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considerations and resolutions

Well, it's far from warm, but it isn't snowing, so I shall count myself more fortunate today than I was yesterday. And they say I'm a pessimist! Hah!

Anyway, grateful thanks to everyone who took time to comment or e-mail me about the LJ/Blog thing yesterday. There were many thoughtful and helpful (I hate using two -ful words in a row like that) comments. I liked this bit from mapultoid:

What I am saying is I would understand if you closed this journal down. I have enjoyed following you, following your writing and Spooky and your thoughts on Life, the Universe, and Everything. The peek behind the curtain has been nice, but I stick with you because of the big show: Low Red Moon, Silk, Threshold, &c.

Because, you know, this really is only a peek behind the curtain. This was never meant to be a thing unto itself, just some odd footnotes. The novels, the short stories, the comics, and so forth, those are the things that matter. The rest may be interesting, insightful, even enjoyable, but it all takes a back seat to the real writing that I have to do. And, these days, I have to do a lot of it. Argh. This is likely to be a ramblesome entry, as I have some notes scribbled over here, and they seem to be in no order at all. Just stuff I wrote down yesterday while reading people's comments.

I have decided that I will be scaling back, not shutting down. The blog is beneficial to me in a number of ways — it has greatly increased my small press sales (far less so my mainstream sales), has given me a forum for meeting and talking with my readers, allows me to promote my work by getting out news of new projects, releases, etc., lets me hear a little feedback, helps a lot with our eBay sales (which are important these days), and so forth. But, instead of these long, long posts, I'm going to limit myself, at first, beginning tomorrow, to writing only what may be written in half an hour. I'll use the egg timer from the kitchen. Beginning a week from tomorrow, I'm going to cut that back to fifteen minutes. And at some point thereafter, will be writing only occassional posts, two or three a month, as a means of announcing news, venting spleen, sharing those rare good days, and so forth. Make sense? I'm not in the mood to go cold turkey on this one, but I do believe that scaling way back is the right solution. I will also leave the phorum in place, for now, but it may go in another month or so. Mostly, these days it strikes me as a troll magnet. My website will always be there, of course, and we'll try to do better about keeping it updated. And I will most likely cease reading any other blogs, as that's one of the very serious time sucks. So there. It is decided.

I've been online since sometime early in 1994, online a great deal. I'm not sure what life would be like without some net presence.

Were the novel going well, I might have let this slide a while. But the novel is not going well. When things are going well with my writing, which they haven't been lately, I can afford to be more careless with my time. But I haven't written anything on Daughter of Hounds since , I think, February 19th. Supposedly, I stopped then to do research, but I've mostly done nothing at all. This is suicide for a freelance writer. You are free to frell off whenever you see fit. No one's gonna stop you. But sooner or later, and usually sooner, you will be sorry. You don't write, you don't get paid. Muse or no muse, inspiration or not, you write, because that's what you do. Now, at the moment, there are many reasons I'm having trouble with this book, and the time I devote to LJ/Blog is only one of them, yes, but it's one of the ones I can easily deal with.

On to other things...

Something I've harped on a million times, but I'm gonna harp on it again, because it came up yesterday, and it's important. My books, though they might be scarce in many American bookshops and absent in most foreign bookshops, are equally available to everyone who is in possession of a credit card (with credit) and an internet connection. Everything I've done that is in print is available from Amazon, B&N.com, booksamillion, subterraneanpress.com, my eBay auctions, and at least dozens of other places. Poppy says that every time someone says to an author, "I can't find your books," the Baby Jesus cries. Damn straight. So, don't say it. It's not true. Bookselling has changed a great deal in the last ten years, and book buying must change as well, or many authors, those of us who don't get mountains of publicity from publishers (and that means most of us), who have publishers who don't pay the chain stores to stock heaps of our latest title right up front, will most certainly perish. It might not have all the romance of the old days, browsing the shelves of a dusty Mom & Pop store, but it's easier, reliable, cheap, and almost everyone, everywhere, can do it. No, really. My books are not hard to find. Not even in Peru, Thailand, and New Zealand. All you have to do is look.

Okay, there was this other thing, about publishers and publicity, ARCs, Low Red Moon, and what Poppy recently went through with the advance-reading copies of Prime, but this entry's gotten way the frell too long. So I'll save that for later.

As for yesterday, it was another waste, more or less. Today must be better. Was there anything worth mentioning? Spooky and I watched Some Kind of Monster last night. Leh'agvoi sent me the first six pages of the Nebari.net winter special. I fretted about my office, cleaning and rearranging, which was not writing. I thought about moving to Albuquerque. That was yesterday.

Before you go, please look at the eBay auctions, which have slowed down the last couple of days. Thanks. And thanks also, and again, for all the comments yesterday. Truly, they have been much appreciated.


Mar. 2nd, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
However, the thing that bothers me is that these writers aren't being publicised.

And this is, ultimately, The Big Problem facing most authors. More people are buying books than ever before, despite misconceptions to the contrary, but most of those books are buy a small handful of authors. Since the 1970s, the American and Brit publishing houses have become disinterested in midlist authors (though once they nurtured them) in pursuit of the Big Sells. A handful of authors get 95% of the publicity. And most authors cannot afford to generate their own publicity where and how is matters, publicity in the mass media. Ask a group of professional freelance authors what they need more than anything, and most will say more publicity, which is the thing publishers are most stingy with.

Yes, Caitlin's books could come up on a 'recommended' list for certain readers on Amazon, but I am not sure exactly how reliable that is, or how many sales it generates.

I have no idea if those work or not. I myself have never bought a book because I saw it listed on an "also bought" list.

Is it harder to browse Amazon? A little, and surely it's less tactile, but you can do it. There are even the little first few pages preview thingys now (though, in most cases, Amazon is doing that without the publishers' permissions).
Mar. 2nd, 2005 07:21 pm (UTC)
Is it harder to browse Amazon? A little, and surely it's less tactile, but you can do it. There are even the little first few pages preview thingys now (though, in most cases, Amazon is doing that without the publishers' permissions).

I suppose that one depends on your preferences. I have impulse-bought a couple of things on Amazon, but I tend to stick with what I know. I have seen more and more of the 'contents page' listings on textbooks, which are actually very helpful, and have noticed the increase in titles where you can look inside. In that respect, Amazon may be improving. But the Big Problem overshadows this.
I don't think there's an easy answer to it really. It saddens me that the John Grishams of the world are guaranteed big sales (though I am not slating him particularly for his work), while up-and-coming authors are finding it very difficult to get recognition.
Mar. 3rd, 2005 08:08 pm (UTC)
Coincidentally, I saw this on the news today: