If You're In It For The Money…

I was in such a bad mood the past couple of weeks. Day job sucks, winter is freezing, we’re broke, I’m a little stuck with getting my book out there, blah blah blah.

[Publetariat Editor’s note: strong language after the jump]

And then I wrote a story. And I fell in love with the characters. And then I became inspired to expand that story into a novel. And all of a sudden I’m not in such a bad mood. I got some interesting feedback, and some random stranger posted her "fandom" of my work as a whole. And I started spending a little less time agonizing over what bookstores need to be carrying 29 Jobs and I started spending more time reading; faves like Klosterman and Eggers and started a new nonfiction book by my main man, John McWhorters on the history of the English language.
And so the whole awful world gets turned on its head and I feel better.
So that’s what it’s about–not agents and publishers, not Amazon and not Apple and not Google, but good stories and excellent feedback.
Of course the context is still there–the ridiculous pricing, the sad-assed writers who are spending their energy querying and banging their heads against the wall rather than enjoying the words they write and interacting with readers, the shitty and clunky technology for e-reading, and the masses and masses of sheep professing someone else’s ideas rather than their own. It gets a little cloudy out there, for sure, and sometimes it’s hard to remember what to focus on when the road keeps changing. And then you write a good story, or read a good story, and it takes all the muck away.
I’ve been doing a lot of editing lately of others’ work. I enjoy doing it and it helps me get a handle of what independent work is out there so that there’s a clear perspective. Some of it I wonder how people haven’t been successful in querying publishers; some of it I realize that although it’s good, it’s just not good enough. But as long as the writer has faith in their writing, and they enjoy doing it, that’s all that counts. What a totally great pastime it is to be able to write stories. Writers are incredibly fortunate that we have this passion.
That’s why I offer my work free online. The whole book, 29 Jobs and a Million Lies, is free. Its .99 on Amazon for the Kindle version, but only because that’s the minimum I could set my pricing there. And if you ask nicely, I’ll probably send you a free print book, too. Breaking even is a feat–and I’ve so far been able to break even with sales to cover the fucking ridiculous cost of the ISBNs. So I’m successful. I’m a successful writer, in my eyes. Just like in Vegas–if you break even, you’re successful. Because you got to drink their drinks and play their games, for free. And that is how I look at my writing "career," a pastime that is totally amazing. [I DO plan to make a film one day, though, so for that you can call me a sellout.]
So if you’re in writing for the money, you are a fool. A total and complete fool.

This is a cross-posting from Jenn Topper’s Don’t Publish Me! blog.