The Successful Author

Even though I’d lived a good forty-six years before I could finally claim the title author, I was still in for some surprises that made me feel like a rube. As a street cop for over a decade and a half at the time my first book was published, you’d think I was hardly what anyone would call naïve. Perhaps on the streets I wasn’t, but in the publishing world—babe in the woods.

I fell for all the things literary rookies often do: if only I could publish a book I’d be a success: rich and famous. On the way into work in the morning I’d pass the Mercedes and a BMW dealerships and imagine walking in with my first advance, or royalty check and take my pick. I’m not sure if I really believed that, but I have to be honest, I sure wondered, hoped, perhaps wished it might be like that. And maybe my good fortune would mean an early retirement from the coppin’ life, and my wife from fightin’ fires.

Now I’m well past my third book published, and am, hopefully, nearing publishing my first novel, and guess what? Still no Mercedes or BMW in my garage, and I’m still pounding a beat, when I’m not pounding a keyboard.

Another surprise, as well as eye-opening disappointment was learning that my chances of finding an agent with whom I could build a relationship, and who would represent all of my work, was near fantasy. I chose my first agent contacts based on the fact they worked with both fiction and non-fiction. While I owe my first agent a great debt, after all, she sold my first book, which led to my next two; she had no interest in working with me to publish my fiction.

Now, while I’m not so experienced in the literary world that I’ve become jaded. In fact, I believe I will find the kind of relationship I’m looking for with an agent. I just know it may take some time. Perhaps it won’t. But, if it does, what the hell… I can wait; I’m happy, and that’s a lot.

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  1. wallace says:

    Welcome to the market place of ideas! It’s a surprisingly Darwinian world for writers — if the public doesn’t value your ideas, there’s always the social safety net.

    I don’t meet many libertarians who also draw a public paycheck … explaining that would make an interesting blog post. Food for thought. Keep writing!

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