wife died, or how long it’s been since their wife passed on—widowers act, think, and grieve like men. There are no widower issues—only man issues.

When you think of widowers as men, you can better understand the motivations and reasons behind their actions and decide for yourself whether he’s ready to move on and start a new life with you, or simply looking to fill the hole in his heart or for someone to warm his bed at night.

When it comes to men, there are five things you need to know about them that affects their behavior after they’ve lost a spouse.

  1. Widowers Have an Internal Need for Relationships
  2. A few weeks after my late wife, Krista, and I were married, we had dinner with her grandmother, a widow. During dinner, her grandmother told us that a neighbor and good friend had recently passed away after a long illness. After we expressed our condolences, her grandmother told us how the woman’s husband had stopped by to invite her to the funeral. After she told the man she planned on coming, the man had then told Krista’s grandmother he’d be calling on her soon.

    Krista and I were floored. How could anyone even think about dating someone else when their wife wasn’t even buried yet? On the way home from dinner that night, I told Krista that if she died, I’d never remarry. Krista gave my arm a squeeze and told me she felt the same way.

    Two years after that conversation, Krista committed suicide. In the months following her death, I found myself wanting to date again. I felt guilty for having these feelings. I thought there was something wrong with me; perhaps I was angry at Krista about taking her own life, and as a result, I was trying to get even with her. But the desire to date again grew stronger with each passing day. Finally, I gave in to the feelings and signed up with an online dating site and went on my first widower date a few weeks later. Later I met a wonderful woman named Julianna. We fell in love and were married 15 months after Krista died. (As I write this, we’re a month shy of celebrating our eighth anniversary.)

    It wasn’t until after I remarried and started researching how men grieve that I realized my desire to date again so soon after Krista’s death was natural. After losing a spouse, most widowers find that the richness and purpose life once held is gone. Their life feels broken, and they want to fix it. The most logical way to do that? Find another woman. And while there’s nothing wrong with dating months or weeks after a spouse dies, most widowers who start dating again are still grieving the loss of their spouse. They’re not emotionally ready to make long-term or serious commitments to the women they’re dating.

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop widowers from telling the women they’re dating that they love them and are ready to start a new life. A lot of women end up falling in love with widowers, only to end up with a broken heart after the widowers unexpectedly tell them they’re not ready to move on.

  3. Widowers Will Stay in Relationships with Women They Don’t Love
  4. Because widowers have a strong desire to be in a relationship, they will get serious with women they don’t really love. Most widowers are just happy to have a woman in their life again. Often, their loneliness is so acute that they’ll attach themselves to the first person who shows the slightest interest in them. Having someone who will hold them and tell them how much they’re needed or loved will overcome the nagging feeling in the back of their mind that the relationship isn’t right—at least for a while.

    Sometimes it’s hard to tell which men are serious about moving on and which are just looking for someone to lessen the ache in their hearts. Both types of widowers will treat you like a queen, tell you how much they love you, and do other things that make you feel like the center of their universe. However, widowers who aren’t serious about starting over with you can only fake these relationships for so long. Sooner or later, the doubts that have been nagging them since they first became serious with you will overwhelm their desire for companionship. Once they reach that point, those widowers who still have a shred of manliness in them will tell you the relationship isn’t working out and end it.

    Soon after I started dating, I became serious with a woman I’ll call Jennifer. We were friends before I was married to Krista, and after her death, we reconnected. I flirted with her, started dating her, and eventually told her I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. During our relationship, I never loved Jennifer—at least, not in the way you need to love someone to spend the rest of your life with them.

    When we were together, I couldn’t see myself marrying or having a family with her. Despite these reservations, I didn’t want to lose her. Having Jennifer in my life brought a sense of normalcy that had been missing since Krista died. Having someone at my side was better than having no one. Eventually I ended the relationship, but it came at a high price. I lost a good friend, and Jennifer ended up with a broken heart and confused feelings.

