Dear August, It’s About Time You Got Here
Is it just me or did July stick around way past it’s welcome? With a busy job and little kids I’ve grown used to time running away from me faster than I can keep up so to have a month like this last one that seemed endless, mostly due to the incessant heat, was odd. But I’m glad it’s done and now we’re on the downward slope to fall hopefully.
Gore Vidal died yesterday and it was just one more reminder that the type of writer I once wished to be, the novelist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, general commentator on society, no longer exists. But whereas that used to make me very depressed, I’m growing more and more engaged with this new world paradigm that seems to offer greater flexibility and opportunity for writers. I’m growing used to the idea that I can write whatever novel or story I want and find some way to get it to readers and get some money for it.
Part of this has come with the gradual acceptance that what I write is not in line with the commercial expectations I once dreamed of and I’m okay with that. Mostly. There’s a great speech from Patton Oswalt going around about how the old model of success in comedy is dead. The old way was clear cut. Work on your material, get booked on Johnny Carson, get invited to his couch, get your own sitcom. My version of publishing success was just as clear cut based in a mid to late 90s model of my favorite writers. Publish a well-received PI novel, win or get nominated for an award to encourage publication of future novels, write three to four more novels in the series, then take a break and write a stand alone thriller or possibly a standalone social crime drama, hit the New York Times bestseller list, sell movie rights to standalone, bask in glory of riches.
Not anymore. There are some who see e-books as the new model for success but I don’t buy that. Sure some made a ton of money and some may in the future, but I don’t see a sustained model of success there for a writing career. What I do see is even more exciting. I see a return back to the pulp style successes that my style and personality to better suited for. There are opportunities with big publishers, small publishers, epublishers, self-publication, and weird and exciting hybrids of all of the above. While the strictly crime related opportunities are small right now, I expect them to grow as the older generation of reader moves on and the new generation makes their mark on the genre. But for immediate opportunities, there seems to be more available in sci-fi, horror, and fantasy with crime fiction crossover. There’s also the very active cozy mystery market that I’m surprised more pulp writers aren’t involved in, and the erotica and romance markets that are popular with ebook readers.
I begun to expand my brand into some of these new fields with my entry in the Dead Man contest that blends horror with crime and suspense and as soon as Murder Boy is done I want to start on a cozy novel. I’m also seriously considering putting together a submission for Abaddon Books who is looking for novellas from new writers to celebrate their 6th anniversary. I’m not as well-versed in these fantastical genres so I need to begin reading more widely if I’m going to have a chance at success.
How was your July?