This originally went live on April 30th, 2014. A lot of fun to write. Think it was one of the earlier ‘Olde Shoppe’ skits.
Welcome, good customer, to The Pen Is! Why do people keep laughing at our name? It’s part of a great saying and fits what we do here very well. Do we sell pens? Of course, but that’s only part of our merchandise. Yes, they come in different colors and we have various sizes of notebooks. You think it’s all paper, ink, and words? There’s a lot more to writing than the physical pieces and that’s what we have to offer. Yes, we had books on how to write and I’m getting the feeling that you’ll need at least three of those. Come with me and we’ll give you the starter pack.
First, you’ll need to purchase a reason to be an author. Trust me when I say ‘because I wanna’ won’t cut it if you get any attention. What? Don’t go too far with a parent’s dying wish or something so dramatic unless it’s true. No, don’t poison a family member to make it real. Are you going to be a horror or thriller author? Cookbooks . . . I’m sorry I asked. I suggest going with the good, old reason of ‘I hope to share my knowledge’ since you’re going for non-fiction. Fictional cookbooks? In that case, talk about wanting to bring smiles to the faces of children who will destroy kitchens across the nation. It doesn’t matter if the recipes are fake because kids will try anything.
Now, you’ve already picked a genre, but is that what you’ll stay in? If not then you may want to buy a few pen names. We have a sale right now that’s ‘Buy 4, Get a 5th Surname Free’. With each pen name, we give you a photo and contact information. It’s up to you to maintain them and keep everything separate. For an extra payment, we can give you biographies for each one, but that’s only if you can’t think of anything yourself. How do we come up with the names? That’s rather simple. We interview you and look into your background. Each name will come from a different aspect of your life and designed to not crossover. For example, one name might come from your mother’s maiden name and a favorite animal. The other can stem from your love of Nikola Tesla and Jim Henson. How did I know about that? Trade secret that has nothing to do with your Tesla shirt and Muppets wristwatch.
We have some other tools that a new author might find helpful. A personal favorite is the ‘Anti-Response Unit’. This is a necklace that you wear when reading a negative review and the device activates when you say ‘one star’, ‘two star’, or ‘troll’. It remains active for two hours and cannot be taken off until it shuts down. A scanner reads what you’re looking at and if it notices that you’re going to respond to the negative review, it zaps you with enough voltage to numb your teeth. This way, you won’t do anything in anger and cause trouble for yourself. If you want this then you need to fill out the legal forms that relieve us of all liability and give us a doctor’s note that says you have no known heart conditions. It is also not a guarantee that you won’t cause a fight later on after the two hours because you retain your free will. Yes, we used to have a device that took care of that, but there was this whole morality issue. Look, just try to stay out of trouble. The ‘report’ and ‘flag’ buttons are there for a reason, but make sure it isn’t a real review before you make some waves.
There are other things if you want to browse. Sure we have some caffeine pills and other items to help you pull off a late night. We even have an elixir that gives you a jolt of energy and clarity when you get near the end of your book. Use it only when you’re only the last ten to twenty pages and when you know you won’t be interrupted. Otherwise, you’ll sputter to a stop at the worst possible moment. Yes, we have a sucking candy that takes away the pain of editing and makes that stage enjoyable. They come in a variety of flavors including whiskey, absinthe, matzoh ball soup, and raven. You’d be surprised how often we’re out of that last one once October hits.
Just remember that we have all you could ever want in ‘The Pen Is . . .’ Again with the childish snickering?