Tuesday, February 28, 2012



I’m continuing my look at whether I’d be a writer if I had to be elected to the position. Previously I reviewed the benefits and drawbacks of the job; now I’ll consider the term of office and job performance standards (defined as the number of books I could write during a term of office), and take a look at my constituents and how I’ll reach them.

Supreme Court Justices serve for life or until they’re fed up with attorneys arguing and with having to defend decisions plenty of people don’t like. Then they retire. But those folks are appointed and confirmed by high-ranking office-holders, none of whom would be likely to appoint or confirm me—to the high court or any other post. So I’d have to run for my office.

The question is: How often do I want to do that? What are the pros and cons of a 2-year, 4-year, or 6-year term as a writer?

I called together a focus group at a Hawaiian restaurant noted for its low-priced happy hour adult beverages. Long after dark we emerged with several damp and ink-blotched napkins. Two days later my vision cleared and I was able to decode them and write out the pros and cons in more legible form.

2-year term
As members of my focus group pointed out, it takes me about a year to write a novel. Two years equals two books—not exactly the greatest job performance on record and not a huge body of work on which to base a re-election campaign, especially since I’d need to begin that campaign before I completed the second work, and especially since said campaign would eat into my writing time.

4-year term
If I kept up my pace, I could have at least three books written before I had to hit the campaign trail. That would give me more time to build a larger platform, do more marketing, and reach more members of my constituency.

6-year term
This would give me even more time to write before I had to run. But wait. Do I have enough of an idea backlog to write five novels? (Picture me counting on my fingers. Picture the thumb standing alone. Picture me deciding that four years would be just fine.)

But this leads to another question: Where the heck would my campaign trail lead? How large is my constituency? And where is my constituency?

Well, with internet marketing and ever-increasing sales of e-books, even if you’re with a small press or an indie publisher, you have the potential to reach a national audience—add the UK and other European nations that audience is international.


My budget barely stretches to a long weekend at the coast. How can I afford to campaign across the entire U.S. and Europe?

Wait a minute! I forgot that key word—internet. There’s no need to press the flesh, kiss babies, or wave signs except in a virtual way. My friends—all way better at social networking than I am—might pitch in to come up with slogans and increase my positive name recognition (now limited to a few square blocks of Vancouver and about a hundred people who took my novel-writing class and are still speaking to me without gritting their teeth).

But what will I stand for? What will I promise to cut or do away with? What are my assets? And what are my dirty little secrets?

I’ll look at that next time.

1 comment:

  1. You make a good case for a five year term (the thumb sticking up thing). What about term limits? In theory that would mean no time wasted on your re-election during the last term.