    If you want to avoid giving your heart to a man who’s not ready to move on, my advice is to take things slowly—especially in the first few months of the relationship. It’s also a good way to learn if the widower is looking for a long-term relationship or looking to fill the hole in his heart. A widower who sees a potential long-term, committed relationship with you will be fine taking things slow. He’ll patiently wait for you to be ready while finding ways to prove his feelings for you. If he’s just looking for sex, companionship, or a therapist, he’ll push you to speed things up, threaten to date other people, or quickly lose interest in the relationship.

    When a relationship is new and the guy seems like a great catch, it’s very easy to get emotionally swept up the moment and overlook possible warning signs that he’s not ready to open his heart to you However, taking things slow when it comes to physical or emotional intimacy is a small price to pay in order to avoid getting your heart crushed.

  5. Widowers Pursue Women They’re Interested In
  6. Men, by nature, are pursuers. When the right woman catches their eye, they’ll do just about anything and everything they can to show the woman how much they love them.

    The same is true for widowers. When widowers find someone they truly love, they’ll put aside the grief and make you the number one person in their hearts and minds. Widowers who are ready to move on will voluntarily take down photos of the late wife, remove the wedding ring, and make you feel like the only woman he’s ever loved. Nothing will stop them from starting a new life with someone else—including their grief. It may not happen overnight, but you’ll see steady progress from the widower and have little doubt that he’s making room in his heart for you.

    The best way to tell if a man is interested in pursuing you is to give him a chance to take the lead in the relationship. Let him plan dates and other activities, and let him initiate most of the communication. Doing this accomplishes two things. First, it forces the widower to decide how serious he is about you. A man who has doubts about the relationship will eventually grow tired of having to prove his love to someone when they aren’t really interested. Eventually he’ll end it.

    Second, this helps him make room in his heart for you. Widowers prove their love through actions and sacrifice. The more they can prove their love through actions, the easier it is for them to develop the deep love needed to put their grief aside and start a new life. Without this deep love, it’s extremely difficult for him to make room in his heart for you.

    I want to make one thing clear: There’s nothing wrong with setting up dates or calling him. I’m not saying you have to let him initiate everything. But if you find yourself doing most of the heavy lifting in the relationship, it’s easy for him to simply go along for the ride instead of deciding if the relationship is right for him.

    There’s a part of me that believes I never would have gotten serious with Jennifer had she let me take more of the lead when we started dating. Because of the doubts in the back of my mind, I hesitated to set up dates and other activities once it became clear that there was a mutual interest in taking things forward. Jennifer, however, had no problem taking the lead. And I had no problem letting her. After all, it felt nice to have someone who wanted to be at my side as often as possible. All I had to do was tell her that I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I never really had to prove those feelings because Jennifer was eager to take charge.

    Julianna, on the other hand, behaved in the opposite way. In addition to having a somewhat shy personality, she also had a lot of concerns about dating a widower and was hesitant to get involved with someone whose late wife had only been dead six months. It quickly became obvious that the only chance I had at winning her heart was to prove to her that I was ready to make her number one in my heart. It took about three months of dating before she felt comfortable becoming serious with me.

    During that time, I did everything I could to show her that I was ready to start a new life with her. And in the end, I not only proved my love to her, but proved to myself that I could heal from the loss of a spouse, open my heart to someone else, and love that person just as much.

  7. Men Can Only Actively Love One Woman at a Time
  8. Most women wouldn’t get involved with a divorced man who was still angry and bitter toward an ex-wife or a single man who was still anguishing over a failed romance. Yet many women will fall in love with a widower who’s still mourning for his late spouse. These women usually believe that if they’re patient and are there for him while he grieves, he’ll eventually move on.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. While the human heart has a great capacity for love, widowers can only actively love one woman at a time. It doesn’t matter if the woman is alive or dead; they can only devote their thoughts, feelings, and attention to one woman. If they’re constantly thinking about the late wife, they won’t be able to do what it takes to move on and love someone else.

    In order to move on, widowers need to focus their time, energy, and attention on you, instead of the late wife. This means that their utmost thoughts and feelings are on you and your happiness, and not on how much they miss the dead spouse. Widowers who are truly ready for a long-term, committed relationship won’t have a problem taking this step.

