Being a self published author is a bit like being a whore. You work long, hard nights, sometimes unprotected (from the distraction of social media). You wonder when the disease of writer’s block will hit you, if it hasn’t already, stifling any other books you may or may not have left in you – you don’t even know at this point. You longingly stare at other peddlers, with their big fat merchandise and their big fat wallets – making more than you have in the last two years that your book has been out, in 3 months and with bad grammar, and you wonder what more you need to take off, how much more soul you can lay on the table before someone feels like it’s worth taking for the night.
Every conversation you have with every long lost friend goes like this – because you gave already sold your first book to every relative, close friend, acquaintance and unfortunate bystander you can find – ‘Hey, it’s so good to see you, how have you been?’ ‘Oh, just great. You?’ ‘Good, good, can’t complain. I’m working for somewhere that has a constant salary and hence I can’t identify with your struggle. Are you still doing the writing thing?’
The Writing Thing. It’s a thing, all right. One monster I can’t shake and more often than not don’t want to – until these conversations come in. The way they say it, you know? Like you are a vastly deluded pseudo-adult who just needs to throw down the play-doh and crayons and get with the pension story, already!
‘Yeah I think I saw your piece in the Nation. The one for the gay guy married to a woman?’ That was 2 years ago. I mean it was a great story but good God. You don’t have to dredge up ancient history to be nice, to have a relevant conversation with your in your view failed writer friend. ‘Oh yeah, that was ages ago. I’ve written a book.’ The expression is excited but guarded. ‘I knew you had it in you! You were always writing stuff in high school…’ Yes, high school was a blur, between naps and staving off the boredom by…of course…writing.
They’ll probably buy the book. They led themselves here after they mentioned their job, lol. But how you wish you didn’t have to say it. How you wish the process was already accelerated to the point where you’re doing book signings at Bookstop as opposed to coming into the store for 5 months straight and still finding the same four dusty copies on the shelf. Don’t even get me started on getting reviewers to read it.
How long do they say J K Rowling was a waitress? Because it’s hard outchea for a pimp…of poetry. Can we move on from this stage please, thanks?
And of course…
If you haven’t already…