Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Not to Get All Mushy...

by Marcus Sakey

I love this business.

I don't mean the act of writing--though I love that too--but rather the business itself. You hear a lot of bad things, and some of it is deserved. But you don't hear near enough about how amazing this biz can be.

Here's the thing: the publishing industry is comprised of a group of people willing to work their hearts out because they love words, they trust in stories, and they believe books can change the world.

That's amazing.

I spent ten years in advertising and marketing, and enjoyed it. The people are clever, passionate, and creative. The work is fun, and the money is good. But at the end of the day, what you're creating is disposable. You're convincing consumers to buy your jeans instead of your competitor's jeans. And while there's nothing wrong with that, it doesn't lead to the sort of community that writing does.

So this week, now that my book is on the shelves and my touring is underway, now that an abstraction has become a reality, I'd like to take a moment to thank a few of the people who made it happen. Call it a shout-out to the writing and publishing community at large, a big "Thank You" from me to them.

Thanks to all the folks at St. Martin's Minotaur. In particular, high-octane gratitude to three individuals that aren't thanked enough: Matt Baldacci, Rachel Ekstrom, and Christina Harcar.

Thanks to Scott, for having my back from day one.

Thank you to the people who make this a community, especially Karen Dionne, Jon & Ruth Jordan, Ali Karim, David Montgomery, Graham Powell, Sarah Weinman, and my good friend J.A. Konrath. You guys are the beating heart of the writing world. Also a thanks to my fellow Outfit members, as well as the members of Killer Year.

Thank you to the authors who took the time to blurb an unknown debut: Dr. Jeff Anderson, Ken Bruen, Lee Child, Victor Gischler, Harry Hunsicker, T. Jefferson Parker, and George Pelecanos. It's no small thing to ask someone to read your novel.

Love and gratitude to booksellers everywhere. You don't get near enough credit.

Finally, an eternal debt to all the writers who made me want to be one. If you're ever looking for me, odds are I'm curled up with one of their books.

What about you? Anybody you'd like to thank? An author that rocked your world, a bookseller who always has a perfect recommendation, a friend who bought drinks at Bouchercon? Shout it out, my brothers and sisters. Time to hear some good things about this biz.


Ali Karim said...

Hi Marcus -

Nice to read a positive post - as there is a tendency by some to look at the downside of this writing life - THE BLADE ITSELF is excellent / and in the UK is coming out from Penguin - you're in good hands

Well done

Anonymous said...


Blurbing your book wasn't difficult at all. I *knew* your novel would hit big and that readers and reviewers were going to love it.

Keep on truckin', dude.

Victor Gischler

Karen Dionne said...

What a terrific post, Marcus. I'm traveling to a conference in San Diego on Friday, and The Blade Itself is traveling with me. Can't wait to crack it open!

I'm a bit behind you in the process (just sold my first thriller two weeks ago), but I too, have a whole slew of folks I'd like to thank - most particularly, the wonderful authors who read a portion of my novel and gave me blurbs for the submission package (which no doubt influenced the sale): Lee Child, Gayle Lynds, David Morrell, John Lescroart, Doug Preston, David Dun, John Case, and David L. Robbins.

That so many successful authors would so generously help a new author get a leg up speaks to the quality (and the future) of the entire industry. I'm proud to be a part of it.

Now quit blogging and go sell those books!


Rob Gregory Browne said...

You're right on the money about this business, Marcus, and I'd not only thank Matt (a GREAT guy) and company at St. Martin's but Ben Sevier as well, who brought both of us in, and to Marc Resnick, our new editor, who took over where Ben left off.

St. Martin's is a great house all around, and when I visited last year, I discovered a lot of hard working, dedicated, passionate people who rarely get the kudos they deserve. They are the heart and soul of this business.

Blind Camel said...

At the risk of sounding like a suckass, thanks to you guys for giving an aspiring novelist and fellow Chicagoan a glimpse behind your work...! This is about as close to a community as I've found in these parts.

Jude Hardin said...

I recently finished a novel, a hardboiled PI story using a character I created a little over a year ago. It's going to be my debut. I just know it is. My thanks to the folks here for inspiring me to come up with a last line that I worked into the final draft. That contest gave me ideas for what I think are excellent additions to the manuscript.

Thanks to my sweet angel, an incredible author and friend who believed in me enough to nudge me toward the finish line. She inspires me, gives me strength, and I love her dearly.

And thanks to the other authors who have agreed to read the manuscript and offer editing advice. You know who you are. My eternal gratitude.

Marcus Sakey said...

Just back from NYC, and I've got to add one more shout-out to all the folks at St. Martin's. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your energy, enthusiasm, and passion.

And a special thanks to Marc Resnick, who provided great suggestions, terrific conversation, and one too many Jamesons. Cheers!

Tim Broderick said...

Hey Marcus!

Sorry I missed the debut party a few weeks back - stuck at work! If you're going to Love is Murder, I'll see you there. If not, I'm coming to the March 4th signing at Centuries and Sleuthes.

Patry Francis said...

Thanks to YOU for showing us that success doesn't preclude humility and generosity. SO happy for you, and the book is just as awesome and thought provoking as everyone says it is.