Everyone's a Writer. Yeah. Yep. Sure.

During the time I revised my novel, Five-Star FLEECING, with the assistance of a professional editor, I went to visit a friend. Yes, I loosely say "friend" because of the time element involved. When you hang out intermittently over decades with someone since you were a kid, the word "friend" casually gets tossed around.

I was kinda thrilled to see her and let her know what I was up to. Much of my life changed over the past year or so: I lost my job, broke up with my boyfriend and spent all my time in getting my book whittled into shape.

We sat down on her front porch. I smiled. "I gotta tell you this. Over the past decade, I wrote a book and -"

She leapt up in mid-sentence. "So did I!" and ran inside her house to fetch her Macbook. Within seconds, she thrust the machine at me and said, "Look! I've got 68 pages written and even a title. It's about..." I politely listened to an hour of her vivid description, capped off with, "I sent copies to all my friends. And they agreed that it's a best-seller!" I couldn't top that qualifying statement. Clearly, she wasn't interested in what I had to say outside of complimenting her creativity and I soon left.

The following summer, after Five-Star was published, I bumped into the same woman. Before I could utter a word, she gleefully informed me, "I didn't write much, but an editor's going to work on it!" Turns out she collared some person in a publishing house and hammered her into submission. Later on that summer, she told me, "I guess she's busy."

Curious, I asked, "Can I see it?" I wanted to read what will become the next bestseller. I'm envious of people who beat their chest. If only I were that way! "This better be good," I thought. It wasn't.

That was an interesting summer, to say the least. My small village swells from 200 full-time residents to over 20,000 as it's a resort area full of second homeowners, bungalow colonies and tourists. News about my book reached far corners. One community member was the first to give me an inkling of what was in store for me.

"My wife and I read your book when it first came out on," he informed me. "The look-inside feature wasn't in place so we read almost half of it. Then we got bored."

I thought, "Hmmm, took him 200 pages to figure that one out?"

He complained, "No one speaks like that."

"Gee, I better phone that screenwriter from Miramax," I said in response. "She definitely thinks I got a great command of dialogue." One of my friends picked up my book when it first came out. I was petrified of her analysis, considering she's an excellent and accomplished writer. I almost fainted when she told me how much she loved the book. She's not one who dispenses compliments.

His wife interjected, "And the language! I found it offensive."

"Hmmm," I thought once more. "She had to wade through 200 pages to be that offended?" Instead, I said, "Don't you ever leave your house? You live in New York!"

They tsked.  He then proceeded to give me a forty-five minute dissertation about all the things I did wrong with the book and how I should have written it. Incidentally, he's not a writer. Finally he shut up. Proud of his flailing, he stood in front of me, chest puffed up like a peacock. "Well?"

"Well what?" I asked, at this stage ready to clock him and his idiocy. Apparently, comedy's an acquired taste for he wanted a murder-mystery and didn't get the humor.

"Don't you care about what I said?"

"Not in the least," I informed him, "you didn't purchase the book!" The miser would rather sit in front of a computer to read 200 pages than splurge a few bucks. But those bucks may benefit me, so why bother, right?

Deflated, he lamely stated, "Well, not bad for a first time writer."

A few days' later, I bumped into another person who informed me, "I wrote five books."

I was embarrassed that I didn't know who she was and wanted to show respect. "Sorry."

Triumphant in humbling me, she added, "All in my mind."

Oh, it gets better. One person who actually spent coin and read my book and enjoyed it said, "I've three books in progress, but I'm too lazy to finish them."

That was when I realized there're schmucks out there posing as writers. They bring the "vanity" to "vanity publishing." Which reminds me of a story... {Yes, java time! Pull out that cuppa and sit down and relax while I lull you to sleep.}

Decades earlier, I started my own consulting firm. I had several top-notch clients and charged them through the nose for the services I rendered. I'm a bit of a workaholic so they got value. Besides, they didn't have to pay medical insurance or anything outside of the billable hours. It was an equitable arrangement.

I got involved with a cult and loved the seminars about transformation. To the point where I freely gave my time to assist in and around the center of nanu nanu land. In a meeting with other assistants, one woman, chronically unemployed, told people she was a consultant.

Aghast, I said to her, "No you're not! You're a temporary file clerk. Why in the world would you tell them that? It's a lie."

"It adds cachet to what I've to say."

"It also devalues what I do for a living. Because I'm a real consultant, not a glorified file clerk."

She pouted. "Everyone knows that consultant is another way of saying you can't hold down a job!"

She was right. It was a trend that gained momentum. Surrounded by self-professed consultants who couldn't fart and walk a straight line at the same time, I reluctantly announced my vocation. Even though I earned a fortune. Even though my clients were the tops in their fields.

Now I'm surrounded by authors. The most galling part is that I'm guilty of self-publishing. Principally because I didn't want to go through the traditional route once more after a decade hiatus. At this late stage in life, I made the decision to publish while I'm still alive. So I'm clumped in with everyone else in the vanity press section.

That fucking chafes me.

What sticks in my craw more than anything else is how these people define themselves on twitter, Facebook, blogs and on the internet. The moment I see, "AuthorJoeBlow" or "JoeBlowAuthor," hell, that's a dead giveaway. What makes it worse is how they plague me, asking me to follow them, FB friend them, read their free shit, buy their books. All in personal messages. I don't do that to anyone.

Which leads to another reason why I posted this. All night long, some moron writer kept sending me twitter private messages to buy his book. The light from my iPhone woke me up repeatedly. I wanted to strangle the fucker. This morning, I simply unfollowed him. In a snap, he did likewise.

Perhaps if I wrote my name as "AuthorMauraStone" or "MauraStoneAuthor" he and his ilk can see that I'm also a writer. It won't get them to buy my books though.

I'm just as mercenary as everyone else. I do it differently.

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This blog and all its posts are a work of fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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