Last month, How to Lose a Third of a Million Dollars Without Really Trying by Heather Demetrios was getting a lot of attention in the Twitter circles I travel in. If I didn't get e-mail notices from The Millions, I wouldn't have heard about Russell Rowland's article published there in mid-September about his publishing experience.
Russell (I am referring to him as Russell because we were kind of acquainted years ago through the Readerville writers' community) covers his twenty year experience as a writer in The Long, Winding Road to Publication. Why is his essay not getting a lot of attention, the way the essays on the writing life written by other authors have over the years?
I think it's his acceptance of and appreciation of the reality of that writing life. "I ended up working with whoever would have me, in most cases regional publishers in Montana. And I have nothing negative to say about any of those people." He writes about what it's like to meet writers he admires and have them dismiss him as an unknown writer. But I don't get a sense of bitterness from him. It's more a "this is how it is" sort of thing.
He recognizes the seduction of the stereotypical big author's life, but at the same time, when he asks the question "Is it possible to be happy as someone who has a small, loyal following?" he answers, "As a matter of fact, yes it is."
For those of you starting out, this is the kind of publishing reality essay you want to end up writing in twenty years.
Russell has a new book, Cold Country, coming out from Dzanc Books next month. According to the publisher's description, it involves a murder.