Saturday, August 11, 2012

Championing Robert McCammon

 Championing Robert McCammon
For those regular visitors here, you will know that I discovered Robert McCammon around the same time as I started the blog. In fact the first book I read of his was the first Matthew Corbett book, “Speaks the Nightbird,” which was one of the novels that inspired me to seriously have a go at writing a novel.
Over the past three years I have read six more of McCammon’s novels. I have loved every one of them and the only reason I have not read all of his back catalogue is because I am restraining myself. The thought of not having one of his books on hand to read makes me sad. I have though, purchased most of those unread books.
Of those six other books I have read. Three of them have been from the rest of the Matthew Corbett series. You can click on the link for my reviews for the last two on the right hand side of this blog. In short though, I think they are some of the best books I have read. It is easily up there as one of my favourite series and Robert McCammon is one of if not my out and out favourite author.
Therefore, I was gutted to read his latest blog post over at his website. I have copied and pasted an extract below:
I will tell you the truth, guys. The New York publishing world has little use for Matthew. They see that I am a “horror writer”—and kind of a “has been” at that—and Matthew is not “horror” but some kind of  boring “historical piece”, so what do I think I’m doing?
Well…I think I’m aiming at a target that no one can see but me. I trust myself. I will hit that target in the space of ten books, and you can count on it.
Getting back with a New York-based publisher means cultivating a wider audience. This is very important for any writer’s future. I have a loyal and steady audience, it’s true, but my contemporary work is more appealing to “New York” than the Matthew series, so this is why I really do need to alternate Matthew with the contemporary books. Those books have the greatest chance of getting promoted, reviewed and noticed, and put into bookstores…whereas Matthew, for all his charm and worth and manners, is not welcome in very many Barnes & Nobles. One might say the era of the brick-and-mortar bookstore is  coming to an end, but my work must be on the shelves of as many bookstores as possible, or I will find myself laboring at a “hobby” instead of having a “career”.
It is true, I have many more Matthew books ahead of me. It is equally true I have many more ideas for contemporary novels. I must alternate them in this way, as my best chance for success…and, actually, the wider reach of the contemporary novels will hopefully bring more Matthew readers into the fold. So it can be a win-win situation if I stick to my schedule.
Now there are authors I enjoy immensely, but I can see why they could be struggling. Perhaps they are a guilty pleasure where the stories satisfies a need in me and so I can blindly look past their flaws etc. However, Robert McCammon does not full into this category.
His writing is outstanding. To think his Matthew Corbett series struggled for sales and is not looked on favourably by the publisher really saddens me. If Robert is struggling then what hope is there? The books are always magnificently presented to: excellent covers and great illustrations.
I just can’t fathom what is going on in the industry when someone of Robert’s talent has to fight to publish his work whilst there are so many other authors who seem to reach supersonic sales figures for vastly inferior work.
I am not a literary snob and I don’t dismiss novels because others ridicule it either. I will try any book and judge it on its merit – just check out my reviews. But this is the first time I have felt moved to comment on a situation.
I have no doubt Robert McCammon will continue to sell and publish excellent novels. But I urge you to try out the Matthew Corbett series. If just one reader of this blog buys his novels I would have felt like I helped. Just give them a go and then tell me I am wrong about how good they are. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong but I don’t think I am.
Matthew Corbett series:
1.    Speaks the Nightbird
Speaks the Nightbird
2.    Queen of Bedlam
The Queen of Bedlam
3.    Mister Slaughter
Mister Slaughter
4.    The Providence Rider
The Providence Rider

Rant over.