First a brief note: I have said I’m sleeping a lot. Make that A LOT. Also things are falling out of my head faster than rain. If I promised to meet you somewhere and I’m not there, for the love of heaven, text me.
I have no idea what is causing this. I’m certainly NOT overworked, and I certainly am not nearly as ill as I was last year.
The only thing I can figure out is that I’m going through what used to happen when I finished a novel and I had “novel flu” and would sit in front of the TV without moving for three days. Only this isn’t finishing a novel (I’m hoping to on the plane. Certainly if we can get an upgrade, but even if the plane has a modicum of space, which sometimes happens in international flights — did on my last — and I can open my laptop. It’s ten hours, undisturbed, which I haven’t had in a year give or take.) This is the two years of packing/moving/packing/moving/repeat ad infinitum. Oh, sure, when I get home I still have stuff to unpack (if I can at all swing the money — it will take about 1k, and frankly part of me would rather spend it on tiling the bathrooms or something more permanent. On the other hand, getting done with unpacking is essential so I can concentrate and WORK — I’ll get a helper or a couple of them, so we can be done, before Robert’s school starts, and so I can finish the fantasy novel with Kevin J. Anderson, MHI Guardian, MHI… is that a snerk collar guys? Puts two fingers in for air, MHI Dark Fate, and aughhhhhhhh damn snerk collar, and then the Dragon trilogy. (I haven’t forgotten. No. First thing Oleg asked me.)
But first I need the house unpacked and to get in people to fix the stuff that will get worse if we wait, like the gutters and the porch.
That’s the treadmill I’m on and have been on. Unpack, clean, unpack, clean, see if I can find money and people to do x y and z (yeah, I know, money will come as I work. You see the catch 22, particularly as Colorado has maybe two months to get outdoor work done before the snow flies?)
But for the time I’m here, and to an extent the time I’m in Portugal, the treadmill has stopped. I CAN’T physically unpack or even deal with contractors from a distance. I suppose the last few days in Portugal I can order things I’m going to need at home. But until then, there’s not much doing. So part of me has decided it’s time to pay back sleep debt, and boy that account MUST have been overdrawn.
I suspect most of what I do in Portugal is sleep. (Other than finish Darkship Revenge, and Royal Blood (I also didn’t forget that, or that I owe you Eternal Blood shortly thereafter, but that’s a known world, and books that have been pushing for five years, so it should be easy. Pie in the sky I do both of those in Portugal. And I resume Rogue Magic — now edited — when I come back.))
How this affects you: sometime in the next week, supposing I don’t lose internet access in Portugal, and Dan tells me I won’t (fingers crossed) I will have a Through Fire Short Story, to help it along as it comes out in paper in August. I also have permission to post UNCANNONICAL, UNAPPROVED, UN-LARRY-SEEN snippets of Dark Fate while I’m in Portugal. what this means is that though I have permission to play with Grant after I’ve done the Julie book, and send him to Portugal, and get him a gf, Larry hasn’t OBVIOUSLY read the result much less approved it or said “Hey, we’ll publish this” — that will take a while IF it happens — until then, this is a weird parallel world where Grant goes to Portugal and gets a girlfriend, and becomes much more human (poor thing.) I’m hoping of course at sometime that the owner of the toybox of MHI makes it cannon, but when I post it here, it won’t be.
My posting hours get REALLY weird. As in majorly weird. I’ll be about eight hours ahead of where I normally am, I’ll be accommodating family business/time, and this means that sometimes I won’t be sure what time it is in EST where this blog is set. Which means you might see posts pop up at eight pm and three am. I’m sure you’ll deal.
Okay, that’s a note longer than the post, I think.
Yesterday I was talking with gentlemen who are starting an indie company, and hoping to do to movies what indie is doing to writing. I THINK the tech is there, and I wish them all the best of luck (to them and others like them.) BUT I had to try to explain a really weird mechanic.
They were talking about movies and things Hollywood no longer does well, like Romance, (they don’t you know? It’s all romantic comedies, as though love must be laughed at, like kids do) and saying that the market must be there for it.
Indeed it is, I’m sure it is. Just as it’s there for historical mystery, or Heyer’s type of romance, with lots of sizzle and none of the anatomy, or–
The POTENTIAL readers are still there. We didn’t vanish in a poof of smoke as the major publishing houses thought we did when they decreed the genres were dead or “double plus ungood” like milsf and cozy mysteries.
The thing is Mil SF still has a market, not potential, but actual. This is because Baen kept the flame burning through the dark night, and fed the appetite enough that people look for more of the same. In fact, because Baen has such an ebook side, they look for ebooks. And Baen, though of course, still publishing these, doesn’t produce two to three books a day, which is what super-readers consume. This is why most of the big money made by indies is in Mil SF.
And that will tell you what the problem is with Romance movies — or books, if you don’t like describing what went where how many times and how lubricated it was — or historical mystery books. Or cozy mysteries that are not craft mysteries, or I’m sure a dozen other genres and subgenres you guys could name:
The audience wandered away or, worse, was never formed. I.e. the people who are still looking for historical mysteries are more likely to be looking in the bookstores, which are still an area of low indie-penetration. Which means you’re still swimming against the current in building an audience and making a living.
For instance, the last time I looked at historical mystery to check the covers, most of the successes were indie. But I also know from my own sales how few sales it takes to get to the top of that particular pile.
Do I mean you shouldn’t do it? Oh, hell no. You should do it with both feet, castanets and one of those little tambourines to show your way.
Those genres had a huge audience, before they became vehicles for preaching/whatever idiocy captured the establishment and were shut down. That means the potential audience is HUGE and no one is harvesting it.
But you’ll have to grow it. The field is destroyed and the younger readers now transitioning/reading in e-reader, don’t even know they existed as healthy genres one day, or that you could enjoy them or in the case of Romance (which has become equated with “lady porn”) do it any other way.
So it will take a while to grow those audiences. It’s a matter of steady effort, of putting things out, of getting the word out (here, and Charlie and I are going to bring back the Friday push at PJM I promise. And other places) and of not giving up.
There is a line in the i-ching (my friend Charles — Hi, Charles — is a practitioner) that goes “Work on what has been spoiled by the father.” If I understand (I’m not a practitioner) it denotes that a lot of work will need to be done just to get things to a functional state. That is the case here. Work on what has been spoiled. Don’t expect miracles. If you need the money while you’re re-growing the fallow field, force yourself to do a UF (which the mains have declared dead NOW, and are shutting down, but which still has an audience and a young one) or a mil sf, or something else you enjoy but which still has an audience of e-book readers actively looking for it.
And don’t give up. Never give up. The task before us is enormous. Many fields have been thoroughly trashed by MBAs without a clue, or by humanities graduates with a crazy agenda, but people are still people. Genres that attracted a certain type of people will still attract a certain type of people. Because people in general don’t change, nor do their inclinations. Sure, they might want it in more modern or glitzy packet, but if their parents wanted it, they still want something very much like it.
Work on what has been spoiled — in writing, in society, in politics. — It is the destiny of our generation to labor at this, and it might be that we never even see the results. We will surely never see the FULL results.
But if our grandchildren (blood or of the heart) do; if they inherit a more vibrant, richer, marginally saner world?
Then we are justified.
Work on what has been spoiled.