Mark Terry

Friday, May 25, 2012

By The Fingertips

May 25, 2012
A guy contacted me. I'll call him Stan. It's his name, after all, so why not? Anyway, Stan contacted me via email and we've been corresponding back and forth for the last week or so. Apparently he discovered me via something trenchant I wrote on Joe Konrath's blog about seven years ago (rather frightening to think about that, but yes, it's probably correct. Time flies when you're having fun).

Over the course of our back-and-forthing, I made a self-deprecating comment about my so-called fiction-writing career and Stan came back telling me bluntly to stop bullshitting myself. That, in point of fact, if you try to track down the writers who were making comments on Joe's blog several years ago, very few of them are still writing fiction. (Stan's apparently reading all the comments on Joe's blog, which is quite a feat).

I gave it some thought. Then I gave it some more thought.

And because I'm me, I gave it even more thought. Because, you know, that's how I roll.

And I decided Stan has a very good point. Despite about a zillion rejections. Despite being dropped by several publishers. Despite going through several agents. Despite firing one agent, rehiring her and firing her again. Despite the entire publishing industry as a whole going through a major paradigm shift...

I'm still here.

I'm still writing fiction. I'm still publishing it. At the moment I'm publishing it myself primarily for ebooks, but I'm still whacking away at it. I may finish some project in the future and decide I want another shot at legacy publishing. Or I won't. Doesn't matter. The writing matters.

If at times I can't figure out why I'm still doing it, the fact is, I'm still here. I'm still hanging on, even if sometimes only by my fingertips.

I recently had one of my books, THE FALLEN, turned into an audiobook. That's a first for me and pretty cool. Which made me look over the dozen years or so of fiction publication and realized that:

-I have been published in hardcover
-I have been published in trade paperback
-I have been published in mass market paperback, albeit in a very limited fashion (a short story in an anthology)
-I have been published in French, German, and Slovak
-I have an audiobook out
-I have won one award (The National Best Books 2010 for The Fallen) and hit the semi's for the same award in 2011 for The Valley of Shadows
-I have hit bestseller lists for a number of books. (Various Amazon lists)
-I have done book signings and book fairs and book conventions

I haven't had a movie option or TV option. And I haven't really made all that much money.

But I make my living as a freelance writer and at least a little bit, fiction is a part of that.

So I guess there's some virtue to just sticking it out through good, bad, and indifferent. As I think a number of rare beasties might argue, sometimes simply surviving is success.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I'm like you. I tend to look at what Mary and I haven't managed to do with our books but realistically it is hard to even get published, hard to even finish writing one novel. Most people falter at one of those steps. Twenty years ago if anyone had told Mary and I, and told you, what we would have accomplished in the writing line by now we'd probably think we'd feel like successes. Well, I never had any delusions about best sellers or making lots of money. For me it seemed like I'd never manage to get published.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Linda Pendleton said...

That's what it's all about, Mark, doing what you love to do. And you've done well with it.

12:04 PM  

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