Warning: Other authors may not want to read this story because it will make them want to tear their hair out.
Camron Wright, author of Christmas by Accident (Shadow Mountain, Sept.), has one of the unlikeliest publishing success stories, and he credits booksellers. “I have to say, the booksellers who read books and fall in love with them are so critical in sharing the word. They are just gold. I love and appreciate them,” says Wright.
Flash back a few years: as a midlife crisis set in, the former business major decided to go back to school and get his MBA. “I applied [and was accepted] a few times and it would come time to start and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t explain why,” he recalls. At the same time, he started reading the books assigned in his wife, Alicyn’s, book club. Like many a dreamer before him, he thought, “I can write this.” And thus he sat down and banged out a first manuscript—a bold move, he admits, since he had never written fiction before. It was never published. “Before I could sell it, I had the idea for another novel, Letters for Emily, and I thought it would be a better first book,” he says.
Upon finishing the second manuscript, he realized the odds were against him in getting an agent, so he chose to self-publish to prove to established publishers that his work would sell. With the help of independent booksellers’ word of mouth and dedicated hand-selling, that novel sold 10,000 copies out of his garage. Shout-outs also to librarians and book clubs, he adds.
Indeed, he caught the eye of Simon & Schuster, which republished the novel in 2003. He soon became even more of an indie favorite with The Rent Collecter, The Orphan Keeper, and he recently published The Other Side of the Bridge.
Set in a New England independent bookstore (“Is there anywhere better to be?” he asks), Christmas by Accident developed when Wright realized how many Christmas novels there are. “Put out any set of nouns and add Christmas to it and it’s been a book,” he says. In this latest novel, his protagonist is sick of the holiday frenzy, but decides, cynically, to cash in on the Christmas-novel glut by writing one himself. However, when he gets into a traffic accident with Abby, who works for her uncle at the ReadMore Café, he finds his snarky attitude under siege.
Like this one, most of Wright’s novels are uplifting. “Happy endings are underrated. Many authors think it’s not realistic, and I contend that it is. If life is unhappy, then maybe we are ending the story too soon.”