There have been times when it has sucked to be a writer. This is not one of those times.
The first book in my new mystery series, Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, is getting nice buzz. Some of this is because of my publisher’s efforts, some is my own skill, much is luck, and some is due to the fact that I spent a chunk of change on a publicist. Susan Schwartzman is getting newspaper and radio interviews, setting up book signings, and freeing me to stare at my computer screen and mutter things like, “Leslie needs a good reason to take Michael into the attic, so he can see the stuffed mongoose.” Also, “Why is there no food in the house?”
This feeling that success may be around the corner is new to me. I wrote two paranormal elf romances a while back that sank without a trace, so I was pretty boggled when Chihuahua got a review in the Boulder Daily Camera that began, “To curl up with a book about a ghost Chihuahua named Petey is to thank heaven you ever learned to read in the first place.” Dude. I’ll probably never get a review that fulsome again, unless Bruce Wolk of the Denver Post, who interviewed me last week, writes something like, “Chihuahua of the Baskervilles showed me how to fix the economy. Also, all my hair grew back while I was reading it.”
I’m not the only writer feeling a sea change. Never before have authors had such direct access to potential readers or such control over getting stories in front of eyes. You know what I’m talking about – the boom in ebooks and self-publishing. I’m published in print, but all around me, authors are flocking to Kindle, iBooks, Nook, and Smashwords.
These new opportunities are due to the magical Internet, of course, and courageous innovators who said, “We can make money off books? Who knew?!” It’s powered by writers who believed in their work even when agents and editors told them, “I just couldn’t relate to your story of wannabe actors who fall in love while inside the two halves of a horse costume,” when what they really meant was, “This may not find an audience big enough to pay the army of people it takes to get a book on the shelves.” That business model is going the way of whale-oil refineries. Many people in the publishing and book-store industries will suffer through no fault of their own, but for a change, writers won’t be among the fallen.
I’m enjoying my little bit of success. If this series takes off, fantastic. If it doesn’t, I have more reason than ever to persevere. You do, too. There has never been a better time to be a writer.
Esri Allbritten is the author of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, available in hardcover or ebook as of July 5 from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books.
Inhears of a ghostly Chihuahua seen by Charlotte Baskerville. Charlotte is the rich founder of Petey’s Closet, a clothing catalog for small dogs. Tripping’s staff travels to Manitou Springs, where the ghost howls advice and spells out threats in tiny paw prints. But is the glowing apparition really Petey’s spirit, or is someone in Charlotte’s household trying to teach a dead dog new tricks – like murder? It’s up to to save Charlotte Baskerville, preferably without losing their story.