Murdering The Myth Of The Golden Ticket

I just reposted an article by author Liz Long called Why I Am Mad About Self-Publishing Stigma. I recommend reading it.

I was going to just add my own thoughts, but they got too big and meandered in a different direction than I originally intended, so I decided to put them in a second post instead.

In particular, I want to address one paragraph in her article:

If you’re indie, you know the looks. The ones where people get super excited to hear you’re a writer, then when they ask who published you, and you say, “I’m self-published”, you get “the look.” You know the one. “Oh,” they say, their shoulders deflating with disappointment. “I thought you were like, famous or something.”

I’m starting to think that there might be something else behind that look. In any creative endeavor there are those who attracted to the idea of being an “artist” and there are those who do the work of making art.  I’ve seen it in musicians, photographers, filmmakers, and in writers.  Mostly in writers.

When I talk about my work I get the “Oh, I want to write, but…” line a lot. There are always excuses.

“I have to work full time.”  Yeah, so do I.

“I can’t afford a decent computer.” I’m writing this on one that a friend threw away.  Trust me, it’s easy to find something that will handle text, even if it won’t do anything else.

“I can’t afford the programs.” Open Office is free.  So is Calibre. So is

The big one, though, is “You can’t get published unless you know someone.” 

I’ve written before about the Myth Of The Golden Ticket. It’s the dream that one day a publisher will reach down from Literary Nirvana and touch you with a magic wand.  Then there’s fame and fortune and spending a few hours a week doing the fun part of writing.

The Myth Of The Golden Ticket is a great tool for daydreaming about “being a writer” while avoiding the hard work of actually writing.

Self-publishers, just by existing, shoot that myth in the face with a large caliber handgun loaded with hollow points.

As Liz Long said, I get excited looks when I say I’ve written and published four novels.  “Oh, boy,” I can see them thinking, “here’s someone who got a Golden Ticket!  Maybe he can get me one!” 

Then I drop the ugly truth–all I can offer is blood, sweat, toil, and tears. You want to write?  This is what you do: Write a book.  Publish it. Do it again.

That means you have to write when you get home from your day job and are tired.  That means that you write when you want to go out and play.  That means you write a whole book, from beginning to end, and not just the fun parts.  That means that you work on it even when you hate it.

You treat it like a job.  A full-time difficult job that you may or may not ever get paid for.

And then you do it again.

About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in Artists That I Admire, On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing, Who I am and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Murdering The Myth Of The Golden Ticket

  1. slperrine says:

    Oh yeah,… We love the ‘look.’

  2. I can forgive the ordinar reader for ‘the look’ (just about.) 🙂 Before I started on this journey I had no idea self-publishing existed, or how the ‘official’ Publishing Business works – including all the variables affecting what gets published with a capital “P”, factors that have nothing to do with the quality of a book. I’m not sure readers really care to know, either – no more than they care to know how other products make it to market.

    I don’t feel kindly to authors or industry ‘pros’ who give indies the ‘look’. Lumping all indies in the same basket is unfair and inaccurate – and they know it.

    I’m a dreamer, from a family of dreamers – but like yourself, I’m inspired b a challenge and happy to get stuck in and figure out how to do it for myself. It’s a challenge, and hard one. I get a sense of accomplishment from each new challenge conquered. Sometimes the doubts creep in, but it takes just that one reader to say “I loved this” to make it all worth while. I’m getting close to the day when I hold my first book with my name on it in my hand – and I can’t wait. That will make it all worth it, too.

    When I see other self-publishers sharing their pics of their first print copy in their hands, I get a vicarious kick out of it because I know how long and difficult their road was 🙂

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