Noshing on Quality Prose
I’ve been reading a bit about the Penguin Random House trial, and I’m oddly comforted by the fact that the “big publishers” don’t know which books will sell and which ones will flop.
Welcome to the club, pal. ;)
Yesterday I paid my editing bill for Hostile Takeover, and as I did so, I tallied up my expenses and income to see that I am still profoundly, almost embarrassingly in the hole for that entire series.
I’m not upset though. First, because not everything I write needs to be profitable. Second, because I’ve learned a great deal from my publishing mistakes. Third, because I can sell those books until I’m dead and when you own your own IP, across the span of decades work tends to earn it’s keep. No publisher will ever nerf my books as a tax writeoff. I can keep them in print for as long as it pleases me to do so.
But those publishing mistakes? They happened. I did zero market research for those books. If I had, I would have learned that the series doesn’t fit clearly in any defined genre. It’s a bit of a spy thriller, but it’s also women’s fiction, and a family saga, and it has elements of a mystery as well. Also, I wrote it as a trilogy, one story split across three books, and I don’t think thrillers are ever split that way.
I spent a lot of moolah on covers up front because we’d just started our little publishing house and I wanted to saunter into the market with a bit of swagger.
Long story short, my favorite series is a smoking financial hole on my balance sheet. Yet I can’t bring myself to feel too bothered. As Neil Gaiman once said:
I still had my electric typewriter and enough money to pay the rent for a couple of months, and I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.
Every now and then, I forget that rule, and whenever I do, the universe kicks me hard and reminds me. I don’t know that it’s an issue for anybody but me, but it’s true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money, either. The things I did because I was excited, and wanted to see them exist in reality have never let me down, and I’ve never regretted the time I spent on any of them.
Amen to that.
All Caught Up
A few years back I decided to complete all my older series with dangling story arcs. With Hostile Takeover edited and ready to publish, I’ve met that goal.
Woot! (pumps hands in the air)
I’m rejiggering my websites, again. Here’s my new configuration:
Author website: cheribaker.com
The domain is unchanged, but my new author site will be live in about a week.
Personal wiki: literary.monster
I’ve been spending more time here lately.
This blog: blog.literary.monster
I’m blogging less than I used to, as most of my bloggish energy is going towards my reader newsletter but my posts will land here moving forward.
Hypertext.Monster will be repurposed for something else; I’m still figuring out.
That’s all for today! Work awaits.