Saturday, July 16, 2005

timing -- or how I learned to quit thinking for myself and follow the market

Timing. What an important word.
Timing is evasive and tormenting -- similar to luck, because we have very little control over it.
Timing has been against me from the beginning of my career.

In the mid-eighties, I wrote a romantic adventure. The hero, or anti-hero, had a viewpoint and said weird things. He was immature, selfish and rude. He was like a real person. At that time, these things simply weren’t done in romance novels. Most male characters didn’t even have viewpoints, let alone much personality. This risky book finally sold to Pocket and had a print run of 7,000 copies. Thrown away, was how an editor from another house described the fiasco. The book developed a cult following. Editors were reading and talking about it. Writers were reading and talking about it. A lot of people tried to emulate it. Janet Evanovich recently stated in an interview that she’d read it and tried to write something similar. Today someone would probably pick it up and wonder what the fuss was about. But at that time the book was seminal and groundbreaking in a quiet way. It was also my first book and first commercial failure.

In the early nineties, I told my editor Beth de Guzman at Bantam that I really wanted to write straight suspense. She told me that was impossible; they already had A female writer – Tami Hoag -- writing suspense. Swear to God, those were her exact words. That’s really all I have to say about that; it’s pretty self-explanatory.


Kelly Parra said...

Wow, Anne, this interesting about your first book. Was it a single title?

And since I've been trying to break into romantic suspense, I've been getting a lot of they already have their line of RS authors, basically big names and I wouldn't stand out next them.

Thanks for sharing! =)

Jer said...

Anne, I love this post. You gave some great information. I had no idea you started with romantic suspense.

Would love to read this book. Is the title on your website? Jer

anne frasier said...

kelly, the book was a single title. it had a great morgan kane cover, but booksellers had no idea what to even do with it. some put it in the men's adventure area. :D

jer: the title was amazon lily. the orginal came out in 1988. after the rights reverted back to me, bantam reissued it with one of the ugliest covers i've ever seen and abolutely no financial backing. i think that was 1994.

i really think the whole fiasco was the result of having a bad agent. my career would have taken a completely different path if i'd had a decent agent to begin with. stupid me -- i kinda thought all agents were the same back then. I really knew nothing, didn't belong to any writers groups, didn't know any other writers, lived in the middle of nowhere, and wrote a book. "now ah think ah'll hitch up the buggy, go to town, an try ta sell this thingy."