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Sandra J Cropsey

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Sandra J Cropsey

The State of Publishing: Who You Gonna Call?
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The 10/10 Hindsight of a Recently Published Author
By Sandra J Cropsey   
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Last edited: Thursday, April 23, 2009
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009

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A humorous look at the reality of writing and publishing.

THE 10/10 HINDSIGHT OF A RECENTLY PUBLISHED WRITER

by

Sandra Jones Cropsey

 

            Writers don’t know nuthin’ about business! They live in la-la-land where everything is either make-believe or you can’t figure it out, and most of them are just plain peculiar. You ever try to talk to a writer? Why, it’s like trying to carry on a conversation with an Alzheimer’s patient, except the Alzheimer’s patient at least has moments of lucidity and most likely makes more sense. No, writers don’t know nothing about business, and therefore make all-together perfect prey for the publishing world.

            If you are going to be a writer, at least try to avoid pursuing publication, as this insidious act often leads to an even deeper state of dementia. Yet, should you still persist with this misguided premise, forsake all notion that “hope springs eternal,” as that well will soon be as dry as the cotton in your aspirin bottle, and BUY A HELMET—your protection against those who are apt to drive you mad. Your indestructible, multi-functional, protect-the-head, “all-clear” gear will serve you well:

1)       The noblest use of your helmet should come the moment you allow yourself to fall prey to the delusion that you want to be a writer. {As if some of us have a choice! Personally, I would have preferred to have been a hoochie-coochie dancer in a traveling show, but God failed to endow me with the proper equipment there also.} Regardless, put that trusty helmet on and whack yourself up side the head until your arm is too tired to hold that hammer. Then pay some kid in the neighborhood to whack you a few more times. Once you make this damning decision to apply pencil to paper or fingers to keys, hitch that helmet to your head and pretend that garage of yours is the Berlin Wall, and that you and you alone have been assigned by some higher, enlightened authority to single-handedly take down that wall before you can go to a ninety-percent-off sale on “Spam” the day before Y2K.

2)       The prevalent use of your helmet will come just before submitting your material for publication, that point where you sigh in disgust and mumble, “This is trash.”  This moment looms just as you are about to mail your wonderfully enlightened words to some over-worked, underpaid, under-appreciated editor’s assistant-to-the-assistant, who will probably receive it on the day her dentist has informed her that she requires twenty-six root canals. And this is the day she is going to read your manuscript! Only what seems like endless, untold hours of thought-filled toil and tears are all that prevent you from filing the “trash” in the can. Thus take that helmet with you to the Post Office and whack yourself one good one as you drop that manuscript into the slot. Keep doing this because there is a chance that behavior modification might kick in. And be sure to post that manuscript at an outdoor mailbox! You don’t want to rile some postal worker who may be having a bad day. He’s got his own problems and knows how to take care of them, and you don’t want to be one of his problems.

3)       The next use for your helmet-for-die-hards comes right after you idiotically confess to people in social situations that you are a writer. Within moments of uttering those ill-fated words, that helmet becomes handier than any tool you have ever owned. Just as soon as you hear these thorny words: “Oh? And what have you published,” go get that helmet and go at it with all the gusto and abandon of a young child frantically tearing open each and every present, looking desperately for the ‘what-I-want-for-Christmas’ one.

4)       Another use develops when you happen upon these same people out in public, and they curiously inquire, “Are you still writing,” which is always posed in that same tone of voice your mother uses when she asks your Aunt Maisy if Uncle Oochie has stopped drinking yet. 

There is no known cure for this disease. Furthermore, this lapse into parts better left unknown is an all-consuming affliction that has never been properly identified. No one outside of other writers even knows it exists, and they’re certainly not a reliable group, not to mention that some of them are just downright weird. So who would listen to them anyway? It’s a computer world, and writers simply do not compute. Most of them are still trying to figure out why you would want “x” to equal three in the first place.

      Just remember that getting published is about as realistic as that camel trying to get through the eye of that needle, although most of the writers I know don’t have to worry much about accumulating too many worldly possessions, having made more money peddling pencils on the corner of Peachtree and Peachtree. Most of them don’t lose too much sleep over how they gonna get that big, ole camel through the eye of that itsy-bitsy needle. Writers do worry about arriving at the Pearly Gates and finding a celestial sign hanging out front, which reads: “HEAVENLY PUBLISHING HOUSE – Not accepting unsolicited submissions at this time!”

      But don’t give up! Just keep polishing that helmet. One day, all this will pay off, as it will undoubtedly help prepare you for your earthly reward—the perks and privileges of institutional life.

      Now IF there are some of you who have not yet reached a level of sublime discouragement by all the aforesaid, then I suggest you submit your name not only to the church of your choice, but to every church of which you have knowledge. You’ll not only be tested; you’ll most likely fail—sometimes everyday, sometimes a dozen times a day, sometimes before you even get out of bed. And if you still stubbornly cling to the pitiful notion that you want to pursue a career in this wretched field, join any and every kind of support group in your area, particularly those that address addiction, learn the “Serenity Prayer,” buy lots of candles, and start looking for some practicing healers. It doesn’t matter if the healers are fake or not, as they may only end up healing one of your characters, which are made up anyway, so it’s an even swap. And remind yourself regularly that rejection and failure keep a person humble, and The Almighty likes his children humble. Heck, I’m so humble at this point, I enter doors backwards.

      There may also come a day when one or your “mom” neighbors will appear on your doorstep, squealing like a greased pig at a country fair. With magazine in hand and little ‘Betty-Soup’ by her side, she’ll yell, “LOOK WHAT BETTY-SOUP JUST GOT PUBLISHED!” Your eyes will glaze over, your face will freeze, and words you don’t normally use will start flying like angry wasps about your head. Don’t hurt little Betty-Soup! People are not kind to those who hurt children. But the mother—she’s fair game, so go for it! What’s a few days in jail? Besides, you need the “R & R,” and jail could possibly provide you with new fodder for your writing mill.

Sandra Jones Cropsey, author

Tinker’s Christmas fantasy book and radio drama

and novel Who’s There?

www.sandracropsey.com

 

Web Site: Sandra Cropsey



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