I read somewhere (or maybe I didn’t; reading is for suckers) that the author/promoter divide is a 70/30 ratio. I’d go further, and flip those numbers, giving the promoter hat a 70% weight. If I’ve learned anything with pushing Charactered Pieces these last few months it’s this: writing is a dirty, dirty game.
The dream of churning out books, leaving the advertising and promotion to the publisher, is more a point of Norman Rockwell Nostalgia than a truth. Or at least my experience of it is. Of course, I accept that this may be my own inadequacies speaking, as some authors do get to live the dream. But most do not. Definitely fewer than in years past. Or is that statement also romanticized nostalgia?
Over the past few months, since Charactered Pieces’s November 16th, 2009 release, I’ve been guilt-ridden for my relative unproductively. When compared historically, this last quarter or so has been remarkably and dishearteningly word-free. But a sudden realization, perhaps evoked by a recent email conversation with author, Pablo D’Stair, made me realize just how much I have actually done these past months. So, as a way to comfort myself, here’s a list of my recent writing-related accomplishments.
- Promotion. I’ve considered it a hindrance to writing all this time, but really I must think of it as network-building, as meeting more people who could very well become important components to my writing. Pablo D’Stair, for instance, we would not have met had it not been for my incessant (re: annoying) promotion.
- Tim Hall’s One Damn Thing After Another. I helped bring this fantastic collection to light. Who the hell am I to think of that as time wasted?
- Revised chapters of my novel-in-progress. I’m working through revisions on one of my unfinished novels, with the help of some very talented writer friends. Since January, I’ve edited five chapters. Some of the changes have been substantial and could be considered full rewrites. Meaning: I get to credit that as writing time.
- Outsider Writers Collective. I’ve unexpectedly taken on a stronger role over at www.OutsiderWriters.org, which included updating the website in January. Hopefully, the redesign makes for a better experience. The traffic numbers seem to show that more people are visiting. That, or SPAMbots.
- AWP Blog. In preparation for my April trip to Denver for the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Projects) Conference, I set up a blog (http://www.calebjross.com/awpblog/) which consists of writer contributors who will document the conference via Twitter, TwitPic, YouTube, and traditional blog posts. Gathering contributors, setting up panelist interviews, and spreading the word have taken quite a bit of time. Not to mention the…
- AWP off-site reading. I organized a reading at Leela’s European Café in Denver for April 9th, which will feature OW Press authors/contributors and members of The Velvet writing community. You’ll get tired of me talking about this, for sure; I am damn excited. And on this topic, another ellipsis…
- New stories for AWP reading. The standard reading usually features an author reading from his/her most recent release. This is fine. Most of the time. But I anticipate drinks and noise being involved, so something short and funny would probably work better (my Holocaust story, “The Camp,” may be funny to some, but it’s probably not a safe bet to count on an audience full of Nazis). So, I have started a couple new pieces. I feel great about them.
- Conversation with Pablo D’Stair. I’ve never met anyone more passionate about literature than this guy. He thrives on conversation about words. He isn’t interested in profiting from his writing, nor is he interested in helping others to profit. He is the consummate literary philosopher. Over the last month or so, we’ve had a great back-and-forth via email about Charactered Pieces (and writing in general), that I understand he intends to print as part of a rebirth of his magazine, Predicate. He pulled a lot out of me that had been simmering for a number of years. More on this to come once it is printed.
So, the lesson: I’m not as lazy and fat as I thought.