The end of an odyssey (and the start of a new adventure)

For the past 10 years, I've been working on a little side project that has come to be known in our house as "The Book."  I've committed regular "writing nights" (Tuesdays, if you're curious) to it to force myself to complete chapters even when I wasn't feeling particularly creative or funny.  I've washed dishes until my hands cracked to give me something to do while my mind wandered and tried to find its way around obstacles in the story.  Then, after several years of nights and weekends, breaks and restarts, I finished the last chapter, only to realize that now I had to go back and edit it.  I printed out a copy and put it away, because I couldn't bear to look at it anymore.

Then, after taking a year or so to work up the courage to dive back in, I started the editing process.  That, too, took a couple of years, as my children grew up and my job became more demanding.  I had to update the technology references.  I looked for places where the main character "flipped his phone open" and made sure he was swiping instead of pushing buttons.  I agonized over particularly funny sequences that slowed the story down and I groaned over particularly unfunny sequences that seemed like a good idea at the time.  As I worked, I found typos made by tired fingers, misnamed characters caused by toddler interruptions, and plot points that needed tightening.  I also found a bunch of scenes that still made me laugh, as well as sequences that had become so embedded in my brain that I had started to think that they were real memories until I saw them on the laptop screen again.  I enjoyed visiting my characters again and helping them tell an even better story.

Somewhere in the midst of this, I also did what every writer is supposed to do: I tried to find a publisher.  I wrote and rewrote my query letter and sent it to friends asking, "Would you buy this book?"  Or course, they're my friends, so most of them said, "Yes!"  Unfortunately, the publishers and book agents weren't so friendly.  I received polite form letters in some cases, echoing silence in most. The book industry wasn't ready for my masterpiece.  Just for fun, I reached out to a friend in the film industry who had connections with a studio or two.  He submitted my manuscript for consideration to be turned into a movie, mainly as a way for me to get some semi-professional feedback.  I was unsurprised when the studio passed on the opportunity to adapt it for film, and I chose not to be offended that the studio's reader put the word "humor" in quotes in his evaluation.

Somewhere along the way, Amazon offered an alternative for aspiring authors, and I chose to take it. Kindle Direct Publishing gave me the chance to put my book in readers' hands without the need for a publisher, so I decided to take it.  I know that there's some stigma associated with self-published books, and I've read enough of them to know why.  I don't know whether my book is good enough to rise above the noise, and in some ways I don't care.  All I want is for people to read it, to share in a story that has kept me and my close friends and family entertained for years, but with the added benefit of being able to read the whole thing at once rather than chapter by chapter.  I want to share it, with the hope that it will entertain, that readers will laugh a little, chuckle a few times, and maybe even guffaw once or twice when a phrase take a surprise swipe at their funny bone.

I also want to share this crazy world that I've inhabited for the last 15 years or so, full of intelligent, quirky, and painfully honest people who are more interested in solving problems than making anyone feel good about them.  Software development is a world where nudists can work the night shift, where cursing someone out in Russian is just the prelude to a stirring debate on application design, and where it doesn't matter how you look or how you sound, as long as you can build cool stuff.  I love this industry, and I expect I'll spend the rest of my career here, solving incredibly complex problems with a group of hyper-logical oddballs who challenge me every day to deal with the fact that I'm not the smartest guy in the room (although I'll still force them to prove it).  I can't bring everyone into the office, but I want to give them a glimpse -- albeit a satirical, exaggerated one -- into this amazing industry that I call home.

Here's my book.  I hope you enjoy it.

Hollywood.bomb, the novel, now available on Amazon.com


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