Monday, March 5, 2012
Sunny and cold
Busy weekend, both good and tiring.
Friday, after getting out the materials requested in the morning, I caught up with one of my classes, caught a few hours’ of sleep, and staggered around the house the rest of the day. The emotional exhaustion was worse than the physical exhaustion. Especially since all that work might not pay off anyway — which is the problem with fiction. You don’t know until it’s done. And, of course, when you’re tired, the Doubt Demons see you as easy prey.
The tarot was not much comfort. I’d already drawn The Crossroads from the Well-Worn Path. The tarot cards drawn Saturday morning — Death and the 5 of Wands. Could ya give me a little support here, cards? Crossroads — yeah, I figured that one out all by myself; Death — yes, I’ve been talking about new business plans, new directions for the career, re-envisioning what I want and need. So the card of transformation makes sense. 5 of Wands — redefining identity and career — yeah, pretty much where I am.
At least it wasn’t The Tower!
To bed early Friday (since I was pretty incoherent anyway). Up early Saturday and to a conference here on the Cape. It was a day-long conference on epublishing and marketing. It was great to be amongst my fellow writers again, and meet some new ones. We had a lovely group at our table.
The first part of the program was about the steps an ebook has to go through from text to purchasable copy. It was pretty technical. I thought it was interesting, and much easier to follow than I expected. But you could see the room — some people found it interesting, as I did. Some people struggled, unfamiliar with the terms, but were determined to understand. Some just couldn’t be bothered.
Which is of course why the speakers were there — they do formatting and preparation. For a price. It’s still up to the author to distribute, but they handle the coding, etc. You still have to give them edited, proofread copy because they don’t handle that aspect, and that’s where a lot of writers who indie publish drop the ball. They think because they’re indie-publishing and their story is so brilliant, it doesn’t matter if it’s a mess. Wrong. If I buy your indie-published book and there are errors all over it, it indicates to me you don’t respect me as a reader, you piss me off, and, not only will I resent forking out even a small amount of money for it, I won’t buy anything by the author again.
There was some murmurings that the speakers purposely complicated the presentation to drum up business; I disagree. I thought it was very clear, and I’m a techno-phobe. So, if I could understand it, it was clear. I was also very grateful for the coaching Colin Galbraith’s given me in HTML coding — I could apply it here. Yes, Colin, I actually retained it — shows you’re a good teacher.
A group of us had a very lively lunch in Hearth ‘N Kettle — good conversation, good food. What I love about this writers’ organization is that the members are interesting. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, they’re intelligent, observant, have a sense of humor — and they buckle down and write. They’re not there to write maybe-Someday. Either they had a writing career, took time off, and are getting back in the saddle, or they had other careers and now want to add writing in — but they WRITE.
Afternoon presentation was on marketing. The presenter was a little too hard-sell for me. “Buy my book, come to my class and you’ll learn how to market.” Honey, I paid for today’s seminar. I want useful information TODAY or you aren’t going to see me at anything else you do. I’m not here for a teaser — I’m here for information.
Fortunately, she got to that. She talked about business models for writers and the importance of marketing taking 50% of your time. I was not a happy camper to hear this — I was hoping to get away with 30%. I realize she’s being practical. Me not wanting to hear it doesn’t change its value. A lot of what she talked about, I already do. I just have to do more of it. So there was good information.
What was interesting about this day was the completely opposing point of view to the industry and its direction than I had from the conversations this past week from someone deep in the trenches with a long, well-established career in it. On the one hand, it was fascinating to hear both points of view, very passionately presented, so close together.
It was also a little overwhelming. By the time I got home on Saturday night, I was ready to curl up into a fetal position. It takes awhile to sort through contradictory information and weigh the different elements as to what’s best for one’s own life.
Up early Sunday, read the papers, checked in with my students, caught up on some work. I didn’t write. I feel like I’ve used up my week’s quota of words. Fortunately, I had material to read, and could refill the creative well. I’ve got a polish this morning on a piece for Confidential Job #1, and a polish for a deadlined article. I’m also wrapping up 5 in 10 and starting the Sensory Perceptions class. A friend is speaking at a local museum, and I’d like to get there this afternoon, but I’ve got errands, and I’ve got to get the headlight on the car fixed. The week’s busy — new class starting, my mother’s surgery, continuing classes and private students, and some other stuff coming up.
50% of the time marketing. Between 1 and 3 AM, maybe. But I have to figure out how to get a higher ratio done, whether it’s a bit every day, or set aside one day a week primarily for marketing.
At least today’s tarot card was The Wheel of Fortune — upright, so turning in my direction!
And my witch hazel’s bloomed — it’s gorgeous. The morning glories I planted last week are also starting to poke up. Carlos the woodpecker is back, and you can hear the owls crooning their mating calls. Spring is on the way.