It crossed my mind as I was composing my request for help on a problem I was having with Amazon’s e-book publishing just what this division of a hyooge nourmous corporate entity is doing.
Being an American outfit, they’re making money. Yup. I’d love to own a piece of the action.
But what do they actually do? What am I trying to say here?
Amazon.com is providing creative people, artists for that matter, with a venue to achieve their dreams.
Providing artists with a way to achieve their dreams.
And they’re doing it for free. I haven’t given them a penny up front.
In the past few days, I’ve uploaded a book to their contest in the wild and crazy hope of hitting a prize worth $50,000.00. Yeah, that’s like hitting the lottery; especially when I read the works of so many other writers and authors out here whose skills and talents are what I aspire to.
Even so, I get a chance to go head to head with them. Like Rocky Balboa getting into the ring with Apollo Creed, I just wanna go the distance.
And all it cost was some sweat and tears. Not a drop of blood thank God! And I’m getting in the ring with the likes of Grisham, Clancy, Walker, Scott, Kellerman (Mr. and Mrs.) and a host of incredibly talented people. Not to mention Stephen King. Alice Walker. Collen Hoover. DD Scott. I could go on and on and on...
Somewhere back in the 1990’s I saw Jeff Bezos on Letterman. All he did was laugh at how his company was losing millions of dollars of investor equity every month. I thought he was such a fool. I had no confidence in what he was trying to achieve, and I couldn’t see him having a shot at unseating Borders.
Saw him on 60 Minutes, riding some toy tricycle down the corridors of Amazon HQ having a blast. Laughing and laughing.
I sit here now, for the first time in almost thirty goddam years feeling a bit ashamed of myself.
That guy; that ‘fool’, has given me a new lease on life.
Jeff Bezos gave me hope.
He did it by giving me an opportunity to make money, to build a future. All I have to do is work at my dream.
All I have to do is work.
I have to develop my craft as a writer- and because of the people I’ve met here online I have so many people helping me. And like Mr. Bezos, they don’t realize they’re doing it. After listening to them, I simply have to work at getting better at my craft.
One brief example- in the process of uploading my book for the Amazon Breakthough Novel contest, by perusing the forums, I had the opportunity to learn about semi-colons. That I paid attention to, and as a result, my book is better.
I have to work to create the best book I can.
And throw out my crap and start all over again. And again. And again.
When I listen to the guidance on the web, and have the best work I can produce, I have a tool at my disposal- a tool that cost millions and millions of dollars to build and maintain that’s available to me- free of charge. To turn my production into money.
Yeah, yeah, I gotta market my ‘stuff’. I got it. Selling’s important. I get it.
And oh God how I love to write. I was born for this...
But I don’t have to go to a vanity press and drop a few grand; I don’t have to maintain an inventory of printed books; I don’t have to scrounge for meetings with book buyers. I don’t even have to bug publishers or agents!
I have to look for readers.
Readers. And that’s what writers crave.
For the past eight months, I’ve woken up energized and motivated. Because I’m chasing my dream.
And I’m but one of over a million people out there- a million writers and authors- chasing a dream.
Jeff Bezos, his investors, and most importantly the team he’s assembled, has unleashed a tsunami of human creativity.
And he’s making a fortune doing it.
Good for him.
If you are reading this, and you’re trying to fix a plot line, polish an opening paragraph, tighten up your blurb, learn about punctuation so that your book is better, you know what I mean.
You’re chasing a dream. You’re running it down.
And while your running after your dream, look at your feet! And thank the people- the slew of people at Amazon.com. From Jeff Bezos and the investors that believed in him while losing millions, to the person that replies to your support request. They built and maintain the path you, and I, are running on.
And I will never, never ever, be able to repay them. How can you repay a dream? How can you repay Hope?