Re: RARA-AVIS: Mercenary Questions

From: Patrick King (
Date: 21 Jan 2008

I'm just about to complete my third crime novel. So far none of them have been published. The last one I completed was well-received by agents and publishers I sent it to, but everyone thought at 42,000 words, it was too short. Several suggested that if I double the size of the book, they'd be able to sell it. The idea stuck in my craw. I think the story is told and that turning a 150 page story into 300 pages is going to hurt it, not help it. In any event, I didn't take their advice but went on to start work on my new idea. My objective is to work at my art, and I treat each book as a work of art. It's the doing that's important to me. If they sell well-and-good, if I make lots of money, well, wonderful. But my objective is to explore the world as I see it through crime fiction, because crime is the most horrible and interesting part of life and it's driven by the stress society places on certain personalities, emotionally, sexually, financially.

I have no dearth of ideas. I have literally four books already plotted just waiting for the time to set them down. I expect that sometime one of my books will be published, but this is not a driving factor to me. I know that James M. Cain, one of my idols, said "Anyone who writes for anything but money is a fool." But he came from a different set of circumstances, place and time. I write the things I think so I don't feel compelled to live out these ideas. I've been to therapists, and I find writing crime fiction much more rewarding. I've completely lost respect and credence for the medical professions.

Patrick King
--- mburch5717 <> wrote:

> I've always had an immense amount of respect for the
> authors who
> produce the work we love to read -- particularly the
> writers who have
> never broken out but keep going back and writing
> wonderful stuff year
> after year. You really have to admire the dedication
> and work involved.
> A while back there was a very interesting thread
> about the publishing
> side of the business but I'm curious to understand
> what the author's
> side is like. Since we have so many authors and
> others who are
> knowledgeable about the publishing business, I would
> be very interested
> in learning about what the economics of the
> situation are for an author
> of noir/hardboiled.
> For instance is there any feel for what the average
> noir or hardboiled
> author would earn on a book that isn't a
> blockbuster? When you do have
> a blockbuster or at least something that sells well,
> how is that
> defined in terms of what the author is compensated
> and how many books
> are sold? By blockbuster or best-seller I would
> assume we're talking
> about an Elmore Leonard or Michael Connelly novel vs
> someone who writes
> a good novel but who doesn't have huge sales?
> I'd appreciate any and all info you Avians can
> provide.
> Thanks,
> Mike

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