Finding an agent is not my primary reason for writing.
Nor is finding a publisher.
Frankly, this epiphany (which I should probably pronounce "epi-FANNY") knocked me on my proverbial butt. I'd love to have an agent or a manager in my corner. And I'd be lying if I said I had no desire for traditional publication. But putting smiles on the faces of agents and a glow in the hearts of publishers are not why I write.
Oh, I have written to please publishers, co-authors, clients, and others. Those projects put food on the table. Some of them I am colossally proud of. Others... not so much. Still, when I made myself consider the question: "Why do I write?" the answer was not "To get published."
It was "Because I have these stories I'm dying to tell; these worlds I long to explore; these characters I adore."
On a list of the people I write for, despot that I am, "ME" goes at the top.
Next, however, are my readers -- those intrepid souls who have the same twisted, warped sense of humor I do, who enjoy reading my words as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Agents and publishers are on the list, too. They're just not teetering on the top.
This discovery astounded me. It was akin to realizing that the hot guy you've been fantasizing about isn't nearly as important to you as your friends are. In fact, while you'd still happily date him, you don't really need to hang on his arm in order to validate yourself as a desirable human being.
So I decided to take a sharp left-hand turn off the straight and narrow publishing path I've been slogging lately. I have this middle-grade manuscript lurking on my hard drive that I really like. I wrote the story for me, but for various reasons (not the least of which is that I have no inclination to try to brand myself as an MG / YA writer) I've never seriously tried to find a publisher for it. Instead, beginning on Monday, September 17, I'm going to serialize it, making it available online in installments, with new posts added every Monday and Thursday.
DEAR ALDERONE is a love letter to reading, writing, and the pent-up power of the written word. To put my money where my mouth is, I will donate $1.00 for every follower on the Dear Alderone blog by December 31, 2012 * to First Book, a non-profit organization dedicated to "transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis." First Book has distributed nearly 100 million books and educational resources to children from low-income families throughout North America.
I believe that writing the story one has to tell can make a difference, both to oneself and to others! Become a follower... or better yet: make your own donation to First Book to promote the power of the written word.
* ... at least for the first 2,000 followers.
Teeny tiny disclaimer: While I am not afraid of success, I am terrified of making a promise I can't honor. If my family and friends are the only ones who follow along in this little undertaking, it won't break the bank. However, should the blog of the DEAR ALDERONE serial novel somehow attract a million followers, I would be seriously S.O.L. if attempting to follow through with the whole dollar-per-follower thing, regardless of how much I would like to.
So for now, I reserve the right to alter my donation commitment upon reaching 2,000 followers / dollars. Unless I become independently wealthy, in which case, I'll keep right on going with much confetti flinging and Kermit arm flailing.