Thursday, August 16, 2007

I should probably wait until the paperwork is signed and the advance check is in the mail, but -- because I'm me -- instead I'm going to prematurely announce that Kensington Publishing has agreed to publish a fourth Famous Author Rob Byrnes novel.

Now you just have to wait for an undetermined release date in 2009.

We're taking a few chances here. This isn't going to be the standard gay comic romance that I've written in the past. Oh, it will still be 'comic' and 'gay' enough, but this time out I'm writing about a hapless criminal gang -- the twist being that the members are gay men and lesbians -- who fall into what they think will be easy money. Complications, of course, ensue.

So that's good news, although I regret the three-year gap between books. Which is my fault, by the way, not Kensington's.

Which leads us to:

The timing problem was two-fold. First, I burned myself out finishing When the Stars Come Out early last year, and took over a year to get a new proposal to Kensington. Since the publication schedule is set well in advance, I completely locked myself out of 2008. Second, in the interim I struggled with my 'Big Book' idea -- you know, the cross-over novel that will make me rich and famous -- but couldn't fully wrap my head around it. Ultimately, when The Big Book is ready to be written, that thought process will prove valuable. But it cost me time I could have used to develop a more viable proposal and get a book on the shelves in 2008.

Whatever. I intend to live another couple of decades -- maybe more, when robot livers are finally invented -- so there will be time to get all of this on paper.

But I realized that I need to develop a strategic plan for my writing career. While I realize that quitting my day job is not a realistic goal, I should still have an organized approach to put titles on shelves (and in anthologies), and keep the Rob Byrnes brand name, if you will, alive.

You might think that sounds stupid, but it really isn't. An author's name is like any other commodity. As hard as it is to break into this business -- and there are few things harder -- the one-hit wonders are quickly forgotten. Some people have been after me to write a book per year, but I can't; between the day job and the writing I'd burn myself out on both ends. One book every two years, though, is possible. So my agent and I are going to put our heads together and set benchmarks for the next phase of my career.

Speaking of getting my name out:

I am a bad self-promoter. Seriously. Mostly because I can be on the shy side with people I don't know, and also because I am always convinced that, in their eyes, neither I nor my work measures up to expectations. Yeah, I know... you wouldn't think I'd have those insecurities, but even when I force them under the surface, they're there.

But the cliche is true: the books don't sell themselves. That's why I am setting my discomfort aside and hitting the road in November, when When the Stars Come Out is re-released in trade paperback.

Patrick and I have been contacting bookstores throughout the northeast -- everything from Washington DC to Boston is in play -- and, although the going is slower than I had hoped it would be, I should be able to announce a full schedule of bookings within the next few weeks. (If you want me to come to your city, drop me an e-mail and I'll see what I can do.)

One stop is firmed up, though:

Rochester, NY
Barnes & Noble
Pittsford Store
3349 Monroe Avenue
Saturday, November 24
7:00 PM
Reading & Signing

Meaning... yes, I will be home for Thanksgiving.

So... this should bring you up-to-date on the exciting life and times of a Famous Author. Glamorous, isn't it? And I wouldn't want it any other way.