Thursday, April 23, 2009

News about my writing

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yesterday I received word that my book The Body in the Record Room had not sold well enough for St. Martin's to continue publishing my writing.

As you know from previous posts, I expected this.

Truthfully, I am not terribly disappointed. Right now, all kinds of people are being laid off of jobs essential to family well-being. Millions h
ave been killed, raped or starved in tragically violent countries. So how can I complain?

My wife and I have adequate retirement. We have plenty of time to do the things we want to do. For me, that's reading and writing mystery stories. I had a book published. It received good reviews and was a Mystery Guild Editor's Choice selection. How many people have that privilege?

I have learned immensely from the experience.

Besides, I got to know Ruth Cavin, at least through email. She values good writing. She has encouraged many beginning writers. Through the contests she and others set up, many books have seen the light of day, books that otherwise might not have been published.

I believe every person has a ministry in his or her life. Ruth's has been to encourage new writers. She has won pages-full of awards, but I think encouraging new writers is probably her most meaningful publishing accomplishment.

So w
here do I go from here? I keep on trucking. I will continue the blog. Also, I will continue with my writing. Whatever happens to future books happens.

I've always been kind of crazy in a way. I believe we all operate according to core values. Whether we know it or not, everyone's life has a central core value by which he or she lives. Everything we do shows that value.

When I am at my best, my core value has been the little man's core value, "People are more important than things." I want everything I do (including my fiction writing) to elevate good qualities in valuable but left-out people. That is more important to me than becoming a well-known or consistently-published writer. In other words, having St. Martins/Minotaur publish one of my books was maybe middle ways or farther down on my life list.

We are going through hard times in publishing. I heard on the news yesterday that even The New York Times has had huge losses. Many newspapers face economic distress and may leave their cities without even one daily printed newspaper. Book publishers are laying off staff, consolidating companies, and concentrating on best sellers. Right now, that might be the only way to survive.

I've heard the distress from authors themselves on blogs and topical mystery writing sites. And I have heard so much about what comes next--electronic or other forms of publishing, a dizzying array of voices each aimed at a small targeted audience (a kind of YouTube for writers), or maybe even some direction none of us has yet perceived.

So this is a difficult and exciting time for writing. What happens to my writing is not the issue. Especially since I will just keep on writing.


Corey Wilde said...

Good for you, Joe. You have the best possible attitude toward moving your writing forward. Yes, the publishing industry is in turmoil and good writers, yourself and Declan Burke and so many others, are just not able to get your good work put out in front of readers. Please do as you've said, keep writing. Enjoy the writing, keep the imaginative wheels grinding, and at some point the economy will begin moving forward again. And unless you're contracted to St Martin's, start looking elsewhere. Look at small publishers (Bleak House, for example). But don't give up hope of publication, your writing is much too good to let one publisher cast it into the darkness. Go here How Do You Know When To Quit. Make sure you read far enough to include the talk given by author Crhistie Craig, that's the core of the article.

And remember, you do have some readers in your corner.

Joe Barone said...

Corey, Thanks for the supporting words. I'm not success driven, I am writing driven. What finally happens to the writing is not something I control. And frankly, as much as I enjoy writing, there are better writers than I am. You nailed the strengths and weakness in The Body in the Record Room.

There is one thing I've learned from this experience. My writing is much too good for me to quit writing. The reviews, both in magazines and by a number of individuals such as you, have taught me that.

I am still working on where I go with my books from here. I suspect this news will make me more productive since I am no longer waiting for anything.

I'll keep everyone informed.

Helen said...

Keep up the good work writing dear Joe!!! I was so looking forward to another book, so do keep looking for another publisher!! Besides, I like bragging about my famous cousin the writer!!! :-)

Joe Barone said...

I have kept writing. One of these days you will see the last two books in the Roy Rogers trilogy, hopefully commercially published.