Wednesday, January 28, 2015

OK, OK. Yes. NOW you may call me "Prolific"

I blogged a little while ago about authorial labels and why I'm pretty indifferent about them; if you want to call me a writer, call me a writer. If you want to call me an author, call me an author. Writers write, while authors are read. It really doesn't make a difference to me.

However, there's one authorial label that, over the course of my now 12-plus-year fiction-writing career, I have absolutely abhorred its usage in reference to my writing, and me in general.

And that word, ladies and gents, is prolific.

*suppresses a full body shiver*

No, don't worry about me. I'm OK. Really.

See, over the first 12 years or so, people have called me prolific because of my dedication to my craft: I write pretty much every day, for several hours, taking the words in the dictionary, re-arranging them into sentences, stacking those sentences into paragraphs, and those paragraphs into chapters. In 2011, I published six novels, pretty much one right after the other. It got to the point where I could upload to Amazon's KDP site blindfolded.

After I published Double Agent at the tail end of 2011, my friend Bill Gilman--who edited Literary Agent and had suggested the plot for Travel Agent--said, "OK, now you're bordering on prolific." At that point, I had published nine or ten books, not including short stories and novellas.

In 2013, after I released Redeemed, I went on Stephen Campbell's Murders, Mysteries, and Mayhem podcast, when the P word came up: Stephen said, "You're not just prolific; you are very prolific." I had to stop him, explaining my feelings.

I'll be honest: I've just never thought of myself as prolific. I thought of myself as a hard-working author looking to simply entertain my readers. That word, in my estimation, should be reserved for Kevin J. Anderson or R.A. Salvatore, or other authors who have churned out large amounts of fiction, their books considered doorstops. Me? I've gone over 100,000 words in a book maybe four times in my career. Maybe five? Anderson and Salvatore do that with regularity, and here I am, punching out 80,000-90,000 word stories. Of course, that builds up. Maybe one of these days, I'll add up all the words I've written--and I can guarantee you that it would only be a fraction of Kevin and Bob's totals. Yet I remind and bitch-slap myself: do NOT compare yourself to any author out there.

Well, there you go. As I sit here after publishing Travel Agent on Monday, my 20th novel, I think I can withstand people calling me prolific and not having my mind shut down from disbelief that my name and that word are used in the same sentence.

Go ahead, call me prolific. Call me someone who writes a lot. Call me someone who only hopes to entertain people, to give them an escape.

I don't mind any longer.

I. Am. Prolific.

And now if you'll excuse me... I have another book to write.