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July 19, 2009

Publishers Are Like Boyfriends -- Which Is Why I Have Three

Neil Plakcy is the author of four award-winning mysteries set in Hawaii. "Mahu Vice" will be releasted in August. He also writes gay romance novels. His love affairs with three publishers are satisfying  – and today he tells us why.

Publishers are Like Boyfriends—Which is Why I Have Three 

By Neil Plakcy

Mahu_vice_200 A score of years after my first short story was published, I have come to see that the best author-publisher relationships are like romances. Today, I am lucky enough to have relationships at three publishers: my mystery publisher, my romance publisher, and my erotica publisher.

My mystery publisher, like Marc, the love of my life, comes first. I have published four mysteries with Alyson Books, and a fifth is on the way. Marc is the heart of my real life, just as the mysteries are the center of my creative life. I love him, look after him, and indulge his moods, just like I nurture, promote and love my mysteries. If I can look back on a life with Marc, and one publishing these books, I’ll be happy.

Then there’s my romance publisher. They’re like Andrew, my "auxiliary backup boyfriend." Andrew and I have been best friends since we were twelve. When Marc doesn’t want to see a particular movie or go to a certain party, I call on Andrew. I enjoy writing the romances, just like I enjoy spending time with Andrew. We have lots of fun together. But neither of them occupy my heart in the way that Marc and the mysteries do.

My erotica publisher is like my writing client, Richard. Marc is jealous of Richard because I spend a lot of time with him on the phone, or working on his manuscripts. He’s a big shot on Wall Street, and he can afford to pay me to polish his prose and create the footnotes he needs to make his writing sound academic. I call Richard the boyfriend who actually pays me for the time I spend with him, and that’s the way I feel about the erotica anthologies I’ve edited. I enjoy the work, but I don’t have the emotional connection to those books that I have to the ones I’ve actually written.

Yes, I’m a romantic. It’s wonderful to be in love. And different kinds of publishers, just like different kinds of boyfriends, feed that love in different ways.Surfer_boys


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Hilarious! But Neil, how do I explain leaving one "love of my life" for another? Iha've had SIX publishers and TEN editors (not to mention 3 agents!) in my 28 years as a writer. Egad, am I the Elizabeth Taylor of publishing?

I read your first book and loved it. A couple of years later, I still remember the heartbreak your hero felt when he feared he'd be thrown off the police force. Masterful stuff. I am behind in my reading! Must go buy the next books ASAP.

Thanks for being our guest!

Fascinating! As a friend once said, why do we expect one person to fulfill all our needs for the rest of our lives? It's unrealistic. Sounds as though you have a good balance, Neil, in both your professional and your personal lives.

Nice to make your acquaintance. I will look for your books.

Neil, I've had three publishers. The first one cheated me, the second dumped me and I've been happy with the third for years. Sort of the story of my love life. Congrats on the new book.
Elaine Viets

It's a sunny Sunday morning in South Florida, and I'm at Starbucks working on revisions for a romance novel, Three Wrong Turns in the Desert-- for yet a fourth publisher! Guess I will have to be on the lookout for a fourth boyfriend, too.

Thanks for the comments and the chance to be here at The Lipstick Chronicles again.

A fourth publisher? Neil, you slut. What about all those poor unpublished writers out there, looking for the publisher of their dreams?
Elaine Viets

Yes, it does seem greedy, doesn't it, when so many authors are out there looking for just one?

Perhaps I'm turning into a sultan of fiction, with a harem of publishers at my beck and call? Let's see, I could convert my living room into a seraglio, leave them all locked up in there, contacting distributors and bookstores from behind the high walls of my townhouse.

I'm liking that image!

Oh Neil - you are a romantic. All three of your bfs are very lucky to have you!
But isn't there a name for a guy with more than one boyfriend....? :)
Anthony Bidulka

Love the analogy of relationships. Nice to see you here, Neil, and even though I may be buried alive by my already-toppling TBR pile, I will be adding your books to the list!

This is one of our best blogs ever. I just love this idea. Now - other than becoming a polygamist, how can we work this out with husbands?

Neil - if you are ever near Pittsburgh, let me know. I'd love to meet you in person!

Soooo....Niel how wonderful to hear your comparisons. Most people just balk at having more than one of anything. Well unless it's ears or boobs or balls.
And just where in South Flor-ah-dah do you reside?
I must get out and get your books after I finish the Mayor's showcase of the Lion King for the Miami Dade Parks and Recreation!
Is that you in the last photo? Abs 'r' us!
Just saying.

I'm going to have a pity party now -- no boyfriend, no publisher . . . I'm going out and eat (not worms) Chocolate Mint ice cream.
I am almost finished recording my second CD, though . . . The Apple geniuses have been helping me at my OneToOne sessions.

There, there, Mary. Your time will come.

Alas, that is not me on the cover of Surfer Boys; my abs aren't quite that good!

Oh, Neil, Neil -- forget the publishers. Just send me that surfer boy.

Except that I'm a heterosexual girl of a certain age. Will that bother him?

I love the comparisons, Neil. Wish I had the problem of too many pubs!!

How are you?

Hey, wait a minute ... re: the lovely abs o the Surfer Boy ... I KNOW Neil, and his abs absolutely ARE that good. (and so is his writing). Great post, Neil.

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