Wicked thoughts for this Wicked Wednesday thanks to the New York Observer who recently ran an article titled “The Book Deal That Ruined My Life”. The reporter interviewed several authors whose book deals had made their lives go south. One of the authors was a sex blogger who wrote about her sexual experiences on her blog. Another was a man who spent three years writing about his dead father who heard voices. Yet another spent ten years on his second novel, lost track of friends and had trouble dealing with everyday things. Others interviewed mention the loneliness of barricading themselves in farmhouses or their apartments while working on their novels.
The reporter also took time to mention the James Frey debacle and how his life had splintered into a million little pieces once it was discovered that his memoir lacked . . . shall we say . . . veracity. Duh! Was the problem the book deal or the writer?
According to the Observer story, Mr. Fray is now apparently writing two novels without a contract and posting on his blog and message boards. As noted in the Observer article, this is “the literary equivalent of living in a trailer park.”
Interesting. I often write novels without a contract. It’s called having a career as a writer. And on second thought . . . Damn, I’m posting on a blog and occasionally visit the message boards.
Yikes! I’m a trailer park writer and you know what, I’m damned proud of it! I framed and hung the letter announcing my first sale on the wall of my office with immense joy. It was a deal in the momentous 4 figures and not the book deal in the millions that some of the writers in this article received. Nevertheless, it was the realization of a life long dream — to write a book and get it published.
My book deal didn’t ruin my life. On the contrary, it helped define it and put me on a wonderful, but sometimes difficult course.
Why difficult? you ask. Well, for starters, I chose not to lose touch with friends and family and barricade myself in a room/apartment/farmhouse. That meant that I had to cope with family, friends and a full-time job while writing my book (and the 14 that followed since then!)
Why wonderful? The stories I’ve been able to write. The people I’ve met at book signings and events. The amazing places I’ve been able to visit for either research or conferences. The joy of hearing someone say that the book touched them or made them smile. That they were down and when we connected, it made their day better.
Those things are priceless and a bigger payoff than a million dollar check.
So, I’ll skip the angst these writers put themselves through and keep on muddling along in my little literary trailer park, meeting fans, writing books and just having a grand ol’ time.
Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?