I've written before about how writers, even the great ones, suffer from "corrosive self-doubt," a term coined by the great James Lee Burke.
There are two sides to writing if you are interested in being published. One side is up to you, and that is producing the story, poem, novel, or memoir that represents your best efforts and is rewarded with the great news that you are being published. The other side is cold, hard business - dark and seamy and filled with potholes and disasters - and those are the good things about the business side of being published.
When I was notified that my first novel was going to be published, I was thrilled. I had images of my book in print with my name on it and all kinds of accolades and bestseller status and . . . so on. Likewise my second novel. Things were rolling and, even though I wasn't getting rich by any stretch of the imagination, I was proud of my work. Novel #3 was finished and sent off and I was told it would be published last November. And then communication came to a dead stop. Emails were unanswered. A Christmas gift was not acknowledged. No communication. This is the evil side of publishing; the business side over which writers have little control. So I made a decision based on the fact that communication had ended. I sent them a registered letter terminating my contracts.
Now I am on the street again, seeking a publisher or an agent, tin cup in hand and singing "Mr. Bojangles" on street corners. Tough decisions are not always rewarded immediately, you know.
It is actually going to happen, friends. My debut novel, Signs of Struggle, is going to be available on Monday, October 15th on Kindle through Amazon and paperback wherever books are sold (stay tuned for a listing of book tour spots at independent bookstores). It's been a long road going from a beginning writer back in high school creative writing class to a published novelist. Talk about living a dream. This coming Friday a dear friend and fellow novelist is hosting a Launch Party to celebrate the occasion, and I look forward to being among fellow writers and friends (the same people, often) to celebrate.
I am grateful to the enduring and wise encouragement over the years from my wife, Lisa, who kept saying, 'John, you're a good writer - better than some who are being published.' Wonderful wife, for sure. And my daughters, Rowe and Caitlin, have been right there with Lisa.
I encourage you to pick up a copy. Signs of Struggle is a good read. And thanks for reading my blog.
Have I stopped writing, satisfied with publication? No. I will always write. Another project is in the works as I speak. Writers write.