The Nine Circles of Writer Heck

This post is for all you writers out there who dream of your publishing success, who long to hold your book in your hot little hands. Savor that moment for a couple of seconds. For you are about to enter the nightmarish world of Author Promotion. Abandon all hope, ye who enter thy works of prose in an author book event.

The Nine Circles of Writer Hell await you.
1. Limbo
You’ve paid your hard-earned money to purchase approximately 500 of your books. You just know you’re going to need at least that many. You begin to worry when they tell you your shipment may be delayed because of a) train derailment b) attack by reading bears or c) pack mules on strike.

2. Lust
Another much less skilled writer’s book event is scheduled at the exact same time as yours! Too bad that other writer has a million or so fans who form lines to get that awful book of his signed. The nerve! You lust after the other writer’s scalp, and devise a thousand ways to kill someone using their own book as a weapon.

3. Gluttony
When nobody shows up at your pathetic card table, you sit forlornly in the front of the store, pigging out on all the candy you were going to give away. Those readers weren’t worth $50 worth of Godiva Chocolate anyway.

4. Greed
You cast envious looks at the bestsellers and decide you’re going to make money on your book if it kills you. You charge $87.95 for a book that’s too thin to hold up a wobbly table. Even if you only sell three (and those sales are to your relatives) you can go home rich.

5. Anger
It’s twenty minutes until your big author event and launch party and the friggin books are still somewhere in the Grand Tetons. You go online to track the shipment and you learn that rabid bats have eaten almost every book. You are angry. Very angry.

6. Heresy
You tell a fellow writer and sojourner that it’s OK to use “said” as a dialog attribution. You go to a regular 12-step meeting to work on your addiction to adverbs.

7. Violence
You log on to track your book shipment again. The books have now been regurgitated by the bats and have been transferred to three old donkeys with arthritis. Not only that but the donkeys are afraid of heights. You throw something. It feels SOOO good to throw something.

8. Fraud
You join about a hundred other authors, most self-published, at the county fair. You sit in the hot sun until your eyeballs are fried, and you note that all the other authors (term used loosely) got THEIR books in time to hawk them. You hand out bookmarks with a picture of your books on them, because, well, they’re somewhere in the Tetons, arriving via donkey. Old arthritic donkey.

9. Treachery
Three days after your big event the books finally land on your doorstep. The shipping costs five zillion semoles, mostly to give the poor donkeys a decent burial. You hold your book. You smell your book. You run your fingers over the soft smooth cover of your . . . hey wait. This isn’t your book! Why it’s that other author’s book, the one who skunked you at the last book event. You grit your teeth and utter a maniacal scream. You plan for that other author’s demise. A Divine Comedy, indeed.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

12 comments on “The Nine Circles of Writer Heck

  1. NOOOOOO! I can’t go here. I can’t tolerate such heck, why, I am still hurting over Erma Bombeck hitting syndication with her columns, (and that happened in the seventies, when I was at least 8 years old) and I haven’t even had an offer beyond the local paper. How could I ever handle the competitive book marketing world? And the stress of the publishing. . . not to mention the pressure of actually getting the book written, and legibly so. I was wondering though, if I do decide to go to heck in a hand basket, (or perhaps a writers portfolio), perhaps I could print the book myself, and run copies on my copy machine to save a donkey’s life??!! HA! Thanks for the laugh, and the heads up. You keep me thinking about the commitment of it all. . .

    • You won’t believe this but the part about the train derailment is true. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up!Oh the sad life of a writer. Keep on banging your head against that keyboard, honey. ~Miss CP aka Linda

  2. Facebook said the you mentioned me (Writer Heck) in your recent post. I wondered how the heck you knew me. Of course, you don’t… didn’t. I enjoyed this post so much that I signed up to follow you. Keep the chuckles comin’, if only for the Heck of it.
    Janice Hall Heck

    • Facebook is strange and wonderful isn’t it? I was typing the aforementioned phrase (God forbid I should say H-E-Double Hockey Sticks on the page, when it automatically put your handle in there. Well I’m glad you found the best little writing blog around. Tell your friends! Seriously, welcome and enjoy the snark.
      Miss CP aka Linda

    • Tracy, in real life the poor author’s books STILL haven’t arrived. Maybe they had to shoot the donkey. Keep writing! Miss CP aka Linda

    • Imagine how nervous Miss CP gets when she has to say a no-no word right in the post title! Some days are just gripier than others, I guess. Happy Writing, Miss CP aka Linda

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