Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"You Can Write on the Side!"

"Zandri back in New York City? A most definite, we'll see, maybe..."

I just read a great blog by bestselling thriller author Aaron Patterson, who also happens to be my publisher at what might arguably be the most successful indie press in business right now: StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink. In his blog he talks about WORK, and how there's no real magic bullet when it comes to sales other than old fashioned hard work, the ability to adjust to new trends and circumstances, and personal character development that will allow you to ride out storms and low periods with a certain grace. Because after all, publishing is a cyclical business of terrific bursts of sales in which it seems the whole world is buying up your novels, and other periods of relative disinterest where you can't even get your mom to purchase a copy.

This afternoon, I will have a meeting with my agent to discuss interest from the major publishers in my new novel or novels. As many of you know I've published with the majors before, and recently, two of those novels, THE INNOCENT and GODCHILD have gone on to become major Amazon Kindle E-Book Bestsellers, both having hung out in the Top 100 for more than two months, and the former in the Top 10 for an equal amount of time. In fact, in three months time, I've moved around 200,000 of these E-Books. Which of course makes me, Vincent Zandri, Inc. register, or in this case re-register, on the radar of the biggies.

As many of you know, I believe that an author is best served by maintaining a mix of both indie press published books, self-published books, and traditional legacy published books. It seems to me the best way to maximize your sales and marketing potential while assuring you a nice financial cushion to rest your laurels on while you write. But the only thing I will be wary of when talking to my agent about a major deal is this: how long will my rights be tied up for? How much of an advance can I expect? What would be the advantages of a traditional deal over that of the deals I've struck up with my present publisher? What kind of lag time will there be between a contract offer and date of publication? What kind of royalty can I expect on E-Book publication? And how much will a traditional publisher charge for said book? (WARNING: I can name at least two very successful indie authors who signed with the biggies and who now, do not sell!!! Yikes!)

As I write this I can't help but think of those horrible couple of years I endured during the middle part of the last decade, when I couldn't get a book published if I pressed a pistol barrel to an editor's head. I was living in a big house in a suburb of Albany (my father in-law put up the down payment) with a woman I loved but who could no longer bear the writer's life, such as it was. Her parents were practically yelling at me to get a job or go back to work in my dad's construction business. "You can write on the side!" they insisted, with scowls on their faces. Even my wife insisted that I was selfish. And when she looked at me coldly and said, "I'm sorry the writing thing didn't work out," I knew that the time had come for me to get back to work writing the best book I could, even under circumstances that were pure domestic hell.

Even though my choices cost me my marriage, I've never regretted making the decision to remain a writer. In a real way, I don't feel that I had a choice but to remain a writer. For me, there is no other way to be; no other way for me to identify with myself. And today, I'm back to making a great living not only as a journalist, but mostly as a novelist. Now it's possible I'll be publishing with a major outfit once again. Of course, nothing here is a sure bet, and for all I know, the renewed interest in my work from NYC will fade away.

But somehow, I don't think so.

Somehow I believe I'm going to have to sit down with my friends God and Conscience and do some serious soul searching over the next few weeks. In any case, one thing will be for certain: I will continue to publish with my family at StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink for as long as they will have me , and I will one day (I know, I know, I keep saying it...) take the plunge and self-publish one or two of my novels. And, who knows, one day soon, I might sign on with a traditional publisher once again, for a book or two. If I do that, I will have come full circle.

Oh, and by the way, I ran into my former in-laws this past weekend at a play my six year old daughter was in. They are very nervous in front of me these days, and they can't find the strength to look me in the eye. As we exited the theater, I happened to mention about how I'd worked on the building many years ago "back when I was in the construction business." "Thank God I don't have to do that kind of work anymore," I added with a laugh. I guess I kind of expected a response. But they both just put their heads down, and walked quietly away.


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  1. George Herbert was right, "Living well is the best revenge."


  2. You are write, Vincent, we must primarily be true to ourselves. As a fan girl, I'm glad that you did not give up writing during those dark days.