Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Six things budding authors should know

It recently occurred to me that people do foolish things all the time. Even now someone is thinking about running for president in 2014, which is doubly silly since no sane person wants that job and the next presidential election is in 2016. But be that as it may, I was thinking about those people who wake up one day and say, “I’d like to publish a book!” And even though that only leads to madness and worse, off they go.

I speak from experience. I’m in the middle of publishing a book right now. It’s been nearly three years since my last publication, mostly because it took me that long to recover. However, my creditors were hounding me again, and I embarked on another publishing voyage somewhat similar to that undertaken by the Titanic, but more tragic since it involves me.

The first thing I’d like to say to those people considering publication is this: Don’t. For the sake of your sanity and that of your loved ones, don’t. Please, please, please don’t. Just don’t. Don’t.

However, “those whom the gods would destroy, they first make writers” may be a paraphrase of Longfellow (and others), but it’s true. So writers blithely ignore the disasters that befall their fellow writers. They think, “That won’t happen to me.” This type of thinking is why women marry men who have been previously divorced three or four times for cheating.

The second thing I would say to budding writers is don’t, but I’ve already said that and you aren’t listening. So the second thing is to write everything down. Make notes and write out schedules so you can realize how far behind you are and how you missed your deadlines yet again. These notes will also be important for your state-appointed psychotherapist.

The third thing I’d tell someone thinking of publishing is, of course, don’t, but should they proceed anyway, I suggest getting a pharmacy discount card. This will save you much on the medications prescribed by your state-appointed psychotherapist.

The fourth thing (don’t) is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s not really life or death. Neither of those statements ever helped me worry less, but I thought I’d throw them in here just in case you’re the type of person who is comforted by platitudes.

The fifth thing to remember that even though your book is vitally important to you — even though you’ve sweated and worried and rewritten the thing forty times and given up sleep and wrecked your health — other people, including some of your nearest and dearest, won’t have the same regard for it. In fact, they will treat it with such indifference and general unconcern that the only thing you can do is WRAP YOUR HANDS AROUND THEIR THROATS AND SQUEEZE MIGHTILY!

No, no, no, that’s not right. Is it? My state-appointed psychotherapist says it’s not. So I guess it’s not. No, you should simply remember that when you’re rich and famous, you can have your bodyguards beat them up and toss them out to the curb.

No, wait, the shrink says that’s not good, either. He’s annoying. Apparently the right advice is to forgive them and remain cheerful. Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

Anyway, the sixth thing I’d tell them is for them to buy my book. Yes, yes, yes, that’s the best advice of all.

Copyright 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. From Return of the Floozy. No copying without express written permission by the author and publisher. Thank you for reading.

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