Iraq Invaded Kuwait 30 Years Ago Today

Thirty years ago today, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Today there is an initiative to build a memorial to commemorate and honor those who, as members of the Armed Forces, served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield. I was on beach in Florida that day in 1990 on a weekend Air Force trip when I heard of the invasion. I had no idea then how much that snippet of information would affect my life.

Logo+on+black+lo+resIn the summer of 1990, I was a newly married 23-year-old, preparing for what would be my fourth year of a five-year aerospace/mechanical engineering curriculum at the University at Buffalo. I had enlisted in the US Air Force Reserve the year before. My career goal was to fly planes. I’d get experience around aircraft as a C-130 cargo plan mechanic, then move to a pilot position flying something (I wasn’t sure what) once I had my undergraduate degree.

The reserve seemed like a great safe path to that experience, all while earning great money for part-time work. I volunteered for as many weekend trips as I could, as they paid well and were informative and fun. If there ever was a war, which I was sure there wouldn’t be because the Soviet Union had crumbled, we may be activated to fill in for the full timers that would go overseas to fight. But there wouldn’t be a war.

Wrong.

When the situation escalated to where we were sending troops overseas, slowly I realized that our unit could be activated, likely for stateside service. I wouldn’t be pleased about the inconvenience of putting off my college degree. I was eager to start being a full-time breadwinner. But if duty called, I’d respond.

Early in my college career, prior to joining the reserves, I had a conversation with a friend. He said that if there ever was a war that brought back the draft, he’d go to Canada. I couldn’t agree. I felt back then, as I do today, that so many of the blessings in my life were a direct result of the freedoms we have, fought for by many, some who paid the ultimate price. If my turn came, I’d go and pay my dues, I said with the confidence that it would never happen.

It did.

The message on the answering machine that late September day in 1990 was short and simple: I had a few days to report for duty for overseas assignment. Tears welled up in my wife’s eyes, and she asked, “What does it mean?” I didn’t have an answer, but I tried to be the rock I thought I had to be. “I guess I’ll be going on a three-month vacation to the land of the sand,” I said.

The truth is, I didn’t have to go. I could have pushed for a deferment because of my college status, as a few in our unit did. I never seriously considered that. I had made a commitment, and I would honor it.

That would become one of, if not the strongest defining moment in my life.

Desert Shield, and then Desert Storm, permanently shaped my life path and my perspectives. Some changes were good, some not-so-good. That’s life. Our characters are tested daily. I’d like to think that I have been more true to my character with every test partially because of my decision to not defer.

When we returned home from Desert Storm, it was flags and yellow ribbons everywhere. Americans were united. The mood of the country was good, and the ghosts of Vietnam had finally largely been put to rest (though some will always remain). That was the United States that encouraged me to serve.

Things are a lot different today.

I don’t know how it happened, though I, like everybody, have theories. I don’t have to tell anyone who was an adult then that we are more divided now than in 1991, or maybe in almost any time on our country’s history. If you don’t agree with the other side, your thoughts, positions, morality, and even standing of a human being are often questioned, if not completely berated. How did we come to this place?

I have experienced this firsthand, especially on Facebook (see my last blog post). I feel that I have lost my right to express my opinion. This is a topic for another post, another day. People are openly posting statements that are so blatantly full of hate. The worst part? I doubt that many, if not most can even see the hate. They take the worst possible aspect of the side they don’t like (you name the issue – politics, COVID, etc.) and automatically assume that if you don’t agree with them, you are the worst of the other side. And if that doesn’t work, the fallback is “if you’re silent, you’re complacent.”No middle ground, no consideration of discussion.

The United States of 1990 was one of differences, yes, but also one of compromise. We have lost much of the ability to discuss issues in a civil manner. Just open any news site. This is a very dangerous situation. Without discussion, divisions will widen. Our republic’s continuing existence isn’t guaranteed. It must be constantly attended to.

I haven’t lost all hope. If I were called back to defend the United States, I would serve, in whatever capacity I could. I love this country. I bleed red, white, and blue. But it won’t happen without fundamental changes in everyone’s hearts. And I believe that won’t happen without prayer. Lots of it. Honest, fervent, passionate.

God bless the USA.

