This Poor Author

Enjoy my recent comment to an author’s blog, subject “It Takes a Team“. Presently awaiting moderator approval, so no promise it will find a home there.

Dearest Writer Unboxed:

I’d say a good agent is priceless, and will always be a boon even if self publishing. Now for the caveat:

I am a very low income soul living on a disability stipend (in a /very/ expensive city), who had /no/ choice but to forgo an agent, proofreader, editor, et al. I have studied many blogs re. self publishing…and they all are geared for those who are at /least/ reasonably affluent. They have money to toss around, thus /their/ challenge is not lack of funds to employ an agent, but to find a really /great/ ally among all the mediocre ones.

Not a single article advising those who are penniless authors attempting to break into the market. Though thanks to a small inheritance from my deceased parents, I was able to employ a self publishing service (Friesen Press) minus the added proofreading and editorial options.

I can’t even afford a fast Internet connection (just dialup at $10/mo.), so I rely on public wifi at libraries.

This is not ideal, as I prefer promoting my book (Twitter, FB, blogs, etc.) from the comfort of my own SRO…rather than in a distracting environment that includes stinky hobos and speed freaks mingling about the book shelves, and occupying tables. Sometimes it’s just too much–I get stared at and even stalked by these types–so I shut down my netbook and leave.

But had I known then what I do now, I could’ve done it /all/ myself. For this reason, I’ve WordPress’ed a blog entry of tips on publishing a book on your own that costs zilch:

There, you will also find a link to my book, where you can read the entire first chapter for free, purchase it, or contact me.

Or course it is always wise to hire a righteous agent. But if you are too broke for that, and are driven to get your opus out there (“I have something really /important/ to tell the world”), know that we now have a totally cost-free way to accomplish this.

Thanks for your kind attention. Posted to you from my favorite hangout these days: Howard’s Cafe in San Francisco. They don’t have wifi, but the bar on one side and the coffee spot on the other, do. ;p

ADDENDUM (not posted to Writer Unboxed)

I am so poor that I have not been able to afford dental care ever since MediCal eliminated such for all male adults over a decade ago. As of two years ago the same is true for /all/ MediCal recipients (men, women /and/ children). (I wonder: how on earth are the low-income unemployed expected to land a job with decayed and missing teeth?) Plus: I suffer a severe inferiority complex that resulted from a horrid face infection which commenced at the tender age of 16. Took years to heal. To this day I shun mirrors due to this inherited neurosis.

Therefore, I am pathetically camera shy. No way will I include an author photo showing my rotten teeth. This of course is a strike against me in my attempts to promote “Free Me From This Bond.” Suffice a 12-year-old pic wherein I look pretty good…but it’s not how I appear at present. I am, after all, a ripe and ragged 63 years of age.

Thanks to San Francisco’s rent control (albeit grossly anemic due to the state’s “Ellis Act” and many other loopholes on a local level, such as no rent control for domiciles built after 1979)…I remain in occupancy of a crummy single room. Bathroom down the hallway, no kitchen. Been living there since (now hold onto your jockstrap) January first 1983!

There is also the matter of further MediCal cutbacks which include elimination of psychiatric care, hearing and eye exams. In addition, our “liberal” governor, Jerry Brown, has decided to redeem California’s sagging economy by restoring it on the backs of the poor! This includes eliminating (on a monthly basis) $100 from Social Security, that all recipients pay for their own Medicare subsidy.

Finally, at the beginning of this year, said recipients must /also/ pay $30 per month for their Medicare part D.

Also to be considered are the social consequences of being both left-wing and low income. Due to the rise of crass elitism among the LGBT population these past three decades, I remain sort of the “last of the Mohicans” among our gay crowd. What friends I once had were lower middle class or dirt poor…and have been thrust out of the protective circle of gay friendliness and forced to move back to their homes of birth or other less-costly locales. That /also/ harbor mostly redneck or at least stick-ignorant denizens that do /not/ make for a safe or hospitable environment. While I remain in The City, hanging by the edge of my nails.

Though ostracized (even kicked out of gay venues such as bars and clubs) simply because I am not “one of them.” Meaning: rich, elitist, home-owning or high-income renter with a fancy apartment, sporty car, and tons of moolah to toss around to my kissy-arse “friends.” This makes for a lonely existence that has gone on for nigh unto 22 years. Talk about rubbing sodium chloride crystals into a gaping wound:

I had acquired the best friend of my life (Arwyn) for almost seven years, which vanquished any sense of dark solititude in one fell swoop. Such a great comrade, I was even inspired to compose novels in his honor, “Free Me From This Bond” being but the latest. Alas, he turned on me in most wicked ways, starting in January. Thus, I am cast back to the wolves to fend on my own amid an unhappy and desperate existence. Though not w/o sporadic episodes of peace of mind (even joy)…and, thankfully, my personal conquest out of the well of depression and into a hopeful attitude once more. Minus my most beloved amigo. (Though, in truth, I sense his return with profuse apologies and a better-than-ever relationship. I surely hope this is my intuition kicking in and not just wishful pondering.)

So there you have it, Mellifluous Reader: a perfect storm that threatens to condemn me to continued friendless existence unto death, failing health, and even homelessness. Though I like to think that all these years of living down and out in Gay Mecca is destiny’s intent to inspire me to maintain compassion for our downtrodden and wake up the world to such misery…particularly for those who suffer such an egregious fate within our queer community.

And that, my friend, is a positive spin indeed. Just let us hope it’s not /also/ a positive spin to the grave.

I pray my novel takes off.

UPDATE: Egads, they excommunicated my brilliant comment. Surprise surprise! Guess their blogger considers this contribution by yers truly an imminent threat to her business as agent. You’d think she’d see a good story in it, and capitalize on the potential therein. Oh well, I can’t expect everyone to grasp my avatar-ish destiny. No one can clip my wings at this point…not even the hag Atropos.

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