Saturday, July 7, 2007

Conferences and workloads...

Ah, sweet mystery of life. One day/week, my technology is working fine. The next I can't get the *&(%$# computer to do what I want to to save my life. Le sigh. Le great, big, heaving, highly irritated SIGH.

ANYWAY, I'm posting this simultaneously here and (by sending it to Cathy with a pretty-please) on the Midnight Divas' blog.


I'm working on Kate3 a/k/a Touch of Darkness. I'm not as far as I'd have like to have been. I'm running out of time (bumping up against the deadline. Still looks OK, but it will be closer than I'd like. I'm a "get it in early" kind of gal not a last minute, stress me to hell and back type.) I'm not going to RWA in big part because I need to get this baby DONE.

See, that's one of the things aspiring writers don't think about.

Their first book, their baby, the one that hooks the agent (crossing fingers), publisher ("Please, dear God, please"), and (hopefully) the readers can take them YEARS to write. They polish, critique, re-polish, fuss and suffer over practically every word until it's perfect. They desperately hope it will "break" them into the business.

But what if it does?

YEAH! YIPPEEE!!! W00T!!!! Joy ensues.

UNTIL they find out they have to write a sequel, or another one. In a year, OR LESS. And that the baby they "finished" isn't. Not really:

(1) There will be edits. ("Dear Author. The secondary character John sucks. Flat as a pancake. Either beef him up or get rid of him. Love Editor. PS you need another subplot and to up the romance.");

(2) There will be copy-edits;

(3) and galleys.

All of which will be due in short order after you receive them, which will inevitably be when you are trying desperately to write like a lunatic on book 2 and are hitting the point of desperation because you don't write nearly as fast as you thought you did.
AND there is marketing and publicity, the conferences they will need to speak at, deliver goodies to, and meet (hopefully) their newly rabid fans (or soon to be rabid fans), booksellers, distributors, and reviewers at. Oh, and there's sending out those review copies, and doing signings and on, and on.

I'm not complaining. I LOVE THIS BUSINESS. I extra-special-especially love this business because I have a co-author who takes care of a lot of those things, and graciously splits the rest of the duties with me. Because I swear to you on a stack of bibles, koran's, torahs, talmuds, and any other holy books you want to drag out from the library that I would likely completely collapse under the workload without her. (Come to think on it, I owe that woman chocolates, a bottle of rum, or both.)

But it is very easy to get a little bogged down in the workload.

Which leads to yet another reality check.

It takes a while for you to make "real money" in the publishing business. Yeah, I know, Rowling has more money than the Queen. But for those of us toiling in the trenches, it takes a while. Because there are expenses (which, fortunately, can mostly be written off of taxes), and taxes (self-employment taxes are vicious). So the day job is a necessity for a long time and panic is the norm as the deadlines loom.


Life, the universe, and everything.

Yup, you heard me. Because as soon as there is a deadline life will (almost inevitably) intervene. Whether it is a brown recluse bite (Cathy), a house fire (Cathy again), a black widow bite (me), or a death in the family (a mutual friend who is also an author), life isn't going to conveniently come to a halt because something is due.

Am I saying a person shouldn't pursue the dream? HELL NO! Besides, it wouldn't do a bit of good. For an awful lot of us, writing is a compulsion. We couldn't stop if we wanted to and we don't want to. But unless a person wants to be a "one hit wonder" I would strongly suggest that they think about putting down the first mss long enough to write the SECOND one, and maybe even a THIRD before they send it out. It'll save them a load of stress and headaches. Because publishers have no sense of humor about missed deadlines. To them it's a business, and they expect the writers to act like professionals.

Okay, off of my soapbox and back to the mss.



And now, it's Cathy's turn. Again, what Cie said. I'm HUGELY grateful to Cie for sharing the workload. I honestly don't know how authors who pump out three, five or ten books a year do it. I suppose some of them have staff to handle the piddling things like website maintenance, marketing and appearance control (signings, conferences and the like) but it's getting stressful, to say the least.

But, like Cie--I LOVE IT!

Which leads me to: CONFERENCES! Yep, unlike Cie who's on book deadline, I get to go to RWA National in Dallas next week! Yay! Woo! I haven't been to a National con since . . . well, since LAST time the conference was in Dallas. Heh...

For those of you going, I'll be at the Literacy Signing on Wednesday night, and will be on a panel called: "Because I Said So Is Not Enough--Logic in Romance" on Saturday morning at (gasp, choke!) 8:30 a.m. Actually, I'm a pretty early riser at conferences. There's so much to do and so many people to meet that really, the only time a person has to themself to keep sane is the mornings. Once the day starts, the day STARTS. And it doesn't finish until after midnight in most cases. Yeah, it can be fun, but WOW is it tiring. Every group and forum and message board I belong to wants to get together. And I want to meet these invisible faces from cyberspace, so I always say yes (unless they just flat conflict--like Romance Divas is at the same time as my RWAOnline chapter party. Bummer! I'd love to do both, but one's in the hotel and one's outside. Sigh...)

I decided to save a little money this time. Usually I stay at the hotel, because it's just more convenient. But this year, OUCH! $185 per night at the Hyatt! That's just flat ridiculous! So, I went onto Priceline and found a lovely Quality Inn about two miles down the road for $49 a night. Aaahhh, much better. I'll pay the cab fare. It certainly won't ring up $135 a day, especially since I'll be at the conference most of the time anyway.

So, if you're in the Dallas area next week, do look me up. We all have to wear name badges, and I'll try to remember to write down all the forums and boards I'm on right on my badge so if you know me as Cathy C or some such from somewhere, say hi!

Talk to you next week!



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