Cussedness Corner

"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane

Desperation’s Road

When I finally started writing again after a 15 year writers block, I was also taking college courses to get my degree in anthropology. I had an 11 year old child, and I was on welfare while I tried to get on my feet, and I was racing the clock to become better capable of earning a living before my worsening post polio syndrome made me unemployable.

I finished a novel in 97 and submitted it to agents. The first one was Ashley Grayson. Back when I was actively writing articles, and had had the two pieces in the Washington Post, Ashley had been all over me for favors and such. I had given a good review in the Post for a book by one of his clients. However, what I got back was a form rejection that showed clearly that Ashley had forgotten me.

I was then worried that EVERYONE had forgotten me. So it was with great trepidation that I phoned James Frenkel. Back then he still had his agency. I opened the conversation with, “You may have forgotten me….” and he replied “Of course, I haven’t.” and soon made it clear that he remembered me well and fondly.

So I sent him the manuscript and soon had my first fiction agent in 12 years. Jim was unable to sell the novel. I revised it a few times and then Jim sold his agency to Jack Byrne, who picked through the client list and kept those he liked. I happened to be one of them.

Jack could not sell the novel either. He tried and tried and tried.

Meantime I wrote a novel that Jack said was too long for the current market. God Box was 175,000 words long. I had been copy-edited for Renebooks for a year. Jean had been nagging me to send her something. So I sent her God Box out of desperation. She broke it up into three books: Blood Rites, Blood Heresy, and Blood Dawn. Her titles, not mine. She also stuck with my series title, Dark Brothers of the Light.

I figured that I had nothing to lose. Jean had been doing a large number of kindnesses for me, saying how much she wanted to make up for all the problems and suffering she had caused me during our marriage.

I believed her. She also told me that the sex change had altered her personality so much that she was ashamed of everything connected to Hank, the man she had been.

I stopped trying to sell my books to print and settled into a holding pattern. My books did fabulous numbers right off the bat. Then she brought out my collection.

She also told me that she has trouble remembering things. That explains a lot, but not everything.

I was desperate when I settled for ebooks. One of Blu Phier’s authors recently said to me in an email, “Yes, I knew it was a bad contract when I signed it. But I was desperate.”

We all get desperate.

I wanted to believe that Jean had finally gotten herself turned around and was doing right. I felt confident in Richard, most of all.

I also at times wondered if I had lost the magic, but the response to my writing and ebooks was so great as to help me back away from those fears.

As I have said before, until Richard’s death, things were great with Renebooks.

Then the old patterns started cropping up. To be honest, they scared me. I had this massive doubt in place that my books would ever come out from another company. Some told me it was the content that made them shy away, not the writing. My work was too gritty, too dark, too graphic. One told me that the problem was my questionable lifestyle.

I dug my heels in about content and kept writing where my heart was.

Self-publishing is a questionable path, even if the books are reprints. I have been told by several pros, including Lyn McConchie, that they can’t understand why I am not selling to the majors.

I intend to eventually try again. But not right now.

Meantime, I intend to try to get all the rights back to my various series from Jean. That ship is sinking and I am going to go overboard with the rats. Women, children, and curmudgeons over the side first. But at least I’m not going to sink with it.

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This entry was posted on August 8, 2008 by in Janrae Frank, legion of nitwits, memoir, questionable business practices and tagged , .

Janrae Frank

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