Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Aspirations of a ten-year-old

My book for reals.
I think I was nine or ten when I decided I wanted to be a writer. It was around this time anyway that I started looking for ways to write stories as a means of fulfilling homework assignments, and that I began to fudge the answers on aptitude tests so the results would show I ought to be a writer. Since then I've done some of the things that most writers do – I've sporadically kept journals, I've written and submitted in a variety of genres and styles, I've bought and read entire libraries-full of writing how-to books. And I've done some things most writers probably don't, such as just plain trying to give up writing because it's so fucking hard and heart-breaking.

But I've always come back to it. And I always feel a huge sense of relief when I do.

And now, finally, after a lot of years, I have a novel coming out that has my name on the cover and everything. And I know that I already have several books with my name on them out there. But they've been collections of comics and that's just not what I envisioned back when I was nine or ten. And this is not meant as a slight against comics at all. Comics buoyed me at a time when I was very low, and they helped me pay some bills. The work I did in comics kept me believing that I was able to write at all. Hell, it's because I was able to sell comics scripts that I even decided to give writing prose again a chance. So, yeah, I owe a lot to comics.

Still, I always wanted to write a prose novel and to have it be published and loose in the world, and it looks like that's about to happen. Last week I received a small package from my publisher (Kensington, which is an independent publisher and which has been just freaking wonderful to work with). The package contained a small number of comp copies of my book, Zomburbia – just a taste, the rest of my comps will come later. I opened that package and held in my hands a real book with my name on the cover.

And the nine-or ten-year-old in me knew that I hadn't messed things up too badly if I'd accomplished this.

Listen, I know what the book market is like. Zomburbia may come and go without making a single ripple in the publishing industry, but it's here now. And that's enough. Also, the sequel is already written and in the hands of the publisher and now I'm writing something new and I have a reasonable expectation that someone will buy it. So there's that.

By the way, my second choice of career when I was ten was to become a politician. I think we can all be happy I chose to become a writer.

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