Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Banter

Last week I had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a publisher--a real flesh-and-blood person who, by all accounts, seemed generally pleased to be talking to a real flesh-and-blood writer.  In fact, we were having such a good time talking layout, deadlines, book production, marketing, warehousing and shipping . . . that before I knew it, my five-minute drop-by turned into an hour-long foray into the idiosyncrasies of the changing industry and a complete tour of the editorial offices and warehouse.

What hospitality!

At one point, while the publisher reviewed my complete sales and working history on some amazing web-based software, he said, "It's not every day I get to talk shop with a successful author."

Successful?  Never for a minute have I considered myself in that vein. In fact, I have always considered myself just a prolific stiff, an unsuccessful work-a-day writer.  I commented that I was a firmly established mid-list author, and a lower-mid-list author at that.  I've never had a book on a best-seller list.  Never won rave reviews.  And most of my books have been published along similar lines of the self-help or religion or spirituality vein. 

That's not to say that I don't write in other veins, however.  In fact, I must admit that the books I have had published are actually comprised from a small vein of my total output, with most of my arteries pumping out much larger quantities of work that could be described as general interest or literary or comedy.  I also write copious amounts of fiction (science fiction, mystery, and literary) along with material that could only be described as bizarre or off-the-wall humor.  I also write memoirs, poems, and an odd assortment of material that continues to be picked up by editors who are more warped than I am and who, obviously, are toking on hallucinogenic medications prescribed by a backroom pharmacist named Moondog.  Oh, and I also sell pieces occasionally to women's magazines, travel magazines, fitness publications, outdoor and recreational journals, and even specialty magazines that deal in everything from cancer to kayaking.

What kind of writer am I?  I haven't got the foggiest.  And that's why publishers, generally, don't like me.  I'm wild, untamed, unfettered, and wholly unpredictable.  I don't even know what I'm going to be writing tomorrow.  I make my plans as I go.

And that's why I enjoy talking to a book hound when I get the chance.  They understand me.  They know that, as soon as I leave the warehouse, I'm leaving with a hundred new ideas and will be writing on one of them that day. 

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