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The Greatest Writer No One Has Heard Of
My Lofty Goal
Not an easy goal to achieve, true?
Being the greatest writer who ever lived would be tough enough, but to be that and have no fame? That borders on the incredible, right up there with DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak and the largest home made from toilet paper.
So that’s what I’m shooting for!
What are we, after all, without goals? What are we without dreams and brass rings, star-gazing and galaxy-watching, boldly going where no man has gone before?
Please do not buy this novella
Back to Reality
Okay, my meds kicked in and I can write rationally now.
It’s good to have ME back!
So where was I?
Oh, right, my goal!
It came to me recently. I had just finished my fifth novella in the novella series, The Billy the Kid Chronicles, this one titled “Home is a Dangerous Place,” and I was feeling quite satisfied with myself until my thoughts steered towards the reality facing that new novella….namely that maybe, if this is a great year and the stars have perfectly aligned, fifty people will read it.
Fifty out of seven-point two billion!
And then I realized that if I added my four novels to the one non-fiction book I’ve written, and toss in the five novellas, and add up all the sales for all of them, it might total five-hundred.
Five-hundred out of seven-point two billion!
So obviously I’ve got a real shot at the “never heard of” moniker. LOL
All I have to do now is become the greatest writer among the millions of wannabe best-selling writers and I’ll have achieved my goal.
Please do not buy this novel
I jest, of course, and yet many of you, right now, are cringing because I’ve hit a bit too close to home.
Home being the reality that this writing game is one tough motherflapper!
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
Of course you do!
Anyone who has written a book and then published it knows I speak the truth.
You spend six months to a year writing the book. Traditional publishers yawn at your achievement so you self-publish. You tell all your friends. You tell all your family. Praise is heaped upon you and then your visions of grandeur are replaced with visions of a recycling center where your masterpiece is bound to arrive at sooner rather than later.
So you schedule some book-signings and some book-readings, and you flood Facebook with mentions of your book, and you get a minor bump up in sales and then……
The bottom falls out of your euphoria, your friends get on with their lives, your family wants to know what you did with the weed-trimmer you borrowed and life goes on.
So you join an online writing community, and you become an active part of that community, and you support others, and they support you, and you all have one big lovefest, and you wake up six months later and see you’ve increased your book sales by ten.
And then you have a serious chat with yourself and an extra one with your therapist.
So That’s Where I Am Currently
I have to reset my goals, obviously. I mean come on, any Tom, Dick or Harry can become a bestselling novelist. Big deal, right???? But not everyone can be an exceptional writer lost in obscurity, the living, breathing answer to a future trivia question.
That’s what I want! Someday, twenty years from now, I want Alex Trebek to read the clue on the game show Jeopardy under the category “Novelists $1000”……”He sold fewer copies of his novels than any other great writer,” and some snot-nosed librarian contestant from Des Moines, Iowa, will buzz in and say “Who was William D. Holland, Alex?” and the audience will go wild as Miss Snot Nose rakes in the cash and I’m fed watered-down peas by a nurses aid at the Olympia Home for the Dysfunctional.
I can see it so clearly!
So How Do I Reach My Goal?
Well, obviously, the key to it all is three-fold. First I have to keep writing books. I figure I can churn out two novels per year, or one full-length novel and two novellas, so in ten years I’ll have a pretty impressive collection of work with my name on it. I figure ten years because by then I’ll be seventy-seven and all bets are off regarding my mental acuity.
Secondly, it is crucial that no one buy my work. My goals, dare I say my dreams, will go up in smoke if suddenly others buy my work and I approach some sort of cult-status, so please, I’m begging you, don’t buy any of my novels or novellas. I’ve tried to treat you all with respect and I’m asking the same of you now.
And thirdly, I must improve my craft so that I truly am a gifted writer.
If all three happen…if the stars align….if I live long enough….then the goal will be reality and I can die a happy man.
“And now we return you to our regularly scheduled programming.”
Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. You have done your duty and you can now return to your new recipes and guide books, planning the perfect soufflé or your next trip to Paris.
While you’re doing that I’ll be out back in the writing studio, pounding the keyboard, looking for the perfect sentence, begging the gods to smile upon me, and staving off insanity for one more delicious day.
Remember, if anyone asks you for a recommendation of a good book or author, for the love of God, don’t mention me.
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Helping writers to spread their wings and fly
I just sold two more books while I was writing this article.
This just will not do. Is there any possible way I can call Amazon and tell them to refund the money and refuse the order? Does anyone know how to do that? I guess, if I’m really serious about this goal, I should just quit self-publishing and let my manuscripts sit on the desktop where no one, not even my roving yellow lab, will see or read them.
But then I really would be unheard of. Then I’d have not one soul in search of anything with the name William D. Holland on it. Then I’d have to schedule more trips to the therapist. Hell, then I’d have to go out and clean up more rabbit and quail poop, and then rush to Costco and order cases of strained peas for future meals……
Did Hemingway go through this angst? Hawthorne? Steinbeck? Surely Harper Lee never experienced it, Miss One Book, Best-Seller and I'm Done Lee, surely she had no idea of obscurity and thoughts of suicide-by-loneliness. Maybe that's why Hemingway drank so much, come to think of it. Maybe that's why I used to drink so much.....
The nurse is here now. I have to go. She's going to read me a fairy-tale book where the Seattle Mariners win the World Series, and everything in my world is perfect.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)