I'm pleased to welcome Aaron Michael Ritchey to my blog today. Aaron was born with Colorado thunderstorms in his soul. He's sought shelter as a world traveler, an endurance athlete, a story addict, and even gave serious thought to becoming a Roman Catholic priest. After too brief a time in Paris, he moved back to the American West and lives semi-comfortably with three forces of nature: a blonde hurricane, an artistic tornado, and a beautiful, beautiful blizzard.
Aaron's new release is The Never Prayer, a paranormal YA novel from Crescent Moon Press.
"Torn between her love for an Angel and a Demon, Lena thinks she knows the difference between Heaven’s Fury and Hell’s Desire. She never had a prayer…"
Selling vs Sharing - The Truth About Being a Published Author by Aaron Michael Ritchey
Thank you so much, Patricia Stoltey, for letting me crash your blog and sing my truths. Wow, that sounded grand. But let’s go with it.
I attended the RT Book Lovers Conference this past April and it was one of the most powerful writing experiences I have ever had. If you are a book lover, I’d mark it in your calendar, sell plasma to afford the travel, and get your butt there.
But even though I loved RT, when I first arrived, I stood in the lobby, lost and frightened. Who was I to be there peddling my little book? Who was I to stand next to bestselling writers from huge presses who have sold millions of copies? Who was I to think I could be an author?
I was a frightened, little man living on just this side of hopeless. I wanted to leave. I wanted to run away.
And then I thought about my little book, The Never Prayer. I thought about my heroine Lena, alone, afraid, holding her little brother while they both wept because they were both orphans in a cold, hard world. Lena grows up in my book, she reaches out for help, she grieves, she loves, and she finds courage to do an impossible thing that saves countless lives.
I realized I wasn’t there to sell my books, grease palms, or suck up to industry professionals. I was there to share my story.
If writing is all about me getting rich and famous, I should be afraid. Because then I’m alone, trying to sell you something you may not want to buy.
My job, as a writer, is to bear witness to the wonder of this world, the wonder, the joy, the heartbreak. My job is not to sell my books. Nope. Let me repeat that for those out there, alone, afraid, overwhelmed. My job is not to sell books. My job is to share my story.
My stories are uniquely me. Just as your stories are uniquely you. Let’s share them with the world. We might get an audience of a million. We might only get an audience of one. But it’s still worth it.
My first novel, this huge, rambling, complicated mess, well, I used to pitch it as David Lynch meets Lord of the Rings done as a Shakespeare play. Lost yet? Yeah, I know. Complicated mess. Postmodern, Post-Urban Fantasy, Post Toasties. But my best friend read it, one of the only people to get through it all, and he cried at the end because we shared a similar struggle—it’s hard to live in the real world when our fantasy worlds, in our heads, seem so much better. I touched him. The book was worth it. My audience of one. Thanks, Peter.
At the RT Book Lovers Conference, once I got over my fear and self-doubt, I had a wonderful time. Talking to writers. Laughing. Networking. Holding a woman as she cried about her brother who had just died.
I’ve heard it said that all of our needs will be met through selfless service. We will get what we need when we reach out to help others.
I’m a writer. I’ve been gifted with the ability to shape plot, create characters, sing songs that just might have a powerful effect on the people who hear them. If I remember it’s not about selling books. It’s about sharing my story.
Aaron, thanks so much for a touching post that encourages and inspires. We all need to hear these words from time to time.
For more information about Aaron and The Never Prayer, visit his website and blog. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.