how to be a happy author (also works for life)

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Authors are angry. Really angry.

Now that I’m no longer ensconced within the ivy-draped, sunlight-dappled walls of the traditional publishing industry, I’ve been hearing about so much of this anger directly.

(Authors get honest with editors when they discover you can’t acquire their next book.)

“My publisher doesn’t have any ideas for how to market my book beyond a Facebook page.”

“My publicist is twenty and she doesn’t even read magazines.”

“I don’t think my editor actually read my manuscript, but he still thinks he has a better title.”

And on and on.

I know authors. I work with authors. I’m even married to authors. Dissatisfaction with every aspect of the traditional publishing process in 2016 is at epic levels. Even the winners of this absurd fixed game are angry.

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why write a book when there’s this perfectly good short pier off which to take a long walk?

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I’m back from an extended hiatus working on an intense book-writing project.

The experience reminded me of a fact we editors cheerfully ignore as we exhort our authors to persevere: while writing can be moderately challenging, along the lines of bridge-playing or hula-hooping, book completion is an absurdly improbable occurrence along the lines of visiting the ER with a pogo stick injury (115,300 to 1) or being canonized in the Catholic Church (20,000,000 to 1).

Good book, bad book, whatever—I’m amazed anybody finishes one of these think-soaked paper-slabs.

In Shine, the piano biopic with Geoffrey Rush, simply practicing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is enough to break your mind into tiny pieces.

Well, if that’s true, completing a full-length book will leave your cerebral cortex a fine gray mist. Watch out the morning after you deliver your manuscript. If you’re not careful with that Q-tip you might swab away sixth grade, or the letter G.

For et about it!

Continue reading “why write a book when there’s this perfectly good short pier off which to take a long walk?”