Why I Write

I went to the library that I used to go to when I was a kid the other day. I’m not one to be married to the past, by any means, but it had certainly changed. It’s not a city library anymore, but county,┬áso the dusty, smelly old books that used to crowd the shelves are replaced with sleek latest editions, and only enough of those to fill half the shelves. You can request any book you want on the computer. I expected as much, just from the rise of the ebook, but still. Gone are the days of staggering out with every book that interested me (which was all of them), precariously balancing a stack, while trying to read one of them, all the while being grateful for automatic doors, which likely saved many concussions for my 10-year-old self.

I lived at that library growing up. The librarians were amazing, and always had wonderful suggestions for me. The more I read, the more I wanted to write. I wanted to tell stories that gave people the kind of enjoyment I get from reading them.

That, right there, is the best piece of writing advice I ever received. Know why you write.

It’s not the same for everyone. Maybe you have an agenda, or a message. Maybe you want fame and glory and awards (more on that in a second). Maybe it’s a hobby. The list is long and varied.

A funny thing happens, as many of you know, when you go from one day I will have a book out to I am a published author, or somewhere in the middle, anyway. In fact, it happens earlier and earlier, thanks to the internet and social media. Things crowd out why you write. Twitter activism- if you follow a bunch of writers on Twitter, you are basically walking into a high school of very vocal, very opinionated people. Suddenly, you care about awards. Not just awards, but the process, the categories, and goddammit I want one.

Why do you write?

With the recent Hugo… cluster, and every goddamn controversy in genre before that (do crime authors deal with this shit?), for as much as I am interested in those things, and do care about them- guess what? It’s not why I write. I don’t need any hardware to validate my writing, me as a person, and certainly not any of my views (*cough puppies cough*). It doesn’t do me or my writing any good to dwell on them.

What’s my point in all this? Twofold, really. I never looked for any stamp on any of those books I read- Hugo Award Winner, Nebula Award Winner– and if they had some award or not, it wouldn’t have increased or decreased my enjoyment of them. So, as a writer, I have reached a point where I genuinely don’t care. Perhaps easy to say, since no one has, ya know, offered me a Hugo, but I can say I don’t particularly want someone to. What I want, as a writer, is people to read my stuff, hopefully enjoy it, and then hopefully tell someone to do the same. If things go really well, I will get to make a living off that.

As a reader, I care even less. If that’s the validation some people need, fine, whatever, that’s their business. But if your writing is a platform for your idiotic, selfish and bigoted worldviews, and awards and the process around them serves as means to draw attention to same, you can bet your sweet ass I will not be reading your book.

The First Annual Deano Awards

Tired of the Hugo Awards? Ready for something new? Welcome to the First Annual Deano Awards! The rules are simple- in each category, any work by Dean (me) qualifies, and the winner is chosen by Dean (me). This way there is no room for bias, no sad puppies and I think we all agree that the result is pretty darn good. Let’s to the presentation.

Dean: Welcome to the 2015 Deano Award Show! Let’s get right to it, with the award for Best Short Story. The nominees are:

Far

Dark Night

Both by Dean E.S. Richard. Let’s see who won!

[Dramatic lights and music]

And the winner is… Far, by Dean E.S. Richard. Dean, get up here!

Dean: Wow, this is really unexpected. I’m so honored. Given the strong competition in the field, I wasn’t really sure if I would win. Hoped, of course, but thank you so much to Dean, for selecting me for this honor, and of course Dean, for putting on such a great show. This is truly an honor.

Dean: Gracious as always! Let’s move on to best Novel.

[awkward silence]

Uh… You didn’t come out with a novel this year, Dean.

Dean: I was busy!

Dean: Well, we need a novel for the award.

Dean: …maybe it should be the Dean Lifetime Achievement Award?

Dean: …says the guy without a novel out.

Dean: Hey, it’s my show, asshole.

Dean: Fine, presenting the Dean Lifetime Achievement Award…

I Won a Thing

I really want to make Hugh Howey jokes.

But I won’t.

Instead, I will tell you a story. When I first started this adventure, not having a real clue as to what the hell I was doing, I made a list of place I wanted to target to get reviews from. I segregated it a bit, based on the size of it, readership, etc. One of the upper tier places was a blog called The Cult Den, which my friend Sara/Bella had written a guest post for once, so I figured I had an in. The twist was that the site had just been sold and, no, she didn’t know the new crew.

Damn.

I released 3024AD, and figured I’d shoot an email over at some point. First order of business was a simple tweet of “Anyone want a review copy?” The new editor, Steve replied.

So, that was easy.

He wrote a glowing review, which was incredibly flattering at that early stage, and doubly so since he ran a blog I really liked, and wanted a review from.

Super rad, right? But that’s not the end.

Fast forward to now, and Steve emails me to tell me 3024AD is The Cult Den pick for self-published book of 2013.

This is the part where words fail me.

Not that I am particularly well-known, but, man, adjusting to having fans is surreal- to say nothing of having anyone say “This is the best in the field” is… again, no words.

You’d think I’d have them, what with being a writer and all.

So, to The Cult Den, and all you dear readers who have made this a success, thank you. Thank you for reading and enjoying what I do, and I hope you stick around for the rest of the ride.

DESR