Sunday, April 12, 2009

Don Bruns's Thoughts on Writing



So I'm looking at the latest Library Journal review for my March release, Bahama Burnout, and it says "Another great read from Don Bruns, an underappreciated mystery writer."
And I'm thinking...99 percent of all authors are underappreciated. I mean, the best seller list is so limited. Publishers are sticking with Patterson, Cussler, Clark, Connelly, Woods and a handful of others. Because those authors are guaranteed sellers. The 'under appreciated', like me, like Debby Atkinson... there's no guarantee. We work as hard, we spend as much time ( maybe more), we travel, sometimes at our own expense, but sell fewer books...have fewer fans, and end up in many cases breaking even at best. And our works are often as good or better than the big sellers.

I remember when I first signed with St. Martin's Press. The Nanny Diaries had just come out and an article in USA Today had rocketed the book to the top of the charts. The book was paying a lot of bills at St. Martin's. We were all thankful that the two female authors had hit a home run. They were appreciated! And they paid the bills and helped pave the way for 'under appreciated' authors like me. Then they wrote their second book. And St. Martin's turned it down. They got a high powered agent, then another and another...and finally found someone who would publish the second novel. Does anyone know what it was about? The title? They are now officially underappreciated authors.

Robert James Waller's Bridges Of Madison County, not only sold hundreds of thousands of books, but like the Nanny Diaries, was made into a movie. It far surpassed the Nanny Diaries, and Clint Eastwood starred in the lead role. Waller wrote another novel. No one wanted it. He ended up having a small Texas publisher handle it, and if you can even name the title I'll send you a free copy of Bahama Burnout. (No, you could Google it.) He is now officially underappreciated.

I could go on with the stories of underappreciated authors. My point is, I would like to be appreciated. I'd like to sell books like my mentor, Sue Grafton. But when I look around and see all the authors who ARE underappreciated, I'm in pretty good company! Maybe I'm not making millions per effort, but there are a lot of talented people working at my level...and if that's what it's going to be for now, so be it. I'm underappreciated, and I'll deal with that.

Don Bruns
www.donbrunsbooks.com

6 comments:

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Yes, Don, we're in good company!

Vicki Delany said...

I'd forgotten all about Waller. Wow, you're right Don. Bridges was such a gigantic hit and then... not much, and then... nothing at all. Me, I'd rather have a steady career, unappreciated, than burn out in one big book.

Don Bruns said...

Just one big book anywhere in the career.

Don

Vicki Delany said...

One big book and then a steady career of more big books would also be good!

Donis Casey said...

I'll take one REALLY big book and retire to write whatever the hell I want.

Nik said...

Sounds like I'm in good company too! But I can console myself. Underappreciated maybe - but not by those people who actually read our books. The underappreciation comes in simply because of the impossibility of marketing our tomes among the many other thousands. So Luck, Fate and maybe the right mouth to pass on word-of-mouth is the secret...
Nik Morton/Ross Morton