I have been writing for many years in a steady yet casual fashion, but I divide my time between a few art disciplines and have difficulty deciding whether or not to merge them into a single stream for public display. For now, I prefer to keep the worlds apart, and give the writing component of my nature a separate forum.
Over the last decade I was mainly writing short stories following the completion of my first novel in 2000. That work began as a writing experiment with no plan of what to do with it when it was completed, which took 5 years. I had much fun writing it, and of all the things I have done artistically, writing has always been the most enjoyable. I never have experienced a serious case of writer’s block that crippled my ability to write or left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction despite possessing a self-critical attitude. I tend to be a mood-driven writer. When I feel like it, I do it, when I don’t, I don’t.
I learned about self-publishing services and like many, got lured by the idea of letting others produce a professional-looking book especially when the initial service was free (unless you wanted custom additions such as a unique cover).
The stigma associated with self-publishing has lessened to some extent since the late 1990s, but as novel reading requires one take a chance on the contents of a book, the screening process in traditional publishing acts as a safeguard. Even after numerous re-reads of my book there were errors overlooked by myself and test readers.
On the other hand, traditional publishers can be very narrow-minded in what they will publish. This I discovered with my Arabian Nights-themed novel. I had attended a writing conference where an editor from Tor books was giving 10 minute interview sessions with authors. The editor I talked to was very pleasant, and I was more relaxed than usual since I did not seek her interest in my book, I merely wanted to know if she could recommend a small press that may be receptive to a work of my type. She appeared taken aback that I was not asking if Tor would be interested in it. I responded that I did not think they would find it marketable (I should add that this conversation took place in October 2001 and recent events cast a particularly dark light on how the Middle East was perceived in the media). But even before that, I knew from surveying the book racks in stores that the majority of fantasy novels were Celtic-based, and designed as multi-volume epics. I prefer stories that end after one adventure and would rather create new characters than revisit old ones.
To my surprise she asked that I send her a copy of the book and after many months of waiting the verdict came back that she did not think Tor could “effectively sell it.” But she did ask me to consider her if I wrote other novels. Maybe I will when I complete one. My follow up book has been in suspended animation for most of the last decade.
I have had a few minor publishing credits over the years when I felt like submitting and could overcome the tidal wave of rejection slips, but I recently concluded that it is not worth the effort or cost to send out manuscripts for short stories when the pay is inconsequential. My writing preferences tend to be out of a different time and style of writing anyway.
There is a strong influence of cinema in my writing, especially films of the 60s and 70s that played a crucial role in my childhood. I also am particularly fond of mythology and classical literature, and when writing a history-based work, I try my best to embellish it with elements that would be recognizable to those who have knowledge of the sources of inspiration.
I am a reluctant self-promoter even though I realize the importance it plays in the selling of books. But after I started to notice some sales, I am making a stronger effort to connect with the reading public who may be inclined to check out what an author is writing about. Thanks for reading.