When Life Gives You Lemons

You’ve heard the old saying, but reactions come in all shapes and sizes. Lately, my reaction has been…

When life gives you lemons, find the guy who planted the tree and kick his ass.

Many years ago I decided I wanted to be an author. I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember knowing how to form words. I love words and stories. I love the way they make me feel. I love the way other people’s words can make me feel. I have written many books and stories, and for the most part, I feel good about them. Sometimes writing is difficult, but I can’t imagine not doing it.

Several years ago, I became a bookstore owner. It was the most glorious day in my life. I remember always wanting to own a bookstore. I love books. I adore books. I think they are among the most blessed things in existence. I loved my bookstore and I loved each and every book in its tiny little space. I did not like the day to day business of it. But I was good at it, for the most part.

Then I became a publisher. The idea of going out and being able to pick the stories that other people got to read, without the stress of having to write them, or sell them enchanted me. Seeing a pattern here? I have been running Echelon Press for more than a decade. Now, like the above activities, being a publisher is quite difficult. The days are long, the stress level is high, and the payoff is very low. But in this case, I cannot imagine not doing it.

Being a publisher is much like being on a roller coaster that dips and curves and rolls upside down, only you don’t get to wear a safety harness. You do get a rope with a loop on the end to hold onto so you can climb back into your seat when the car goes right side up again.

There are those people out there who are asking themselves, “What the hell can be so hard about being a publisher? You get to read books all day.”

Yeah, that”s it. We just read all day. ::snort:: There are so many things involved in being a publisher.

My top five favorite things about being a publisher are:

  1. IRS Audits.
  2. Authors who accuse you of cheating them out of royalties.
  3. Large numbers of bookstores going out of business.
  4. Authors who think their only job is to write, and the rest is up to the publisher.
  5. Retailers who don’t pay for the books they order and sell.

Okay, hopefully you got the sarcasm at the beginning of the list. There are so many other reasons I love publishing. The above list brings to mind the saying I started this post with. But I would be lying if I left it at that. Another saying comes to mind.

Thank God for:

  1. Authors who never stop trying to learn about the industry.
  2. Readers who aren’t afraid to try new authors.
  3. Bookstores that support ALL authors and publishers.
  4. Authors who write the stories from their hearts.
  5. Every person who ever took a chance on something unfamiliar to them.

I meant what I said about the guy who planted the lemon tree, but after you are done kicking his ass, try the lemonade, it’s almost perfect!

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4 responses to “When Life Gives You Lemons

  1. Good one 🙂

  2. It’s the arse-kicking that gives the lemonade that extra flavour!

  3. Ditto! Take the sour with the sweet and keep adding sugar as needed! I hope to aspire to your Thank God For list. The other is just negativity – and that gets an author and publisher nowhere. Authors and Publishers – we must be the most optimistic people in the world to keep striving for the dream and never quit.

  4. marycunningham

    Love this! Everyone needs to make two such a lists about their occupation, calling, every day life!

    Mary Cunningham
    Cynthia’s Attic series for ‘tweens

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