I Don't Want to be a Celebrity!
An Unnerved Unpublished Author
"Oh no!" I stared in horror at the return address on the envelope. That would teach me to look forward to getting the mail.
"What?" My teen-age son, Bill, asked, turning down the sound of the TV. "Creditors? Terrorists? Anthrax?"
"No, this is worse." I sat down on the worn blue and beige couch and tossed the envelope on the coffee table.
"Bubonic plague?: Small pox?"
"No, I think it's a letter from the publisher accepting the book I submitted." I covered my face with my hands.
"I don't understand." Bill said.
I peeked out at him through my fingers. "I'm collecting rejection slips. I'm aiming for 500. This would have been 128. No, 129."
"Well, it could be another rejection."
"No." I reached for the envelope again, staring at the return address. "They always the rejection in my self-addressed stamped envelope. This envelope is from them."
"Don't you want to be published?" He stared at me. Not for the first time, I wondered where he got those thick dark lashes. Not from me.
"I thought I did. But I don't think I'm ready for this." My stomach was in knots.
"Ready for what? The fame? The fortune?"
"The fame would be okay, if I could get a hair stylist and a wardrobe consultant. Of course, I'd have to lose weight first." Or did I? After all, authors weren't like actors. "I'm just worried about all that travel."
He shook his head. "Travel?"
"Yeah. Book tours. Then it's be turned into a movie and I'd have to go to Hollywood to consult on the script - you know, make sure they don't screw it up too much."
"I could get a car!"
"See!" I heard my voice rise hysterically and tried to speak more calmly. "It's starting already and I don't even have my first royalty check. We're going to get selfish and motivated by materialism. I'll have an affair with one of the actors in my book and your father will find another woman. You children will turn to drugs and end up wrecking your Camero and taking cocaine."
Bill shook his head again. "That will never happen. There's no way any of us would drive a Camero."
I smacked him on the shoulder with the envelope. "You're not taking this seriously."
"Just open the envelope."
I slowly opened it up, took out the letter and read it.
"What? What does it say?" Bill asked.
I smiled. "It's just an advertisement for a writer's convention. I should have known they wouldn't send an acceptance letter by bulk rate."
"See, you don't have to worry about fame and fortune after all."
I decided right then and there to stop sending things out to be published. That brush with fame and fortune and the total desctruction of life as I knew it was just too close.
Writing Life, the Reality
Should I have worried about all that taking place?
Uh, no. Not at all.
The odds of having a book published, especially in this economical climate, are astronomical. Having it bought by "Hollywood". Even higher. Having it made into a movie? You have a better chance of - well, being struck by lightening twenty times.
Advice from Aunt Beth
Still, when writing is in your blood, you gotta write. But don't do it in a vacuum. Take classes, learn your craft. Get together with other writers, other writing groups. Read a lot. Learn to write query letters. Send things out to agents and publishers. Keep writing.
After all, the odds are there to be beaten.
Great slogan, eh? But trust me, don't use that phrase when you're gambling with real money. Your bank account doesn't like it.