Wednesday, February 07, 2007

But No Books?

Whenever people find out I'm a writer, they invariably ask, "So what have you written?"
I then list my published articles, interviews, columns, short stories, novellas, and my three years as a comic book writer.
Then, with barely any hesitation, they say, "But no books?"
And I explain that no, I haven't published any books.
They nod knowingly, then they go away satisfied that I'm not a 'real' writer. They can't find me down at Barnes & Noble, ergo it's just a hobby.
I hate that.
Thing is, during my stint as a comic book script writer for Jademan comics, that was how I made my living. It was my job. I paid my bills by writing. For several years. So I bridle a bit at the notion that I'm not a professional.
If someone is actually interested, I will go on to explain that even if I had written a couple of books, I would still in all probability, be working a regular job. The masses, uninformed in the ways of publishing, see the reports of the big advances people like Stephen King and John Grisham receive and they assume that if you have books published you must be rich. Far from it. I have friends and acquaintances who have published six or seven books and they still have to get up and go to work every day.
It's the old saw, "You can get rich as a writer, but you can't make a living." That's often true.
The other thing I point out, if I'm talking to someone who is more than idly curious, is that I've never made much effort at trying to get a book published. I've mucked about with various novel ideas over the years, but I haven't seriously tried to write a book in a long time. It's not like a burning desire or anything. I think that one day I will probably have a book on the shelves at the major bookstores. I'll visit it on the weekends when I'm not at work...

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