Eric Mayer

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Here Today Gone Tomorrow
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The demise of IBooks reminds me that the one thing a writer can depend on from the publishing industry is inconstancy.

Book publishers go out of business and so do magazines. Editors change jobs. Aspiring writers can never tell when the next rung of that ladder they're climbing is going to give way. I took more than one fall while I was trying to sell nonfiction back in the early nineties.

I wrote several essays and my first feature articles for Upstate, a magazine which appeared in the Sunday editon of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. It was a classy production. One Christmas it included an original story by Rochester resident, master of the mystery short, Ed Hoch. I'd barely completed my second feature, a behind the scenes look at the county zoo's elephants, when the magazine was canceled, replaced by one of those ad bloated entertainment guide inserts.

For awhile, I wrote articles for Running Times, the excellent, but left in the dust sole competitor to Runner's World. So well did I get on with the editor, I was once sent to run a 10K in Vermont and report on my experience. Then the editor left. His successor tossed me back in the slush pile.

Even my biggest sale, ever, ran aground on the rocks of the publishing industry. Omni paid me $1,000 for a 400 word article. It never appeared. The editor was fired. The magazine went out of business. At least the check cleared.

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