The BS…the crap…the noses held high in the air…the whole damned enchilada.
If I never make a dime.
If I never get picked up by a publisher.
I’ll be true to myself and not abase myself or cower and tremble before anyone who claims to be an editor, writer, agent, publisher or lit-er-ary whozit.
I say this because it is a conundrum to me that agents or publishers have made themselves so unapproachable. A guy in the newspaper world that my dad knows agreed to look at my book “War’s End.” I immediately sent him two copies. He wrote back saying he didn’t know if the book was publishable, asked if I had an editor to “tighten things up” and gave me the name of an agent, all the while explaining to me how to NOT say the author he knew had sent me through the agent because that could be trouble.
So the agent might get annoyed with the author who this guy knew, if she thought I had been sent by her. In other words, I’m either a horrible writer, or agents now occupy some lofty little writer’s perch in the heavens, far above little peons such as me.
I thanked him for his time and got this back in reply:
“I’m happy to help in whatever way. I’m still looking but it is difficult to find agents who are approachable cold.”
And then, just yesterday I ran across a blog post from the author of Flat Out Love – she had written and published five books before she decided to become a self-published author (mainly because no one would take her book on, despite liking it a lot).
The author, Jessica Park wrote in her blog post:
It turns out that I was entirely wrong. I was missing what I really wanted. One of the major reasons that I write is to connect with readers, not publishers. The truth is that I couldn’t care less whether New York editors and publishers like me. I don’t want to write for them. I want to write for you. The other undeniable truth is that readers could care less that my books aren’t put out by a big publisher. They read for the content, not the publishing house emblem.
And I realized that I think of agents, publishers – practically all of the “literary corporates” – in just about the same way as I do bankruptcy lawyers, teachers, or real estate agents. They are all…extraneous.
How they will strive to make you think otherwise, though! After all, don’t you need to have someone tell you how to stage your house for sale? That takes lots of training you know…or simple common sense. But you have to have a teacher to teach you how to think and learn – its a fucking miracle we learned to talk on our own! And bankruptcy lawyers? “Hand me $4,000 to fill out a bunch of paperwork on your behalf. After all, the system is a very complicated one.” No, no it isn’t. It cost me less than $200 in filing fees to wipe out $75,000 worth of debt. I didn’t need a lawyer at any point in that journey, not at all.
Would I like to see my books on bookshelves in bookstores around the country? Hell yes, I would!
Will I settle for ebooks on Amazon, Lulu, and others? Absolutely.
You don’t become a writer by dreaming of wealth and power. You become a writer because words captivate you. They suck you in, turn you around, and you lose yourself in the rhythm of them. You write because it is that or explode with the thoughts, like music, that run loose inside your head.
It is an argument you can’t help but make, a scene you can’t help but share, and a story that is imperative for you to tell.
So why would there be so many obstacles in a writer’s path?
I’m not hearing how I can be a better writer – I’m hearing how the agents and publishers are simply unapproachable, taking no new clients, and guarding their entrances as if the barbarians are at their gates.
So I’ve got a solution. Screw ’em. I’ll write, I’ll self-publish, and I’ll dedicate myself to writing better books with each installment. I’ve never liked games, never been good at playing them, and simply do not see the point in engaging in pissing matches or abasing myself before a stranger just so I can at some point call myself an author.
I am an author.
I am a writer.
Something that will be quite obvious once you read what I’ve written.
So…get to it, folks.