Although I had my first short story published as a freshman in a high school magazine in 1984, I didn’t take the idea of become a writer too seriously, until I was almost twenty-two years old. When I saw in ad for submissions to a new western magazine in an issue of Writer’s Digest (Crossbow Publications), I knew my days of procrastination were over.
That weekend, I rattled off an 8,000 word tale. It was about a gunslinger hired to kill a person in New York. Turns out his target is a woman. He isn’t sure that would sit well with him, and yada – yada – yada. The editor loved it; enjoyed that a western took place on the east coast. It was my first submission, and first paid sale.
I was paid $.01 per word. Like I said, it was an 8K word story. $80 bucks. Man, I was thrilled. Then I forgot. The magazine was out of Calgary, Alberta (Canada). At the time, the Canadian dollar was worth half of the American dollar (if you can believe it). So when the check came, and was cashed (there was no PayPal), I had $40 burning a hole in my pocket.
I told my wife, “Get the boys ready. We’re going out to celebrate tonight!”
I let them order anything they wanted on the menu. I told them, “Supersize that Number 2 if you want. Large Fries, Large Coke. I don’t care! We’re celebrating and all of McDonald’s should know it!”
It wasn’t about the money. Never has been.
I was a paid, professional writer at the age of twenty-two, and the following year when I received my copies of the magazine in the mail, I could barely contain my excitement. I didn’t want my head getting too big, but man, I was riding high.
Here it is, 2016, some twenty-four years later, and it is still not about the money. I know many, many writers who would disagree with that. I write because I love to write. Getting published is just icing on the cake. If I make some cash at it, awesome. Nothing will compare to opening a box from the publisher and seeing my latest work in print. Nothing. That is reward enough for me.
If people are interested in keeping up to date on my work (fingers crossed), below are some ways!