Jack Bunyan’s Writing Advice, Part One

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Because we receive a good deal of email from readers asking us how to write, how to find an agent, etc., and because NaNoWriMo is in the early stages, we’ve enlisted Jack Bunyan, author of Anger and You: Getting in Touch With Your Inner Id and Letting the Inner Bastard Take Charge of Your Life, several dry pieces for technical manuals, and a good deal of publicity material for the Orange County Visitors Bureau, to offer some advice for aspiring writers.]

So you wanna write, eh, kid? Well, stand in line and be my bitch. And prepare to squeal like a pig, boy. Because I’m just getting started and I swing more than two ways.

If I were a god (and, believe me, I’m as close as a human comes to a deity; you haven’t known fear until you’ve ordered me sparkling water in a bar; so, listen carefully, son), I’d turn over all the buildings for all the liberal arts programs and find thousands of people just like you who have these pressing life stories to tell.

You think you have tomorrow’s best seller? Cry me a fucking river! Sure, you lost both parents to a flesh-eating virus within days and you lived to tell the tale. Sure, you woke up in a rehab clinic and you don’t know how you got there. Do you think I care? Do you think America cares? Most importantly, do you think the publishing industry cares?

The way it works is this: you scribble your intimate thoughts away and the publishing industry hands you a pittance. No chocolate mint left on the pillow, compadre. You’re much better whoring yourself out on the Sunset Strip than thinking you can make it as a freelancer, much less a writer who turns out one book a year. Unless you’re a trust fund kid and you have all the free time in the world and you don’t have to worry about starvation in the immediate future, I would advise any aspiring writers to give up immediately.

Still with me? Good. I knew I could count on you. That’s what this is all about: separating the wheat from the chaff. Let me buy you wheaties a few pints of microbrewed wheat bear. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I won’t ask you to squeal like a pig.

If you think you have what it takes, then you better be prepared. Because chances are nobody cares what you have to say.

So who’s left? Well, you are, bitch. And you’re there to convince your agent and your publisher that you have an audience that will buy your books.

If that means staging elaborate readings or appearing at every bookstore that will allow you to read, if that means spreading the word through emails and operating off of a persistence that will not abate, even after your spouse and your dog have left you and you’re lying in a ditch wondering how you got there, then that’s damn well what it takes.

And if that means spending years writing the worst dreck possible to keep a roof over your heads and become one of the many unreported failures, well then at least you’ll meet your maker as a professional.

Now excuse me while I toss down my iced tea and call this number for an out call, so’s I can calm my nerves.

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