Because you will ask me if I'm published, and I will say yes, and you will ask me if that really means I'm self-published, and I will say no, and you will ask me if I make a living off my writing, and I will say not really, and then you'll tell me about your idiot cousin who writes, too (as if that's some remarkable coincidence), and then you will spend the next fifteen minutes talking about J.K. fucking Rowling and Fifty fucking Shades of Grey because that is the complete range of your literary knowledge and in the next few days you will never, ever take the one step that will tell you whether or not I'm a good writer, and that would be to look up my name on Google, find any one of five dozen free samples, and actually READ something that I have WRITTEN. My work is read by perfect strangers around the world, and that is why, when I'm thinking clearly, I do not waste my time talking to you.
Michael J. Vaughn is the author of seventeen novels, including The Popcorn Girl and Billy Saddle. His poetry has appeared in more than 100 journals, and he works as a competitions judge for Writer's Digest. He lives in San Jose, and plays drums for the San Francisco rock band Exit Wonderland.