A lot of authors are embarrassed by their first novels. Others are incredibly proud of them. After all, that’s the book that got them onto store shelves. For me, it’s both. I worked hard on Northcoast Shakedown. I had it beta read at least a dozen times before I sent it out to make rounds. When the eventual publisher took it, I cackled like an idiot when the first copies arrived at my house.
I had made it. I was on my way. That’s what I believed.
And then the publisher failed. I had three novels in the can. I had dropped an agent who very well could have gotten me past this problem. I was screwed.
By 2008, I had written Road Rules and failed to find a home for it. As Nita and I settled into a new life, I found a box of copies sent to me after the publisher went out. Angrily, I dumped them in the trash and let them rot in Cincinnati’s Mt. Rumpke. My wife called me out on that, but the books were gone. I even went as far as to ask people to burn their copies. I don’t know if anyone did. I do know a few unscrupulous booksellers were charging over a hundred dollars for a copy, which leaves me scratching my head. Who would pay more than $20 for a novel by an obscure writer published by a defunct micro-press?
Eventually, I rereleased on Kindle (and in print.) Most people who’ve read it loved it, but I’m still ambivalent. I think it’s because it’s a mix of success and failure in the same book. I got published, but I didn’t publish well.
Nonetheless, I won’t pull it. It is my first work. People did think highly of it. And who knows? Maybe Nick will whisper in my ear again someday.
The publisher’s lack of business sense had nothing to do with the quality of the books they took on. And yes, I still have my first edition copy. 🙂 And yes, the new cover is much better than theirs. 😀
Gee, wonder why that new cover looks so good… 🙂