In October of 2006, I began my tiny blog, Mr. Grudge, with no specific purpose. It seemed that everyone had their own web space, so I wanted one too. The title came from my noted moodiness and my earliest posts were feeble attempts at being humorous or sentimental. A friend suggested I choose a topic and stick to it. So, Mr. Grudge became a baseball blog – one of tens of thousands.
What I learned is fans of the game have a voracious appetite for baseball news and opinions from anyone willing publish them. I also learned all serious baseball fans consider themselves equally qualified to speak on the topic without a blog, social platform, or newspaper column. Most times, they are correct. By merely posting my take on games I watched on T.V., I caught the attention of a man who founded a local baseball magazine. Through mutual agreement, I would post an article on Mr. Grudge, and he would copy and paste it onto his website.
A few of his readers took notice of my work. Some agreed with my views, others did not. Yet, the exchanges were amicable. I got a big head, considered myself a genuine baseball writer, and soon afterward, became bored with the topic. There are so many armchair mangers out there, it seemed pointless to continue; especially since I was not getting paid, had no access to players, and could only report on games I watched. My focus shifted to personal content.
Some backstory is necessary here. I have been writing for as long I can remember. My earliest short stories are stashed in a notebook stashed away in my home. Back in the 1990’s I penned the first of three novels which I dreamed would become blockbusters. My blog became the arena where I published my creative non-fiction articles. Many were based on my own experiences, or were odes to my fears or wishes.
Over time, I thrived in a virtual community of fellow bloggers and regularly visited their sites. We commented on each other’s posts and supported one another. Mr. Grudge grew in popularity and I felt supremely confident in my writing ability. Yet, my novels would not sell. In my bedroom closet, I have a giant, manila envelope stuffed with rejection letters from literary agents. Many are for my first novel. Like many writers who experience the sting of rejection, I believed that agents weren't hip enough to “get me,” and my writing didn’t fit easily into any genre. Therefore, agents wouldn't represent my work. I never once considered I was not good enough for them. Of course, I was wrong. My writing wasn’t polished enough to sell commercially.
It took years for me to come to this conclusion. The wake up call was my experience as editor for The View from Here magazine, a U.K. based literary publication. As editor handling all fiction submissions, I saw myself in many of the writers who submitted their stories to us. In addition, I drew writer's hostility when I rejected them. Many sent angry emails stating that I did not “get them,” or that I would not publish their work because it does not fall into an easily definable genre. Reading their comments and also many awful short stories, I forced myself to reexamine my work. The truth hit me hard. My writing was not publishable.
In June of 2011, I started the process of editing two of my manuscripts from start to finish. By October, I completed the work and submitted them to several independent publishers. In September, 2012, I signed a contract for my book, “The Daddy Rock,” with Decent Hill Publishing. My tiny blog which started as a baseball fan page spawned my debut novel. Soon, I will be hawing books with the same zeal – and hopefully the same success – as the late, great Billy Mays pitched his wares.
Mr. Grudge will become home for my latest venture, and that is providing a homepage for news and updates for my budding career as a novelist. With any luck, I can go to the next level, as I did from blogger to published author, and maybe best-selling author. No matter what happens to my career, somehow, Mr. Grudge will be involved.
-Michael J. Kannengieser