The Gratifying News

Crazy of Natural Causes is set mostly in Kentucky. (Monte Dutton sketch)
Crazy of Natural Causes is set mostly in Kentucky. (Monte Dutton sketch)

On Wednesday night, I spent a long time talking about NASCAR on the phone, and at the other end of the phone was a radio show, and I was in a mischievous mood, laughed easily, and thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Meanwhile, the iPhone I’d muted was trembling every minute or so. It was on the cushion of the couch, so I didn’t notice, being preoccupied with the Hall of Fame and all.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

When I got off the show – and I must have been on it for half an hour – I had tweets, posts and emails. I checked Twitter first, and there were congratulations, even though my birthday had been over a month earlier. What I learned from friends and followers was that my novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, had been accepted for publication in Amazon’s KindleScout program. I’d gotten an email, as had all the people who nominated it for publication. They saw theirs before I saw mine.

Reader participation is one of the criteria, and KindleScout doesn’t disclose exactly how they select books for publication, and, for that, I don’t blame them because they have to make business decisions as to which books will sell and which won’t. I’m sure the nomination process gives them some insight into its potential popularity.

I’m grateful to members of the social-media community, and friends and colleagues, for expressing support of my writing, and I’m proud that the editors at KindleScout have deemed my writing worthy of support.

Friends have occasionally accused me of being pessimistic. My retort has consistently been that I’m realistic. I have confidence in my ability, but it is tempered by one of my longtime rules: No one writes shit on purpose.

There’s plenty shit out there, but the man or woman who wrote it thought it was good. No one is truly objective about him or herself. That’s why it’s gratifying to win awards or receive compliments. It’s evidence that someone else likes it.

That having been said, when I got the news, I wasn’t … ebullient. I was gratified. I’m confident in my ability, and, after writing several drafts of Crazy of Natural Causes, I thought it was worthy of publication, just as I don’t think my fourth novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is just yet. I’ve started an upgrade of it, but the duties of getting Crazy ready for publication could slow that down.

In other words, I was pleased to hear that a publisher had been secured, but, if the (virtual) manuscript had been rejected, I would have been crushed. The low would have been lower than the high was high.

This process has not been without its frustration. I found the KindleScout program because I’d spent six months or so seeking representation from agents and publication from publishers. I’d gotten a fair amount of “it shows promise, but it’s not for us” and “thanks, but no thanks.”

It’s the dream of every rejected writer that someday people rue the day they passed him by. I’m not there yet, but it’s a start.

Maybe I’ll remake my fortune yet.

              I write a lot about sports (often NASCAR) and occasional other non-fiction topics at My books are available here:



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