When I was in the 7th Grade my English Teacher gave me a paper bag filled with back issues of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Great magazine. Lots of great stories. And lots of crap stories as well. Those below par stories that helped to fill the magazine out inspired me to become a writer.
For the next few years I would bang out bad short fiction and send it off to the three or four Science Fiction/Mystery magazines that published monthly digests. Then something happened, I got a handwritten rejection letter saying they were looking forward to my next story. I didn’t realize the importance of this gesture from The Editor, so I gave up writing and got a real job.
I never fully gave up writing. I continued to bang out stories on a manual typewriter for many years, but I pretty much forgot about sending them out into the world. Once I had a computer and a copy of Word Perfect, I did a bit more writing. Longer stories and a couple of unfinished drafts of a novel or two. In the fullness of time I started blogging.
I kept reading during all these years. New books and old. Novels and nonfiction and self help. And many books on writing. I loved titles like Making a Literary Life and Save The Cat and Bird by Bird. Countless lists of Rules for Writing. Among the advice for the Real Writing Life is that you need an Agent to get Published, and of course, you can’t get an Agent unless you’re Published. Not strickly true, but landing a book deal with a Major Publishing House has never been easy.
Then there was Amazon.
Publishing is a mouse click away. It’s still an odd moment. Putting your book out there. Hoping enough people buy it and review it that others will want to buy it as well. There’s enough odd little bits of business about formatting and filling out the listing that your mind has something to do.
I briefly thought of going the traditional publishing route. I even sent out a few manuscripts to Agents. I got a few good old fashioned polite rejections saying things like Thanks for Thinking of Us and Doesn’t Meet Our Needs At This Time.
The Goddess and The Vampire went through several title and plot changes since I finished the rough draft. I thought this was going to a quick process. I had no reason for this expectation other than simple optimism.
Will The Goddess and The Vampire sell that first thousand copies so many people talk about? Or even get its first hundred? I like it. I have a few other works in progress set in the same world.
So I’m cautiously optimistic. I’ll keep writing.