Ask Dayton 91 – Of Bacon and Best Sellers
Congratulations for hitting The New York Times Best Seller List! What went through your mind when you got the news? How did you celebrate? Was there bacon with Stormy Daniels in attendance as Steel Panther played? What is next for the great Dayton Ward?
The first thought which raced through my head upon hearing this glorious news was that my asking price and appearance fee schedule was about to get a serious tweaking.
For example, “Writing out answers to questions submitted by internet radio shows?” That shit just tripled.
What happened next? Well, the moment after I got the news, I went back to preparing dinner for my wife and kids, who were due home shortly after that. Such is the life of a star, yo. I can’t really say there was any bacon involved…well, no more than usual, anyway.
As for Stormy Daniels? She’s still not returning my calls. When I give that serious thought, I have to admit that I can’t really blame her.
To set this up with some proper context, we have to acknowledge the factors which played into what eventually happened. First off, my novel Peaceable Kingdoms was the fifth installment of a five-book miniseries. The previous books in the series, by and large, were all well received by the people who read Star Trek novels and/or pay attention to such things. Because of how well the preceding four books did, I figured I could count on at least some bump in attention with my book as I closed out the miniseries.
When the previous books started hitting The New York Times Best Seller List, that’s when I began to think, “Hey, this just might happen.” Of course, as there was precious little I could do to affect any sort of outcome at this point, I tried not to dwell on it too much, because I’m a superstitious fuck and I didn’t want to jinx the whole damned thing. I prepared for the possibility of being the guy who lets the team down after allowing myself to think I’d won a battle which had yet to be fought. Remember what Toby Ziegler said during Bartlet’s second election on The West Wing:
“You want to tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing?”
No, I’d rather not.
“Then go outside, turn around three times and spit. What the hell’s the matter with you?”
So, when I did finally get the news, I was very jazzed. Yes, it’s a milestone for me on a personal level, because from now on, publishers can put that little blurb above my name on the book cover. Even if my book only stays on the list for a single week, being labeled a best seller is like getting nominated for an Oscar or contracting herpes: that shit’s forever, people.
You know, kind of like the aftertaste of well-prepared bacon.
However, there’s also a bit of a relief that I didn’t let down my fellow authors on the miniseries. Everyone worked so hard on this thing, not just on their own novels but also when it came to providing assistance or advice whenever they were asked. I know I certainly picked a few brains while writing my book, so I was just happy I didn’t screw the pooch. That would’ve been embarrassing the next time we all got together for a convention or something, right? Imagine that greeting in the hotel lobby:
“Way to dick up the momentum train, dumbass.”
In addition to my fellow writers, there also are my editors at Pocket Books to thank. The book you read didn’t get to be the book you read just from me writing it, that’s for damned sure. I got good notes back from my editors, and my copyeditor, and then a continuity editor/proofreader, all of which helped to improve the book I wrote. Then there’s you, the person who plunked down hard-earned coin and bought a copy. Thanks for doing that. It means a lot.
What’s next for me? You mean aside from finishing up the current novel in progress? Laundry, I’m thinking, followed by breakfast, which is almost certain to include some of that aforementioned well-prepared bacon. Afterward, I’ll maybe pack a few boxes. We’re soon to be relocating to a new Ward Manor, you know, and I’m not able to afford minions to take care of my grunt work.
Maybe I get minions if my book stays on the list for more than one week.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.