    Some widowers can give you their full attention for a short time. For example, when I dated Jennifer, I was able to focus my attention and thoughts on her when we were together. However, when I wasn’t in her presence or talking to her, my thoughts quickly returned to Krista and the life we had together. As a result, I was never able to find a place in my heart for Jennifer.

    I didn’t have that problem with Julianna. In fact, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. My thoughts and attention were always focused on her and her happiness. Because I was so focused on Julianna, I became less and less focused on my loss. This made it easier for me to lock up my love for Krista and make room in my heart for Julianna.

    Don’t be afraid to end a relationship with a widower who can’t make you number one in his heart and mind. Better to cut your losses than waste your time competing with a ghost, because the ghost will always win.

  9. A Widower’s Actions Speak Louder than Words
  10. A widower will tell you that he loves you, that you’re pretty, and will say other sweet nothings in order to get attention, sex, companionship, or anything else he wants out of the relationship. A widower’s desire to plug the hole in his heart is often so intense that he’ll tell you whatever he thinks you want to hear because it feels good to have someone by his side again.

    Don’t listen to a widower’s flattering words. Instead, focus on his actions. If you go to his house and her clothes are still in the closet, her pictures are all over the walls, her ashes are displayed prominently, and her voice is still on the answering machine, it doesn’t matter how many times he says he loves you and wants to spend the rest of his life with you. He’s not ready to move on and start a new life. If a widower really loves you, his actions and words will align.

    When I dated Jennifer, my words and actions never matched up. I told her she was the center of my universe, yet there wasn’t one photo of her hanging up at my house. I told her that she was number one in my heart, yet I constantly found myself talking about my late wife, instead of our relationship. I said I wanted to have a future with her, but hesitated in telling my family and friends that I was even dating her.

    It wasn’t that way with Julianna. I was quick to put photos of her up all over the house. I constantly talked about the life, future, and family I wanted to have with her. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone—even complete strangers—that I was dating the most wonderful woman in the world. My actions and words were one and the same. I told her she had the number one spot in my heart, then went out and proved it to her every single day.

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Stories of Women Dating Widowers Ann’s Story

I hesitate to call our courtship and marriage a success because I don’t see love and long-term relationships in the black and white manner of women’s magazines or dating self-help books. Success is relative even if failure is painted with a universal brush.

When I asked my husband, Rob, why he thought we succeeded when other couples in our situation fail, he replied only half-jokingly, “It was my stellar personality.” That’s not quite true, but it’s not entirely incorrect, either. Relationships that work depend on both partners wanting them to do so.

When we met, I had been widowed for 11 months. Rob’s wife had died four months earlier. While I’d begun dating, he’d decided to wait to give himself time to recuperate from Shelley’s death and the months he’d spent taking care of her.

We cultivated a “just friends” relationship, which began with meeting via an online widowed support board and eventually took itself offline using email, IM and the telephone.

Rob was the one who suggested elevating our friendship to dating. Before that I was content, despite knowing that our relationship was a bit flirtier than “just friends.” However, I didn’t try to analyze his actions or read between his words. Like any man, Rob said what he meant, and his actions spoke just as clearly. If a man is interested, he tells you, and if there is a potential long-term option, he acts.

Both of us being widowed probably made things easier. I didn’t have to wonder how he felt, nor did I take anything related to his grief personally. Our relationship was a separate issue. Grief is not a couple's activity, and it’s not an obstacle to moving on with someone else. The right person is more motivation than any widower needs to pack up the past and build a new life. If new love stirred grief up, it was acknowledged, and then we moved on. If he’d hemmed and hawed or had thrown up continual roadblocks in the form of his late wife, children or in-laws, I would have known that he wasn’t really serious about us.

How?

I used those things to put off suitors who didn’t interest me or with whom I saw no potential for a long-term relationship. It’s easier than saying, “I’m not that into you.”

