I’ll Have Some Cheese with My Whine, Please
There are a lot of joys that come with being a published author but frustrations too. Sometimes I get asked what is the most frustrating thing about being an author. I usually don’t have to hesitate to answer. Here’s a few:
(WARNING! Elevated whine alert. By reading the rest of this post you will be subjected to whining of the worst kind which may be detrimental to your emotional health)
- I have no say about which stores stock my book or where in said store they get shelved. Case in point. I have this new 2-in1 edition of The Hunted and Scream sold exclusively in Walmart. They’re not in every Walmart (they’re available in about 1300 stores across the country) and surprisingly not even in my three hometown stores. I get asked all the time “Where can I get your books?” by folk I come in contact with. Everyone shops at Walmart. How easy would it be to say, “The next time you’re in Walmart for cereal and light bulbs, pick up a copy. It’s only $12 for two books.” Easy sale.
- Critics who make comments like “Oh, (insert character’s name) wouldn’t say that or act that way. That was totally implausible.” Okay, here’s the deal, how do we really know how anyone will act or react in any given situation? We all do weird things when under pressure or stressed or scared or mourning. As long as the action/reaction is not completely out of character it’s plausible. For example, I’m a pretty upstanding guy, walk the straight and narrow and all that. Now, if I suddenly whip out a knife and stab my co-worker 142 times . . . that would be implausible. Not impossible, but implausible. But if I get angry and let a cuss word fly, that may seem implausible but wouldn’t be. Under stress we all do and say things we later regret. (By the way, I very rarely get that angry.)
- Critics who act like their opinion is the holy gospel. Look, writing is an art and since it’s an art it’s highly subjective. I’m all for someone reading one of my books and commenting on it, giving his/her opinion. Maybe she liked it, maybe she hated it. That’s fine. But please oh please don’t start nit-picking details and style and don’t take cheap shots at the author. Know where the line is between being a critic and being a blowhard and don’t cross it.
- The pace at which things operate in the publishing world. Okay, so I get a manuscript done, it goes through the editing phase, then it’s ready to get on shelves, right? Wrong, it won’t hit the shelves for another five months or so. Ack! Now, before all the publishing gurus start commenting let me just say I totally understand why. There’s a lot that goes into the pre-release of a book by way of marketing and promoting and positioning in the market and it all takes time. I get that. But still, it’s frustrating. Please, let me frustrated.
- Not enough time to do all I want to do. Like blogging, book signings, speaking events, writing more books, etc. There’s only so much time in a day and only so much of that time I can devote to writing. And writing my current project must take precedence. There are other things I’d like to do, sure, other books I’d like to write under a pseudonym (different genre), but there simply isn’t the time. Maybe someday . . .
That’s it for now. I hope I didn’t lose anyone or cause any irreparable harm. Seriously, though, despite some frustrations I know I am wondrously blessed to be able to write these books and get them published. I take no credit for it; I can’t. And if I have to put up with a few minor frustrations along the journey, I can handle that. They’re nothing compared to magnitude of the blessings.