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AUTHOR ZONE > It's Not My Fault and Other Half-Truths

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message 1: by Jim (last edited Nov 02, 2014 12:57PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic If a small town happens to be the home of a minor league baseball team, the sports section of its local newspaper almost always includes an interview with one of its rising young stars. The player's responses inevitably include an account of his boyhood dream of someday becoming a major league baseball player. Occasionally, one is moved up to the majors. The players refer to it as being in "the show".

Unfortunately, a rookie's performance does not always quite measure up to the major league expectations; so he is sent back to the minors after only one season in "the show". The first interview, upon returning to his former team, sometimes includes a declaration that the player is actually glad to be back. The reason is always some variation of the minor league being the last bastion of true baseball remaining. Its players participate solely for the love of the game, while major league franchises are just a business and its players are only in it for the money.

During my twelve weeks of boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), Parris Island, South Carolina many, many years ago, the drill instructors reminded us daily that, if any of us ended up among the 20% of recruits that typically wash out and are rejected, it would not be the fault of the drill instructors, the Marine Corps, or the training regimen. It would be our own fault, or as the DI put it: "You just couldn't hack it!"

Occasionally, an author will tout the fact that they are self-published by choice. They refuse to compromise their integrity as an artist by submitting to the editorial, content and schedule demands of a traditional mainline publisher. Some reveal that their first book was actually traditionally published, but they had been treated very badly or cheated by the publisher. Therefore, they now wholeheartedly embrace the freedom of self-publishing. They then go on to declare that many traditionally published books are just as badly written or poorly edited as some self-published books. Most then bemoan the fact that their book isn't selling very well. They blame the lack of sales on the stigma attached to self-published books, because so many other authors publish poorly written and badly edited books.

Writing a novel was just one of several items included in a bucket list that my late wife insisted that I create upon retiring in 2001. It was published Aug. 9, 2011. The latest quarterly sales report reveals that only 917 units have been sold to-date: 460 paperback, 403 e-book, 33 audio book on CD, and 21 audio download.

I do not believe that the poor sales are due to a lack of technical or marketing support from the publisher, some diabolical publishing cartel's conspiracy to corner the market, or the general reading public's lack of good taste. The most likely reason is that my book just isn't best-seller material.

There are good and bad participants in every profession or organization. No doubt, those mentioned in the previous examples may actually believe that their failure to succeed was not their fault. In a few instances, it may actually be the truth. I know for a fact that a few poorly written books have been released by traditional mainline publishers. But, based upon my personal reading experience, such books make up a very small percentage of the total.

No one succeeds every time at every endeavor. That's okay. The goal should be to learn from each failure and use the lessons learned to eventually succeed much more often than you fail. In order to learn from failure, one must first be willing to admit it when they do fail, accept full responsibility, then move on. Blaming others accomplishes nothing.

message 2: by Christine (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) I agree with your assessment. I was always taught that a failure was an opportunity to learn and grow. I was always told to take credit for my mistakes.

Blaming others makes no sense. We become the result of our choices, our successes and our mistakes. I don't think anyone would put their future into someone else's hands, so why blame someone else when things go wrong.

message 3: by Jim (last edited Nov 03, 2014 10:27AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic Christine wrote: "I agree with your assessment. I was always taught that a failure was an opportunity to learn and grow. I was always told to take credit for my mistakes.

Blaming others makes no sense. We become t..."

The second half of your comment reminded me of one of my favorite quotes.

"The past may dictate who we are, but we get to determine what we become."*

*Steven Spielberg (Film Director/Screen Writer/Producer) 1946 - Still Living

message 4: by Christine (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) That is an excellent quote and so true.

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