Does grief come up? Yes, but only a little bit. If a widower loves you, grief won’t derail what you have together. With time, patience and shared effort, you can build a lasting relationship just like any couple does.

Rob made it clear that I was his priority. He was considerate of his daughters’ conflicted reactions to us but did not let their grief dictate his decisions. He let family and friends know that he was a grown man who knew his own mind and heart. Not that we met with much active interference or criticism. Most people expressed support and genuine happiness for us.

Bottom line is that our actions set the tone for our children, family and friends. We knew what we wanted, acted accordingly and whatever issues came up were discussed and dealt with immediately—just like any other healthy relationship. Widowed people fall in love, and they do live happily ever after—again.

Going Independent and the Future of Publishing

After announcing my decision to go independent with my Dating a Widower book, some people were curious as to why I’d turn down a publishing contract. Since I know most of my readers don’t follow what’s going on in the publishing world as closely as I do, I thought I’d give a more detailed explanation for my decision. The publishing industry is going through a similar change that the music industry went through at the turn of the century. Back when I was in college most people still bought CDs at the mall or stores like Wal-Mart or Target. Right around the time I graduated Napster showed up and everyone started downloading digital music to their computer for free. Of course this was illegal and Napster was soon shut down but not before demonstrating there was a big appetite for digital music. Then iTunes came along and showed that most people would willingly pay 99 cents for song or buy digital albums online—usually for less than the price of a CD. What made digital music really take off was the iPod and other digital music players that made it easy to take digital music files from your computer and put them in a device that would fit in your pocket.

Despite screaming from the record companies that some well known bands that the music industry was going to go bankrupt and disappear,  most bands and record labels not only survived but learned how to thrive in the new music world.  However, the biggest winners were independent musicians who now could upload their music to iTunes and could distribute their music just like the big boys. Many talented, independent musicians and bands suddenly had a way to get their music in front the same people as the big record labels without the overhead of distributing CDs or figuring out how to get them in stores. Because of a level playing field many independent bands and musicians have found an audience been able to make a living. Some have even been signed by big record labels after proving there was an audience for their music.

In the last couple of years eBooks and eReaders have revolutionized the publishing world. In the old days going independent (or self publishing) meant the author would write a book then and spend thousands of dollars printing copies of their book. With no way to distribute their work, most copies sat unsold in the author’s garage collecting dust. Now thanks to devices like the Kindle and improved print-on-demand (POD) technology, writers can bypass agents and publishers and have their books in the same online stores as big name publishers without having to invest money in printing actual books. Authors like Amanda Hocking have been able to launch their writing careers by promoting and selling their eBooks online.

With this kind of disruption in the traditional book business there’s the standard weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth as Big Publishing watches the business model they’ve relied on for decades being turned inside out. Many authors and industry experts are predicting the demise of big publishers or publishing companies in general. I don’t see that happening. However I think most have the financial resources to ride out the storm and will (eventually) adapt to the changing marketplace. (It’s traditional brick and mortar bookstores that have the most to lose.)

So what does this have to do with my decision to go indie—at least for this book?

Thanks to eBooks and POD technology I can reach this book’s target audience just as well, if not better, than most publishers. Over the years I’ve built up a loyal readership on the subject and in many corners I’m considered the expert on dating a widower. In addition my website receives hundreds of Google hits every day from people looking for information on this very subject. If I didn’t have any of this going for me, signing a contract with a traditional publisher might have been a better way to go.

What I’m hoping to avoid is the mistakes many indie authors make. I can’t tell you how many books by indie authors that I’ve downloaded on Marathon Girl’s Kindle only to delete the books after a couple chapters because the writing, editing, and proofreading wasn’t anywhere it needed to be. I’ve also refrained from purchasing other books simply because it looked like some 12-year-old put it together. I estimate it’s going to cost me roughly $1,000 for a cover, editing, proofreading, and everything else it’s going to take to bring the book to a professional level. However, it’s a good investment and I’m fairly confident that I can earn that money back in a relatively short timeframe because of the need for this book.

