Friday, July 13, 2012

Personal Infringement

Manager: "S is going to be my agent for when I publish my book."

Me: "Your bartending book?"

Manager: "Yeah. She's going to be my agent. She's going to organize my book signings and tell me where to go and everything."

Me: "It's....not that simple...."

Ever have those moments when you just want to reach over the bar, grab somebody by the front of the shirt, and say, "That's my dream, back the hell off!"? I understand that more than one person can dream - and dream big - but, it just makes a knot in the middle of my chest because being an author is something that I've wanted since I was six. It's not on my bucket list. It is, but not because it would be cool to do, but because it's something that I've been working toward for years. If you take that initial dream of a six-year-old and come up through to twenty-two, that's a lot of time spent reading, writing, and thinking of how damn cool it would be to see my book and my name on a shelf at Waldenbooks.

Which, I'm pretty sure I just dated myself gloriously.

I've spent nearly eight years working on one manuscript - that's almost finished - and over the past two and a half years, I've finished two others. I'm on page 197 of 362 in terms of editing and retyping Sage, and the sheer amount of work and heart put into finishing one novel, let alone two, makes this much, much more than a simple bucket list endeavor.

This could be quite petty of me. Jealously is not a good look on anybody, but I can't help but think, in the ensuing conversation earlier, that some people just don't get it. She wants to write her book in her spare time, well, fantastic. But it takes work. And then it takes querying.

I did feel slightly bad because the smile kind of faded when I went into how much work it is to query and then try to get an agent, and that the agent is responsible for dealing with publishers, and, oh, yeah, agents are kind of picky and will only take a small percentage of new writers.

That was probably petty. But it's the truth. I've got a stack of rejection letters to prove it.

I guess what bugs me the most is the natural assumption that it's easy. That once you've written the book, agents and publishers will fall all over you to take it and print it. But that's not the way it works. Her thinking that it's easy, that it'll be a great way to make millions, just sort of cheapens it.

And that is something I have a problem with.

In any event, I'll wish her good luck, periodically ask how the writing's coming, and hope that one day maybe the pair of us are in the same bookstore, looking at our work on the shelf.  

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"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz