Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Published Writers Are Rich and Famous...Right?

There’s a wonderful line in The Muppet Movie. The Muppets have come to the big city looking for fame and fortune, and they encounter Orson Wells, playing a big-time producer. At the end of the scene, he tells his secretary to prepare the “standard rich and famous contract.” I guess that’s the kind of contract an author dreams about, but so far as I can tell, it only exists in the movies.

From the outside, being a writer seems exciting. At my first writer’s conference, I was awestruck by the published writers there. These were people whose names were household words—well, not in my household, but I was just getting started, so I could be excused for not knowing all of them. But surely they were celebrities in their hometowns. Most certainly they had to stop and give autographs in the grocery store or dry cleaners. And undoubtedly they lived in the lap of luxury. After all, they were published authors!

My first novel was published several years later. I’ll never forget the thrill of opening that box and seeing the cover with “Richard L. Mabry, MD” printed at the top. I listened carefully, but so far as I could tell, there were no cheering crowds outside my window, no marching bands in the street. I opened my Internet browser, but there was no headline about the book. What I did find, however were a bunch of emails about interviews and guest blog posts that I’d lined up to get the word out. No matter that there were no cheering crowds yet. Surely these would do the trick.

Now, fast-forward to the present. Recently I received the print copies of my self-published novella, Doctor’s Dilemma. That made three novellas and ten novels I have had published, but by this time reality had set in. I took a minute to thank God for having brought me this far in a second profession I never dreamed about. I showed the book to my wife, Kay, and gave her a personalized copy. I reviewed the blog interviews and guest posts I’d set up. And then I went about my business. I didn’t take the time to listen for cheering crowds and marching bands. I knew better than to expect any.

At church, a few people know I’m an author, and we talk a bit about it. I’m sometimes asked to sign a book. I’ve been asked to share a little about the publishing industry with various groups. But that’s about it for the famous part. And as for rich, well that’s not going to happen, either.

Do I mind that I never got that “standard rich and famous contract?” Not really. My words have been read by many more people than the population of the town where I grew up. If I’ve succeeded in my mission, when those readers turn the last page of my novel they find they’ve been left with a message—not a hard-sell of Christianity, because that’s just not my style, but rather a message that no matter how far we drift from God, we can always turn back to Him. I’ve been allowed to use the printed page as my pulpit. And that’s rich and famous enough for me.

Leave a comment, including your email address, for a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card. Winner will be chosen and announced in the Comments section the evening of March 26.

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29 comments:

  1. You are rich in loyal readers and famous for just being yourself. I have enjoyed hearing you speak and reading your wonderful books. Your suspense is thrilling and the little bit of romance is just right. Thank you for your time and talent.

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  2. I think that you have been very successful in your second career and your biggest reward and greatest fame will be when you hear "Well done, good and faithful servant".
    Congratulations and Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts--as someone who enjoys writing, but is unpublished, it is a good reality-check. It's good to wrestle with the motives behind my desire to write.
    I love reading your books and have read and re-read all the ones I own. My Dad was a missionary surgeon, my brother is a surgeon and my son is an EMT and studying pre-med. Even though I am not at all medically-inclined, your books help me understand and appreciate them all more. Also, your books are a delightful escape when the stresses and burdens of my life as a missionary are weighing me down. Thank you and keep writing!

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  4. Thanks for some insight into your writing background. I really enjoy reading your books and look forward to reading more.
    dawn dot nicol (at) gmail dot com

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  5. I've enjoyed reading your books, please keep writing! I especially like books that have suspense, but also help draw us closer in our relationship with Jesus. I think yours do well in this. May God bless you as you serve Him in this way.

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  6. I really enjoyed this article and your books! Thanks for the insight! :) jen dot schwindt at gmail dot com

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  7. The first commenter is correct that you ARE rich and famous! I wish I could still afford to buy books instead of relying on giveaways and the library but I do try to leave reviews as my payment to the authors!

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  8. Am a dedicated fan, Richard...love your books. Keep up the great writing for us medical Christian fiction fans!
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

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  9. I enjoy reading your books.
    Martha T.
    CRPrairie1(@)imonmail(dot)com

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  10. Sorry to be late getting back to reading the comments--and I appreciate all of them. There are days in writing where nice words like these make all the difference. Thanks to each one of you.

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  11. You blessed all of us, your followers, by choosing writing as your second career.

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  12. Thanks for sharing Richard. It's something I often wonder about. From what I gather most authors have a full time job and write on the side. It's a bit sad that they (you) can't do what they love full time.

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  13. I love your work, Thank you for sharing it with us. Kristie tklovenestataoldotcom

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  14. Thanks for your comments. Yes, Patty, some of us don't realize there are lots of books and authors (over 300,000 books published in the US in 2013, which is the last year for which I found statistics), and for every J K Rowling whose work garners a lot of money there are dozens, even hundreds, of writers who work at a day job to earn their basic income.

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  15. These books sound amazing. I am going to add these two books to my must read list.

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  16. I love your books, they are always hard to put down. I have to buy the paper back due to sharing books with my 89 year old mother. I can't wait to read this book.

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  17. I imagine if you wrote dark, steamy romances you might have a chance at being rich. But I don't like those books, so just stay where you are in your writing. :)

    sesquius@gmail.com
    Sherri

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  18. Richard, there ARE so many books out there. I am sooo glad I found yours and as I've said before: you keep writing-- I'll keep reading. I love what Connie said " when you get to heaven and you hear-- well done thou good and faithful servant--". You are in my top favorites of authors. Blessings

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  19. Thanks for the comments. Sherri, I don't have any idea how to even start a "dark, steamy romance," so we're safe from that aspect. I appreciate everyone's chiming in.

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  20. Oops forgot again. paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  21. I never miss your blog posts. I love hearing you "speak" through the written word. Thanks for your generosity. ReadingMama922 at gmail dot com

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  22. Love suspense books.
    CherylB1987 AT hotmail DOT com

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  23. Love mystery and suspense.
    betsylu2@msn.com

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  24. And the hits keep coming... Thanks for your comments.

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  25. I enjoyed learning more about Dr. Mabry.

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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  26. I love reading medical suspense fiction! Thanks for the giveaway. d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  27. Thanks, Caryl and Donna, for your comments. I'll post the name of the $10 Amazon gift card winner in the comments tomorrow evening.

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  28. The winner of the gift certificate is Debbie Rhoades (aka "Reading Mama"). I'll notify her now. And thanks to everyone who commented.

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