The National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial is a new national monument that has been approved by Congress and President Trump (March 2017) to be built by 2021 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Visit http://www.ndswm.org/ for more information. Image from http://www.ndswm.org/

The Facebook Conundrum

I’m in the middle of a reboot of how I use Facebook, brought on by increasing frustration at the polarization of discussions. First, the problem, then the solution, I think, at least for me.

A bit of background. I have been a Facebook consumer and contributor for over ten years. I enjoyed the aspect of connecting with friends and coworkers and, later family (I was the first adopter for several years I believe in my family) and friends from years’ past. The latter was especially cool, connecting with people that I haven’t spoke to in years. Though my dad wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea at all, as he remarked “if I haven’t talked with them for so long, why would I want to start now?”

But the journey was blissful for the most part, as I enjoyed posts from people representing all phases of my life. Later, I followed various news organizations. Facebook became a primary news source for me in this internet age. Who watched the six-o’clock news anymore, anyway?

Then something odd happened, and not just for me, but for seemingly everyone. It must have been during one of the big elections, probably 2012, as by then Facebook had established its grip on Americana. People love to talk politics, but usually that’s reserved for bars and water coolers, not Thanksgiving or other family gatherings. Why? Because people can be very passionate about politics. But look out, now here comes Facebook, where anyone can broadcast their obviously correct opinion on anything to everyone!

If you have ever been on Facebook, you know what a mess that creates. Battle lines drawn, defriending, cutting people out of wills, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria… Many people smartly stopped talking politics altogether.

I had to be different.

This polarization really got to me in 2012. I couldn’t understand why people had to be off or on, and not a dimmer switch, varying between lightness and darkness. I don’t mean to imply that any position is darker than another, I’m just conveying variance. To address, I created a page on Facebook, The Moderate Party. I think two people joined. I think it’s still there, I haven’t done anything with it in years (maybe I need to return to it). Creating it though taught me how to do so, which has helped out my two businesses in their marketing strategies.

Elections come and go, and polarization subsides, like a regular ebb and flow. I realized I could navigate the waves well, because they were never extreme. Then came Donald Trump.

Trump is, at the very least, an interesting character. He may hold the world record for adjectives hurled his way, positive and negative, if such were tracked. Most, including likely Trump himself, expected Hillary Clinton to be elected in 2016. When that didn’t happen, the polarization went into warp drive.

Here it is, 2020, and I, like others, are faced with a huge decision for this presidential election. I like to look for answers, and opinions, and discussion. Such is hard to find face to face in the COVID-19 environment. I turned to Facebook.

At first, I’d posts questions and links with commentary, often from a conservative source (I am a conservative though like to think I’m open-minded). Often, they’d elicit polarized responses, so I shifted strategy, mainly posting links from mainly centrist (as objective as possible) news sites or calling out the bias if not. I hoped that it would prompt rational discussion.

It did not. Truthfully, some responses were blatantly hateful. No need to go into details, as probably most reading this have experienced similar, just that if you indicated you aligned with a particular position you were instantly labeled to the extreme. “Choose a side” people said. How to choose when you’re trying to have a civil discussion to form opinions that will then inform the decision?

Nothing worked, and my reaction was to step back from Facebook for my mental, spiritual, and physical health. Yes, this whole polarization and lack of common decency to not even try to see another side literally made me ill. I wasn’t sure if I’d leave Facebook completely.

That idea made me angry. I have every right to voice my opinion. I also have every right to defend and protect myself from bullies, even when it’s not the intent. Because those kinds of Facebook post responses are nothing less than bullying.

That’s where I’m at today. I don’t want to lose relationships from years ago, many rekindled through Facebook, but I also don’t want to be bullied because I have opinions and views that others may disagree with. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do, so in the mean time I “rebooted” (posted Windows Blue Screen of Death, then HAL 9000 and a generic programming background as my profile and banner pictures to signify the reboot and the programming that we have all endured to bring us to this polarized point). Now it’s “The Daily Dog”, a picture of a dog usually from Unsplash. After all, who hates dogs? I’m trying to step back into Facebook politics discussions, but my first attempt had disappointing results. I’ll just leave it at that.

Maybe the loudest win. But that doesn’t mean the silent have changed their mind. In some cases, it likely has strengthened their resolve. Maybe I’ll post about that tomorrow – after I post a Chihuahua for The Daily Dog.

