The Underground Author – J. A. Bove

Have you ever heard of the phrase underground band? It’s a common phrase used for bands that never really hit the mainstream, but have built up an almost cult-like following with their fans. They’re usually unsigned bands who’ve produced and recorded their own music on an independent label. They tend to roam from city to city, college to college, and perform live music. Most are apt to have their music played on college and local radio stations. If they’re lucky, they build up a nice following, don’t burn out to soon, and manage not to kill one another on the road. If good fortune is truly smiling on them, they sign on with the majors.

How do I know such things? I was once in an underground band. Oh, we toured, our songs were played on the radio, and we sold many CDs, but we never did catch on to the big-time (I hear we’re big in Russia). Eventually we grew up and out and had to move on to the next phase of our lives. Well, apparently this old dog refused to learn a new trick. Here I am in the next stage of my life and although I still record music, I’ve now thrown my hat into the writing world. Frankly, I’m not sure which industry is harder to break into, but the benefits I do have is that I’m no longer on the road, and I’m not dependent upon others. I’m going solo, traveling via the Internet. I am the underground author!

Why is this a good thing? I’m not saying that it is, or isn’t, but it does have some distinct advantages. Below is a list of my top five, yes five, (ten was too mainstream for this underground author) reasons for why being an underground author is not so bad. So rejoice my fellow aspiring authors. If you don’t need the money, and you have a passion for the written word, then let this list give you solace.

You’re not a sell-out: One phrase every true artist hates to hear more than any other is that they’re a sell-out. No one wants to think that they had to compromise their work in order to sell out to the demands of the masses. No, damn the public, we’re independent artists. We have our integrity. We will not be told what to write by the man. But what if you are the man? Well, then even better – stick it to yourself. What could be a more noble sacrifice for your work? Integrity!

Artistic Freedom: This could go hand in hand with the first item, but it has a slight difference. Your collaborator may not want you to sell out to the masses, but they may have a different opinion in how your work should read. Nonsense I say. You’re an underground author! You write what you want to write and how you want to write it. No one may want to read it, but hey, you did it your way. Integrity … er, principle!

Personal Freedom: Do you like to eat at restaurants, go to the movies, and walk the mall? Who doesn’t? Try doing this as a mainstream writer. I’m sure there’s many a popular author who wouldn’t pay a small fortune to go somewhere incognito, avoid the paparazzi, skinny dip on some remote beach, etc. Well no worries here. No one knows who you are. Strip to your desire … just don’t publish the pictures on the Internet.

Know you friends: How many celebrities who have entourages wouldn’t love to cut a few off from the pack? How many celebrities marry their significant other and have to question whether if it’s them they truly love, or their celebrity? Well, you’re in luck, nobody knows you. Any friends you happen to make along the way must genuinely like you. At least you have the comfort of knowing that if you ever decide to settle down your life partner will be doing it out of love. Unless, you’re the man and you’re loaded, then that’s a different topic.

You’re not a millionaire: Imagine the responsibility you would have toward others if you were loaded. Charities would come after you by the dozens, third cousins would come out of the woodwork, and lawsuits from women you never met would want you to pay for their fatherless child. No worries here. You’re broke. You put every dime you had into publishing you own book. You may not have a lot of money but you’re loaded with, you guessed it, integrity. Tonight we dine at McDonalds and proudly show our unrecognized face. Anonymous!

So there you have it, my top five. Now, I could go on and on about the other benefits: lonely nights, wasted hours, pour nutrition, but I think you get the picture. You don’t need to be a mainstream writer to do the thing you’re most passionate about – you’re an underground author! Wear that hat proud and write. Worse case scenario you could use that hat for handout collections, but I digress. You did it your way. Integrity!


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