April 11th, 2005


oh, bother

The day is fast being consumed by busyness — contracts that have to be read and signed, cons and websites and publishers who all need bios and photos, stuff that I need to proofread for publicity people at Penguin, etc. All that stuff that isn't writing. And I have Marvel at 3 p.m., so I may not make it back to Daughter of Hounds today. I didn't even let this stuff pile up. It just all landed on me, plop, pretty much at once. And it cares not that a frelling book needs to be writen.

The writing went well yesterday, though I cannot yet disclose what I wrote. The "thing" for Marvel Comics.

In case you've not yet seen the first photographic evidence of an extrasolar planet, here it is:

Approximately 400 light-years from Earth, this massive planet (b) orbits a very young star (A), GQ Lupi, somewhere on the order of a million years old (our star, the Sun, is about 4.6 billion years old).

And a big thanks to the people on my phorum for the ost from Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. It just arrived in the mail this morning. You guys rawk!
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    VNV Nation, "Solitude"


Somehow, I have a) survived this cluster-frell of a day and b) managed to check off everything on my little "Do This Today Or Die" list. But the chaos has led to me rescheduling the trip to Birmingham until next week, which is really better, as it's going to rain for the next three days and, this way, I can get back to writing tomorrow. I'm not sure whether it will be Daughter of Hounds or the Marvel project, as they are equally pressing, but, either way, it's work. And right now, I need to be working — my mind needs that occupation.

I wanted to say that Poppy's comments on signings/readings today struck a sympathetic chord with me. I'm asked, from time to time, why I don't do more signings, why I don't tour to promote my books, and the simple truth is because, to start with, my publisher won't pay for it, and, worse still, my past experiences have taught me that it's rarely a cost-effective undertaking. Back before Silk, when I was just getting started with The Dreaming at Vertigo, I was encouraged by my editor at DC to do in-store appearances and signings. So, in 1997 and 1998, I did a number of them, and paid for them out of my own pocket. Trips to Los Angeles, Manhattan, and other places. Without exception, my appearances in comics stores were a bomb. I'd sit at a table for an hour or two while customers filed past and stared at me as though I were some exotic cephalopod on display for their amusement. Sometimes they might stop and pick up a copy of The Dreaming, only to lay it down again. Very often, they'd say things like, "I've never heard of you," and "I liked The Sandman a lot more. Why aren't you doing this more like The Sandman," or, my all time frelling favorite, "Did you write this?" Two years of that was enough. It's not like The Dreaming was some obscure indie title; at that point, we were selling about 25,000 copies a month, and there was advertising in all the Vertigo titles, in Previews and many other places, and still the stores couldn't get people to attend signings. So, for the most part, I don't do signings, and I would only consider touring for a book if the publisher paid all my expenses (and how many copies of a $14 trade paperback would you have to sell to justify a trip to, say, Seattle or San Francisco?).

I'm feeling very frazzled. Perhaps I shall do something insanely mindless, like have another go at the new Lego Star Wars X-Box game. Yep. It's Star Wars, but everything's made out of Legos. It's a cute idea, and it's funny for about ten minutes; then the tedium sets in. If I could ask George Lucas just one question, I think it would be this: "George, whenever you're faced with a creative decision where you either do that that thing which will be truer to your art or do that thing which will open up more chintzy merchendising opportunities, which do you do?" It's rhetorical, I know, and has been answered by the last three Star Wars films, but I'd still like to ask...
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    some noisy bird outside my window