A few years back when I did standup, one lady would invite us to shows to get stage time. What many of us did not know was that she was getting paid to put on the shows, but the comics she invited did not. When called out on this, she became indignant. “Where’s you passion?” It was about that point where I decided I needed to do something else.
There is, of course, the cherished myth of the tortured starving artist. Jonathan Franzen nurtures this image of himself to the tune of several million a year. And while many of us write for pleasure – how else do you think I could keep doing this for 15 years without turning a profit – most of us would like to get paid.
Hence, my Dick wrote a novel. Why?
Because if you give nerds something they think is cool, they’ll buy it.
Look, yes, it’s about the money. But let’s be honest. If it was only about the money, I could ditch IT, stop wasting my time writing about cops and aliens (not in the same story. Mostly.), and go sell insurance or stock. Or I could even become a conspiracy-spinning pundit. Hey, I’m overweight, loud, and quite capable of scaring the hell out of people on the flimsiest of grounds. Think global warming’s bad? Smokescreen. Beware of global lukewarming. (Give this a month. Despite this blog’s low traffic, some moron will manage to make that go viral, and I will have to fly to New York with a tire iron so I can make Glenn Beck cry.)
Now, I could get really mercenary about it. There is one former midlister-turned-indie-evangelist who thinks artistic integrity is a myth. I know this because I used to read his blog (Don’t bother checking. It hasn’t been linked here for years) and even sat through it, once in a car. Do whatever your publisher tells you or your audience demands.
Yeah, I can see George RR Martin doing that. Hell, I’m pretty sure Reed Farrel Coleman does it all the time. (Oh, wait. Reed’s… um… What’s that word I’m looking for? Oh, yes. Good. Reed Coleman’s writing is quite good. Same with George RR Martin, though for different reasons.) The fact is that I (and, I suspect George and Reed) also have to get up in the morning and look in the mirror. I have to explain myself to readers. (Reed has hundreds of times more readers than I have. George has… Well, Reed and I both would like George’s numbers. Hence, my Dick wrote a space opera.)
It is about the money. But you have to love what you do for the money.
Why do you think supervillains laugh so much?