How Does One Measure Success? By Their First Novel Sold or Their Last Novel Turned Blockbuster at the Box office…Either Works for Me

I have to wonder what some of the classic writers thought of their chances to become mega stars, especially twentieth century authors.jaws

Hemmingway was able to see his work on the big screen. On the other hand, J.R. R. Tolkien lived well into the twentieth century, but never saw one of his masterpieces on the silver screen. This was due in part to the technology required to produce such a film. It didn’t exist until just before the millennium and was necessary to do the stories justice. Peter Benchley, although not one of the great classic writers, brought us Jaws. I can’t think of any other movie that changed an entire generation’s perception of swimming that still exists today. J.K. Rowling, again, although not a classic author, became a billionaire off the series of Harry Potter books. Stephen King has had more novels turned into motion pictures and television series than I care to count.

I know I’m not the only author who would like to enjoy this amount of success. I would be happy enjoying any amount of success. As you and I have found, writing and publishing can be a daunting task. We have also found that enticing someone to read your book makes the writing and publishing aspect seem like lying in a hammock sucking on a mint julep.

As I lean back in my chair and close my eyes, the wavy lines of a dream sequence send me to a mahogany covered library. This is where I pen my best sellers and decide whether or not to accept this year’s Nobel Prize for literature.

“Mr. French,” I say, to my gentleman’s gentleman, “how many times must I turn down these measly prize offers?”

“I cannot say, sir; you know your immense popularity eclipses the sun.”

I sigh heavily, “The burden I have placed upon myself is indeed hard to bear, but for my adoring public I shall go on.”

“And by the by, sir,” Mr. French says, “your latest movie series has just topped 34 bazillion dollars.”

“See to it that pittance goes to as many countries as possible to end world hunger, and don’t forget the hundreds of wells we’re drilling around the world.”

“Right away, sir.”

“And French, see what’s holding up that—”

My tiny office chair slips, depositing me on the floor, breaking me from my reverie.  I’ve gotta get that chair fixed. Picking myself off the ground along with the chair, I sit back down and decide whether to work on my latest novel or delve into the pit of marketing.

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