I used to be a writer. Now I’m a pimp: Publish or Die! Part 8

June 26, 2009

CIRCLE JERK: Group masturbation during which participants, usually males, sit or stand in a circle, pleasuring themselves or each other.

I’ve heard of circle jerks but, good Catholic boy that I am, I’ve never actually participated in one.

Until now.

Before you crinkle your face up like a cat’s arse while going “Ewwwwww,” let me explain that I am, of course, speaking metaphorically. Painting a word picture, as it were. That’s what I do, as opposed to say, having a real job and a savings account.

I recently signed up to a website, run by a major publishing company, where writers can parade their wares and have it commented on by their peers.

I’m not going to name the site or the publishing house because, while most of the writing is crap, every so often, a rep from the publisher rolls up his metaphorical sleeve, dips his hand into the toilet and pulls out a turd. Said offering is, supposedly, poked and prodded by an editor and, if properly digested and compacted, the creator may (I said “may”) be offered a publishing contract.

It’s a big enough carrot to cause thousands of writers to extrude millions of words, all in the hopes of being the one offered the Golden Teat. Ever seen a sow lying on her side while her brood snuffles and snorts and tramples each other in their hungry haste to grab a nipple and start suckling?

Welcome to my life.

It’s a big enough carrot that, should anyone from the publishing house be trolling blogsites, stumble across this one and form the impression that I am somehow criticizing their endeavor, my book might just be flushed in an act of vengeance.

I’d really like to avoid that trip down the gurgler, if it’s all the same to you.

Writing a book is easy. Publishing a book is easy — countless numbers of POD/vanity publishers will gladly take your money and replace it with several cardboard boxes filled with tomes bearing your name.

Selling a book is a bitch.

I once met a lady from Aldergrove who was pitching her book at the Chapters store in Langley. She’d been published by one of the Big Boys — St. Martin’s Press, if memory serves — and then shown the door and instructed to start flogging her own product if she wanted to earn any royalties.

I showed up at her reading with the intention of asking how she’d connected with one of the Big Boys, only to share in her embarrassment when the audience consisted solely of me. Because we’re all family in the writing world, I was polite and said yes when she asked if she could read from her book.

It was an historical romance of some kind, the sort that conjures but one thought: “How the **** did that get published?”

My point is, despite a contract with a major publishing house, she was left to market her own work, no different from the effort I am now putting in with my own novel, Brown Girls.

I have blogged the hell out of the fact my book is now available — in assorted ebook formats — on the Smashwords website (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1937) and, for all that work, have, to date, sold the grand total of zero copies. In any format.

And so I posted the first 19,000 or so words of Brown Girls on the above-mentioned site and have been working my tail off ever since to raise its profile. There is some kind of logarithm used to power your book up the rankings (yes, there is a posted explanation of how this process works. No, I did not read it. Yes, I am a man. What’s your point?)

To elbow your way to the Golden Teat, you need to be placed on other members’ Watchlists or, ideally, their Bookshelves. You do that by offering book swaps, a sort of “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours” idea where you read the posted samples and say really nice things about them. The unspoken agreement, of course, is that, in turn, they will say really nice things about you. And then the two of you will both move one ranking closer to the sow’s belly.

Are you understanding the circle jerk metaphor now? (I know, it took me 700 words to get to the point. Bite me.)

To date, I have received some very favorable comments. But then again, so have others, whose writing I consider to be — how can I put this delicately? — junk.

It’s a game. I know it. And I’m playing it. As hard as I can.

I’m writing polite, generalized critiques instead of the sequel to Brown Girls. It’s a terrible price to pay. But I promise, just as soon as I sign my three-book, multi-million dollar deal, I will get serious about my fiction again.

It’s going to happen — I’m sure of it.

Any. Day. Now.


3 Responses to “I used to be a writer. Now I’m a pimp: Publish or Die! Part 8”

  1. newtowritinggirl said

    I read a review of your book on workinggirlreviews and thought it sounded great; So great that I went to the website to read more. Having read the first 20% I am very interested in it and am just waiting to get paid so I can buy the rest. That’s quite a big move for me, as I’ve never bought an online book before!
    I’m quite excited I’m (possibly) going to buy the first copy!

    • bitemymoko said

      Hi Helen:

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      It’s a dreary day here, I’ve got a cold, and yet you have managed to banish the blues with your message.

      Yes, I’m guessing you will represent my first sale. Sorry it doesn’t come with a cake or anything but, as noted above, you do have my heartfelt thanks. Hopefully, you will like Brown Girls and then rave about it to all your friends.

      I see by your moniker that you are new to this game. If you ever want to discuss writing, please drop me a note.

      Kind regards
      John (bitemymoko)

  2. newtowritinggirl said

    I read it. I loved it. I will rave about it to anyone that listens!

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