And with that

And with that, I am no longer a paid writer.

Less than three weeks after my first novel places at one festival and wins another, I get word from the publisher that my book (as well as all their other books) is immediately OUT OF PRINT and the company is officially bankrupt. I know the economy hasn’t been easy and these fly-by-night vanity publishing houses fold like nobody’s business, but I thought things were just about to take off. But were they really, though? I mean, the book really wasn’t that good. The story is cute and there’s plenty of sex and feces and so on, but the writing was amateurish. Hell, I started the novel when I was 19 with absolutely no fucking idea of what I was doing. The editing was poor (a lot to do with me being stubborn), so poor that I convinced the publisher to pull the original so that I could revise and correct all the deficiencies. Pretending that the original never happened, we released the revised edition with an addition to the title and a new ISBN all together. That was a good start but the writing was still less than to be desired despite the drastic overhaul. And because I edited the revised version myself (the publisher could not afford an editor this go around), well . . . let’s just say, I’m not an editor. I’m a writer.

I am grateful to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to get a book published. Despite the overall experience (although
exciting) being a total pain in the ass, this initial publication is what told me “I WANT TO BE A WRITER.” It paved the way. The problem is he gave many others the same opportunity which ultimately led to the company’s downfall. When you produce twenty books in a year, you have less time and money to invest in the really good ones that may actually sell. It’s like parental investment but with authors.

I’ve learned a lot over the past 2 years working with the publisher (a lot of what not to do, unfortunately) and continue to learn, improving my craft a little bit every day with help from others along the way. The young, arrogant, better-than-everyone-else, I-don’t-listen-to-nobody-so-fuck-off writer who got his first book published is now open to criticism and eager to get better. And it shows. My short stories continue to get published by credible magazines. My 2nd novel is in the design, editing phase, and is soon to be shopped around (and hopefully picked up). Vote SMUT 2013.

So I’m no longer a paid writer. But I’m a better writer, and that’s what counts, right? Perfecting the craft, finding your voice, all that…

Fuck it. I want to get paid. We all do. But really though, getting better is the first step to making that happen.

If I’ve learned anything at all from this experience that I can pass down, it is this: Get out of the way of yourself. Listen to others. Write. Get better. And when you think your manuscript is perfect, rewrite it. And when you think you’re the best, go fuck yourself… literally. It helps deflate the ego.

Written by a writer who was once a paid writer.

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