Anniversary Missed

No, I didn’t forget my wedding anniversary, so don’t go there. For the record, it was number 47….

The title and content for this blog began when I had lunch with a former co-worker and friend this past week. While we were talking, I had one of those “ah ha” moments. He was asking me about my books and congratulated me on being a prolific writer with four books. I then reminded him it’ll be five by the end of this month or early in March.

On the way home, it started me thinking. I don’t think of myself as being a “prolific” writer. W.E.B. Griffin is prolific! He’s written 38 novels in six series.

My career as a novelist started on Valentines Day – February 14th, 2012 when I was notified by Fireship Press that they were going to offer me a contract. That was the first major step after writing the manuscript on a journey. And, I’d forgotten about it.   Should I have bought myself a present? The traditional U.S. gift would be something made of wood and the modern version would be silverware. Hmmmm…. That’s something to noodle about.

In just over five years and a little pat on the back is due because:

  • Big Mother 40 was released in September, 2012;
  • Render Harmless was published in March, 2014.
  • Cherubs 2 came out in June, 2015.
  • Forgotten hit the market in October, 2016; and
  • Inner Look will come out in, to be on the safe side, sometime in early March, 2017.

That’s five novels in 61 months. Not bad. Actually, there’s enough dots and experience to suggest that one book per year is doable. It’s early in the year and I want to continue the trend.

If you told me six years ago while I was trying to find a publisher for Big Mother 40 that I would have five books out in five years, I would have said you were crazy. By the fall of 2011, I was frustrated, afraid I would have to go the self-publishing route because no one liked my work. Keep in mind, back then self-publishing had a negative connotation that has evaporated.

By October 2011, two more frustrating experiences had run their course. One was with a potential publisher who sat on the book for ten months alternating between telling that they were going to publish Big Mother 40 and no, they were no longer publishing fiction. Unhappy with the indecision, I pulled the manuscript.

The other was with an agent. I’d sent him a query in June 2011 and he responded with a note saying he’d like to read the first 50 pages. That went out the next day. About ten days later, he asked for the first three chapters.  A week later he wanted the entire manuscript. Then he went radio silent. Right after Labor Day, I tried again and was told “I love the book but they really weren’t taking on first time authors. They were just seeing what was out there!”

His rationale was that the publishing industry was going through a metamorphosis with e-publishing, print-on-demand, and an overall drop in book sales. So, they – along with the publishing houses that printed the books – weren’t investing in new authors because they didn’t have a brand. When I asked how did the publishing companies expect to increase sales without introducing new authors with new stories, he hemmed and hawed.

So here we are, five years later, five books out and, to be blunt, I ain’t done! There are more books to come, but at the moment, at least until the end of this March, I’m focusing on getting Inner Look out the door and publicity. Then I’ll focus on finding a publisher for the manuscript tentatively titles The Kurile Wedge Incident.

Marc Liebman

February, 2017