Thursday, March 17, 2011

Perchance to Dream

Imagine my surprise when I was informed by the admistrators of an online social network for writers that I was not an author. How odd that even though my poems and essays have been published in literary journals and I'm the recipient of several writing scholarships and awards, I'm not considered by, let's call the network Blue Room -- an author. I was acceptable as a "member" and could possibly be upgraded at a later time to an "author." Upgraded? Like Internet Explorer? Having studied the Stanislavski technique, I can sense subtext before a sentence is even completed. I suspect Blue Room was really saying no dice because I self-published both my books. As a self-published author, I'm in some pretty majestic company that includes Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Ernest Hemingway. Would Blue Room have told the young Hemingway he could only join as a member but might be upgraded at some future point, maybe after "For Whom the Bell Tolls?"

I know I'm a writer because it's 3 a.m. as I'm writing this. Like bakers, writers work through the night, preparing another kind of nourishment. How different my experience with the social network Scribd is from the Blue Room elitist nonsense. Two years ago when I joined Scribd, I was a novice at online publishing who thought upload was something heavy inside big trucks. Thanks to the Scribd Support team, I've learned how to format a document, design a cover and yes, upload it. Thanks to Scribd, I  enjoy a very real sense of community with journalists, novelists, poets and essayists, both beginning writers and best-selling authors. We are after all, all in this thing called writing together. 

A second surprise in my efforts to promote and market my books was learning reviewers charge from $100 to $400 to review self-published books. Perhaps they thought $500 might seem excessive. There's a real disconnect going on here.  As Captain says to Cool Hand Luke, "What we have here is a failure to communicate." I'm trying to supplement my income with royalties from my books, not pudge up a book reviewer's bank account.

My dream isn't being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey or Charlie Rose. I'd be too nervous and say something goofy or politically incorrect like how everyone knows cats are way smarter than dogs. My dream is simply to write as often and as well as I can. Does that sound like an author to you?


You can read essays, poems, and stories of mine at


  1. Here Here! Calling it what it is...oh, you're too much of a lady so I won't write it here. But nonsense, you're right. Let's call it nonsense. You inspire me to add my two cents with essays on all the "nonsense" I too have experienced with the publishing world. Editors, agents, the Author's Guild. It's stunning to me the level of hostility, snobbery and whatnot from people are often times mere pretenders. But you said it better than I. Stick to Scribd. We love you there. And that other site (Blue Room, HA!) well, their loss. Trite, but true.

  2. Laura, Thanks so much for commenting. It really wasn't about my being rejected (Lord knows, as a writer I'm used to that). It had more to do with remembering something journalist David Brooks said when he was interviewed recently -- "Writing isn't what I do, it's who I am." I didn't appreciate being told I wasn't who I know I am. And yes, Scribd is definitely where it's at, for writers -- and the readers we're courting.

  3. Don't let it bother you Laura, this group will be washed over by the self-publishing wave. The way I see it, it is the readers who decide who is an author. The text belongs to the reader!

    Take care.


  4. Oops, I meant "Barbara and Laura", sorry for that. It's the late night Jinx messing up my messages again! : ^ (

  5. Phanto, Thanks for visiting my new blog -- and I agree with you about the self-publishing "wave."