This Moment gets the distinction of being the most humble I’ve ever read. And yet, just as the best humor strikes at pain, in this humility is quite a lofty ambition. What happens when we cross that line from aspiring writer to professional? Whom do we become and how do we know we’ve become it? Erik Dewey found out in quite the smallest way–a moment, not a Moment. It could’ve been embarrassing even. But when it happened, Erik crossed that line to a new career…and found that he had made it.
I’m not sure what it says about me that I consider this my “made-it-moment,” but for me it happened when I received my first email from someone telling me why they wouldn’t buy my book.
I had written Mercenary Blues specifically to sell as an ebook. I uploaded files and filled out forms, waiting for that day when I could tell the world it could be purchased.
One section of the form asked for the book’s blurb. I had sketched out what I wanted to say so I quickly composed it on screen, clicked submit, and waited for Amazon to tell me all was good. In hindsight, I should have let someone else read over it first, but hey, lesson learned.
I got the email from Amazon and proceeded to tell the world about my new book. I’m co-host on a popular board game podcast, so they were the first group to hear the announcement. After posting the show, I went back to check and see if there were any reviews of the book (honest, I only check three or four times a day) when I noticed that in the very first sentence of my blurb I made a grammatical error. I used a possessive instead of a plural. Ugh.
No peril, I bring up the appropriate web form, make the correct change to the blurb and click submit. I get acknowledgment that the change will happen within 24 hours. I breathe a sigh of relief and hoped I dodged a bullet.
The next morning, I receive an email from a listener telling me that because of the grammar error in the blurb he would not be buying my book because he couldn’t be sure of the quality of grammar inside. Fair enough, even though you could preview the first five chapters online, it was his prerogative.
I drafted a reply that said how I felt like an idiot letting the mistake through and changed it quickly, but I understood how he felt and thanked him for being a listener. I thought such a note would disappoint me, but I realized that this guy held me to a higher standard, that as a professional author, I should know better (and I should). That is how I know I made it.
Erik Dewey hangs his shingle in the Green Country area of Oklahoma. He has written or contributed to over a dozen books and more than twenty magazine articles. In addition to writing novels, he is also a co-host of the On Board Games and OnRPGs podcasts and has way too many games in his house. He met his beautiful wife in a court-ordered defensive driving course and has been far better for it. Also on his website is the Big Book of Everything, a free PDF life organizer to document all of the important things someone would need to know about in the event of a death or catastrophic life event. He loves it when people read all the way to the end of his bio.