We’ve all heard the stories. John Locke! EL James!
Amazon now features them on their homepage. “Indie author sells one million copies!” “After six years of rejection, self-publishing brings book to wide audience!” I could write a dozen of these without half-trying.
Not that a dozen is a lot. I had the privilege of talking with author MJ Rose at ThrillerFest this past weekend. MJ was arguably the first pioneer of the indie publishing movement, and now traditionally publishes her novels of suspense and sensuality with great success. At the conference MJ said something very wise, which amounted to this:
Winning the literary lottery is rare no matter how you publish.
How true. Whether published by a major, the smallest micro press, or by yourself, the chances of writing a book that hits and speaks to a very wide audience is small. It’s good to know that going in.
So that when it does happen–as Rick Murcer is about to tell you–you’ll be all the more thrilled and surprised.
Rick’s Made It Moment appears here.
A lot has happened to me, to us, on this journey since Jenny first asked me to talk about my “made it moment” just about a year ago. But before I get started, I want to thank Jenny for having me back to talk about the last twelve. She’s had quite a year herself. Congrats, Miss Jenny!
Man. Where did that year go? Some things have improved more than others over the last 365 days. We’ve got more books out, and a short story… and I think my picture’s better and I’ve lost weight, so my butt must be smaller!
Firstly, I must say how much God has blessed us this past year. It’s been beyond anything I could have imagined. No one makes it without some help in this business, and no one helps like God. A very close second is my wife, Carrie. She’s amazing, in spite of what she’s got to work with!
It’s been a whirlwind of activity, a lot of highs, and a good bit of nose-to-the-grindstone hard work since my e-books, Caribbean Moon and Deceitful Moon, hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller’s lists. Talk about pinching yourself over and over. It still looks strange to see that in print. But I soon realized that you can’t live in that fairy tale world forever, so I’ve since managed to stick to a writing routine.
I’ve released two more full-length novels, Emerald Moon and Caribbean Rain, one short story/novella, Capital Murder, and something else that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside…a murder/mystery anthology, The Killing Sands. More on that a little later.
We entered this whole publishing realm as naïve as a preacher in a casino, but came out the better for it. A little scarred in a place or two, but exposed to far more positive than negative.
The Indie world had much to teach us. We’ve figured out how to navigate the minefield of “Hollywood” screenplay offers, trad publishing, paperback publishing, book signing agendas, agents, foreign rights, pirating, audio offers too good to be true, marketing, protecting our e-book rights, and that there are almost as many editors out there as ways to edit a manuscript. But through it all, we learned two things were true and consistent; my readers are nothing short of amazing, and there are an absolute plethora of wonderful people in this business. I want to talk about those two segments of folks.
I have the best readers on the planet, I think! I have been humbled, amazed, and even brought to tears by the generosity of readers who take time to send messages about how they interpret my stories or how certain parts of the plots have touched their lives. Their encouragement, honesty, kind words, and interaction were far more than I’d anticipated. There were days that I’d receive 60-70 e-mails. Never asking for anything, but always giving upbeat input that made me want to work harder. I’m still pretty new to this writing revelry, so there’s plenty of room for improvement.
If I got something wrong, they let me know in a gentle, positive way. “Greatly appreciated” became my personal thank you to them all. And, BTW, I answer every e-mail personally. If those wonderful folks take the time to talk to me, you can bet I want to talk to them. They deserve it, and I’m still having a ball doing it. Thank you so much for sharing your “moments” with me, readers. Each one of you is special.
One of the greatest things I’ve discovered about this writing gig is the camaraderie of other authors. They encourage, critique, support, even laugh and cry with you. If you’ve never written a book, it’s hard to understand the euphoria of “the end” or the task of the rewriting and editing process, so meeting all of these fine folks along the way has helped the journey.
In January of this year, I decided to approach a few authors I’d come into contact with and ask if they’d be willing to join me in producing a summer mystery anthology. I was pleasantly surprised when they all accepted. Let me introduce six wonderful writers and tell you what a joy it has been to work with people who understand the “writing” world
Dani Amore, Tim Ellis, Traci Hohenstein, Lawrence Kelter, Gary Ponzo, and Rebecca Stroud each agreed to write a short story with the central theme of “murder on the beach.” Because we hail from different parts of the world, including Great Britain, the settings for the seven stories in The Killing Sands include beaches in California, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, and Wales. Each story has a distinct voice and an exciting plot. The authors have sometimes incorporated characters from their mainstream novels as well. I’d encourage readers to enjoy these stories on the beach this summer…if they dare!
Through this anthology process, I’ve taken on a bit of the publisher role through Murcer Press. It’s time consuming, but I’ve certainly enjoyed it and the opportunity to learn about a different end of the business.
I guess I’m getting windy, again, so I’ll wrap this up. The last 16 months have changed my life, my perspective, and my goals. Interacting with people, good and challenging alike, has added to that and I’m more than grateful.
I’m also excited to see what the next twelve months might bring because, well…one never knows.
Thanks again, Jenny. It’s always a privilege to be heard at the Made it Moment.
Rick Murcer lives in Michigan and has been married longer than his wife likes to admit. They two wonderful children, three amazing grandkids, and a blind black Lab, Max, who serves as his “writing” dog.
Rick lost his real job two years ago, and after sending out 550 resumes with no luck, decided he was going to make it as a writer. Caribbean Moon was a labor of love, and writing it taught him more about himself than he cared to know.