We spend most of our time bent over our keyboards, wondering and worrying about life outside our small creative space. Mostly we worry. The publishing world communicates infrequently and only after long periods of time – and then usually with a tight deadline.
So authors have to deal with the waiting and the paranoia of gradually becoming convinced that it’s all over, that they haven’t made the cut, that they have been consigned to the garbage dump of the lost and forgotten thousands who once dreamed of a writing career.
It happened to me once. Nobody told me, and I spent months thinking all was moving along swimmingly. I did not find out until I asked some direct questions. So, is it any wonder that I spend a lot of time paranoid about another disaster? Wondering if there’s any point in going on with the current book? Wondering about changing my name and writing something more commercially viable? Never mind that I’ve had excellent reviews for all 5 books, and that they’ve been translated into lots of languages, I’m still just a midlist author (according to PW), and that description makes me uncomfortable, not only because midlist authors suffer from general mediocrity (sales, advances, subject, quality, reputation, whatever) and seem to exist forever on the cusp of being discarded. Frequently they churn out multiple series, meeting publishers’ deadlines with several rushed books per year. I don’t want to write like that, and haven’t yet had to.
Anyway, paranoia is always just around the corner for me, but last week I began to be more hopeful.
There is a new contract for the next Akitada novel coming my way. It will be THE CONVICT’S SWORD (and you’re the first to find out because we settled the title only today). There is also another contract for THE CONVICT’S SWORD for an audio version. Then, Indonesia signaled that they want to start the series by buying translation rights for THE DRAGON SCROLL, so we’re moving into Asia. And the nice French publisher Belfond sent me a press book (newspaper reviews) for L’ENIGME DE LA FLECHE NOIRE (THE BLACK ARROW), all very nice indeed.
And I almost forgot: Last week was also the release of the Penguin edition of THE HELL SCREEN.