Fri. March 8, 2013: Life Lessons, Buy Links, Biblio ICU, Snow, & Migraines

Friday, March 8, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowing — again

Yup, the snow is coming down quite heavily.

I’m in the third day of very severe neck pain and migraine. Nothing is helping — not heating pads, not ice, not pain killers, not valerian, not Tiger’s Balm. Nothing.

I’ve got an interview up on Vikki Thompson’s blog to celebrate OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, talk about process, and the state of publishing. I make some general comments about how the bulk of promotion is on the author now in the business– which it is — and that writers deserve to be paid for our work — which we do. Hopefully, my publisher won’t feel like it’s a slap at them, because it isn’t — it’s a comment on the current state of the business. These are issues that are discussed frequently, there are a lot of “how the business is changing” and what all types of publishers are trying to do to both survive and thrive. Publishers make an investment in writers; writers have to deliver. And, there’s a constant stream of writers who have struggled to get into print in the first place, and they keep accepting less and less to do more and more. This is across the board; it’s part of the way the business is transitioning. I worked for a NY publisher for several years — I know it from the other side of the desk, too. The staff is overworked and underpaid. Far too many writers don’t step up and meet deadlines and other commitments. Publishers need to make a profit to survive. But it IS Mercury retrograde, and this is a bad one, communications are a mess, so it is possible that my comments will be misconstrued and taken as personal instead of general. This is probably one of the worst times to have to be out and about and chatty, because there’s so much room for misunderstanding, both in the speaking and in the reception.

Note to self — in the future, make sure releases are scheduled well away from Mercury Retrogrades!

Everything’s been sorted, and the buy link for the book is here.

I hope you buy it. I hope you love it.

On the upside, in spite of both the Mercury Retrograde and Saturn Retrograde, all of that is making me re-assess what I really want from my writing career. This is my career, my business, not my hobby. I tend to jump in with both feet when something sounds good and interesting, roll up my sleeves and do my best to make a a go at it. I’m good about avoiding content mills and bidding sites, but what do I really want from my career in fiction? I’ve been blessed with good editors on the last few books, and made concessions to fit into business models as best I can, because that’s the gig. But what do I really WANT?

I want to continue to earn a living doing what I love, and to grow in that living, both creatively and financially. I need to pay my bills, and have skills that deserve a living wage. “Exposure” doesn’t cut it — I’m not a flasher, I don’t need exposure, and when the utility companies accept exposure in lieu of the monthly payment, then I can do the same thing. I don’t want fame, although I’d like to be respected as someone who does good work. I want someone to know that when they pick up one of my books, they’ll get a good read, and that my books are worth their time and money. When someone hires me to write a speech or an article or something else, they get high quality work.

I’m not perfect; I make mistakes. I want to do learn from those mistakes and do better next time.

I want each book to be better than the previous one, and I want to keep stretching creatively, not doing the same thing over and over.

But there are still aspects about which I’m unclear, and until I figure those out, I’m not going to be able to craft the career I want. Right now, I’m a hamster on a wheel, just trying to survive, and I need more than that. There are things I’m doing that aren’t serving me well, and I need to drop back, reassess everything and make some solid decisions, instead of just trying to “keep up” with older decisions.

I actually love almost all aspects of my life (even the difficult stuff) — except for my bank account!

Saturn Retrograde, Mercury Retrograde, a birthday coming up — a chaotic, difficult and painful time. Hopefully, once I’m through it, I will be in a stronger place of knowing what I want and need and how to get it.

I went outside yesterday afternoon, to find a cardboard box dumped by UPS in front of the garage — not at the front door. A box of books, that had three inches of water INSIDE it. Now, I’ve been expecting this box. Someone has been at the house all the time for the past couple of days, the lights have been on — it’s obvious that people are home. Yet, the box was dumped — not at the front door, but in front of the garage. A cardboard box left outside in the rain with a piece of plastic UNDER it, open on top, allowing the water to pool in and around the box. A cardboard box filled with books.

We pay UPS extra so that they take extra care with the packages. And this is the “care” they show. I’ve joked about the times they don’t even stop, just slow down and toss the box out of the truck (which I’ve seen them do) — but this is unacceptable.

We unpacked the box, took photographs, wiped down each of the 35 individual books, got out the hair dryers and got to work. Several of the books are in really bad shape — some of the pages were practically dissolving. A couple of volumes had to be dried one page at a time. We set up Biblio ICU.

One of the hair dryers sparked, and the plug popped off. This also tripped the breaker for part of the kitchen, so I had to go downstairs and flip the switch. The fridge was on that breaker, so I’m glad I figured it out before it was too late (because the rest of the lights in the room stayed on).

The whole experience does make me want to take a bookbinding class, though.

I would just really like to stay in bed until Mercury goes direct, but that’s not an option. So, back on the horse, and let’s hope I can stay out of trouble!


Sign up for the Query Clinic on March 23 — get line-by-line advice on strengthening your query letters, and learn how to make the process smoother. Information here.