Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday = Politics, Risk = Reward

I have a cold so I'm in my pjs trying to break through the ick with a large dose of lazy. Lazy for me means sitting on the carpet reading the paper while the tv talking heads talk talk talk. Sunday = politics, did you know? Someone should really tell God.

Anyways, I'm reading the Books section from yesterday's Globe and Mail and one article in particular stood out for me. The link is here should you be sitting on your own carpet with a box of Kleenex. It's a piece about a first-time author named Chevy Stevens (please ignore the tacky pseudonym) who sold her very first novel (a thriller called Still Missing). Chevy used to sell gifts and novelties (teddy bears!!!!) before she sold her ms for what is said to be a very large advance to St. Martin's Press. She wasn't a writer by profession, didn't even really dabble in it as a hobby before the idea for this book struck her. And here's what she did that I love: She sold her home, using the money to finance two years of exclusive work on her book. In other words, she took a big risk. And it paid off bigger.

Even through the haze of sinus congestion, this story managed to make me think: is my book (and by default, me) worthy of such a risk?

It's like a good-looking guy who follows a girl home. As long as he's hot enough, he's a romantic adventurer. If he's got a lazy eye and bad shoes, he's a stalker. And it's the same for investing everything I have in my book. If I succeed, it was worth the risk. It's something inspiring for the back jacket, something to woo desperate reporters with. But if it fails--if it does not pay off for me as it did for Chevy--well, I'll be left with a restraining order and one pair of very bad shoes.

Wall Street and mortgages and hedge funds aside, it's an investment in myself that has always seemed the riskiest. In my case, I have no home to sell. But I do need to decide if I should invest a few grand in taking a certain summer writing workshop. It's possible, of course, that this workshop won't pay off; that I'll still be left sitting on my carpet every Sunday reading about other people's successes. Or maybe not. Maybe all I need is a compelling personal story and a really bad pseudonym. Or maybe it's the act of risk taking that would finally force me to look--really look--at my book and fix what's wrong with both of us.

- Post by Spud Chapman


  1. It is not a risky when you can actually write and you my friend, have a great voice. So, take that chance, risk it. It is fun.

  2. I like you! Do YOU want to be my agent?