For the past, few months I’ve been taking a serious look at my short-term and long-term goals, and I’ve come to some pretty interesting conclusions.
When I look back at the projects that I have published, I realized that I have just as many that fell through the cracks due to bad business partnerships, horrible contracts, etc. I am very fortunate to have had the experiences that I’ve had, but at the same time it’s very frustrating. Even though there’s enough success out there to be had by everyone, there is a dark side to the industry that kind of gets glossed over sometimes. For example, some people believe that unless you’ve been published through a “big house” your work doesn’t matter; others plagiarize blatantly or take credit for someone else’s work and they still seem to make a name for themselves. The list of misconceptions and/or preconceived notions goes on and on and on. To top it all off, your work almost gets lost in the shuffle sometimes because “Everyone has a book to shill.”
That’s the bad part. The good part is that I have been pretty active figuring out not only what I want to write, but who I want to write for.
My strong background in business allows me to see publishing and the entertainment industry for what it really is. It is, in short, a very complex industry that is focused on selling as many books/games/movies as possible. I have no illusions that publishers need to make money because otherwise, at the end of the day, they can’t stay in business any longer. On top of that, I work in the field of online marketing every day. The signal-to-noise ratio is often staggering, and I’ve found that some of that noise is pretty distracting — especially when there’s not a lot of substance behind the noise.
I know all of these things in my head, but admittedly I can’t always reconcile them with how I feel about the quality of my work. That’s part of the reason why I’ve decided to pull back from a lot of extracurricular activities like conventions. I don’t want to become a total introvert, but I’d rather roll up my sleeves and get back in the trenches to “do something” than whine about what I’m frustrated with or not doing. In my world view, the hand of publishing doesn’t come down and pluck a writer out of thin air. You need to sweat a little, and maybe even bleed a little.
Well, I’m back to sweating. I have a lot of stories in my head and a metric ton of manuscripts to revise and submit. Conventions seem to take a lot out of me right now; as John Kovalic put it last night- “Every con takes away three weeks of creative thought, minimum. One to prepare, one during con week, one to recover…”
He’s exactly right.