Become a Member of the Club?

David Mullin

As I write my fourth novel I wonder if this will get me into the club? To which club am I referring? The famous author's club, of course. While the odds of that occurring are infinitesimal, it still amazes me how thin the layer is between membership and the rest of us pee-ons. I mean, really, what is the difference between me and Brandon Sanderson?

Of course, there are the obvious factors: he's a Hugo Award winning mega author and I'm some putz who sits at home writing a blog no one reads and a book no one has seen. At this point in time, if I approached Brandon and acted as if we were peers, would I be treated as such or would I be seen as an annoying fanatic and stalker?

The answer to that question would most likely be the latter. But let's take a hypothetical trip forward in time with an equally hypothetical level of success for my book or books. What if I do such a marvelous job of promoting my indie book and end up with thousands and thousands of readers? All of a sudden, because of this seeming stamp of approval from the reading world, I could then have a foot in the club and be invited to be on author's podcasts and do guest blogs on their sites. And if I continued to release books and gain an audience market, the next time I'm at a convention and see Brandon Sanderson, all of a sudden I'm on the panel next to him or he's in the audience watching one of my panels. Then I'm in the club.

What did I do at that point to earn a place there? What seems fascinating to me is that all of a sudden I would not be seen as some crazed stalker, because apparently, stalkers aren't disciplined enough to form a cognizant book marketing campaign. Also, thousands of people wouldn't buy the book of a stalker, right? All those sales add immediacy and validation to the "saneness" of a writer.

So the difference between me seeing Brandon Sanderson at a convention this year versus next year after all this hypothetical shit has happened would mean the difference between me being perceived as a peer versus not. I think it's all kind of bullshit and I wish all this didn't exist. There are plenty of wonderful writers out there who do not have the sales numbers to get a spot on a panel but would likely be more interesting than some multimillion selling author (I'm not referring to Brandon at this point. I love the man and his books. See I am a crazed fan).

My argument is probably much larger than just writers. I mean, a year ago, no one knew who Daisy Ridley was, now she probably can't walk down the street without getting accosted. Did being in Star Wars make her somehow more than she was a year ago? I guess, in the end, this is just a tired argument regarding the cause celbre and its meaningless foundation. As I'm middle aged now I do not perceive myself or my thoughts or opinion to be any less valuable than a popular author, actor or any other celebrity. It's the world that doesn't realize I am their peer, not me, and that is a shame, because I have a lot to offer as do the untold others who endeavor to create something out of nothing. Those who face the blank page every day and fill it with words are all peers and sales has nothing to do with it.

David