Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Whines and the Whining Whiners Who . . . oh, never mind.

I want to take a break and pick on my peers for a moment--because they are so pickable.

A few folks have asked me if the writers I have communicated with regarding POD/self-pubbing were a bunch of "whining losers because they cannot get published" and I kind of laughed at first, but the truth is very few have been whiners--or even complained at all. The large majority of these PODers, if you will, are wonderful folks with happy hearts and souls full of hope and creativity. I mean, sure, a lot of the PA folks are jaded, but the rest are pretty nice people.

My published peers, on the other hand? Also good people, but boy do they know how to whine. They write good books (for the most part) but if they don't sell, it is always someone else's fault. And I'd be lying if I didn't include myself in this category, at least occasionally. Keep in mind that PODers have done it all themselves, from writing the book to editing the book (please pass the salt) to marketing the book. Having other people do some of these things for you apparently just creates misery.

In case any of you frustrated Random or Warner authors can't think of someone to blame for your horrible sales, feel free to pull from the resources of my friends.

Sources of whinery for the published author:
  1. The cover sucks, in general
  2. The cover sucks because my name is too small
  3. The cover sucks because my name is in some illegible font
  4. The cover sucks because there is not enough breast showing
  5. The cover sucks because it is a *insert book title* knockoff
  6. My editor sucks, in general
  7. My editor didn't bring my writing into focus
  8. My editor is more interested in the success of *insert better-selling author* instead of nurturing my career
  9. My editor has it in for me
  10. My editor has no pull with the publisher
  11. My publisher sucks, in general
  12. My publisher didn't market my title (say this to yourself and/or everyone around you ten times, then spit on the ground)
  13. My publisher couldn't garner reviews
  14. My publisher released my title just after the holidays (why is everyone staring at me?)
  15. My publisher didn't target the right audience
  16. My publisher is letting my previous titles go out of print
  17. My publicist sucks, in general
  18. My publicist is incompetent
  19. My publicist is a liar
  20. My agent sucks, in general
  21. My agent didn't command a large enough advance to mandate heavy marketing
  22. My agent sold to the wrong house/editor
  23. My agent only cares about closing the deal and not advancing my career
  24. My agent won't let me borrow anymore money or let me sleep on the floor of his/her Tribeca loft
  25. My agent hates me
  26. The bookstores aren't stocking my book
  27. The bookstores are stocking my book but only in the designated section, spine out
  28. The bookstores are stocking my book but only in the designated section, cover out
  29. The bookstores are stocking my book but only leaving it on the front table for a few days
  30. The bookstores are not handselling my book
  31. The bookstores will not let me sign copy/ do a live signing
  32. I am a lousy writer. How did I get here?

Most POD folks cannot say these things, and boy am I thankful. The truth is that getting published is not going to solve all your problems. In fact, should you be so blessed, you will likely utter at least 5 - 7 of the items listed above--and they will be true. Just do your part (writing a wonderful book) and let the chips fall where they may. My books have sold fairly well, but I could never live on the income. It's been fun no matter what. The grass isn't much greener in the yard of the published, even if it is better fertilized.