Welcome! I’m sure you’re wondering why I’ve called you all together . . .
Here’s my story. On December 3, 2013, I opened the greatest e-mail I’ve ever received in my life. It was from a gentleman named Michael Wilson from a publishing company called Permuted Press. It read as follows:
Dear Christian Smith,
Thank you for sending us “The Black Monkey”. We are interested in discussing publishing this, and perhaps other works you may have available, or envision in the future if this happens to be part of a current or future series. Please contact us at your convenience.
Yes, I did just cut and paste that from the original e-mail. No, I will never, ever delete it.
I had to read that short message about a dozen times before it sank in that I was not looking at my 10,000th rejection letter. I was sure I’d missed the word “not” in there someplace, as in “We are not interested in publishing this” or maybe even “We are interested in not publishing this.” After checking my desk calendar to make sure that it wasn’t April 1st, I let out a restrained whoop of unmanly joy (restrained because this was 5AM and my wife was asleep in the next room.) For two days, I did not tell anybody else out of a superstitious fear that mentioning it out loud would cause it not to come true- like how you never speak of the wish you make when you blow out your birthday candles.
But it’s real. (Though part of me will remain skeptical until I’m actually holding the book in my hands.) I cashed the princely royalty check and now I even have a semi-solid release date of May 5, 2015. Seventeen months between acceptance and publication seems like an eternity, but one of the many things I’m learning about this process is that publishing is a s-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-w business.
Something else I’m learning is that a writer nowadays, unless he or she has the marketing machine of a huge publishing house behind them, is expected to have something of a social media presence. This is definitely something that does not come naturally to me. I’m of the “possibly sociopathic recluse” breed of author, who had always supposed I would just mail off my completed masterpieces and let other people deal with niggling details like marketing. While that worked out OK for JD Salinger and Thomas Pynchon, I’m not quite at their level yet.
So this blog is a baby step in that direction. Out of my comfort zone I step- into the worlds of author Facebook pages and Twitter. GoodReads and Pinterest, whatever the hell that is. And this blog, which may morph into a full-blown website once I figure out how to build one of those.
I did actually have another blog a few years back, but it shriveled and died for the simple reason that I don’t have much to say beyond what I’m already saying in my fiction. So that’s going to be a struggle here, too. I think the main focus will be on the author’s journey- from obscurity through publication towards a lofty state of semi-obscurity, if I’m lucky. Along the way, I may regale you with my opinions on books, movies and TV shows, maybe bore you to tears with a personal anecdote or two, and possibly offend tons of people with casually dropped mentions of controversial subjects like religion, politics and my thoughts on the Oxford comma. From time to time, I may even post a free short story.
So, as the fella says: I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey. Come with me . . . if you dare.