Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Night of the Self-Published Assholes

I was holed up in my office with...well, no one else. As far as I could tell, I was the last writer who hadn't jumped on the self-publishing bandwagon. Outside my doors they were wailing.

"I made $50,000.00 last year," one groaned. I could almost see his tooth-filled grin.

"I'm going to make at least $60,000.00 this year," a second mumbled. The liquid stench of its breath penetrated even there, into my safe space.

"I made $50K last year!"

My email program toned and notified me that I had a message. It was from one of my editors. I read the note.

'Things are bad. We had to cut back from six new titles a month to three. Your book won't come out until December instead of June. And we're going to have to wait to respond to your last submission. We like the book, but the budget is tight.'

The phone rang. Caller ID let me know that it was my agent.

"Howdy, pard," I said as I picked up the phone.

"You holding out?" he asked.

"Much as you are," I replied.

Downstairs the shriek of breaking glass shattered the relative silence. They were going to get in. There wasn't much left that I could do. The voices filled the empty spaces down there, the ripe miasma rising up to my last redoubt.

"Kindle is greeeeeeeeeeat," a dead, flat voice keened.

"Buy my how-to ebook on self-publishing," came the gurgle from yet another one. They were all trying to fit through the window. I could hear their fingers scrabbling at the woodwork.

"You, too, can be a rich self-published asshole!"

My agent had heard the smashing glass and the incessant calling of the Self-published Assholes. "What are you going to do now?" I could tell that he was concerned.

"Your place surrounded, too?" I asked. Maybe he could give me some advice.

"Hell, no," he told me. "Haven't seen one for ages. They never come around here any more. I think agents hurt their teeth or something."

There was another crash from below and I knew that I'd have to do something soon. They were in the house, now. I could hear their shambling feet tramping around in the rooms as they searched for me. In a moment they'd find the staircase and climb it to my office. Almost out of time!

"Don't sweat it," I told my agent. "I'll get to the attic and pull the staircase up behind me. I'll nail it shut so they can't pull me out."

A particularly horrible droning vibrated up from the bottom of the stairs. "My latest novel was sandwiched between THE STAND and IT," the voice informed one and all. "My book was a Stephen King sandwich," it said with a chuckle.

"Get with the program! You WILL be assimilated!"
I leaned over the staircase and screamed back at it. "It's a sandwich all right! But I don't know many people who'd want to take a bite of that kind!"

They were coming up the stairs, now. I could hear them. Their shadows were darkening the landing. It was time to go. One last word to my agent, I decided.

Picking up the phone, I called to him. "Don't worry," I said. "The Self-Published Assholes won't get me," I insisted. "I'll hold out to the very last!"

I could hear him stammering.

"What is it?" I asked.

"This essay," he whispered. "It's self-published."

Below me, the droning voices were laughing.


Vicki said...

Love it. :)

HemlockMan said...

Thanks! I think this has gotten more hits than any blog post I've done over the past year or so.

Vicki said...

The beauty of word of mouth. I came here from a Google+ shared link. :)