September 29, 2012

The Day After. No Armour Needed. Or a Flamethrower or anything. Yet.


Shortly after I posted last night’s blog, the nuraddin* inbox pinged.  Uh-oh, I thought, here we go.

But no.  A WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING was writing to me.  She’d just read the blog and thought I needed cheering up.  She goes on in a highly salubrious manner about my books, and she seems also to be saying that she likes this blog because it isn’t all about writery things.  But the second to last sentence made me laugh and laugh: 

Thank you for existing and writing and generally refraining from giving up on your more annoying readers and moving to Mars.** We appreciate it, and you.

Thank you, Ms EG.*** 


Another arrrrrgh here. A lot of self-publishers seem to think that libraries will be overjoyed to receive their brilliant work, but this is not in fact the case. If there are no reputable reviews of it and no other patrons have requested it, we probably don’t want it. Never mind the space it (and all the other unsolicited self-published books) would take up on the shelf–it also has to be cataloged (time-intensive for books that are not already in the national cooperative cataloging system) and processed, which costs actual money in work hours and materials. 

This too.  And worth giving some air/blog space to reminding people of.  I was last night a trifle fixated on the prospect of our young entrepreneur collating writing advice from me, JK Rowling, Stephen King, William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, and Dr Seuss†, which your average library might very well be interested in.  But it will probably not clutch to its bosom with glad cries How to Write Good by the local poker club and tea-leaf-reading society.  Despite the inclusion of muffin recipes and hints on how to start your car in really cold weather. 

But really the bottom line is that librarians have no sense of the rightness of things and the true order of the universe. ††  They’re very like (um, do I need to say professional?) writers that way. 

* * *  

* For those of you who have never been moved to contact me directly, nuraddin is the email address that you EVENTUALLY make your way to from either web site or blog, having first passed a great many warnings saying things like BEFORE YOU ASK ME WHERE I GET MY IDEAS, PLEASE READ MY FRELLING FAQ.  But you would be amazed at the number of people who STILL ask me where I get my ideas.^  Or similar.  Or if I have any writing tips just for them because they’re stuck on the story they’re writing . . . ::bangs head against wall::  THAT’S WHY WRITERS ALL HAVE WEB SITES AND FAQs THESE DAYS, YOU KNOW.^^  Anyway.

 ^ Or possibly you wouldn’t.  In which case, there, there, I sympathise.  

^^ And before we had web sites, we had FAQs printed up on pieces of paper with a few nice design features and possibly a photocopied signature, which our publishers would (probably) automatically send out for us if we asked them to.++  I wonder what the difference in investment is between creating FAQ sheets, printing them off, and paying postage on them, and creating frelling web sites.  Publishers’ frelling web sites, mind you.  I don’t get a penny of help running my blog or web site.  Merrilee says this is a good thing because it’s therefore fully under my control, and my publisher can’t force me to think up inventive new ways of answering hoary old questions like Where Do I Get My Ideas+, because publishers tend to like you to stick to the subject which is being a writer and I’m not very good at sticking to that subject.  As you may have noticed.  But when I’m a YEAR LATE TURNING A BOOK IN AND THEREFORE A YEAR LATE GETTING PAID, the idea of a little benign direction—you know, whips, chains, hot pokers, publicity assistants—doesn’t seem so bad, if there were FISCAL CONTRIBUTIONS INVOLVED. 

+ Schenectady is the standard answer, but it’s worth checking under the dog on your lap or in the dusty gap behind the books piled beside your bed, where the spare pair of glasses you haven’t seen in several months have fallen and the vitamin pills you tend to drop land because you’ve forgotten again and already put your hand cream on.  

++ They would also pre-read your mail, if you asked them to.  You never had to see the crazy abusive ones.  Unfortunately as street mail fell off and email took over, this excellent system began to break down.  I no longer know what the standard policy about writer street mail is at any of my publishers, but I can tell you that sod’s law guarantees that the crazy abusive one will get through somehow. 

** Although probably not Mars.  It would be a struggle growing rosebushes and I think the oxygen tanks would chafe the hellhounds’ skin.^  However Oisin and I were today discussing our respective requirements for the isolated uninhabited internet-free islands we are each going to move to some time in the possibly not too distant future.^^ 

^  Bullies are tough. 

^^ When I arrived he was playing the piano.  Show off.+  WHO IS THIS COMPOSER, he said.  NOOOOOOOOO, I said.  I can’t do anybody but Mozart.  And maybe Beethoven.++ 

+ These frelling piano teachers. 

++ It was Rachmaninoff.  Give me a BREAK.  It was Rachmaninoff PRELUDES.  Oh, sure, I knew that.  And for my next trick I will sing the Queen of the Night Der Holle Rache aria.  Yes, that aria.

 ***And you’re a lot more tolerant of the ending of PEGASUS than I would be.  That it’s taking me LOOOOOOOOONGER than it should to get the sequel written is one thing, but I would totally hunt down the writer of an ending like PEG’s and kill her if she declared she wasn’t going to write a sequel.  I know that I and Certain of My Readers disagree about the ending of SUNSHINE. . . . But PEGASUS?   Jiminy toads and beetles.  It needs a sequel.  It totally needs a sequel. 

† If I wrote THE DRAGON AND THE SWORD then maybe Shakespeare, Christie and Seuss are available for writing tips.

†† As well as having no sense of humour.  Also just like writers.



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