The Plight Of The Quadruple-A Writer

Posted: March 22, 2014 in Self-publishing
Tags: , , , ,

Ah, Spring. The season heralds the return of stinging insects, artificially-inflated “summer blend” gasoline prices, and insufferable crowds of sweaty, unkempt human beings. Okay, there’s some good stuff too. Like warmer temperatures and flowers and such. Also, baseball.

On Saturday, at 4am Eastern Daylight Time, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks officially begin the Major League Baseball season at Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia*. Not that other Sydney you were thinking of. Anyhoo, I may or may not still be awake to take in the festivities via the miracle that is television. Based on my beer-to-food intake ratio since getting home from work a few hours ago, I’ll probably miss the opening pitch. But while my Dodgers and that other team are battling it out for Game One of the 162-game season, I’ll be dreaming about the quandary facing that handful of players populating the Spring Training fields back in the States, the ones who have proven themselves in the minor leagues, but who can’t seem to find a steady job in the majors. The Quadruple-A players.

At the risk of getting too (literally) inside baseball, the term “Quadruple-A player” refers to a player who puts up impressive numbers at all stages of the minor leagues, including at the top of the food chain, Triple-A. He gets a cup of coffee with the big club, probably several cups. Unfortunately, there are holes in his game. Maybe he’s lead-footed on the bases or drags a stone glove to his defensive position every inning. Maybe he can’t lay off the fastball up and in or the curveball in the dirt. Whatever the case, he’s never going to secure a spot on that big league roster. He just doesn’t have a complete game. Hence, he ends up in that mythical waystation between Triple-A and the majors known as Quadruple-A.

I like to think I’m a decent evaluator of my talents, such as they are. Even before I decided to self-publish, I saw myself as a sort of Quadruple-A writer—maybe not hugely salable, but at least readable. I suspected I’d come this close to publishing a short story for pro pay or getting a serious look from a serious agent, but that instead of finally batting cleanup in New York, I’d end up toiling for some bottom-barrel, backwoods team with a wacky mascot and a fanbase in the double digits. After taking a long, hard, realistic look at my prospects (and my free time, and my patience level, etc.), I decided the self-pub route was the one for me.

So far, it’s been no-frills and few sales. But hey, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.

*For Australian Eyes Only: My most recent impassioned pleas for your affection can be found here and here.

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