Photo by Richard Brutyo on Unsplash

Childhood Release in Four Days

Wow. I’m amazed, relieved, and in a way saddened that Childhood is coming out in four days. I decided this blog post was going to be free form writing, or, in other words, writing without thinking, or a stream of consciousness, with no editing. There’s a reason for that which will hopefully become apparent.

I should be happy about this date. After all, while Childhood is only a novelette (about 11,000 words but honestly I forgot the exact count), it is still a professionally produced product. Besides the writing, which I’d like to say is professional as I have a few novels and other works under my belt, the editing was top notch (thanks, Darling Axe) and the cover conveys the simplicity of childhood with the hint of issues in the future (the rip in the sky, a nice add from Diane Turpin Designs).

I’m going to go on a tangent for a second about the editing. Michelle from The Darling Axe was excellent, and not just from an editing standpoint. I felt like that after working with her I’d taken a couple of graduate courses in fiction writing. She challenged me to do better. I’m a type-A personality, and I can’t deny a good challenge. Her influence will be reflected in all of my future works, regardless of whether I ever work with her again (but I hope to).

georgeI’m anxious. A dozen or so readers will be reviewing Childhood and posting their thoughts starting February 11th as part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour. I participated in a similar tour for my last novel, Leaving Darkness, and none of the reviews were negative, but not all were five stars either (I think it averaged out to four out of five, which isn’t bad, especially for a self-published work by a relatively unknown author). What if they hate it? Geez, I’m starting to sound like Marty McFly’s dad. It’ll be good, no matter what they say.

Sad. I’m sad because I had hoped to have Fatherhood completed by now. Childhood is the prequel to Fatherhood, a full-length (~80,000 words) novel about abortion from the father’s point of view. Yes, a heavy subject. I pounded out 50,000 words for the NaNoWriMo November challenge (yay me), then stalled. I “lost that loving feeling” for writing temporarily. That’s not a bad thing. Writing is my retirement career, and I’m laying the foundation for it now. My daytime job as principal for a small but successful information security consulting firm takes precedence. I’m only 52; more than a few years from retiring.

“Slow down, you crazy child, you’re so ambitious for a juvenile” – words from Billy Joel (43 years ago – wow) that I heeded. Fatherhood would come in its time when it’s right. and it’s time is God’s time, because my writing is God-inspired. After Leaving Darkness, which I was called to write based on my experiences with a Christian support group, I prayed about what I would write next. The call came about three months later.

Abortion? Really? I thought depression was a heavy topic. My first reaction? No.

Saying no to God is never a good idea.

I’ve had a personal experience with abortion but that neither is an impetus nor a major influence in the story. That personal experience somewhat influenced my first novel, Forgiveness. For Fatherhood, as I seem to do with all of my main characters, I create, then immerse myself in their lives. I almost become them, not the other way.

Writing is a journey. If I have learned anything with my limited experience with Fatherhood, it is to not sacrifice the joy of the journey for the pressure of creating something in an artificial time frame. It will come when it’s ready. A time for everything. My time for returning to Fatherhood is probably a month or two out. Now it’s all about Childhood. Here’s hoping for favorable reviews, but one-star reviews won’t deter me at all. In fact, being the type-A I am, it would spur me to lick my wounds, then do better.

Image from Back to the Future, 1985

A Novel Second Chance

I pulled Temptations of the Innocent today.

What that means is I have cancelled the sale of my second novel. My first, Forgiveness, was well received, enough to encourage me to write the follow up, actually a prequel. Forgiveness, in various forms, took more than twenty years from the initial keystrokes on my college 486 computer in 1993 to self-publishing the novel in 2014. Temptations took less than two years.Front Cover Build 7

In retrospect, three years later, Temptations is riddled with faults. I can attribute the missteps to  lack of experience. The missteps include:

  • A misinformed title. Not only does it not convey the link to Forgiveness, it, in retrospect, almost sounds creepy. The “innocent” part of the title deals with the purity of child souls whose lives ended at a young age but are given a second chance at life. Hence they are innocent as adults and prone to temptation. Did you get that from the title, or something else? Yes, I thought so.
  • A crappy cover. Temptations tells a complex story of a fallen then redeemed priest, a fallen and not redeemed bishop, evil in human form, the inability to deflect temptation when ill-prepared for the battle, a Soviet infiltration of the Catholic Church…and more.  I wanted the cover (image above) to convey some of those elements. I’m not a graphic designer, and the self-designed cover shows that. I remember thinking that I’m tired of designing the cover; I’m done, and I need to just finish the project. Awful decision.
  • Head-hopping. In reading the first three scenes of the novel, I introduce some subtle yet significant to me point-of-view violations, a sure sign of an amateur author.
  • Lack of professional editing. Both Forgiveness and Temptation were pure solo projects. I leveraged AutoCrit for copy editing, but I never involved a development editor. I learned my lesson when creating my third novel, Leaving Darkness, as the process of working with a development editor was well worth the cost.
  • Complexity. This is a complex story. I may have been able to tell it better.

