Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dead Man (Still) Walking...

The literary world is a tumultuous, difficult, and stressful place. Becoming what you want to become is never as easy as you'd like it to be. Disappointment, mistakes, and failure wait around every corner... and even the best people have their share of battle wounds.

I am aware of the difficulties ahead of me. Taking the self-publishing route was a major risk. It limited my exposure, distribution possibilities, and experience with the world of mainstream books. Yet, it was ultimately my own decision. My second book is the same type of decision. Yet, with a book considered to be of local interest only, I don't feel so horrible about the choices I've made. Sure, I'd love to step back, find a legitimate publisher to take me seriously, and redo everything, but that's impossible.

I thought more about this today when reviewing a blog. It's written by Jeff Belanger, a paranormal writer who runs the website Ghostvillage. I was a member of the site for many years, and I still am, though I haven't posted more than one of two little things in the past few years. I guess I grew a bit tired of encountering the same discussions by the same people... the same mud-slinging... the same clicks.

That's what the paranormal community has always been to me: a bunch of small gangs with their own closed memberships. It's a bad flashback to high school. More time is spent arguing and trying to prove who is better than actually concentrating on ghosts and hauntings.

My interest in ghosts has always remained there, even if I've taken the occasional break to try to engage myself in the world of the living. It still is a subject I feel passionate about. I want to know more. I want to share what I've learned. It's not for the desire for fame, but more of a personal quest. Determining the line between fact and fiction and weeding out the garden of thoughts and beliefs to expose that divider. It's a puzzle... and one that I never get tired of.

Sometimes, I do feel that I'll always be "that guy who write that little nothing book". I doubt myself far too often. Still, it's better than having an over-inflated ego. As everyone says, "something will work out eventually". I just wish things were easier than that.

Sometimes, I need to remind myself that I have done things that have turned out well. My book, even with pathetically small sales, has made it to libraries all over Ohio as well as one in Florida. I've had a few mentions in local newspapers, radio stations, and blogs. I've been invited to do lectures at libraries, clubs, and social gatherings and received praise each time. Chris Woodyard, the Ohio paranormal writer who inspired me to go ghost hunting in the first place, had only positive feedback to give me about my book. I belong to a new paranormal group who respects me and (amazingly) looks up to me in some respects.

I may not be on such a cursed path after all. Yes, the road I've traveled over the last 5 years has been a horribly rough one. I've dodged burning bridges, massive sinkholes, and cracked pavement. But you know something? I'm alive. I'm breathing. I have good people in my life. That's what really matters.

So what if I'm not Stephen King? I never wanted to be that anyway.

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