Monday, August 6, 2018

On the Side

Recently I was having lunch with a colleague who had a truckload of questions about my books.  Several times he made reference to it as working ‘on the side’.  Then he began to offer advice, such as how to renegotiate my contracts with the publishers, how to demand more free copies, to ask for a larger percentage of the royalties, have more input on the cover art and final approval of all marketing materials. I let him ramble on until he ran out of steam. While he understands some types of business, the publishing industry is foreign to him.

“If I were selling as many books as Michael Connelly, John Sandford or Stephen King, I would be able to use those tactics. But chances are, all three of them have literary agents and business managers to take care of the details,” I said.

“What about movies?” he asked. “Don’t you have input into the movies?”

I shrugged. “It depends on the contract. If there is interest from a production company to turn one of the novels into a movie, I’d work with the publisher. This is a collaborative effort.”

He didn’t understand how I could venture into a business and not to have greater control.  I explained that my control comes from the creative side. The novels are mine. The storyline, characters, conflicts and twists are all part of my imagination. Weaving the scenes together, developing an engaging story is all on me. It’s my part of the business. 

But to me, this is not ‘on the side’.  Writing is a passion. It’s something I’ve been doing for several years. While fame and fortune would certainly be a nice benefit, I’m driven to share my novels. Having an audience is great. It’s my challenge to come up with a story that will capture your imagination, make you curious about my characters and wonder what it would be like to step up to the bar with them and have a drink or three.   

But the bottom line is, I write for me. That’s my goal.  Is it ‘on the side’?  That’s for you to decide.  All I know is, I’m going to keep writing. I'm in it for the long run.

Since we’re into August, thoughts of sunshine, the beach and a gentle breeze come to mind. Here’s an excerpt from “Stealing Haven” the short story with Jamie Richmond that is part of “Once Upon A Summer”.   In this scene, Jamie and Linda have just had a relaxing lunch with a couple of local guys.

Randy stood. He focused his attention on me. Did I have something in my teeth? I ran my tongue over my mouth. How odd.
“So, drinks around seven thirty?” she prompted.
“I know just the place.” From a pocket he pulled out a business card. He scrawled something on the back and passed me the card. “See you then. I’ve got to get back to the office.”
Linda reached over and snagged the business card. “Really, it’s a wonder you ever get laid, Jamie. That guy was practically drooling over you and you’re oblivious.”
“Why would he take a second look at me when you’re here?”
She flicked a crumb from her plate at me. “His eyes were only on you. I’m surprised he was able to eat his lunch.”
There were a couple of times when I noticed his gaze on me, but thought he was trying to be polite. I said as much. She laughed and pushed away from the table.
“You’re beautiful, Jamie.”
“Next to you, I look like a stick figure.”
She put an arm around my shoulders. “You’re hopeless. Let’s go back to the beach.”

While writing this segment, the Eagles were playing one of their classics.  Here it is.  Enjoy!

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