On The Road To Riches...Where’s My Map?
Four years ago, I finished my first book. The motivation for writing it came out of an emotional need to deal with the death of a very close friend. Writing had always been an outlet for me in dealing with life’s ups and downs, usually downs, and I have twenty-eight years worth of diaries to attest to that fact. But this was different. Out of a tragedy, I’d created a 285 page novel that was a mixture of fact, fantasy and fiction. But more than just a story, the book was a legacy to a life that ended much too soon.
I printed it on my computer, made a crude cover and between Office Max and Kinko’s I "self-published" a few copies, and sold them at my retail store for just over my cost. It was fun, more of a hobby than anything else. But life, as it often does, took a strange turn.
America On Line’s Writers Club offered a service where they would print books for a small fee and make them available through Internet bookstore sites. The price was just about the same as it was costing me to make them myself, and they looked much more like a real book than my version, so I sent them the manuscript. Three months after it went on-line, I received an offer from a publisher who had read it and wanted to publish my book in the new ebook format at no cost, and he would pay me royalties. He also wanted to know when my next book was going to be finished. Next book? What next book? I hadn’t planned on writing another book, much less anything else, but the seeds had been planted and suddenly plots began to grow. Short stories, articles and even a little erotica started flowing onto my computer screen, and I started posting them on every literary web site I could find. Thus, an "author" was born. But the big question remained, where do I go from here? What is the ultimate goal of a writer turned author? Is it really the ‘riches at the end of the road" that motivates us to sit at the keyboard for hours at a time or is it something much more?
Let me share some thoughts by writers who’ve answered that question. Barbara Grooman, author of "Train To Red Cloud" says: "At age 67 I can proudly say ‘I am an author.’ The story I wanted to share is out there, my name is on a book cover, and I have gained recognition .I may never make the Times Best Seller List, but I did get one book in print, and much of what I write is published. I will have left something of a mark, and I'm experiencing the joy, not only of writing, but of exposing my real self to a small part of the world."
Donald Wayne Eaker, Ph.D. author of Super Grades For Super Students: How To Avoid Failing School says "It is the creativity within us that motivates us to spend seemingly unending hours putting words on paper. We have a deep passion to create and to share our creativity with others, whether they appreciate it or not. If the negative criticism ‘hurts’ our egos, so be it...it will spur us on to be more perfect on our next creative endeavor. However it turns out, we will find ourselves smothered in satisfying deep slumber at the end of the day for releasing our pent-up passion."
Author and publisher Ron Richard of Lighthouse Press feels that "the primary reason we write is that we have something to say, and we want to be heard by others than our friends and family. There is a certain mystique in being known as a writer, and we all want the recognition and acceptance of being a recognized author. We have a talent to one degree or another, and our writing reflects what is inside that needs to be clearly expressed on the outside."
Notice, not one person mentioned anything about fame and fortune. But let’s say in a moment of fantasy, that your book does hit the "big time". Are you prepared for endless book tours, televison interviews, and constant demands that your next book be as good as your last? This road can have its share of potholes and sharp curves and many a writer has been driven off the edge And, in truth, anyone with enough money can hire a good publicist who will get them television and radio interviews, they’re name in print, and with enough hype will attract huge crowds to their book signing events. (There are even "rent-a-fan-club" companies in LA who will supply you with your own paparazzi!)
However, I believe that writers such as myself and those I’ve quoted, write for the sheer satisfaction of "making a mark" and sharing our creativity with others. We feel a special and unique sense of accomplishment, few would understand, when a perfect sentence comes together. Our fingers hit the keyboard, or take up a pen and the 26 letters of the alphabet magically form new ideas, create characters and situations that no one’s ever thought of before, and we feel a passion for writing which comes from the very depths of our soul. Writing is what I do, an author is who I am!
That’s what awaits those who have begun this journey. Once you start on
this path, you’ll discover that the riches and rewards are not found at the
end of the road, but on every step, every bump, and every turn along the way.
U-Turn to The Road To Riches