According to my book editor back in December when “Between Hell and Texas,” the latest novel in the Chet Byrnes Ranch series, hit bookshelves, it was the third highest selling book that week in Wal-Mart Stores. That is flattery of the first kind to hear your book is top in sales. Secondly, it is of course a western novel and folks have discounted western books. I sure don’t. But it goes to show that a well-written story that entertains behind a great cover will sell.
I am concerned about my book sales, like most writers. All author’s have those concerns but this means some of my efforts have came to the front. My fan mail stepped up with lots of questions when this book went on sale asking will there be more books in this series? If you liked to read about Chet Byrnes and the situation that forced him to give up the ranch in Texas in the face of a bloody feud, you can rest easy. The folks at Kensington want more books too – so in 2013 there will be three books released about the family.
My agent called me when I was out eating lunch last week with my wife, Pat. Actually I’d left my cell at home, I am not glued to that instrument. She had called mine but no answer so finally she called Pat’s number. Ordinarily Cherry would send me a notice by email, but she was proud of the work she did to wrangle such a contract.
I knew she had big news when Pat handed me the phone and named the caller. There I was halfway through a taco salad and thinking how much work I had agreed to. Books don’t hatch in 21 days. This will be a good challenge as I try to wrap up the story of my characters.
Not many people want to be writers after they discover how much work goes into a book. There is no audience listening to the words you write. They aren’t there when you are perplexed and wondering if the words will tell the reader what you imagined as happening. Miss the target and you have unhappy readers. I’m not talking about the reader who writes you and says, “Oh, I’d have done that different.” I usually thank them for the information; in reality I should say, “Write your own book.”
This is similar to artists who paint. “I wanted more sheerness in that mountain than what my paintbrush gave me.” Heavens I can’t draw fat pigs. But I know the same thing comes in writing.
There was a great writer who was told how to write books – cut your wrist, use a dip pen and start writing with your own blood.
One time I talked with a writer who had written a great book. He told me he was so depleted, he didn’t write another word for two years. I’ve never had that tough of an experience but who knows what the future may hold.
A couple we met one time at a book event in Little Rock, Ark. invited Pat and I out for supper. I thought one of them wanted to write. But when I asked them, they shook their heads and said they had read my books and thought how neat it was to live in two worlds plus go back and forth.
It is neat. But I’m glad I don’t live back then. God Bless America.
Western novelist Dusty Richards and his wife Pat live on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas. For more information about his books you can email Dusty by visiting and clicking on ‘Contact Us’ or call 1-866-532-1960.


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