I never promoted Temptations and rarely displayed it at book events. I was never happy these past three years with the finished product, and pondered pulling it for at least a year before doing so this afternoon (though it will take time to be reflected on Amazon, etc.).

But I’m not abandoning the story. I have begun the process of review and re-edit, focusing on point-of-view, complexity, and probably softening some dialogue. I plan to change the cover and the title. Within a few months, I will relaunch the tale with a new title, likely Before Forgiveness unless I change my mind.

The lesson? Don’t rush creativity, don’t be afraid to face errors, and don’t throw away what likely is a great work that just needs a bit more polishing.

Now, what to do with the remaining paper copies of  Temptation in my basement? Several decades from now, after I’ve passed, someone will find them in an abandoned storage locker. It will be the literary find of the decade, rarely seen early work from one of the most influential authors of the first half of the 21st century. To whomever finds this windfall, please use your newfound financial gain to help others.

 

 

My NaNoWriMo Experience

For those unfamiliar with the term, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, a “fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing” according to the NaNoWriMo website. I had heard of it before but had ignored primarily because whenever November had come around in years past was when I was in a writing lull. Capture

This year, I opted to participate for a few reasons. First, I was reminded of it from an email from IngramSpark, a service I’ve used to self-publish several of my works. IngramSpark had a promo to waive title setup fees by using a NaNoWriMo promo code, even if the work wasn’t produced during NaNoWriMo. I happened to have finished all of the pre-production for my novelette Childhood, so the timing was great. But the reminder also caused me to check out the NaNoWriMo site.

Second, I was gearing up to write Fatherhood, the full-length follow up to Childhood (which serves as a reader magnet to introduce the characters). Why not see if I could write 50,000 in a month?

A couple of caveats: I’m not endorsing the NaNoWriMo site – I used it to track my progress, nothing more, nothing less. I do plan to learn more of their mission but, honestly, writing 50,000 words in a month doesn’t leave much time for any other discretion time activities.

Also, I technically did not start at zero words. I had completed about 8,500 while I was working on Childhood this spring. However, because of changes to Childhood during the development editing process, I needed to rework those first six chapters, plus my outline. That’s reflected in the graph above; once I finished that (nine days in), I started to track.

As you can see, I made it, but not without a few significant pushes. I took a couple of days off from work around week three to write, completing over 5,000 each day. That helped to put me at a manageable but still difficult 2,800 or so per day pace to finish, which I stayed on consistently until the end. The last day was a Saturday, so I knew I could spend more time writing, and therefore took a break Friday. I knew at that time I’d make it.

A few lessons learned:

  • Having an outline was critical to success. I was determined not to write fluff. While this is obviously the first draft and will require much editing and revisions, the plot stayed on point because of the outline.
  • It became easier to write more. I got into a groove, a regular cadence of crafting a scene (typically 600-900 words), taking a break, then repeating until the goal was met.

This has also primed me to finish the novel draft this year. My previous novels have landed right around 80,000 words. With 30,000 to go, I launched another challenge for myself beginning December 2nd (I took the first off) – 1,000 words per day. Thus far, writing 1,000 per day has been relatively easy. I just completed one scene of 723 words and will complete the rest (part of the next scene) shortly after posting this.

Bottom line, for me NaNoWriMo helped kickstart my project. If all goes well, I will have completed an 80,000-word novel in two months, though in reality, it took ten months to prepare, including writing the novelette.

Childhood Release Date

I’m happy to announce that Childhood will be released by SCP February 10, 2020. The next day kicks off a 14-day blog and review tour with CelebrateLit.

scott-webb-167099-unsplashKatie lived a lonely childhood, her after school time filled with responsibilities to her father and special needs brother. Her chores prevented her from experiencing the carefree life her peers, including Joey, her neighbor and secret crush, lived. She began running to impress Joey, then discovered track as a possible way out of the small town of Nortonville, Tennessee. But as the promise of a college scholarship drew her closer to the escape she had dreamed about since childhood, she wondered why she didn’t feel better. What was missing?

