With Apologies to the Beatles

I’m not sure why, but the week my book The Pirate’s Bastard came out, a long-forgotten song crept into my brain and wouldn’t leave.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I’ll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

When I was younger, I don’t recall focusing on the end product – a paperback or a hardback, an e-book or some other iteration – in which my stories might appear. I just wanted to write books. The Beatles’ standard still reverberates in my brain, but after two weeks, I think the volume in my head has turned down at least three notches so I can focus on other tasks.

There are more words to the Beatles’ song than I care to repeat here, but I honestly thought there was a line stating “I’ll be famous in a week or two….” After reading the lyrics which are posted for any who want to search for them, I stand corrected. Maybe my over-active imagination was working overtime.

Laura S. Wharton is the author of the novel The Pirate’s Bastard, recently released by Second Wind Publishers. Her website is http://www.LauraWhartonBooks.com, and her blog is LauraWharton.blogspot.com.


Filed under writing

4 responses to “With Apologies to the Beatles

  1. Laura: No lyric in PBW about becoming famous in a week or two; but the last stanza does say, “It could make a million for you overnight.”

    But the publishing industry, like the music industry, was much different in the 1960s, when Paperback Writer was popular (and yes, like you, I have a fondness for that particular Beatles tune, along with 25 or 6 to 4, the Chicago tune about a songwriter’s frustrations that most people mistake for a drug song).

    Then there is the Frank Zappa CD, Overnight Sensation. Yeah, well, that sort of thing does happen, but not nearly as frequently as it once did. The self-publishing industry and digital technology have combined to make it more difficult for the cream to rise to the top—anyone with a valid credit card can see their work in print today—and with more books in print than there are readers … well, you can see the emerging writer’s dilemma.

    Stay with it, though. When I stopped focusing on publication and learned to enjoy the creative process, I became a writer. Still, it’s nice to have a publisher want to see your work in print. It does inspire one to sit down to arrange words on a piece of paper.

  2. Truly, I was amused at my imagination adding words to the song (I write song lyrics, too, so it’s understandable, I suppose).

    The creative process is fun, to be sure. I do like the completion of projects just as much, though.

  3. christinehusom

    I saw the Beatles at the only concert they performed together in the Twin Cities in August, 1965. And it’s funny, but my memory was that it was the first time I heard the song, “Paperback Writer,” but as it turns out it was “A Ticket to Ride.” I had all their songs I had heard memorized at that point (and in the ensuing years). Maybe it was love of writing that produced that false memory–I don’t know!

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