I am very happy to welcome back mystery author Doug Corleone to the site. Doug speaks about the business of publishing from the unique perspective of a sophomore–and I don’t quite know if I want to clap my hands over my ears–or else clap him on the back for showing us all what it means to stay in the game.
Here it is, a year after the publication of my debut novel ONE MAN’S PARADISE, and I’ve made it again. Which is to say that I’m on the cusp of having my second novel in the Kevin Corvelli mystery series NIGHT ON FIRE unleashed unto the world.
Over the past twelve months, I’ve given a lot of thought to how I would revise my first Made It Moment, so I jumped when Jenny Milchman offered me the opportunity to write a Made It Moment II. First, I take back the line in which I said I hope that my real Made It Moment is “decades and dozens of books away.” Because over the past year, it’s certainly seemed as though that might become a reality. No, I’m more than ready for my Made It Moment, because I’ve finally come to realize what my Made It Moment will be – the moment I can honestly say I’m earning a living wage and have some job stability.
There were plenty of moments last year that I thought might qualify as Made It Moments – the moment I first saw a large display of my books in the window at Barnes & Noble in Honolulu; the moment I sat down at my first book signing; the moment I received a contract for the next two books in the Kevin Corvelli series. But looking back, none of those moments qualify because not one of those moments did anything to remove the uncertainty about the future of my career.
So few aspiring novelists realize that the real challenges begin only after you sign your first book contract. The anxiety that accompanies waiting for your first review, your first royalty statement, is far worse than the stress inherent in the original submission process. Because by this point, you’ve come so far and experienced so many minor Made It Moments that failure now would be devastating. And until you’ve established that you can sell books to the reading public, the threat of failure looms like a dark cloud over your writing space. Until you’ve established yourself, you’re always one bad sales quarter away from having to start the entire process over again, under a different name.
Then again, as I wrote the last paragraph (I’m not kidding), a message came in from my website. It read: “ONE MAN’S PARADISE is one of the best books I have read. Loved your style of writing. I can hardly wait for your next book to come out. Just once in a while a book comes along that has everything and this one is it. More please.”
For just a moment, as I read that, I was able to forget sales figures, able to put my anxieties about the future on pause. It was definitely a Made It Moment. To quote the author of that message, “More please.”
Hope to see you all next year for my Made It Moment III. Until then, happy reading!
Douglas Corleone’s debut novel ONE MAN’S PARADISE is the winner of the 2009 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. A former New York City criminal defense attorney, Corleone now resides in the Hawaiian Islands, where he is studying for the Bar Exam. Visit the author online at http://www.douglascorleone.com.