Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Too Much Information

Conventional wisdom.  OK Stop.  What in the world is conventional wisdom? The truth is I read somewhere I should read publishing trade news and keep abreast of the happenings in the publishing world.  Let me tell you - publishing news is enough to make the staunchest would-be author throw the keyboard in the trash. Or throw-up. One or the other.

Publishing houses are laying employees off by the dozens. The news is doom and gloom. Books are obsolete, digital publishing will abolish writing for pay. Eighty percent of the query letters I send out get no reply at all.  Not even a rejection form.

Then the kicker - Times is running a story about an author who got fed up and self published.  In case you haven't heard, self-publishing is supposed to be a career killer. That's the scuttlebutt. But here's this self-published author who's been offered a better-than-half-a-mill deal by a major publishing house. Wait-a-minute, shouldn't she be hearing the death knell of her writing career? What the heck is going on?

They could have easily split that deal between five of us and we all would have been thrilled! 

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for that author - and I'll read her book when it comes out. But all this conflicting news is too much.  Should I be excited that great deals are still floating around out there, or despondent because the publishing houses are failing? And how to I concentrate on writing when a little voice in the back of my head is telling me I'm wasting my time?

I wish I'd just stuck my head in the sand but it's too late now. I know too much.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Shadow List

First of all, let me say that I stole this list from Jennifer Crusie at Thank you Jenny - and forgive me.

The idea behind the shadow list is that the stuff we hide defines us as much as the stuff we let everyone see. Example - everyone in this town knows that a group of us gather on Thursday mornings in the local cafe and I'm the loud one. Everyone knows I love dogs and I'm addicted to ice cream. Those are things I'm perfectly comfortable sharing with everyone.

Shadow lists are the secret addictions. The things I watch on TV or music I listen to that I don't want anyone to know about. The stuff that's hidden under the bed. So here goes, my top ten list of things I don't want anyone to know: (To tell the truth it's going to be hard to think of ten things because my life is pretty much an open book!)

1. I listen to country music when I'm alone. I love Trace Adkins' voice and I'd marry Tim McGraw if we both weren't, already. OK, here's the big one. I love some of Toby Keith's songs. And yes I'm liberal and anti-war.  (See even here I have to justify myself.)

2. The new version of Battlestar Galatica. And Klondike bars. If I buy a carton of klondike bars and don't remind myself that only one is mine - I can eat them all in a day. Same with most kinds of chocolate. (I know Battlestar is a tv show and Klondike bars are ice cream. Don't know why I put them together, except that eating ice cream while watching tv is the best!)

3. If I could, I'd eat graham crackers soaked in milk whenever I needed comfort food.

4. I hate to exercise. I do it almost every day, but only because I have to. I have to promise myself outrageous stuff in order to get motivated. I really hate to sweat.

5. If I could get away with it I'd feed my kids whatever is fast and easy without concern for health. OK - I'd be concerned about health. But if mac and cheese was healthy and they wanted it every night. I'd let 'em have it. Of course my husband would divorce me…

6. What I want more than anything else in the world is to be Janet Evanovich, creator of Stephanie Plum and best selling author.

7. I'm horrible with money. My mom did her best to teach me right but I think that gene is missing. Or maybe I just can't focus. I'm dismal at making financial decisions.

8. If I lived alone I'd let my dogs sleep on the bed.

9. If I wasn't married I'd have even MORE dogs than I have now. Of course if I wasn't married I wouldn't be able to afford the dogs I do have because I'm so useless with money!

10. I was going to put I'd die to have Meg Ruley as a literary agent. But I actually think that shows good taste, not bad.  Meg rocks. Not only does she handle some really big best sellers, when she meets people like me she's friendly and gracious. She has a knack for making a person feel welcome and a great sense of humor. If she lived in my town she'd fit right in with my friends. So now I'd better get to work improving my writing so I have a shot at getting any agent at all!

So #10a. I'm not content with what I have. I want a huge great room and a new kitchen (If you've seen my kitchen you understand this!) and a office and craft room. And more closets and more money and… (I'm worse than my kids at Christmas.)

What's on your shadow list?