I had a good laugh today.
In case you don’t know, Scott over at Iceberg Ink wrote a very nice post about me. This isn’t the first time. He’s written reviews of all my books, and one on my move to Orbit. This one was a more comprehensive overview of my work and his association with it. And Scott doesn’t just compliment me, in his own words he “gushes” and he praises my wife as well.
If you read the SandyBeach post I wrote a few weeks back (and jeez did a lot of people like that post! Who knew.) You’ll understand what I mean when I say Scott qualifies as a Superfan. I know all of my superfans by name as a prerequisite for being one is having contacted me. Scott recounts his first correspondence with me in terms of “a teeny, tiny fish emailing a giant.”
That was the laugh.
First it’s funny because fish don’t email. Second…why a fish? But mostly, the sheer suggestion that Scott is tiny and I am a giant, was hilarious. It’s funny because I suspect he actually thinks this. The reality is that Scott is a very respected member of the blogging community who has done an enormous amount to help my career. I am one of thousands trying to catch the attention of people like Scott. I am a pimply-faced, teenage geek trying to get a date with a college cheerleader, and not only did he notice me, he went out on a date. Then he admitted to his friends he went out with me. (Sorry for comparing you to a cheerleader Scott when you were so nice as to compare me to a giant. And I’m assuming it was one of those handsome Nordic giants with the broad shoulders and billowing beards, not a Jack and the Beanstalk, potbellied pin-headed, Disney kind.)
I know that fans imagine authors, or actors, or musicians to be otherworldly—somehow more important than they are. That’s like an eagle thinking it’s more important than the air currents it rides on. (Just trying to keep with the metaphor theme of this post.) I suppose some of them even get to believing this is true—not eagles so much as artists. It’s not always their fault (still talking about artists and not eagles.) When a person tells you your greater than everyone else, and you hear that enough times from enough people, it can warp your reality. Lucky for me, I spent enough time being ignored and read enough bad reviews that I have a pretty firm insecurity foundation and it’s hard to be swept up.
On my side of the fence, looking out my window at all of you, I’m just one more person who wrote a few books because I was bored. It doesn’t take a lot of upfront investment to be an author, just time—which is why I still love watching this video. I know a lot of people who have written a book and not gotten anywhere. I happen to like my books a lot, but then they are tailor-made to suit my taste. Still, I don’t expect other people will love them. Everyone has things they like in books and things they hate. (Pet peeves are one of my pet peeves—what the hell is a peeve anyway and do they make good pets?) I know this because I am a highly critical reader. I think that comes with being a writer. The better you get at it, the less you can enjoy the works of others. It’s like a ballet dancer who no longer sees the beauty of Swan Lake, but only notices the technical mistakes. (Yeah, another metaphor, but that was a good one.)
So I did this one thing, like another person might make a great dinner, or build a really cool snowman, or play a great game of chess, only somehow writing these books elevated me in the eyes of others—well at least those I don’t personally know. I had a friend who recently mentioned famous people, and then paused, looked at me and said, “well, your kinda famous.” It took me a second to follow what she was saying. Then we both laughed.
My point is that even if I really were a huge name in literature, I’d still only be this guy who makes up stories and writes them down. But I’m not even that. In the pond of indie authors, you might have heard of me, but in the greater ocean of publishing that I’ve fallen into, I’m that teeny, tiny fish just trying to make a splash. And Scott, you’re the really cool sea turtle from Finding Nemo calling me the Jelly-man, or maybe the pelican flying around telling my story.
However you metaphor it, thanks Scott.