Publishing Business Is a Very Dirty Business Nowadays

He drinks a coffee and asks, “Have you ever attended any writers’ lectures about how to publish and market a book?”

“Nope. I’ve never attended any lectures. Besides, I’m not interested in such a business lecture.”

“Shogo, I guess you’re very naïve,” he says considerably, “you have to understand that publishing business is a very dirty business nowadays. I know about it, for I’ve been attending a number of writers’ lectures, and all of them said the same thing. Let me enlighten you the reality. When you find a publisher, they give you a contract to read which is extremely complicated. Thus, you need to hire a lawyer to read them so that you won’t be deceived. Otherwise, you’ll be messed up; they’ll take every advantage to deceive you to make benefits.”

I frown and respond, “I guess you exaggerate the condition of publishing business too much. Of course, you’re right about me; I don’t know anything about it. However, I don’t believe that every publisher is dishonest, as you described. If every publisher has evil intentions, how can I find a right publisher?”

“That’s why you need a literary agent, Shogo. They know about book business all of the ‘ins and outs.’ They’ll help you to read a contract and find a suitable publisher for you. As a result, it’ll be better for you to start finding an ardent literary agent as soon as possible.”

“Thanks for the tip, but I still think that it’s early for me to worry about publishers, because I haven’t completed the book yet. Many thanks for your concern though.”

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It’s Difficult for Writers to Publish a Book Nowadays

As soon as I approach his table, he offers me the chair to sit down by saying, “How are you, Shogo? How is your book going on?”

I reply delightedly, “I’ve been better than ever! I’ll finish writing my first book soon – actually, it’s a matter of time now.”

“It’s great news; I’m glad to hear that. However, have you ever researched publishers or literary agencies? I’ve already told you many times that it’s difficult for writers to publish a book nowadays. And I prudently suggest that you should find a good literary agency to represent your book for your own good. It’s apparently not easy for you to find it; it will indeed consume a lot of your time to research them though. Shogo, as I’ve already explained you, writing books and finding publishers are totally different things.”

“Thanks for the advice, Majid. I understand your point, but I’m not going to start looking for publishers till I complete writing my book. I think I shouldn’t attempt to do two different things at the same time. For that reason, I would rather concentrate my whole energy on writing the book first. And then I’ll try to find a publisher or literary agency, as you suggested,” I reply earnestly.

 

As If I Were a Native Mexican Brother

Today it is a Fifth of April, and I am walking on streets of Condesa in full sunshine. Today walking on my way to Starbucks in the sun, tremendous joy is shooting through my whole being, for I am aware that I am going to complete writing my first book soon. “No more job! I’ll never work with mean Japanese bastards! That kind of meaningless life is finished in me!” I am exuberantly shouting at the top of my lungs.

As I enter Starbucks, everyone is greeting me and offering handshakes, as if I were a native Mexican brother. I am grabbing my coffee and about to look for a table; someone calls to me to join his table – it is Majid.

Majid is Malaysian and a yoga instructor. I met him two months ago at the same Starbucks. He asked me what I was doing in Mexico and told him that I have been writing a book. And to my great surprise, he told me that he is a writer and has been writing books, too. He quit his job as a pilot two years ago and decided to start doing what he truly wants to do for the rest of his life. He has been in Mexico for eleven months already. He has been writing three books at the same time, but none of them are completed. Now instead of writing his books, he always posts articles on his blog.

I Am Just Happy Being Alive

Time had elapsed quickly, and it was passing around 4:00 a.m. I was getting a little tired, so I went to my table to sit down to rest for a while. While I was relaxing blissfully, looking at people who were still dancing around and chattering away energetically, Rodrigo came to sit down beside me. He suddenly asked me, “What is your magic, Shogo? You know, actually, I’ve been drinking a lot tonight, but I can’t enjoy it fully like you. I don’t understand. You don’t drink any alcohol, but it seems to me that you are the happiest person in this evening. You look so bright and energetic. Also, you have spent a great time talking with beautiful women. You know, Shogo, I’m not drunk although I’ve drunk a lot. Please teach me how to be happy unrestrictedly like you.”

