14 Sep

A few years ago a slightly seedy librarian of my acquaintance who had secured work as a librarian at a middle school asked me to come over and be famous for fifteen minutes. I knew what to expect: the kids would have no idea who I was, what books I had written, or why they were there. And of course my invitation was unsullied by any mention of payment. Nonetheless, I said yes. I figured once I had done this, the S.S.L. (Slightly Seedy Librarian) would probably never speak to me again, and getting her out of my life forever had a certain charm.

Everything went exactly as I expected. A class of seventh graders was led in to the library, staring blankly at the walls of books, and at me. They sat. And, knowing that they had no idea why this was being done to them, I proceeded to try to put the experience into terms I thought they could understand. I briefly mentioned a few of my books, including Vampire High, the only one that’s ever been optioned for the movies.

“Chris Columbus optioned it,” I said. “The guy who did the Harry Potter movies.”

One pudgy little man down at the far end of the first row raised his pudgy little hand and said, “Well, the Hrry Potter movies were a long time ago, so I don’t think having a movie deal with that guy makes you famous.”

“You’re right,” I said. “I’m not.”

Then another little boy raised his unpudgy hand and declared magnanimously, “I think having any kind of a movie deal makes you technically famous.”

When I was done laughing, I told him that I was going to get  a tee shirt with those words on it, and I eventually did. And I’d suggest to any writers reading this that you do the same. If you don’t need it now, you very well may later. And you don’t need a movie deal to be technically famous. You just have to be a writer.

BTW, I have never heard from the S.S.L. again. So I got paid after all.


  1. Jeyna Grace September 15, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    If you’re a good writer that is..

  2. douglasrees September 15, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    Maybe buy it with the money from your first sale.

  3. Gray September 21, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    Plenty of usefull details as well as creativity, each of which many of us need, i appreciate you for this kind of.

    • douglasrees September 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

      Starting out as a writer, publishing seems like a mystery wrapped inside a fortress. It’s tough to get real information, and even good info can become outdated quickly. For instance, last year you could see a book on 3 chapters and an outline. Now all they want is the complete text. The editors turned on a dime and didn’t tell anyone until they had done it. So I try to share the things I’ve picked up along the way. Hope they help.

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