November 30th, 2012


The Curse of the Comfy Socks

I made a major tactical error this morning. When I was at Target yesterday, they had the fuzzy comfy socks that kind of work like slippers on clearance. I couldn't resist. And then I put a pair on this morning. I have a few errands I really should run, and these aren't really the kind of socks you can wear with shoes, but I don't want to take them off and put on "real" socks, so I may not be able to leave the house today. Fortunately, I have work involving reading and writing that is even more important than any errands, so I don't feel too guilty. Seriously, these socks are dangerous. And I got two pairs for $2.50! About the only thing that may lure me out of the house is a trip to Target to get more of them. And then I wouldn't leave the house all winter.

I'm still in love with this book of mine I'm re-reading. I generally think of myself as more of a storyteller than a writer. I don't worry that much about the individual words, as long as they convey the story I'm trying to tell. When my agent and I started discussing whether this book would have a better chance as women's fiction or fantasy, I said I didn't think the writing was at the level it would need to be for women's fiction, but now that I'm re-reading it, I think I may have been selling myself short. But I don't think it's the same kind of writing you tend to get with those quasi-literary book club-bait books. I don't use a lot of metaphor and imagery. My writing is generally pretty concise, and with this book it's really punchy -- like I said, it has that screwball comedy rhythm. I'm proud of this writing, but I still don't think this book is good book club bait.

I would say that maybe my best bet for success is to write the whole series, then self-publish so that a book a month comes out, with a low enough price point for the first book that it can get a lot of buzz. Then that may bring me to the attention of the conventional publishers. But I have to say that I'm not that crazy about the self-publishing process. It's a lot of work, even when I've got a lot of people working with me to handle it. I'm not as big a control freak as I thought I was because I'm much happier handing a book over to a publisher and letting them do their thing, with me then just having to say yay or nay on a few decisions. Just hiding in my cave (in my comfy socks) and writing is pretty much my ideal career plan. But that's not the way the world works these days. The books I've self published have been reasonably successful, but they're later books in a series where a publisher controls the first four, so I don't think it has quite the same impact as starting a series that way.

From my observations of the market, it seems like a lot of the success comes either in the super-sexy books (many of which are repurposed fan fiction) or in the kinds of books traditional publishers are ignoring these days, which includes chick lit and some of the sweeter romances. That may be the only way to get traction with my not really any particular genre books, though I think we'll still try hitting the publishers before going to plan B, since I'd prefer for other people to do the work, get books in stores, etc.