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 have 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 where 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.