Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Funny Thing Is

I have been writing a long time now. Long enough that friends and acquaintances who do not know the nature of this business view me as a failure.

I know this by the way the broach the subject. Or react when someone else mentions it.

"Hey Travis, whatever happened to that book you were writing?"
"Did that book you wrote ever get published?"
"You're still writing?" 

I understand their position. Really I do. It's understandable to think after more than a decade of nearly constant effort you should have more than a couple dozen short story creds, a handful of contest wins, one ebook anthology, and a smattering of freelance work. But the nature of this business is not everyone who sets out to write a novel or even finishes one, two three or five will see it published. Especially by a traditional royalty paying publisher.

Lately there have been some big signs that I'm not totally crazy. That I haven't wasted an entire decade pursuing this dream. Plundered Booty has been well received and I thank the people that have taken the time to buy and read the anthology it is included in. I offer a double thanks to those who dropped me an email relaying their thoughts or left a review at B&N or Amazon. And my latest project, Lettuce Is The Devil has garnered FAR more attention that anything I've ever written. Both are humor projects.

And my blog, at least until lately when I've neglected it has always been successful. It too is more humor based than anything.

So I've gone the long way around to say this ...

I was talking to a  friend at work the other day and he was asking me about my writing endeavors. I was feeling pretty good that day so no doubt I was gushing about the way things were going.

And that's when he said, "It's about time you abandoned all that emotional women's fiction crap. A funny guy like you needs to concentrate on humor and forget about romance and all that other emotional stuff."

I realize he meant it as a compliment, but his words were somewhat like a punch in the gut to me. The first three novels I wrote were either women's fiction/romance. As were a lot of my short stories. I certainly do not think of any of them as crap. Sure some of it was rough in that I was finding my way as a writer, but the emotions he so casually dismissed as stuff was real. The hours I spent writing and editing those words made me who i am as a writer, funny or otherwise.

I came very close on several occasions to both landing an agent for that material and to publication. I still believe in my abilities to write romance and or women's fiction. Funny is not the only emotion I have in me.

And on that note I have decided to package three stories on my own. Two fiction and 1 memoir. Very soon I will release them for Nook and Kindle for the low sum of 99 cents. Maybe I'm trying to prove something. Maybe I'm simply trying to make myself feel better about where I am at this point in my career. Maybe as I begin to move more into humor writing I am trying to justify the years behind me. Whatever the reason, I hope you will check the stories out when I release it in the near future.


Sarah Hina said...

He might as well have told you to forget you had a heart.

At any rate, I'm glad the conversation prompted you to take this step. And I look forward to reading these stories.

jjdebenedictis said...

Just let us know, Travis; I've got my dollar ready now!

And your friend was expressing his preference for one type of your writing, but by his very words you can tell he's naturally disinclined to be a fan of women's fiction.

That's fine; that's valid. But it doesn't mean he's right, because he's obviously got a bias, doesn't he?

Press on with everything you want to write. Your instincts are the correct ones.

Anonymous said...

Write on, brother.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Ugh. The guy's a Neanderthal. Although that is probably an insult to Neanderthals.

Old Kitty said...

Good luck with your own writing journey! We're here to cheer you on! Take care! x

Leah J. Utas said...

Write as you want to write. Although if you're being told the humour works, then that's an area to play in, too. Can you put them together?

the walking man said...

While it is true I do not have a romantic bone in body, I do take umbrage at your friends particular choice of words to describe your romance writing.

Does this person have even a clue what it is like to sit for hours and write a story then tens of hundreds of hours editing it into something readable?

Seriously don't do 99 cents just to prove a point. If they are worth 99 cents then it is a fair price but make it fair for you as well. Charge 5 bucks for all three. That gets the point across and is fairer (not nearly fair enough) but fairer for you as well as your reader.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Though I work in a different genre, I am hearing the same thing about my fiction as well as lots of advice to quit wasting time reviewing.

Ricky Bush said...

I had my novel acquired by a small press last summer and then decided to cease operations this past March, leaving my manuscript orphaned. So, now, when questioned with "When's your book coming out?", I have to go back to square one. It's a struggle for us out there. Keep writing according to your muse. Way more women read fiction than men and tons of what they read is what you write.

Melissa Amateis said...

It's hard for non-writers to understand the work, the sweat, the tears, the fear, of being a writer. It's a darn good thing we have the Internet so writers can find each other and give them teh support they (we!) need.

Good for you for publishing those stories. I wish you much success!

Monnik said...

I'll be ready with my 99 cents too!!

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Travis, as soon as you have them released for Kindle, my 99 cents is ready to be spent!

Looking forward to reading them!

Travis Erwin said...

Thanks for the support gang. I knew my writer friends would understand and even those of you who do not write have read my blog long enough to understand the nature of the business.

The collection will be fairly short a total of 10k words for all three stories so I feel like 99 cents is a fair price.

Cloudia said...

you are a writer.

you understand what civilians don't.

you are a success.

rock on!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral




Lyzzydee said...

I'm not a writer but I understand the passion that you have, stay true to yourself it will turn out for the better!

Barrie said...

Interestingly, I was talking recently to another writer. She was talking about the 10-year apprenticeship. That many writers pay their dues for a decade before getting the coveted contract. If you look at is that way, Travis, you're right on target. In fact, you're somewhat ahead of target, given all the attention you've gotten. xo

pattinase (abbott) said...

In much the same boat and thinking about the same things.

Anonymous said...

Travis' wife said:
Some people give up way to easy on what they know they can accomplish.