Do I look like an author to you?

Despite wanting to skip through the streets and scream from the rooftops that my book, my very own book, is going to be published in November, I don’t (other than the virtual street/rooftop you are reading this on now). I was raised to not brag and even though it’s not really bragging telling someone what you’ve spent the better part of the last year working on, it feels like it.

Often Annie will work it into conversations with people that don’t know the news. I guess it’s okay if your wife brags about you. She did this when we were home for Christmas.

“Kelsey is going to have his first book published in November,” Annie says to a family friend.

My face gets a little red and I feel an “Oh, shucks” coming on.

“Oh, that’s exciting,” says the family friend. “Who are you having publish it? Is it a publisher in Dayton?”

First, “having someone publish” the book implies that I paid a Print on Demand (aka Vanity Press) to do so, which I didn’t. Second, I never knew there were any publishers in Dayton, Ohio. If there are, they must be pretty small.

“No they’re from New York City,” I say. Actually Wiley & Sons is located in Hoboken, New Jersey, but you can see NYC from their office and they used to be located there, so that’s what I go with. I fight the urge to add a “you ever heard of it?” or, a “they paid ME,” or a “What the hell? Is it impossible to think that a large publishing house would actually pay little ol’ me for the rights to publish my book?”

A similar thing happened to me just last week. I was visiting my alma mater Miami University and was killing some time in the book store when I decided to ask one of the booksellers if they ever hosted any author events.

“Why?” She asked.

“Well,” I say, as my face, once again, reddens, “I have a book coming out in November.”

“Oh, a self-published book,” she says. (Note: this could also be a question, but it wasn’t; it was a statement.)

I understand that there are probably a lot of good books that publishers won’t stand behind because the “market isn’t good” for a particular book and self-publishing is the only way to give life to a work. I don’t have a problem with that. But considering that there are hundreds of thousands of books published each year by publishers, what makes these people think that my book couldn’t be among them.

Plus, there’s no way I could have afforded to pay to have my book self-published. The trip alone cost me (or I should say my second mortgage) $8,000. I am thrilled to have sold my book to a publisher because there was no way I could have sold the idea of paying to have it self-published to Annie: “Annie, my dear, I spent $8,000 on my quest, now for only a couple grand more we can have it published!”

She would have beat my (writerly) aspirations out of me.

What is it that makes people think I couldn’t be a paid author? Do I not look like an author or something?

Just Add Banjo
Just Add Banjo

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Kent says:

Dude… Where’s the tweed jacket complete with elbow patches?

Kelsey says:

What, and cover my guns?!

Annie doesn’t comment on the blog, but she reads nearly every post and comment. When she gets home from work today she is going to say, “Why do you always put such embarrassing photos of yourself on your blog?” I’ll try and stay strong and not delete it, but if you check back tonight and it’s gone, I’ve caved.

Melissa says:

That’s so condescending! I hate when people say things like that. The least they could do is say something like, “Oh, that’s great! Who is publishing it?” They still get to find out if it is self-published or not, but at least now they can conceal their uppity-ness and, in the case of the bookstore, they are in the business so it would be expected that they would be curious who is publishing your book.

It reminds me of one of my least favorite comments, “You look tired,” which is basically code for “You look like crap today.”

Anyway, regardless of what these other people say I am very happy for you. I’m sure I’ll purchase an extra copy or two for Christmas gifts (I think sharing an office with Kyle for 3 years–can’t believe it was that long–has transfered some of his “big brother pride”).

Jenn says:

Kent, the tweed jacket with the elbow patches currently resides in Kyle’s (Kelsey’s brother) closet. Actually, it’s corderoy, but that still counts, right?

Jenn says:

PS…Kels, that is a sweet picture. Any chance you want to ditch your tux in favor of a life jacket for the wedding?

Eva says:

November, wow! For some reason I always picture these things taking years.

And also, I can’t believe the woman in the bookstore used a statement! A questioning tone was the very least she could do, even if (for whatever reason) she had assumed on-sight that you were a self-publisher. Reminds me of the time when an airport bartender, instead of carding me, just told me to leave: “I’m sorry, you have to be 19 to be in here.” I was 24.

Kelsey says:

Melissa, If everybody who Kyle has worked with through his long, storied adventure through academia bought “an extra copy or two” I’d have a bestseller on my hands.

I always love when people tell me “You’re grumpy today.” Even if I wasn’t before they said this, I am after.

Jenn, I think I bought that jacket for Kyle. I thought he would wear it because it had so many pockets, the majority of which are “secret pockets”. I thought it would appeal to his inner dork. Guess not.

And yes, I will totally be showing up at your wedding in my “Full Thottle” life jacket.

Eva, I thought these things took longer, too. I thought I would have at least 9-12 months to finish the last 2/3’s of the book once a publisher picked it up. Surprise! Surprise! I have 3 months. Ten years from now you’ll give a bartender an extra tip when he underestimates your age by five years.

Kent says:


Corderoy definitely counts. Maybe Kels could borrow it for his big Barnes & Noble book signing.

Kelsey says:

I like corduroy pants. Basically, they’re social acceptable sweatpants. What wouldn’t there be to like about a cord jacket? Or would that be a bit too much corduroy.

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