Childhood is the novelette prequel to Fatherhood, a full-length novel about abortion from the father’s point of view. Fatherhood is targeted for release in 2021.

Photo scott-webb-167099-unsplash.jpg from Unsplash

Childhood Cover Reveal and Offer

The cover is complete for Childhood the novelette prequel to my upcoming novel, FatherhoodChildhood follows young Katie Whetley’s quest  to find her place in life as she grows up in the small West Tennessee town of Maynard. Childhood will be released later this year.

The good news is that you can get a free eBook copy of Childhood before it’s released! If you have enjoyed one of my previous novels (Forgiveness, Leaving Darkness) and write a review on either GoodReads or Amazon, I will send you the eBook file once completed. Just email me (greg.schaffer@secondchancebook.org) a link to the review and I will add you to the list. As always, I appreciate your support!

From a Certain Point of View

In Return of the Jedi, Luke confronts Obi-Wan about not revealing Darth Vader as his father. Obi-Wan responds with what I can only call thin logic that he didn’t lie when he told Luke that Vader killed Anakin, that it was the truth – from a certain point of view.

scott-eckersley-irtWpLLwRX4-unsplashPoint of view, or POV, in a manuscript describes from what character the scene is experienced. The reader is “in the head” of the POV character – what the character sees, the reader sees. Changing POV within a scene, or even a chapter, can confuse the reader by removing the perspective anchor. Referred to as “head-hopping,” maintaining what I refer to as “POV discipline” is a basic skill novelists need to master.

However, the perspective is a part of the equation. While working with an editor on the manuscript for Childhood, a novelette to introduce the main characters and situations of my upcoming novel Fatherhood, two recent revelations have revealed that perhaps I’m not as skilled in POV as I thought, and that POV can be a powerful yet subtle story-telling device.

The first example was a simple dialogue tag – “Dad said.” I, apparently mistakenly, have always avoided using Dad and Mom and other similar dialogue tags because they’re not names, defaulting to “her father” and so on. My editor made the change to Dad. I am fortunate to be working with an excellent editor. There has to be a correct reason for the change, and it tied to POV. In this scene the character POV is the daughter of the man who spoke. “Dad” is the daughter’s name for her father, therefore is appropriate (and conveys a feeling of family). “Her father” is rather stuffy. Point taken.

The second example is more subtle. My editor replaced “egg innards” with “slimy egg.” That bothered me at first, as I liked the description “egg innards.” Enter POV again though. The story is told through a young girl’s eyes, not a 52-year old man’s. While I may lob “egg innards” in casual conversation, she, as a twelve-year-old, probably not.

Can you see the connection? Going beyond POV discipline and using POV to inject aspects about the POV’s character is a powerful tool I honestly had never considered before. Editing is often tedious work, but this revelation has energized the process for me. I feel that a certain “tunnel vision” point of view has been lifted.

Photo by Scott Eckersley on Unsplash

Second Chance Publishing Launches

Second Chance Publishing Logo 2I’m excited to announce the official (meaning paperwork accepted) launch of my second business, Second Chance Publishing, or SCP. SCP is the imprint I created in 2013 for my self-publishing writing hobby. As I’ve grown in talent and seriousness towards writing, I realized it made sense to treat this endeavor as a business. My two-year experience with vCISO Services, LLC taught me much that I am now applying to SCP. While the primary function is as before, an imprint for my self-published works, I am considering branching out to help other aspiring indie authors. I have learned so much about everything that it takes to produce a novel, and realize I have only scratched the surface, but I have much to share. I’m not sure where God is leading me with this, only that, when called, the best response is to say yes.

My latest work, Childhood, is a prequel to my work in progress (or WIP as we refer to such in author-land), Fatherhood. Fatherhood (anticipated publication late 2020), a novel about abortion from the father’s point of view, is not an easy novel to write. In some ways, to me, it makes the process of creating Leaving Darkness (a novel about escaping depression) look like a walk in the park (yes, a cliche, but I’m writing a post, not a novel, so I deem cliches okay here). Childhood, a novelette about 10,000 words in length that introduces the main characters in Fatherhood, is in the late production stages (line edit, cover finalizing). I see it as my most mature work to date.

