Monday, November 13, 2017

Putting Myself "Out There" for You

Marketing a book is walking a fine line between art, and pissing people off so bad they won't even consider buying it. I'm not good at it, so I appeal to the masses who read this blog for whatever reason.

I'm a bus operator. I make a decent wage, but I'm by no means "rich," as many passengers seem to think. To publish this book, I took out a personal loan. In order to pay it back, I need to sell "x" amount of books. Anything after that is gravy. Nobody who self-publishes their first book can realistically expect to make a mint off of it. Unless, of course, they're the 21st century version of Mark Twain. Wish it were true, but reality tells us he remains one of a kind. While many people give me praise and kudos, I don't know; maybe I'll strike a chord, maybe not. People are fickle these days. Thirty-second sound bites are their collective limit. Is this the bill for me? Just thinking it's a possibility is an impossible claim that is easily contradicted by today's online judiciary. I can only hope my words resonate with the masses as I hit you with new blog posts and upcoming books.

Someday I know it's going to come out. Publicly. "The Deke's real name is..." When it happens, I'll claim it. It would be cowardice to hide any longer. The blog is nearing five years of age, I've left clues to my true identity that any idiot could pick up on. It's as if I'm begging to be "outed." Even so, my employer cannot reasonably find cause to fire me for speaking my mind. They may own my body five days each week; this soul belongs to me.

I'm constantly in awe of fellow bloggers who write using their true name. That takes cajones grandes, man. There are times I feel like a coward, and ask my readers whether I should reveal my true identity. The overwhelming consensus is a raucous "NO!" Why is this? Because my anonymity allows a certain sense of freedom. I can write more honestly about the job we do out here. Fellow bus operators enjoy when I land a bullet in the mid-section of our reality. Al Margulies, one of my biggest supporters, advocates that I lose the pen name and tell the world who I am. While I'm honored by his constant support from the beginning, I bow to the majority who disagree with him. For now. Robert in Florida supports me, and he writes a fantastic blog as himself. Why must I hide? It's a personal conundrum, and the energy it takes to keep the myth alive is a bit tiresome. This pseudonym secrecy is bound to end. The only question is, will Deke die with his integrity intact, or just fade away?

Hey, it's just a book full of blog posts. Just like this one, almost. It's not earth-shattering, just honest. What's it like to be me? Read the book. That's all. I don't presume to speak for every bus operator. Many disagree at times with what I have to say, most assuredly. However, they respectfully reserve their opinions for whatever reasons. It's a strange web woven by a man who ended up in this profession at the dawn of my fifth decade and decided to write about it.

I am about to distribute copies of my book to the local media. Our International ATU President Larry Hanley has one, and I eagerly (with trepidation) await his review. I'm putting myself "out there" for critical review. Some will be positive, others not so laudatory. Whatever the result, I'm ready. It's "showtime," folks. Not all reviews will be five-stars. As a writer, I can only hope to sell some books while avoiding the appearance of a simple blue-collar wannabe artist.

Some love us, others do not. We're portrayed more negatively in the press than what we truly are. "Shepherds of public safety," my brother Tom Horton says. I repeat this phrase ad nauseum because it accurately depicts transit operators worldwide. We are constantly vigilant, keeping our fellow citizens as safe as they allow us to. Each time we grab the steering wheel of "The Beast," be it bus or train, our passengers depend on a safe and smooth ride. Many take us for granted, as if we're their servants. We are not. Quite simply, we're just humans who provide time travel for our riders. Without us, they'd have to walk, and that's just not feasible. We're vital cogs in each city's economy.

When I smile and greet you, remember it's not because I serve you; it's because I truly enjoy my job and I want you to know that I'm here to provide you a safe journey. We might even strike chords together. We're all just people, you know. It's a privilege and joy to drive you... not just a paycheck.

Peace be with you, wear bright clothing, and be well. I'll be happy to roll with you, if you choose to be seen.

* * * * *

Buy my book here...