Saturday, October 07, 2006

When I Was (Almost) Fab

Here's a story you haven't heard before.

Now and then someone asks me (though maybe not in these exact words), "How is it that somebody who's been consistently publishing for over 20 years, who's done three or four series, and who's sustained one of them for 20 years now, remains a complete unknown?"

As Mike Hammer says, "It was easy." I just never had a hit. People who ask me to blurb their first novels sell more copies of it than I've sold total. People who started writing about the same time I did are now on the New York Times list. Maybe I just don't write the right kind of books, or maybe my books just aren't that good. (I'd like to disregard that second possibility, but there it is.) Reviewers like me (mostly), editors like me, readers (when they can find the books) like me. But here I am, unknown.

I've come close to being known, though, a couple of times. When my evil twin, Jack MacLane, was writing for Zebra Books, the editor there really loved his work. After the first two books, I didn't have to offer a synopsis or even a title. My contract just said, "two books by Bill Crider." At one point, I was about to get The Big Push, with Blood Dreams. Die-cut cover with embossed inner cover. A dump in the front of all the chain stores. The works.

Didn't happen. The editor got pregnant and left the company. Another editor came in. The book was slapped back to the regular list, with a regular cover. The dump in the chains? Forget it.

What proof do I have of this? Not much, except for a cover flat that I got when the big plans were being made. That's it up there. The outer cover is on the top. The embossed inner cover is below it. Pretty cool, right? I sure thought so at the time. I thought Jack MacLane was on his way. And he was, straight to oblivion, which is where he remains. My brief brush with fame was pretty short, but it was fun while it lasted.


Benjamin Potter said...

Just for clarification--it was Blood Dreams not Blood Marks that got the attention, right? Although for my money the Crider book . . . Marks, was better than the MacLane . . . Dreams. Either one is worthy of letting both(?) guys join the hit parade.

I still read all of Bill's fiction that I can, when I can find them, when I find the cash. It's harder to shell out the bucks for the SS collections when I may not read any of the offerings but Crider's, so I'm a little behind on two or three of the short stories.

One thing I've found about Bill's writing is that you can read it. It's witty, down to earth, and you don't have to try to figure out what he's trying to say even when the plot twists for a fun ending. Plus, you don't get bogged down with a bunch of techno- or psycho-babble to boot. (All too prevalent in today's reading market.)

Too bad for the literary world that only a few have gotten excited over your writing, Bill. Keep on plugging. Who needs fame when you have fans?

Oh, also, I've always enjoyed that cover. I think it's the one of the MacLane books that took me longest to find.

Bill said...

Thanks for the correction, and I've edited the entry to reflect it. And thanks for the kind words, too.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

You'll always be a big shot in my book, Bill.

Duane Swierczynski said...

God do I love that cover. Just when you think there's enough blood... there's more blood.

Being both a Bill Crider fan and a horror junkie, I just ordered a copy of this and GOODNIGHT MOOM. Just in time for Halloween.

Bill said...

Halloween seems about right.

Juri said...

Don't forget that I have an entry for you *and Jack MacLane* in my book PULPOGRAFIA...

Franco said...
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