Tuesday, April 24, 2012
If Lawrence Block is having trouble maintaining a foothold in the traditional world of publishing/bookstores, what chance do the rest of us have? But here's the thing - Block may be advancing in age, but he's no dinosaur. Here's more from his post:
I realize you're not stupid, but I'm going to emphasize this statement, more to illustrate my sense of wonder than anything else: "I've already netted more from it than the modest advance a publisher might have shelled out..."
THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC is a book of Matthew Scudder short stories, and if you're a crime fiction fan, I need say no more. If you're not a crime fiction fan, I can only illustrate the enduring popularity of Matthew Scudder with the following numbers: He has been featured in eighteen separate books over the last four decades.
Again, if a guy like Lawrence Block could expect a "modest advance," and declining shelf space, for a book featuring a character like Matthew Scudder, what chance do the rest of us have in the world of traditional publishing?
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
And you want to hear something cool? I'm now one, too!
My seven hundred word flash fiction story, "Lessons Learned," which ran at the outstanding noir fiction site, Shotgun Honey, last July, was voted the 2012 Derringer Award winner for Best Flash Story, rendering me stunned, humbled, and excited as hell to be included among such an incredible array of talent in the crime fiction community.
And the competition was fierce, too. The Derringer is awarded annually in four categories: Best Flash Story (under 1000 words), Best Short Story (1001-4000 words), Best Long Story (4001-8000 words), and Best Novelette (8001-17,500 words). Judges chosen from SMFS volunteers score each nominated story to come up with five finalists per category, and then the SMFS membership votes to determine a winner in each category.
As a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society I read all the stories which were selected as finalists in each category and then voted (and yes, of course I voted for my own story, are you crazy?), and there wasn't a bad tale in the bunch.
I'm not new to the Derringer Awards, having been selected as a finalist three previous times, twice in 2009 for Best Short Story ("Independence Day" and "Regrets, I've Had a few")and once in 2010 for Best Novelette (Uncle Brick and Jimmy Kills"). But this is my first Derringer win and I would be lying if I said it tasted anything other than incredibly sweet. Again, all you have to do is take a look at the names of the previous Derringer winners to see what an honor it is.
A few months ago I made a light-hearted comment on Facebook about an award I was in the running for or something and a gentleman made the following comment in return: "If you write to win awards, you're a bigger asshole than you know."
I didn't say much at the time, simply unfriended the person and moved on, because his comment was so ridiculous and unnecessary I couldn't see wasting a lot of energy on it. I don't write to win awards and find it hard to imagine anyone would - there aren't enough awards out there to even make that a legitimate goal, and the ones that are out there are so hotly contested, the odds of ever winning any of them are so prohibitive you might as well try to win $640 million at Mega Millions.
But just because awards aren't the reason I write, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate winning one. Everyone likes validation; anyone who claims otherwise is lying, either to you or to himself.
In the business of writing fiction, if you don't find a way to deal with rejection you're not going to last long, so when people - especially people who specialize in either writing or reading the type of fiction you write - make an effort to recognize your work, it's a hell of a good feeling, one which I intend to savor for a while.
But, like anything else in life, as a writer you're only as good as your last book, or your last story, or maybe even your last sentence. So with that in mind, congratulations to the 2012 Derringer Award winners in the other three categories: Best Short Story, B.V. Lawson; Best Long Story, Art Taylor and Karen Pullen; and Best Novelette, Earl Staggs; as well as to all of the finalists in all of the categories.
Now it's time to get back to writing.