I started writing what I consider to be my first real story way back in 2004. The writing world has changed a bit since then…yeah, I know, there’s an understatement if I ever heard one.
Has this subject been blogged about? Probably just a million times or so. But I felt (actually, if truth be told, became very excited about) the need to write this a couple of weeks ago when I walked through a local grave yard known as the Savannah Mall. Yeah, just like many other malls it is dying piece by piece or should I say store closure by store closure; bankruptcy by bankruptcy. It really drove the point home for me when I walked through their food court at lunchtime with only a handful of people sitting to eat and every food vendor I passed was begging me to taste their cuisine. They all heard a polite no thank you. Something I’m guessing they hear a lot of these days.
At this point you might be asking yourself what has this to do with, well, anything.
Well, you know how thoughts can bounce around in your head…one thing led to another and as I stood in the mall I realized all of my beginning writing experiences would not have materialized if I had started writing today.
In 2005 I had decided to self-publish my first book. You see, my father’s health was deteriorating quickly because the cigarettes he enjoyed so much in life finally caught up with him. My dad had openly wished to me how great it would be if one day he could see a book of mine in a local book store. I knew what I had to attempt to do and I knew querying for months, heck, maybe years, was out of the question. My mission, create my own book to self-publish and beg the local family book store to put my book in their window for a few days so that my father could see it. With what I knew at the time, this could almost have been labeled a Mission Impossible task, complete with me listening to a tape that self-destructs in 5 seconds. Yes, insert their theme music to that here. Lol
Within weeks I learned (funny what you can learn when you really need or want to), created and self-published my first book. Okay, perhaps not a high quality book to say the least, but a book none the less. And not the 350 page book I had inspired to do, but a 150ish novella sized book. Still, I was kinda proud and much more importantly it put a smile on my dad’s face holding the book in his hand. Next came the begging…
So I went to the local bookstore that was part of the local outside mall. And crazy enough, I didn’t have to beg at all. As a matter of fact, after I told the owner what I was doing, not only did he put my book in the window, he also put a few copies in his store and said to me, let’s go all the way with this and have you do a book signing for your dad to come to. I’m sure my jaw had dropped! I have to admit that was one of my coolest and happiest moments.
So yes, my dad was able to come to the book signing and his smile was even bigger and he got to brag to his friends all about it. I think I even sold about six copies that day to strangers who hadn’t the foggiest idea who I was. Go figure.
Fast forward to today. Could this happen now, anything is likely right? But, about ten years ago that family owned bookstore closed down as traffic slowed to a crawl in that mall.
I’m not going to blame this or that for malls dying or family owned bookstores slowly going the way of the dinosaur. Times change, things change, I get it. The bottom line is as I was just standing in the emptying Savannah mall, I realized in these times that really cool moment, probably does not happen.