I was confused by his sudden remark and prattled, “I don’t know, Rodrigo. I can enjoy anything without alcohol. As you know, I don’t drink and don’t like alcohol. To be honest with you, I don’t like the taste of alcohol either. You want to know why I am so happy tonight, but I am sorry, I don’t know how to explain it, because I am just happy to be here, I am just happy with being alive, and I am just happy to see my friends again – that’s all, my friend. I don’t know.”

“You know, Shogo, you’ve had a serious illness. Remember, you came to Cancun about a year ago; you always went to a bathroom because of your stomach. But you enjoyed more than anybody that time as well. If I had your illness, I would be dejected, dispirited, and depressed. I couldn’t enjoy my life. But, Shogo, you seem not to care about your illness whatsoever – you enjoy life more than normal people, I mean healthy people. Sorry to say that, but I can’t stop wondering how you do it all the time.”

Pause.

“I don’t know exactly what to say, but what I only know is I am just happy being alive. Moreover, I always try to enjoy life. I assume it’s because I am in Mexico and far away from Japan, which make my spirit free as a bird tonight.”

“I’d better try to be happy just being alive, as you said. Maybe, I should follow your example.”

Here Ramon came to my table to inform me that we had to go to the hotel. While Ramon was saying good-bye to everyone, delightful Henri skipped toward me and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Hey, my Shogo! Are you going with Ramon right now?”

“Hey Henri, you look so happy tonight. Yes, I have to go right now because I’m going to stay with Patricia’s parents.”

“Oh, it’s very sad news indeed because I want to talk to you anyway. Are you coming to the cruise party tomorrow?”

“Henri, I can’t because I have to go back to Mexico City tomorrow.”

“It’s heartbreaking, Shogo. Anyway, I want you to know I like you very much as a friend. Before meeting you, I already knew a lot about you as if you had been my friend in all my life, because Ramon always talks about you. You are Ramon’s best friend, which means that you are my friend, too. You are an exceptionally good person, as Ramon told me. Hope to see you again very soon. Please don’t change who you are, okay? Shogo, you are very good person, so please don’t change, my Shogo.”

Do Not Want to Continue My Empty and Barren Life Again

In five days, I would have to go back to Japan to continue my empty and barren life again. I have to wake up 7:00 a.m. with a hysterical alarm clock every morning, take an oppressively crowded train to go to Sibuya Station, do what I do not want to do, pretend to obey my supervisor, and so on, such lifeless activities. My supervisor and my colleagues accused me of indiscretion because I told them that I would take a three-week vacation to go to Mexico. They said to me with a confounded expression on their faces, “Mr. Onoe, I just can’t believe you. I think apparently you don’t have any decency and responsibilities as mature people do because while everyone is working, you’re taking a vacation. Everyone has been working here longer than you, and on top of it all, you are new and have been working with us for only five months. I cannot believe how you dare to ask for taking such a long vacation.”

Japanese never change. They are just jealous of my free spirit and envy my free life. I know that at the bottom of their hearts, they secretly want to see the world, but they simply can’t do that because of fear of losing their jobs. And the worst part is that they never admit it because of their pride. What a bunch of vainglorious creatures! They are lamentably unable to realize one of important tools to improve themselves, experience. Just working five days a week like a machine for all their lives without experiences is just killing time. Making money and protecting their security might be good; however, without any enjoyment in one’s life, without any real friends in one’s life, and without any great adventures in one’s life – everything crumbles away from your fingers eventually. I have a few times left, so I should enjoy the rest of my time here at the most. Forget the inevitability of my return to Japan soon, but enjoy tonight at the most and thank to God for giving me the great opportunity to have this awesome experience.