In 2013, my first novel, The Sound of Loneliness, was released. Those that read the book appeared to enjoy it. For some, the events of protagonist Daniel Crabtree resonated, even if they didn’t quite like him. The majority of reviews on Goodreads and Amazon were five stars. Respected authors like Dan Fante (May he rest in peace), Mark SaFranko, Paul Tremblay and Kyle Minor sang it’s praises. In my hometown, where the novel takes place, a local drama group performed one of Crabtree’s monologues on stage. The Salford Gazette interviewed me, and I was featured on the local authority’s Famous Salfordian list alongside such esteemed actors as Ben Kingsley and Albert Finney. I had, after years of struggling, established myself as a writer with two new books ready to be published. Everything was looking promising.
Seven years on, The Sound of Loneliness is out of print. You will no longer find my name on the famous Salfordian list. There have been no recent reviews for the book. No monologues. No interviews. Daniel Crabtree has gone to that place where many protagonists visit and often never return – obscurity.
For those untrained in the world of publishing, when a novel is accepted for print, the writer relinquishes the rights to the book until sales drop to a point whereby royalties dry up. Until that point, the book remains in print. In some cases you can reclaim the rights back, which I did. My decision was not an easy one to make, but for reasons I will not document here, it was the right one. Whether Crabtree will drag himself from obscurity and gain a second lease of life is still undetermined. Having lived with Crabtree for so long, I know that would piss him off. Sorry, Daniel.
I just wanted to take this moment to thank all the people who bought the book, and extra gratitude to those that did not burn it after reading. If you hated Crabtree, know he would have hated you more. If you tolerated him, know he would never show you the same courtesy. And if you liked him, understand he would have thought you weaker for it. Crabtree was no George Bailey. He began his journey an angry and embittered man, and ended it much the same way. But he was honest, and I believe had there been more of this at the start of my own journey, then his wouldn’t have been so short lived.
Thank you, reader, for giving a lonely man a home.