On James Potter, George Lippert, and the Future (part 1)
So I have seriously never really considered writing a blog about me, George Norman Lippert, wannabe-writer, artist, 40-year-old husband and dad.
I mean, yeah, I’ve written a good bit as G. Norman Lippert, author of the James Potter series, but I was always careful to keep it pretty topic specific– i.e. what’s happening with the next story, how far am I along, what sort of challenges James, Zane and Ralph will face in the next book, etc, etc, etc. In short, I never really assumed anyone would be interested in hearing about my struggles as a would-be writer and a regular guy struggling (like so many others) to make it as a “serious” writer.
I mean, come on. How boring. Right?
But maybe some of you are interested after all. Maybe some of you are curious about it, or just want to commiserate, or are even (thank you very much!) cheering me on. After all, I am in an extremely, singularly (I think) unusual spot. Let me state it on its own line for the people who are just scanning this bit:
I am a million-read author who has never officially published a thing.
My books have never graced a Borders or a Barnes and Noble. I’ve never been reviewed by the New York Times. I don’t have a publisher, an imprint, or even so much as a literary agent who is willing to take me seriously. And still, amazingly, my stories have been read– and mostly very much enjoyed– by countless people around the world, in something like six or seven languages. How’s that for bizarre and even ironic?
I’ll be honest: most days, I vacillate between being very proud of this accomplishment, and kicking myself for it. Why, you ask? Because I have learned something very disheartening in the days since the release of “James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing”– that no matter how many readers one gets for a fan-fiction work, no literary agent– anywhere– on the planet– will see past the words “fan-fiction” (or even, for that matter, the word “Potter). It does not matter how many faithful readers one has garnered by such works, or how many articles, interviews, and news stories have appeared about it. One simply cannot be taken seriously as a writer, no matter what else he may have done, once the fan-fiction cat (or kneazle) is out of the bag.
In effect, by “launching” my writing career with the James Potter series, I have effectively (or so it currently appears) doomed myself to official literary obscurity.
So. I sound whiny, but the truth is, I have what any author wants more than anything in the whole world: I have readers. LOTS of them. And I thank you all from the very bottom of my heart. But the truth is that, of course, I want to (say it with me) Write For A Living. I don’t need to be a millionaire to do it, but I need to get paid SOMEthing. This brings me to a conundrum worth thinking long and hard about. Ready? Here it is:
If I write more James Potter books, I will keep my legion of readers, but get nowhere as a traditionally published author (and therefore never get to Write For A Living). If, however, I stop writing James Potter books and focus on my own original stories, I will certainly lose some percentage of readers, but perhaps (perhaps!) gain the attention of the serious publishing world.
Do you see my predicament? This is why I have been dragging my feet on a book four, despite my own interest in writing it, and the multitude of requests for it from my readers. UGH!
Needless to say, a lot rides on the response to my upcoming story, “Ruins of Camelot”. But that’s a blog for another day.
In the meantime, I will stew a bit more on this. I love the ride my writings have taken me on so far– it has been a singularly amazing experience, reaching so many enthusiastic readers from all over the world– and yet I am so frustrated and stymied in my search for that holy grail of all writers: the legitimate contract.
It’s like claustrophobia of the brain.
More later. I will try to make this a regular feature– maybe even daily– but no promises, and many of them will probably be very short. We shall see how the inspiration (or lack thereof) strikes. For now, its late and I am not tired. I am hungry. And frustrated. And a little whiny. And sorta hot. Sheesh.