Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hurry up and wait: Why it takes writers like me years to sell a book

First, I don't pretend to know what it is like for other writers. Perhaps I should; I have many friends who are writers. One of my best friends from Cornell, James C. McKinley, is a bureau chief for the New York Times and is read by millions and millions of people every day. Kinky Friedman has had dozens of New York Times best-sellers, dozens of cult-favorite country songs, and many a perilously non-PC political tract and diatribe. Plus I have many, many songwriting, poetry-writing, short story-writing and novel-writing friends -- ranging from the fabulously successful to the frustratedly struggling.

But I don't pretend to know what it is like for them. All I know is what it is like for me. And for me, it is like this:

I write intensely for periods of months at a time. Then I do what I can to sell what I've written. I am not nearly as intense when it comes to this. But I do it for a while. Then life says, "Okay, you've played writer long enough. Now it's time to beat the wolves back from the door, to handle the wild and relentless onslaught of other human activities for which you have no natural gift, but with which you continue to battle valiantly year in and year out. It's time to forget about this writing thing."

And so I do. Days become weeks, and weeks become months, and all of a sudden it hits me as I am rolling the 50-gallon plastic trash cans out to the curb that I haven't done anything writing-related in a long, long time.

So here's where things stand at present in my efforts to sell the latest novel, SO LONESOME I COULD DIE:

As for short stories, I've sent some things out recently. Here's the scorecard:

  • Gary Lovisi at Gryphon Books accepted a story for Hardboiled Magazine
  • Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine is looking at "Are Your Lonesome Tonight?"
  • ThugLit is looking at "Nothing You Can Do"
  • The Back Alley has "C. C. Rider"
  • And another bunch of fools has rejected stuff

And that's it. Seven irons in the dying fire.

But like I said, life is happening all around me. Job stuff. Kid stuff. Money stuff. Health stuff.

But I am about to charge headlong into another spurt of frenetic activity. So if any of you know of an editor or publisher looking to break the next great hardboiled detective writer, please post a comment. I promise I'll follow up.

Till then, feel free to visit my sponsors (in the Google ads) or to buy something from one of my Amazon recommendations. The revenue keeps me in postage.

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