Monday musings: Who is the greatest American hero?


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The Great American Heroes are the independent authors of today, and there are legions of them.

By Caleb Pirtle III

You probably never thought you were a hero.

You’re simply an author, you say.

That’s all.

You’ve just happened to cast your lot in life with eBooks and the digital revolution, and you say it’s hard to be a success.

There’s nothing heroic about it.

On some days, it seems that you merely throwing words against the wall to see if any of them stick, and some of them don’t, and the wall throws some of them back in your face.

Frustration sets in.

Don’t fret.

Frustration knocks on all of our doors.

For a writer, it always has.

In publishing, even during the days when agents and editors and traditional publishing ruled the industry, it was tough to be successful.

Finding an agent was hard.

Finding a publisher was even more difficult.

Selling your book was almost impossible.

A New York publisher might release 300 titles a year. The man in charge hoped that seven of them would sell enough copies to pay the losses on the other 293 titles and still make a profit.

Big risk.

Big reward.

Don’t despair.

Just remember one important fact.

Since the beginning of time, the world and all of humanity need storytellers.

You just happen to be a storyteller.

And you have a story to tell.

All you need is the Great American Hero.

You know him.

Or her.

The Great American Hero has long been the foundation of fiction, nonfiction, film, legends, and life.

The Great American Hero has always been the one who stood strong when he had no chance of winning, who went to war against overwhelming odds, who defied those odds, who refused to bend, refused to back down, refused to quit.

So who are the Great American Heroes of today?

Look in the mirror sometime.

The Great American Heroes are the independent authors, and there are legions of them.

They battle the fickle and unpredictable publishing business alone.

Only the fortunate few find someone to help them.

But they are willing to forsake any semblance of a normal, sensible life and invest their time and their talent, their hopes and their dreams, their last ounce of sanity in novels they pray someone will buy and someone will want to read.

Frustrations come.

But like a bellyache, it passes.

Indie writers keep getting knocked down.

They keep getting back up.

They don’t give up.

They don’t quit.

They can’t.

There is always another story to be told, and the Great American Heroes can’t wait to tell it.

Caleb Pirtle III

is the author of more than seventy books, including the Ambrose Lincoln series.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle has written three teleplays, and wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild.

Pirtle’s narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third best selling art book of all time.

Learn more about Caleb on his:

And follow him on Twitter @CalebPirtle.