What’s the best part about “publishing” a book? (I use the term advisedly, as putting one’s own work out as an e-book may strain some people’s definition.) Sure, the money’s nice. I’ve made over $80 from Wild Bill so far (that’s eight-oh, with a zero) and could crack triple digits. The fame is nice; this blog alone has nine followers. No book tour, so, alas, no groupies, though I do have a little something going on with the lady of the house.
Any of the above would have made Wild Bill a success for me. (Especially that last one.) What made it an unqualified success here at The Home Office was the attention the book received from writers whose work and opinions I had come to respect. Some I knew reasonably well, mostly online. Some I had only a nodding acquaintance with. There were even a couple I hadn’t known before who heard of the book one way or another and took the time to write enthusiastically about it.
I discovered Tim Hallinan when I was asked to review A Nail Through the Heart, his first Poke Rafferty novel. I’ve read everything he’s written since. Adrian McKinty became known to me when I reviewed The Dead Yard; I then kept up, and reached back to read Dead I Well May Be. (I’ve fallen a book behind, solely because no US publisher saw fit to print Falling Glass, which I believe won awards in more enlightened parts of the world. My copy is on its way as we speak.) I’d read a couple of Charlie Stella’s short stories and got my first exposure to his novels with I reviewed Shakedown. I’m about halfway through his complete oeuvre now. Tim Hallinan put Leighton Gage in touch with me; I’m working my way through the Inspector Silva series.
All of the above are writers I was but a fan boy of when I wrote Wild Bill. (Mike Dennis, Pat Browning, and Karen Treanor came to my attention after the fact, though their support is no less appreciated.) They were established writers who had achieved what I barely aspired to. Their compliments and willingness to extend themselves means, to me, that I’m not just jerking off when I lock myself in my office every day or evening and hammer out another page or two. Their comments have made my writing easier on those days when I feel stuck and go through the stage every writers has with every book, when he is convinced it’s a piece of shit and months have been wasted working on something no one will ever want to read, including the author. I can do this. I may not become rich—though $80 is nothing to sneeze at—but I have the satisfaction of knowing I can hold my own and not have people think, “He’s a nice guy, but a shitty writer.” (In truth, that never worries me much. I’m not that nice a guy.)
So, thanks to everyone who reviewed, commented on, or read Wild Bill. (For those who have not, it’s still available for $2.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.) And, in the name of being careful what you ask for, my next book, Worst Enemies, will be available March 1. Details and more shameless self-promotion to come.