On Joining Boy Toys R Us--Reb MacRath
They say you've got to see it first before the real magic can happen. So I'm working hard at seeing the boy toy I'll become when I implement the latest of my Very Great Ideas. After starting with thousands of images, the field has been narrowed to these:
Now, this was supposed to have happened when I landed a two-book hardcover contract with Tor/St. Martin's after a long apprenticeship. I'd come out of the gate too in champion form: winning a Stoker Award, collecting favorable reviews and appearing in Success magazine.
But time certainly seemed to be taking its time in coming through with my reward. Most conversations ended fast when I told folks I worked in Horror. Those that didn't die then did when I confessed to not receiving million-buck advances. All this was grim. But it grew worse when my second agent landed me a contract for two paperback horror novels. Now any pretense of being a Serious Writer were gone.
Segue to my years in the desert, Boy Toyhood denied for two decades.
"Ahhhh, you used to be a writer--that is, a Horror Writer--but now you're an unpublished author again?"
Segue, segue, segue!
I discovered EbookLandia and have gone on to publish 10 ebooks with Amazon since 2012: hard-boiled mysteries, romantic suspense, literary thrillers...I saw my numbers start to rise and enjoyed every step of the process: from writing to editing to proofing to promotion. And yet...
That's right, here it came again: the voice of Boy Toyhood denied:
--"Sorry, but I don't read ebooks."
--"How can you say you're a writer if you haven't actually published your book?"
--"Aren't ebooks for writers who lack the stuff to sell out?"
--"What do these reviews mean when they talk about your word play? Don't you know how to just tell a story?"
I know what you're thinking. Any man with half a brain would have given Boy Toyhood the boot. And, in fact, I was about to. But then I had the Very Great Idea I mentioned at the start. (You haven't forgotten my second sentence, have you?) I'd produce physical copies of my work as well for those who don't read ebooks.
I'd use CreateSpace and a first-rate production team to put out brilliantly designed copies of my novels. I was a man on fire again! And--and--and...
Well, you surely know what happened next. The bird of Anti-Paradise swooped down and left my fool head filled with voices.
--"Well, these books really are beautifully done. But instead of a publisher, they show Printed by Amazon. So, they're just self-published, right?"
--"Why should I read a book that's not good enough to be published?"
--"If you've been struggling for three decades, perhaps the writing's on the wall."
Then again, the better part of me--the part that set out in Buffalo, all those many years ago, to become a writer--knows better than such nonsense. My goals remain what they have always been: to thrill, delight, move, astonish and inspire. And whatever else the gods have in store, I remain fiercely committed to playing still more masterfully the creative hand I've been dealt.