Last week, I also felt really good when I heard the whole Amanda Hockings story about her huge breakout thanks to her immense e-book success. This was a nice slap-in-the-face to all those who have been sounding the death knell for the whole book industry as we know it. Well, it looks like the verdict is still out on that one. Just ask Amanda Hockings. True, she did make her name in e-books, and that’s good, too! There’s a place for both in this world, and that’s really good news for writers.
Just two weeks before that, I was meeting with my writing friend Tom here in Borneo and we were just discussing e-books and Amanda. Tom met Amanda several years ago at a writing conference. He's also met on several occasions (and interviewed) Nora Roberts, who lived in the same area. He wasn’t bragging. When you personally have met writers before they break out, as I mentioned blogging about Graham Brown, or have met other writers who are fabulously successful (maybe you met them at writing conferences or book signings, hundreds of thousands, millions, of people have ), it makes this whole writing game seem more and more possible.
Writers, you soon realize are not demigods; they’re just normal, though talented, persistent people (hopefully, like you and me), who have been honing their craft for years. They’ve even struggled with their first novel, filled with self-doubt, trying to get it just right, even having to deal with their share of rejections from agents, publishers, including close calls that have turned into disappointment.
Sometimes it’s a matter of timing.
Of course, as writers, we all hope that such Amanda-Hockings-type deals come our way. For me, it gives me hope than one fine morning, before breakfast, I, too, will get some impossibly good news. Occasionally, I do wake up to find I got a hit from an agent. I’ve had several recently from one of my novels, The Boy Who Shot Santa, but so far nothing has materialized. Maybe it’s the writing, maybe the timing isn’t right, or maybe America has changed too much since I last lived there.
Rewriting another novel, The Expatriate’s Choice, gives me hope because I do know something about expats and this part of the world, where I’ve been living for over 25 years. Perhaps the timing will be right soon. Maybe not in America; they really don’t know Malaysia very well, but in the UK or Europe; they do. Having one of my books reviewed their last week and having another getting published their later this year, it does appear that’s the direction I should be looking.
In the meantime, I’ll keep writing, and you should, too. Good things happen to good people; good things happen to friends, and I find that doubly cool.
—Robert Raymer, Borneo Expat Writer
Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:
Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.
Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.
Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day.
Chuah Guat Eng, author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change.
Five part Maugham and Me series
Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I