La Diva II: Several Years Later…
When last we left La Diva, she had lost her contract with her publisher. In a fit of rage, she trashed said publisher and was shunned by every other publisher. Not one to be daunted by such a trivial thing, she decided to self-publish, only to discover that she has to do the very promotion to sell her books now, but that she has no support system. Every cent earned goes into blog tours with companies who don’t listen to her suggestions, who tell her that they know far better than she how to do their business.
One thing she’s lacking with the dozen books she now has published is reviews. This is why she’s putting out money that should go to rent and other basic necessities to blog tours. The tour operators request reviewers, but very few volunteer, and most of those refuse to post their reviews, citing the lack of editing in her books. She stands by her determination to do whatever it takes to become famous… even if she has to haunt local wi-fi hotspots in order to access the internet.
Nothing will stop La Diva from her planned success.
Nothing, except yet another month of poor sales and snarky reviews.
She’s had to admit that her grand plan to be a world renown author is failing. The rent is past due, as are her utility payments and other debts. She’ll soon have no internet connection, no power to her home, no place to live. Admitting partial defeat, she takes a job as a clerk at a big box store, swearing that won’t stop her from becoming a world famous author.
Bitterness settles in. Our darling diva discovers her “uneducated” coworkers have no interest in her books. They complain when she won’t stop talking about her latest blog tour, or how expensive a cover artist is, so she has the perfect cover for her newest book. Her supervisor writes her up for going online during work hours, to check her sales, to see if there’s anything new she can do to promote her work.
Day after bitter day, a new stumbling block presents itself. The blog tour owners tire of her continual micro-management of the tours she books and begin to turn her down. Her online writer friends abandoned her during that whole publisher debacle and she can’t find any new friends to help her. Even her family doesn’t want to hear more about her troubles.
In danger of losing the only job she’s qualified for, desperate to become a world-renowned author, La Diva makes the difficult decision to stop acting like she doesn’t need anyone. It’s difficult, but she manages to listen to her coworkers, hear what they say about books they’re reading. Darling Diva remembers some advice she received years ago, when she was still in college, still believed that she would set the world on fire with her fine prose.
“Never give up. Never stop believing, but also never burn your bridges.”
Ah, the light dawns in her shuttered eyes. She burned bridges—with her publisher, her writer friends, her regular friends, her coworkers, everyone important to La Diva has abandoned her and she’s now alone in a cold, cruel world.
“What am I to do?”
At a loss as to how to best achieve the success she can see but not touch, La Diva goes back to the beginning again. She looks at the reviews, shudders under the candidness of the people who have bothered to write their opinion about her books.
“Fell asleep on page 1.”
Every single book also has the same statement. “Didn’t I read this same story in the last five books by this author? What a loss!”
Pain develops in her stomach. She huddles over a bowl of Ramen noodles fast cooling in her unheated apartment, as the gas company finally got tired of her excuses about not paying. Her fingers ache from the cold. Her head aches from eating Ramen 3 times a day. She finally begins to wonder if she’s been wrong all along.
“No one will help me fix this. I made this mess. I have to fix it myself.”
The words warm her in a way that she hasn’t experienced since she won an award for writing a stellar composition in high school. She spends the next few weeks rereading all of her published books, but never misses a day of work. Her coworkers stop talking to her, but she’s no longer in trouble with her boss for being online at odd times during the day.
La Diva finally figures out what everyone has been telling her all along. She has books with a good idea but the execution is horrible. She sits at her computer during her off hours, working now on a very different book.