one that writes
one that originates or creates
Okay, so you’ve finally gone and done it. You’ve written something. A novel, an anthology of short stories and/or poetry, a play, a memoir, a book of non-fiction, a self-help guide, an instruction manual, a pamphlet, a leaflet. Whatever. You’ve been telling yourself for years, “I’m gonna write a book” and dammit, you’ve finally, finally stuck a fork in the damn thing and it’s well done. And then you hear about websites like CreateSpace and Nook Press and Lulu and Smashwords and you think, Wow, I don’t even need a freaking publisher. Or an agent. I can just format my book using one of their idiot-proof templates, upload that sucker and start selling it. Immediately. What the hell do you got to lose? If it sucks and nobody buys it, Oh well, at least you’ve scratched an itch. You can cross that one off your bucket list. On the other hand, who knows, it might sell. Isn’t that what happened to EL James’s “Fifty Shades of Gray”? She published that on Smashwords, didn’t she? And look what happened to her. And then there’s Colleen Hoover’s “Slammed”. She’s now with Simon & Shuster. Ka-ching! Shoot, you just never know. Even if your book earns enough money to pay for that trip to Belize, it would be worth it. You are so publishing this thing! And with a single click of the mouse, the stars align, and you, my friend, are a published author. Just like Shakespeare, just like Tolstoy, just like Stephen King. Err…umm…hmph. Okay maybe not like those guys. But at least you don’t have any typos in your book and you’re pretty sure most of it is grammatically correct. I mean, you referred to Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style” so many times you practically memorized the damn thing! And not only that, you just read on some blog that “Fifty Shades of Gray” is like totally riddled with misspellings and punctuation errors; so obviously people don’t give a crap about things like that, right?
Okay, I’ll pause here for a moment so you can take a deep breath and compose yourself.
You did everything they told you to do. You made your book available on Nook Press and Lulu and Smashwords and CreateSpace. You went out and got reviews from bloggers and YES, Forgive you Father for you have sinned it has been God knows how many years since your last confession. You accuse yourself of the following mortal sin.
You. Even. Paid. For. Reviews.
But you only did it a couple times. Okay four times. Well, actually five times. But that last guy was a goddamn scam artist who preyed on self-published authors like you and your desperate need for love and acceptance. You know, you know, it’s an issue of integrity. It’s like going out and paying a hooker for sex. But it was Kirkus! It was Clarion! It was Publisher’s Weekly, for Chrissakes! A review from one of them could catapult you to your next level of success. Somebody important might actually read one of those reviews and want to sign you to a three-book deal. You never know. Besides, every time you tried to get a free review from one of those bloggers, who had names like Freaky-Deaky Biblioho and The Astral Dreamer Book Fetishist and Crystal Lance: Bookaholic Bitch, the only books they wanted to review were Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Science fiction, Erotica, and Distopian/Utopian fiction, and your book is a collection of poems and short stories and hardly anybody reviews poems and short stories because they’d rather review books about vampires who engage in the interracial cuckold lifestyle.
And then you log into your email account and see an email from The Daily Digest from Kindle Nation Daily’s eBook Tracker that shows the highest Sales Rank achieved by your book in the last 24 hours and there it is. That Number.
Your highest sales rank.
Bitterness begins to creep in.
Fame and Fortune are standing right behind you, giggling and nudging each other.
“I told him not to have his niece, the freshman community-college design student, make that cover for him.”
“Uh heh. And the font and layout choices? Mmh, make my eyes bleed. They bleed.”
So you go to the liquor store and buy a bottle of Wild Turkey 101, come home, have a few shots.
While you’re sitting in the dark listening to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.14 for the twenty-third time in a row, you have a sudden urge to research a word that’s been rattling around in your mind for a while now; a word you first learned about when you read Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh”.
That word is pipedream.
You Google it.
“An illusory or fantastic plan, hope, or story”.
That’s not you.
You’ve been writing since you were eight years old. You got this. You got this! Writing is your passion. When you’re not writing you’re thinking about writing. You read something and you want to write. You’re always trying to improve your abilities as a writer, always trying to gain some new insight into the process of writing. For Chrissakes, you’ve read almost every interview published in the Paris Review!
This is no pipedream.
And how the hell could you possibly be ranked at 928,449?
After the hundreds of dollars you spent on reviews and marketing services? The dozens of giveaways and promotions? The countless posts to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest accounts?
And then you recall this line from “The Iceman Cometh”. “To hell with the truth! As the history of the world proves, the truth has no bearing on anything. It’s irrelevant and immaterial, as the lawyers say. The lie of a pipe dream is what gives life to the whole misbegotten mad lot of us, drunk or sober”.
You sigh and take a deep breath. “I am. I am. I am. I’m a writer,” you say. “I am a writer, dammit! I’m one that writes. I’m one that originates or creates and I refuse to let anyone else define me. Not the people who aren’t buying my books, not the bloggers who tell me to stop splashing around in the kiddie pool, not the ‘editor’ from the ForeWord Reviews who said she was sorry but she couldn’t approve my book for a review because the writing wasn’t quite as strong as those they feature. None of them!”
So to hell with the truth!
And stop your whining. You’ve got a vein to open and a page to bleed on.
I spend the majority of my day attempting to reconcile differences between my conscious and subconscious. In my spare time I try not to drift around my community as an invisible spirit or juggle more than a handful of moral dilemmas at a time. I currently live and work in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I’m not so good at life, but I’m pretty good at writing about it.”