A trip to Barnes & Noble

Tonight I stopped in at the nearest B&N for what I like to call Remember The Goal therapy.

Because it’s very easy to get distracted, and forget why I am doing this — to forget why I spend so much time researching craft and reading blogs by other writers and pounding out prose at odd hours of both morning and night, week after month after year.

Sometimes, I just have to go stand there in the midst of the paperback aisles, soaking up the Writers’ Æther. I just have to browse the shelves and pick up the glossy, perfect-bound volumes, looking at the titles and the names and think quietly, as if reciting liturgy: it’s not impossible if I just keep working at it.

Take Larry Correia for instance. Very entertaining and jovial gentleman. I met him at CONduit this past spring. He did it all backwards, wound up self-publishing after a round of rejections from the houses, then wound up getting enough positive grass-roots attention for the self-published book that Baen picked him up. Now his debut novel, Monster Hunter International, is a rising hit at Amazon.com and is on store shelves across the country. Larry is getting knockout reviews and I won’t be surprised if MHI goes on to multiple printings, sequels, royalties, media and game tie-in deals, etc.

Why is Larry a break-out success? He never quit. He never let the rejections and the walls of industry erode his morale to the point that he threw up his hands and/or threw in the towel. He stuck with it, had some luck combined with a ton of hard work, and now he’s riding a building wave largely of his own devising.

Needless to say, I bought Larry’s book. Because I believe in supporting my local Utah peeps. Especially guys not too much further down the trail than me, who can use all the support they can get.

I also took the liberty of doing a little guerilla facing in the magazine section. Who the heck burried Realms of Fantasy back behind the boring lit mag crap? Get that sucker out in front! Where the beautiful art can shine and attract customers!

Anyway, I do this about once a month, on average. Go to the Big Brick store, wander for about an hour, and let it sink in: this can be me if I never give up and never give in. It’s not impossible. It just takes work. Lots and lots of work. And patience. And never quitting. Ever. Someday I can have my glossy-covered paperback on the Big Brick shelves, if I don’t let the negative voices in my head destroy my will to persist and learn. Also, everyone who is currently on those shelves, was me once. Larry Correia was me once: some guy with ideas in his head and the want to write them down and get them published and make some money along the way.

Thanks for some good Remember The Goal therapy, Larry. I hope MHI is as entertaining as everyone says it is. If the book is anything like your personality, I am sure it will be a romp.

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4 thoughts on “A trip to Barnes & Noble

  1. I don’t know much about writing (an occasional blog post notwithstanding), but I would say if this is a dream of yours and this is something you’re truly passionate about then you don’t give up.

    And I for one want to see your books in Barnes & Noble.

  2. I hate to say it, it’s been 17 years since I first got it into my head that I wanted to be a professiona, working author. I wish I’d had more discipline when I was younger, so that maybe I’d not still be an aspirant at 35. Then again, I think part of my problem was that my writing in my teens and 20’s was clearly that of someone who hadn’t lived a lot of life.

    Last year I determined that it was time to either shit, or get off the pot. Having produced very, very little between 2001 and 2006, I realized I was in serious danger of becoming one of those people who always talks about becoming a working author, but never does much about it.

    As you note, you can’t give up on dreams. And I think everyone, no matter who they are, should have at least one big dream — something really special, and towards which they can work while they take care of all the mundanity of ordinary life.

  3. *golf-clap*
    Bravo Brad. I love the post and couldn’t agree more.

    Started down my own road at 30 (just a few short months ago) after fiddling and writing chunks of books off and on. Years ago I somehow managed to grind 44,000 words on my original book idea. I’ll have to go back someday and see how crappy (or not) that is.

    But for now, I’m loving it. Like you, I am sending to WOTF and hoping to get some feedback if I manage to climb up the rankings.

    I’d also like to add that, for me at least, the thought of people reading (or listening) and enjoying something I wrote is the golden ring for me. The paycheck or name recognition go with that, but I just wanna make people spit milk out of their nose laughing. Sure, they’ll get the bedspread wet, but maybe they shouldn’t be drinking milk in bed! Inconsiderate bastards.

  4. Lol. I do something similar, although significantly less noble. I love stumbling across books that I don’t like. I gaze at the glossy, perfectly bound cover, and then recite the liturgy: This is crap. If *this* can get published, certainly I can too!

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