Sunday, September 27, 2009

Carpe diem and all that stuff


Dave standing in for Amanda -It's not your lucky day is it? Ah well you'll just have to take the best out of it that you can. Let's face it, there is an element of luck in this business. But then, there is in fishing too. And that's the carp part of the diem, because we all bitch about our luck (when fishing too) BUT in spite of that a lot of us trot off for another go. And you know, while the bloke who writes greats books/stories and keeps trying doesn't always succeed. But the one who parks that great story under the bed in a shoebox will NEVER succeed. And yes, it's a lottery (but if you do it right, the odds are closer to the school funderaiser lottery than the Euro-millions) but if you don't have a ticket, you can't win. And if you take lots of tickets (they're not free - they cost you time, commitment, hope, courage - none of which are low value coins but will never earn you tuppence in satisfaction or return if you won't spend them) and fill the forms properly and enter every lottery going, well, you might win big. You're more likely to imitate my fishing (which means if you're very sensitive about bad smells, or critics whose comments smell that way... maybe take up stamp collecting) and never catch any vast whale-fish but reliably bring some pan-fish home. A bit on the small side, bony, but edible. And there is always the chance of the bigger one. Because this really is a profession where being in the right place at the right time can make you... you need to be in possible right places (authors forums, cons, competitions) and when opportunity knocks, don't be a fool like I was (my publisher asked me if I wanted to co-author with a big name. He wouldn't say who. I was cagey because there are a couple I really don't like much. The opportunity passed. It was Dave Weber, and I would have been very happy to do it). Now, because caution is not exactly my first or even my middle name, there have been chances I've taken since that just didn't pan out. And a few that have. The 'fish' are not inspirationally large, but I've loved catching them. And damn me if I won't go and throw another line. The place I see as worth being in is Electronic publishing. See you all there.

16 comments:

Ori Pomerantz said...

Dave: And damn me if I won't go and throw another line. The place I see as worth being in is Electronic publishing. See you all there.

Ori: I'm selfish. I like to read things like that from you. Tell me if there's any help I can provide.

Darwin said...

I will openly admit that I'm a fallen writer. All that I have is stuffed into the "box under the bed". I simply cannot muster the interest in submitting short fiction anymore. At least I can still admire those with the gumption to keep on swinging no matter how many times they get knocked down.

Dave Freer said...

Darwin - that's why I said that trying will cost you time, commitment, hope, courage - none of which are low value coins. You have put a lot of those in, I know. Taking a time out to let them recover is something we all need to do. It'll get better out there, eventually, I believe.

Dave Freer said...

Ori, I'll take you up on that yet. We do let chances slip though. O'Mike sent me a 'I told you so' mail about someone selling a mash-up on Blathering heights - a proposal he'd been pestering me for. Too late now. I must admit I wasn't too keen on writing it (oooh sour grapes?) But I am at the same time following through with a non-fiction proposal someone suggested. That's new ground for me.

RJ_CruzeJr said...

One thing to remember is that sometimes it isn't the best thing to win big at the lottery; sometimes that's the worst possible thing that can happen. With the regular lottery, it's said that somewhere around 1-in-3 lottery winners are broke in five years. They get caught up in the moment, their sense of values goes out the window, and they make one bad decision after another. And as it's always possible to spend more money than one has -- no matter how much money one has -- in a few short years they go from champagne and caviar to Wal-Mart cola and ramen noodles.

Dave Freer said...

Bob (smile) Lord, try me. I am ready for this test. I promise I won't stay that way for long enough for it to ruin me! Seriously, no vast aspirations to being superwealthy. Wouldn't mind being secure, but I could find a thousand good things to do with excess (without leaving publishing even. If I suddenly hit the Rowlings in it stakes - I'd be putting back into what made me.)
But in a way many people do win the writing lotto, and don't go on. That's quite sad.

Kate said...

I admit to not submitting enough. Largely, I think, because, as you said, the high value coins (in my case particularly time) are limited, and when I have time I prefer to spend it writing than revising or submitting.

Mea culpa, there.

RJ_CruzeJr said...

I hear you, Dave. I too would love the opportunity to prove that money won't change me ;-)

Dave Freer said...

Yes Kate, you are a culpa ;-). Me too. Look, subs are a crappy, time consuming depressing process. One we have fight through.

Kate said...

Dave,

I know. And one of these days I'll stop making excuses for myself and actually get my butt into gear and do something about it!

matapam said...

So, buy a lottery ticket, submit a manuscript, or hit the Best Seller's list. All the same, eh? No winning without risk.

So, you're all fired up to jump into E-publishing? What do you need from us, to do it? There's batch of us not dependent on writing income, with completed manuscripts out collecting rejections. We understand that you can't immediately do it yourself. Do you want to test the waters, and see how much your recommendation is worth?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

It must be daunting to land the 'big one' with the first line you throw out. You're not prepared for the feeding frenzy (PR on radio and even TV if you're young and good looking), you're not prepared for the deadlines (can't think of a fishing metaphor).

Every writer I know, and most are middling successful rather than mega, works really hard. I've known writers to be attending conventions and running back to their rooms between panels to work on a manuscript to make a deadline.

Dave Freer said...

Matapam said: "So, you're all fired up to jump into E-publishing? What do you need from us, to do it? There's batch of us not dependent on writing income, with completed manuscripts out collecting rejections. We understand that you can't immediately do it yourself. Do you want to test the waters, and see how much your recommendation is worth?"
As soon as i am vaguely settled on Flinders I want start a writer's co-op. It's at the early stages of noodling in my head. I know Sarah and Kate ahve been talking of the same thing.

Dave Freer said...

Kate said:

"I know. And one of these days I'll stop making excuses for myself and actually get my butt into gear and do something about it!"

Yes, or I'll have to come and kick it into to gear :-). You're an amazing talent, Kate.

Kate said...

Er. That glow in the north-west, way off on the horizon?

That's my face...

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Dave,

She went and moved too far away from me, or I'd have kicked Kate with the pointy boots by now. :)

Sarah