Rights of Passage

I now own 350 copies of my novel Hurricane Moon and join the fellowship of writers whose books – however well reviewed and well received by book clubs and library readers and people who liked it enough to give it to their friends who really liked it too – didn’t sell enough copies so the publisher decided it’s not worth keeping in print, and we buy up as many as possible to do with as best we can.  In the modern publishing model, every book has to pay off and soon.  Many major publishers pull books out of print far more quickly and ruthlessly than Prometheus Books.  Some put books into print in ways that are downright cynical and venial.  It can be a hideous experience for the writer.  All in all my experience with Prometheus was quite positive.  Thanks to a good novel contract, the rights to the book revert to me.  One way or another I can find another published home for Hurricane Moon (and its sequel and my other novels.)  I suspect this graduates me into a veteran writer:  most have had a career crash-and-burn, or a soul-searing low save on the career, if not multiple instances of both.  You have to decide why you write fiction (or indeed why you do anything creative), what form it should take, and how to get it there.  These creative-career questions have many reasonable answers, but – since the devil resides as in the details as usual – some answers are going to  be unworkable at present and some were unimaginable a generation ago.  Some of the answers are mile markers on an easy way out. A wrong-for-you answer can be incised in the paving stones on the road to your own personal Hell.  And some of the true answers are spoken in the language of dreams or the still small voice of revelation.

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