Book Bloggers Are Failed Writers Who Resent the Success of “Actual” Writers
Did I get your attention? It’s a terrible statement, but I was told this. It was the “big thing” about the time I started this blog…waaay back in 2009. One of my first negative reviews that I wrote, that was the response I got from the author. I was told, I was a “pretty” writer that could use big words–so why was I wasting my time blogging about books? Obviously, to this author, I had tried to write and failed and I was jealous of her success. She went into great detail about my supposed lack of talent and drive–among other things.
No. Not really.
Her book was a bad book IMHO, other people liked it, I was surprised I finished it. But those words she retaliated with hurt, as I’m sure my review did the same fo her. Live by the sword…err. But, really her words were meant to hurt my feelings. And they succeeded and stuck with me. And it happened again. This time it was directed not at me, but as a general post from an author about book bloggers and how they must all want to be writers…why else would they be doing this? So, they were firmly in the “wanna be” category of lesser forms of humans (not in those words exactly).
Those two instances merged together and kind of stuck with me, even though I knew they shouldn’t. Because the fact was, I did want to be a writer. I had wanted to write since I could remember. I had toyed with going all the way and getting a Masters in English but chose an art major instead–who has time for more school? I had a few short stories published in college and I had written and finished four books and countless other half-finished monstrosities that I hadn’t worked up the nerve to query. And then Katrina hit. Fifteen feet of water later and my computer was nothing more than a boat anchor…bye-bye five years of writing. I had published a few non-fiction books through a company I worked for though…if that counted. They were published, even if they were about businessy stuff. That counted right?
But, then the storm hit, I lost those books and then I had a kid which sort of put everything at the back burner. I guess this is where the Failed Writer comes into play. Guess I was technically a failed writer by the time I started Book Blogging. Maybe that is why those statements rang true. People can only hurt you if you let them.
My goal hadn’t been to get into Book Blogging so I could sell a book though, it had purely been a marketing experiment, to see if I could do it.
Even with those intentions, I kept my writing a secret, I never told anyone that I wanted to write. If they asked, I would say “no” and look away. A few people knew I “dabbled” and I had even sent a few pages to friends. But, I kept anything I put together a secret.
Until I finally finished something that I thought was viable. And then I was stuck. What do I do? Do I use my blog as a platform to promote it? Do I publish under my name? Do I admit that I was a “failed writer” and hopefully now I’m not? What if it sucks? What if it fails? What if no one buys it and they write terrible reviews about it–and then they look at me, the blogger–as a failed writer and now a failed blogger because it’s all tied together.
Oh, did I stay up late at night and toss and turn.
At about this time I published my Grandmother’s book, under Parajunkee Publishing. Bought software, saw how easy it was to upload to Amazon and Smashwords; held a book in my hand that I had produced. Because I did, produce it…that is. GMa’s book was a word document with no editing, words and dates wrong, hand drawings where pictures should be and phrases like, ‘get a picture of jacks and put it somewhere in this area,’ and I took that thing, researched images at Tulane University, did the layout, did the cover, bought the ISBNs and rolled with it. Then, I did the layout again when it got kicked back via Smashwords, promoted it when it was finally done, set-up books signings, sold said books at the signings and even sat with her as she signed 100 of them for friends. And after all of this, thought–damn I can do this too!
But, I was still scared. Once I did it there was no going back. If I came out with a book and it tanked I would be known for tanking. Here goes that FAILED WRITER phrase again. If you live for a dream and then fail, what is left? The obvious conclusion was an “experiment”. It was my little experiment; if it failed, it was an experiment if it succeed…well I didn’t even want to think about that. It was a test. How did I do this? A pen name. I market tons of books for other people, why not do it for myself? Just, another me, writer me.
Same quandary, just I could hide behind my pen name. I wasn’t ALL IN. But, I’ve never been good with a secret and I’m a terrible liar, even if I really never lied, or so I told myself. I just sort of went AROUND the truth. Bull-shit meters are going off right now. So, I apologize to anyone that I went AROUND with, I did it because I didn’t feel comfortable with using my blog to sell books. I did it because I was afraid to put myself out there and I did it because I didn’t want to be a “failed writer.” And I also did it, to see if I could do it. Another experiment, which is my life’s road map.
So, if you figured it out, which a few of you did. Yup, I wrote it. I’m a writer. I wrote a book. Two actually. And at this moment in time when I’m writing this post, just today, over a 150 people have read them. Just today. Which is surreal (love that Kindle Unlimited page tracker). So, I maybe can say, I’m not a failed writer anymore. And hopefully with this post I won’t be replacing it with “failed blogger.” I hope I didn’t mislead anyone, I never promoted them like I was reviewing them, just all promotional copy. If you think I did act skeevy and dishonest. I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to be skeevy. Please accept my humblest of apologies.
XOXO – Rachel aka Gillian Zane
For transparency purposes, yes there is a giveaway going on via the blog, it’s a promo blitz. No, my alter-ego is not Zoey too. What does this mean for the blog? Personally, I have no idea. I would like to continue on the same path. I might review a lot less, maybe do a few tutorials geared toward writing. But, I still love blogging. And hopefully you guys love what I write, whether it’s a blog post or a book.