The Best Short Story Never Read

As a writer you can write some fantastically insightful stuff knowing full well that few if any are going to care about reading it simply because truth lacking emotion is lifeless — boring to most. Or even that there are certain truths that most of us are hardwired to shy away from — emotional pain avoidance.

But then there are those times when you are absolutely certain that your article or story has hit all the right buttons. It’s a surefire winner. So you put it out there and nothing happens — absolutely nothing. And you say to yourself, what am I missing here?

Well here is what every writer sooner or later comes to realize. It is hardly ever the content of the writing that counts. It is who wrote it, or who theoretically wrote it. Are they already somehow famous — a celebrity of some note? Or do they overflow with academic credentials?

For instance, take a sort of mundane subject as sleep. Now I’m sure that thousands of articles and books have been written about sleep with little notice, some even by highly qualified doctors. But then along comes that well-known gadfly Arianna Huffington putting out a book on sleep and suddenly it’s listed as the number two best seller.

Fact is I don’t know if she actually wrote the book or just put her name on it, as Bill O’Reilly is so apt to do. Indeed, an editor once told me that I had a very nice book and if I could find someone of note to agree to be the coauthor he would be happy to publish it.

So, yes, selling books and stories is no different that selling any widget. This is why from soap to cars; businesses like to use famous personalities in their commercials.

Meanwhile I still have this neat (at least in my own mind) short story, McClellan’s Dreams, that I hope will perhaps accidentally catch on fire. It is going to have to be accidently so, because I’m a lousy promoter and have no interest in becoming famous. Sound familiar?

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