By the one percenters, I’m not referring to the Wall Street titans who have sapped my IRA dry and made my retirement look like a “bring your own water to laundry day” in the middle of the desert. I’m talking about the successful authors who’ve found their oasis in the vast wasteland of getting published.
Landing in the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest has made me cautiously hopeful, but it ends there. Getting published is not a simple trip. I’ve been trying this for years now. Contests promise many things. I once took second place in a contest for novels that was judged by Ray Bradbury.I got cash and primped and bragged for awhile, but the contest dried up and that achievement lead to nowhere.
Writing is an occupation that can only take up so much of my time. If I allow myself to get fixated on the spectacular end result: that million dollar book contract, I’m going to miss out on a lot of satisfaction and pleasure I get from writing.There have been moments when I am sitting in front of my computer–I just assembled a scene so vivid and the dialogue crackles, that I have a %$#()*-eating grin on my face. What I am doing is just so cool and uniquely mine, it’s beyond compare.
Everybody participates in the world in their own way, but writing is a chance for me to make daydreams feel real. I really enjoy my writing now. Before, it was a slog of plots and horrible cliches. Now I have characters that make my wife (my primary reader) scream and beg during my most recent writing endeavor, “I want more Briley! When do I get to read more about her?”
I have to ignore the success stories of other authors or self-published writers who score major (outlandish) book deals. I don’t care and have not read anything by Amanda Hocking. Harry Potter was cool, but really, seven books? I found the Hunger Games entertaining and a good read, but I’ve moved on.
I like my stuff. I hope people will like my stuff, too. And one day, people will want to read my stuff.
As Billy Joel says,
“And so it goes, and so it goes. And you’re the only one who knows.”