Maybe, Maybe Not

I loved this article by Julie Anne Long and her agent, Steven Axelrod.  The studies about randomness and “herd” tendencies of humans were interesting, but the best part for me personally was the story about the man and his one prized horse.

I always set extremely high expectations on myself and events.

  • If I don’t final and get this project in front of Editor, then I’ll never draw this Editor’s attention.
  • If I do final and Editor doesn’t request material, then I’ll never have another chance with this Editor.
  • If I can’t get an Agent on this project, and I know it’s my best work yet, then I’ll never get an Agent.
  • If Publisher doesn’t accept this project that I love sooooo much, then I’ll never sell it.
  • I’ll never sell anything again.

For years, I studied the markets.  I bought all the debuts published by my target lines.  I haunted industry blogs.  I stalked editors and entered every contest they even thought about judging.  I feverishly researched agents and queried left and right. 

And my one prized horse kept running away. 

I studied why I thought my fence kept busting.  I listened to my sympathetic neighbors who insisted I needed to write something different and safer.  And I found myself in the darkest hour of night and the Valley of Doubt.

I did finally come to the conclusion that nothing matters.  Everything is random.  I might as well be HAPPY with what I write and write what I please, instead of wandering around in the doom and gloom of the industry, because I know the stress and worries will only get worse after that first big NY contract.  If I can’t live my dream and be happy, then it’s not much of a dream, is it?

And so Dream Agent rejects my latest project.  Maybe I’ll get a different agent who’s an even better match for me.  Maybe not.  Maybe the next project will be right for her.  Maybe not.  Maybe my next big project will be a hit.  Maybe not.  Maybe I’ll sell this project.  Maybe not.

But I’ll always write what I love and I’ll never feel badly about it again.

Buy a Book, Save the World (and Borders)

Thanks to Moonrat, Alison Kent, and Jennifer Jackson, I, too, was inspired to do my part to save publishing.  I took my quest to troubled Borders.  Without my 20% off coupon.  (Although I did claim my reward points.)

And yes, I nearly had withdrawal-symptom convulsions as I passed Swallowing Darkness by LKH in hardcover.  She’s my crack and I’m a junkie, I admit it, no matter how irritated I end up with Anita Blake.  But I figured she’d probably made plenty of money off me already and chose to spend my precious quest dollars more wisely.  No more LKH hardcovers!!!  I can wait for paperback.  *wipes sweaty brow and tries to ignore shaking hands*

As a result, I came home with:

Red by Jordan Summers (can’t say I like the red-edged pages but I’m looking forward to a new Red Riding Hood!)

Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman (loved the Coldfire Trilogy)

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (hmm, no idea why an assassin protagonist would appeal to me) :mrgreen:

How about you?

Depressing side note:  I don’t know if it was my imagination or not, but the front tables at Borders seemed especially light.  In the past, I’ve struggled to find “new” fiction because they had books stacked so deeply, even beneath the tables on the floor.  Today, I could see the color of wood beneath the books.  I also noted that they reshuffled how they stocked romance.  They used to keep all the trade (mostly erotic) and hardcover “segregated” by itself.  Now it’s all mixed together with normal romance, which I think makes better sense (although it bothered my need for symmetry to see the mix of book heights all jumbled together on the shelves). 

The only books stacked on the floor were…more copies of Swallowing Darkness!  Gah.  But I restrained myself and bought 3 books instead of 1 as a result.