Considerations

Great cedar tree, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, 1897 Finished the third (and maybe last) Bannon & Clare book, turned it into a reasonable first draft, and sent it to agent and editor last week. A difficult book, one of the first I finished in the new office and…well, I knew where it ended and I didn’t want it to end there. Fighting your own resistance is often the hardest battle.

Now there’s Ruby’s book (from Tales of Beauty & Madness) to think about, and I’ve set a personal goal of getting the first Jeremy Gallow (the trailer-park fey book) zero-drafted by the end of the year as well. *eyes calendar* *weeps a little* The latter is burning a hole in my head and actively wants to get out, so I guess it’s time. It will probably never sell, but I like the world and want to throttle the hero, so at least I’ll have fun.

Lately I’ve been running up against my own introversion. I’ve never liked marketing or anything that smacks of it. I always feel faintly dirty when considering questions of advertising or publicity. Also, conventions are problematic–childcare and travel costs are a huge bar to my attending, and the draining of being “on” and extroverted during them makes me tired just to contemplate. Not to mention the, ahem, fending off of unwanted advances and constantly worrying about questions of safety, since con culture has become (or maybe it always was) really problematic in that area. Now that the kids are older and I can sometimes bring them with me, I worry about the Princess’s safety in that environment, too, and it’s a heavy weight on the side of not going. It’s exhausting, and to top it off, all that sort of stuff cuts into writing time as well as raising-the-kids time.

Of course I worry that by avoiding marketing and conventions (and other travel/signing stuff) so much, I’m shooting myself in the foot. Can a midlist author afford not to do those things? Would I have an easier time with mortgage payments if I did them? Am I going to have to eventually pack in the writing and find a more, well, steady job that doesn’t involve waiting long periods of time for any payment at all? Questions, nagging questions, and right now I have no answer.

The Internet’s been a boon to single-parent writers, and to midlist authors as well. I can be here in my office and talk to readers daily, through the blog and social media. It raises visibility and makes it easier to have a core of readers to speak to, without having to travel, leave the kids, so on, so forth. The drawbacks are there, of course–trolls, stalkers, personal information being spread about if not jealously guarded, making for a certain amount of daily danger, lack of productivity through mistaking social media for actual work, you get the idea. All in all, though, I think a career like mine would definitely not be possible without it, and I’m grateful. It’s been a wonderful ride.

I’m not sure if it will continue for another decade, that ride, but I’ll certainly hold on for as long as I can. And this concludes my nattering on for a Monday.

Back to work, listening to the Divinyls and deciding what sort of trouble Ruby can get into…

  • Test.

  • Lili

    So odd that it doesn’t work sometimes! Huh.

  • martian moon crab

    Some of us wish you would do more local signings, but we understand.

  • Marne

    Ditto what Ms. Crab said 😉

  • JC and I almost never do conventions anymore. He’s pretty good with online marketing, and for the past few years, we’ve been gravitating in that direction. For us, the main deterrent to doing conventions is the cost. Between airfare, hotel bills, and meals, an out-of-state convention can easily run us $1,200, usually more. We’d have to sell a hell of a lot of books to earn that back in royalties–and so far, we’ve never noticed much of a sales spike after a convention.

    We have a writer friend who was in the middle of a divorce, and he was telling me that some of their problems had involved money. By way of one example, he said, “Well . . . she was paid a $5,000 advance for a novel, and she spent $13,000 going to conventions all over the country to market it.” Hah!

    Also, like you, we are both hermits and introverts, and the energy expended from being “on” for three days has become almost too much to face.

  • Lili

    I find it difficult to explain to people who aren’t introverts just how much that energy expenditure drains and hurts, sometimes even physically. I CAN do it, it’s not impossible, but it’s so overwhelming, and it wipes me out for a long while afterward. I wonder how much “con crud” I’ve come down with after conventions is a physical reminder of that expenditure? And yes, conventions just don’t seem like they’re cost-effective financially as well as emotionally. Though I do like meeting fans I only “see” online, sometimes quite a bit, it’s often just not enough to justify the outlay, emotionally or physically.

  • Jennifer

    I can understand the lack of convention presence. It really isn’t necessary and as someone who attends a good deal of academic conferences, I agree with the exausting part. “Social” me drains energy way faster than “semi-hermit” me and that is an opportunity cost all on its own.

    There are those of us readers who have loved your writing for years and continue to love it. If you keep writing we’ll keep ordering, pre-ordering, and sharing your work. Personally, I would rather read something you’ve written, that I can keep and re-read, rather than anything else.

    Keep your chin up, Lili. We’ve got your back.

  • Kai Rowan

    Please don’t stop Bannon and Clare. I absolutely love them. I am also dying to find out about what Mikal actually is. So please, the books fill my soul with joy.