Unlike some authors, I’m not married to the indie way of things. I have two other books I hope to get wrapped up soon. One I’d like to take the traditional route while the other one could go either way. A lot of the direction I choose to go will depend on how this project turns out and the lessons I learn along the way. If anything I see my writing future including using the best of both worlds.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be an exciting journey. And I promise to keep you all posted as this and other projects move forward.

Going Indie: A Dating a Widower Book Update

Note: My regular Widower Wednesday column will resume next week.

As many of you know I was recently offered a publishing contract for my Dating a Widower book. Today I’m announcing that I’ve turned down the contract and am going to publish Dating a Widower on my own like originally planned. The book will be available in paperback and eBook format in August. The book will be published through my Ben Lomond Press imprint.

Turning down the publishing contract wasn’t an easy decision. If the contract had been offered a year ago, I probably would have signed it. However, in the last year there’s been a major revolution in the publishing world. Thanks to eBooks readers like Kindle and Nook and improved print on demand technology, it’s become a lot easier for authors to get books into the hands of their target audience without a traditional publisher. For the most part the revolution has been relegated to certain fiction genres but it’s also been good for niche non-fiction and self-help titles too.

A few of the reasons I decided to go indie with Dating a Widower include:

  • I already have an audience for this book and know how to reach them. Because of the niche nature of this book, I wasn’t sure if a traditional publisher could do a better job getting the book in to the hands of women dating widowers.
  • I can get the book out this summer instead of early 2012.
  • Going indie will allow me to be more responsive to the needs of the audience. If there's a subject I didn't address I can quickly add a chapter to the book or make other updates instead of waiting a year or so for the next edition to become available.

Just because I’m going indie doesn’t mean I’m slapping the book together and throwing it out there. I’m contracting out a lot of the things that publishers usually handle. For example, I had a great editor go over it before I even submitted it to a publisher and will have a second editor and a proofreader go over it before it’s available to buy. I’ve also contracted the services of a book cover designer who’s designed hundreds of non-fiction book covers for traditional publishers as well as lots of experience typesetting them. In short, it’s going to be the same book you would have received from a traditional publisher.

Have I given up on using traditional publishers or going the traditional publishing route? Absolutely not. However, in the future I’m going to consider whether or not to go that route on a project-by-project basis. I currently have two other writing projects I’m working on. One I'm planning on taking one the traditional route and am currenlty leaning toward taking the second project the indie route.

In the meantime look for Dating a Widower to be ready for purchase and reading this August. The women whose stories have been selected to be included in the book should get formal email notifications this week.

Thanks for all your support with this book. I’m looking forward to finally having Dating a Widower available in two short months.

Widower Wednesday: 5 Dating a Widower Questions

Just a reminder to anyone who wants their dating a widower story to be considered in my upcoming Dating a Widower book, you have until May 13 to submit a story. I’ve received a bunch of great entries so far and think that your additions will really take this book to the next level. I’ve read through all of them so far and will be making final decisions before June.

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Sometimes I get some dating a widower questions that can be answered in just a couple of sentences. I feel they’re too short for one Widower Wednesday post so I’ve decided to combine five of them into one post.

Q: My widower wants me to go on a weeklong vacation with him and the late wife’s parents. Should I go?

A: That really depends on if you think a vacation like that will hurt or help your relationship. If you get alone with the LWs parents and the widower does a good job of treating you like number one, then I don’t see a problem with it. However, if you feel like you’re going to be an uncomfortable or miserable time, or that you won’t enjoy the trip for any reason, don’t go. There’s no point in torturing yourself for seven days. Wish them all a good time and enjoy some time to yourself while they’re gone.

Q: Will a widower who breaks off a relationship come back after he’s had time to grieve and heal?

A: Probably not. Men have an amazing ability to overcome their grief when the right woman comes along. If he wasn’t able to make room in his heart for you now, odds are he won’t be able to do it after some away to grieve. Waiting around is going to lead to more heartbreak. I recommend moving on.

