Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Prodigal Thriller Writer!
"Yo Vin, good to have you back. How's about some hot food and a new contract?"
A lot can change in six months. In just one week I'll receive a statement from my agent which she will receive from one of my two traditionally-based indie publishers regarding sales for Moonlight Falls.
I'm not sure what to expect. But I do anticipate good news since "Moonlight" has been that company's bestseller every month since it came out in December 2009. It also spent a brief time as an Amazon.com bestseller.
Prior to six months ago, I was simply a working stiff freelance journalist who was spending lots of time traveling abroad looking for stories to report or blog about. When news came of an acceptance on Moonlight Falls from a very small publisher, me and my agent didn't have any high expectations for it. We merely giggled and agreed that we'd have a nice looking book to sell to my friends, fans and family. But since that time, I've contracted with a larger indie publisher who has already put out my newest thriller, The Remains, in E-Book and Kindle. It will also be out in trade paperback in November. The audio rights have sold and a very good bookstore distribution agreement has ensued. And who would have thunk it, but The Remains is an Amazon bestseller right out of the gate, and as of last night was listed as an Amazon "Hot New Release" in "Hard Boiled" Kindle.
In the wake of that initial success, I've just signed a contract for both the republication of my 1999 thriller, As Catch Can, and my new thriller series, The Concrete Pearl, to a new imprint largely started for me and a few other novelists and writers.
To what do I attribute the new found success? I'm not sure, other than perhaps my timing is right.
Listen, prior to six months ago, I assumed there might not be a market for my fiction. That, like the great noir novelist before me, Jim Crumley, I might be relegated to pretty much a cult following. And I was fine with that, so long as I could publish a small press effort every few years, pay my bills and travel while working as a full-time writer and journalist. But now it turns out, my audience is expanding like crazy. Everyday it gets bigger.
So, back to the timing thing. Has the emergence of E-Books and Kindle helped my efforts? You betcha. Although I had somewhat of a platform on which to build thanks to having two critically acclaimed thrillers published under two Random House imprints, said platform wasn't all that big anymore, and in fact, was dangerously close to being tossed into the "has been" bucket. But the new electronic publishing model has rapidly changed all that.
Is the on-line publishing world about to become filled up with a whole bunch of crap just because it's easy for independents to get their work out there? Of course it will. But when hasn't there been a whole bunch of crap out there for people to waste their money on? Crap that bleeds off the fingertips of some pretty big perpetual New York Times bestsellers?
What makes the new publishing model interesting and exciting (and has big New York sweating under the pits!) is finally, we all have a level playing field in which to compete for unlimited space. The Remains is selling better than Patterson, Coben, Parker, LeHane and more in several categories. That's not to say that it's better than what they are writing. It's to say that people who enjoy those authors are getting somewhat of a kick out of my new books too. And even though they are also being released in paper and audio, the electronic versions will be available forever. If this were ten years ago, and I were limited to just the Barnes and Nobles tables of the world, The Remains would probably already be heading to the Remainder bin. It simply wouldn't have the backing or the support that the mega authors enjoy.
Don't worry about a whole bunch of crap filling up Amazon and other markets. I trust readers to always pick out the cream and leave the crap behind, just like they always have. But with the new publishing model comes the opportunity for formerly forgotten authors like me to reach a massive audience. It will also allow a talented selection of newbies to outsell their mega-heroes.
I'm now the prodigal son returned to a publishing world that's been turned over on its back. And I'm kicking some real ass!!!
Gee, it's good to be back home.