The business website is secondchancebook.org (if you’re reading the blog, you’re already here). I published the first video on the YouTube channel today – a radio interview from the spring of 2019 so it’s really only audio with a picture – at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1gzSy2v8ms. I will add more videos, just as I’ve enjoyed doing for vCISO Services, as time permits and inspiration hits.

Life is about living – that’s the beginning. It’s also about being proper stewards of the gifts given to us (Matthew 25:14–30). Drawing from a recent sermon, when my time under the sun is done, I hope to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And that’s really the reason (beyond that I enjoy it) why I am pursuing this writing journey. I would be honored and humbled if you’d follow my progress – social media links below. I’d also appreciate prayers for guidance on where I need to take this. Thank you!

Website – https://secondchancebook.org
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/gregschafferauthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/newtnoise
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/gregschafferauthor/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNv3gpqA7OAJ-DQ3Mpf4DGg

How I Increased My Mailing List by 800 in 80 Days

Navigating the publishing world is not easy. The deeper I dive into the marketing area, the more I realize I don’t know.

On Twitter some authors, indie and trad alike, often engage in follow-backs to increase their following to hopefully impress agents and publishers, but if you ask the pros, they will most often discount the Twitter follow number if it is roughly 1:1 proportionate (equal followers and following). That’s because Twitter follow backs most often are not following because of content but rather numbers. It’s a hollow strategy that unfortunately many seem to spend much time on.

However, constant advice from writers and agents alike is to have a strong mailing list. This demonstrates marketability by showing a following of readers interested in your work. This is important because strong reader following equates to potential book sales. But how to gain interested subscribers? Book shows and author signings may net a handful if you’re lucky.

Here’s the key – you have to provide value first in exchange for a follower. How can they follow you if they are not familiar with your work? And how do they become familiar with your work if they don’t follow you?

An effective solution I have found is book promotions, specifically through BookFunnel. For those unfamiliar with Bookfunnel, it is essentially a book distribution service. Whether it be sending out beta copies, providing a reader magnet, or offering free copies of a novel, Bookfunnel is an efficient and secure method to manage your free electronic distributions. It’s not free; the basic plan begins at $20 per year, but it’s the mid-level plan at $100 per year that offers the ability to collect email addresses.

You can place a link on your website offering a free download that will collect the reader’s address, but that requires constant traffic to your site. You can of course promote on social media, but I didn’t see much chance of success going that route. What did produce results beyond what I’d hoped was a Bookfunnel promo.

Promos are hosted by an author and usually focus on a specific genre. The more that join the promo, the better chance of exposure. It’s a multiplier; instead of posting that you have one work for free, depending on the promo participation you can post on social media a link to dozens of free ebooks. Every participant is encouraged (sometimes by offering perks such as a premium place on the landing page based on number of shares) to share their unique link to the community page.Capture

I signed up for my first one in April, a twelve-day window that I hoped might result in twenty or so addresses. I ended up with over two-hundred. This prompted me to participate in two more promos in May and June. My total subscriber list approached 900 at the end of June, from a starting point of zero in April. The image to the right is from one of my giveaways (still active at https://dl.bookfunnel.com/kc5ix83t35 ) that I provided for two of the three promos.

There are caveats, of course, the first that you have to have something to give away. All of the promos I’ve seen require a published full-length work. If you have yet to publish, this venue isn’t for you at the time. Also, if you are fortunate to have a catalog to draw from and offer a different work per promo, you will get duplicate subscribers.

You will also lose subscribers when you send your first email to the new signups. From my limited experience I expect around a 10% attrition rate, but your mileage may vary. Note that may trigger an alert from your mailing list service (you need to use one to satisfy spam laws) that your unsubscribe rate exceeds industry standards. At least I did get a note from MailChimp. So long as you can prove that your subscribers provided consent (a feature of the Boofunnel process) you should be fine (though I have yet to have to provide this).

To summarize, from three promos running less than 80 days total (though two ran concurrently), I gathered 882 signatures, of which I anticipate 88 unsubscribes on “first contact,” leaving roughly 800 followers. Plus, that’s 800 readers that now have one (or more) copies of your work to enjoy. True, this method produces no direct income from sales, but when you’re an author looking to build that important email following, perhaps the compensation is greater than sales.