Are You a Storyteller?

typewriter one key up
I’ve Been Putting My Work On Hold

Since I retired from the nine-to-five and started what some of my friends call that writing thing, I have a hard time trying to figure out what to tell people it is that I really do. Oh, I know some folks call me a writer or an author … but what does that mean?

After all, I’m independent … an indie writer … which means neither Random House or Simon & Schuster, or anyone else with the words major publisher associated with their name, has signed me to a contract. There’s a good reason for that: I haven’t tried. At my age, I decided not to play that waiting game.

I have a good friend, himself a published author (although his fiction books are long out of print), who looks down on self-publishing as if it was an eleventh biblical plague of terrible proportions, and a portent to the end of the world.

But all my books have official ISBN numbers and are available in print; they’re listed on Baker & Taylor and are available to libraries; and they are carried by virtually all e-Book retailers. All have good reviews. One of them was even a 2012 Readers Favorite Gold Medal Winner.

So what, exactly, do those “major house” pieces have that I don’t?

Well, royalties that come in dribbles and drabs at only 10% of the retail price for one thing, and warehouses full of books yet to be sold, for another. The only thing I think I actually miss is a big publicity machine to get the word out. As an indie, I have to do that, too.

It’s part of why I’ve been blogging about indie publishing for months now, trying to help other indie wannabes either get started, or get a leg up to where they should be … and trying to get followers who might want to read one of my books.

I like to think it’s helpful to everyone that way, but I have to admit it sometimes feels a little like that picture above, with a stuck key holding up the work. What all my promotion and brand-building effort really means is that what I’m not doing … is writing.

I need to get back to that for a while. I more or less promised a sequel to my award-winning “Reichold Street” by the end of summer … this summer … and I’m many thousands of words behind the pace I need to maintain in order to honor that pledge.

On top of it all, I’ve got several other story ideas bouncing around in that great vacuum between my ears I need to get busy with, too.

I was reminded of that just the other night while out to dinner with friends. Their seven-year-old grandson was with them, and at the end of the evening he wanted to know what I did. I said I was a writer, and he wanted to know what I wrote about.

When I said I wrote fiction he thought about it a few seconds and then his face brightened. “Oh,” he said, “are you a storyteller?”

Yeah, I guess I am.

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6 Responses to “Are You a Storyteller?”

  1. karensdifferentcorners Says:

    Cool! I like that title. From now on I’m going to be a storyteller. Great post Ron. 🙂

    Like

  2. John W. Howell Says:

    I would say you got it all. I think you can honestly tell people when they ask what you do is live life to the fullest as a writer. Ahem..you don’t have to explain the deadline guilt and pain in the neck self promotion stuff.

    Like

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