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How To Be A Professional Writer, Pt. III: Integrity Is Everything

December 5, 2009

OK, so now we have a book that someone, thank goodness, believes is worthy of being published.  My editor, Joelle, is still talking to me, albeit solely by e-mail, and I am still happy with the content at this point, although I will admit to being a bit jealous of it.  The art design was done in Australia and the manuscript is now on a slow boat to China to be printed.  It’s not even out yet, and already this book is better-traveled than I am.

Now what?  Well, times are tough, and despite what you might think, writing is not really a way to get rich, or even a way to keep yourself in change for the parking meter.  Not that money is an important factor here.  Ask any writer and they will tell you that keeping your integrity is of paramount importance. A writer who lies to his or her readers will never have a loyal audience.  I, for example, consider myself to be a writer with just boatloads of integrity.  When I write, I try to tell the truth as I see it.  I’ve written a book that came straight from my heart as well as from my mind, Lord help us all.  I, like my writing comrades, would rather starve than compromise my integrity.

So  last week I happened to be having lunch with a friend of mine who still works for one of the same advertising agencies where I used to work.  Advertising agencies have also taken a big hit, but their troubles go back much further than the recent economic downturn.  Things started to get really dicey for the ad agencies when the TV-watching public discovered that if they videotaped their favorite television shows and watched them later, they could fast forward through the stuff no one really needs to see, like Beyonce trying to convince the world that she actually shops at Wal-Mart.   TiVo made things even worse because commercials could be edited out completely.  Needless to say, these turns of events got ad execs’ knickers in a big ol’ twist and they’ve had to get even more creative about how to expose an increasingly fickle American public to their clients’ products.  It’s such a big deal to them that they have entire departments of executives whose sole job it is to find a way around this problem.  My friend Rachel is one of them.

“So you have a book coming out, right?”, my friend asked thoughtfully.  “And you write a blog.  Blogs are very popular right now.”

“Well, the blog is doing OK”, I replied modestly.  “I’m having a good time with it…”

It didn’t take her long to come right out with it.  “Do you think the next time you post something you could mention one of my clients?”

I thought this over carefully as I cracked open the ice-cold Diet Pepsi she had handed me.  “Rachel, is that ethical?”, I asked.  “I’m not sure I should be endorsing anything.”

“You know, it pays pretty well”, she said, picking a piece of lint off her Old Navy Three-Button sweater with raglan sleeves.  “I hear publishers aren’t paying as much as they used to…”  She pursed her lips for emphasis, and I noticed that the Maybelline Shine Seduction lip gloss she was wearing offered unusual shine and emollient-rich conditioning protection.

“Still, how would it look if every time someone read my blog all they saw was a bunch of odd references to random products?”

I stood up and walked to her living room window in my Reebok Premier Aztrec running shoes.  The burden of what she was asking me to do weighed heavily upon my sense of integrity, but luckily for me, the DMX Ride technology in the soles provided extraordinary and long-lasting cushioning.  As I gazed out, I could clearly see her Mercedes E-350 sedan with its 268-hp, V-6 engine gleaming in the sunlight.

“No problem”, she Coca-Cola’d with a smile, as she Oxycleaned the IKEA-brand “Billig” table with inset drawers where we had Ethan Allen our lunch.  “It was just a thought.”

Drink ice-cold, refreshing Coke. You need Coca Cola. You are getting sleeepyyy....

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2009 1:06 PM

    The truth is a hard sell, but we all gotta keep trying.

    Dr. B

  2. December 5, 2009 9:20 PM

    Bravo!!!
    My-oh-my…for a second there I thought you were going to sell out. Am I ever relieved!

  3. Kevin permalink
    December 5, 2009 7:18 AM

    Why do I want to rent “Wayne’s World” right now?

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