Q: The widower I love is involved in a lot of self destructive behavior (drinking, drugs, and gambling). What I can do to help him?

A: It’s sad when people chose to destroy their lives. However, there’s nothing you can do to make them stop. Usually people have to hit bottom or have something happen to them before they decide to change their lives for the better. The only thing you can do is offer them an alternative to their activities (e.g., a movie and dinner instead of a night at a bar or casino) and hope they want to be with you. Keep in mind that getting involved in the lives of people who are destroying themselves often end up getting hurt physically, financially, and/or emotionally.  I’d hesitate to get to close to anyone with these problems until they’ve done some serious rehab.

Q: I’m dating a widower who is also an artist and has several paintings of the LW in their home. He refuses to take them down because he says they’re some of his favorite work. What can I do to convince him to take them down?

A: I don’t think there’s much you can do. It’s his home and he can put whatever he wants on the walls. IMHO his actions are stating that he values the paintings more than your feelings. If you can’t live with the paintings on the walls and he doesn’t want to take them down, there doesn’t seem much point in continuing the relationship.

Q:  I’ve found your blog very helpful but there’s one issue you haven’t addressed. There’s a 22 year age difference between me (23) and my widower (45). Do you think our age will make a difference whether or not things will work out?

A: I think if two people are in love, age doesn’t matter. However, I do find older men (widowed or not) who date women young enough to be their daughters a bit creepy. You might want to really examine the relationship and make sure it’s fueled by love.

Widower Wednesday: Share Your Dating a Widower Story

As I posted last week, my publishers wants my Dating a Widower book. Last week they sent me a book contract and we’re currently in the negotiation stages.

So why am I bring this up (again)?

My publisher has been following my Widower Wednesday columns very closely. They’ve really enjoyed reading experiences that reader like you have shared in the comment sections of the blog as well as two recent posts about dating a widower with minor children still living at home. In order to move the project forward, they want to include a couple of real world stories from women dating widowers with each chapter in the Dating a Widower book.

I think it’s a great idea. Your knowledge and experience will give the book additional real world advice that will make the book even more helpful to those looking for guidance on dating a widower.

The real life examples you submit can be either positive or “learning” dating a widower experiences or something in between. Basically we’re looking for any kind of story that can help women navigate the murky waters that come with dating a widower.

Though you’re welcome to write about any dating a widower topic, we’re especially looking for stories that can answer the following questions:

  • How to get your widower to open up and talk to you about your relationship?
  • How you overcame insecurities in the bedroom about being compared to the late wife?
  • What have widowers done to make you feel like Number 1?
  • When did you realize it was time to end the relationship with a widower?
  • How did you deal with the widower’s adult children who weren’t accepting of their dad’s new relationship?
  • How did you get the widower’s minor children to accept you as the new “mom”?
  • How did you deal with special days like the late wife’s birthday, and wedding anniversary and other holidays?

To submit your story for consideration, send me an email. Please keep submissions to 500 words or less. You can submit more than one story but please send them in different emails. (This way I can sort them by topic better.) All submissions must be received by May 13, 2011.

The author of any story that makes it into the book will receive a free copy of the Dating a Widower book up publication. To protect your privacy, you can publish your story under a pen name if you wish.

If you have any questions about submitting a story let me know.

Thanks, and I’m looking forward to reading what you have to share.

Keeping Me Honest

A quick update on the Creative Writing goals I made at the beginning of year.

  • The Dating a Widower manuscript is now in the hands of my publisher. No word yet on whether or not they’ve accepted it. Hope to have an update by my next monthly update.
  • The Third is scheduled for an April release. More details will be forthcoming. In addition to being available on Amazon, bookstores, and e-book format, I’ll also be selling personalized copies from my improved online store for those who want one. The new store will be up within the next two weeks.
  • Worked out the kinks with the “White Whale” book I’ll be pitching in May. With plot and character problems mostly worked out, I’m hoping to make more progress and have a first draft completed by the end of the month.

For more information on these and other writing projects, keep your eye on this blog or join my mailing list if you want the scoop before anyone else.