The second year out of college, I wrote my third novel.
I remember in digital clarity cranking that last page out of the electric typewriter, salivating over the recognition and financial stability I would soon have. The conventional wisdom at the time was to send the book to one publisher at a time, wait for a response, and if the work is returned, then send to another. Yah, right.
For years I followed the general rules while continuing to write other novels. I got really good at playing book traffic controller between the U. S. Post Office and every publisher in the country, starting with the big guys and working my way down to the smallest art houses. My cover letters to many well-known editors at several publishing houses were answered personally, though negatively. I saved money from my day job to pay for assessments of my writing, and also began to peddle the books around to literary agencies, with the same negative results.
Whoever said, “Do what you love and the money will follow,” never talked to a writer. Here I was after a decade or so of writing like a madman, and the only signings I was doing was when I signed my name on a customer’s wall: “Paint & wallpaper by Steve Masse, almost starving writer (date).”
Now fast-forward to 21st century. Imagine persisting like this for over thirty years. Frustrating just doesn’t begin to describe it! And well-meaning friends tell you that you must be doing something wrong, or you should try writing about (*fill in the blank), or my personal favorite, “you’re not ready for success.” Then imagine finally getting that book published, and within six months winning a literary award and getting a second contract for an electronic edition.
True story. Thirty-odd years.
Lesson learned: Do what you love, get your money some other way.
Lesson 2: You’ll probably have time for both.
About the author:
Stephen V. Masse was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Educated at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he studied creative writing and historical biography, and was the author of a weekly column, "Out of Control." His first novel, Shadow Stealer, was published by Dillon Press in 1988. When not writing, he restores and renovates homes in the Boston area, and serves as an ambassador each year in the Santa Claus Anonymous fundraising benefit. You can visit his website at http://www.ajollygoodfellowthebook.com/. You can also learn more about him at http://www.stephenvmasse.com/.
"You're not ready for success"?! Oh no! That's terrible!
Thanks for dropping by!!