I got tagged two weeks ago on Facebook by a publishing rep regarding my series Femitokon. I sent them the outline and the final-final edit of the Suffocation manuscript and expected nothing to come of it. They publish print and online sci-fi and were looking for a series to run on their website. I was excited when she got back to me this morning with interest. It was going well until we got to chatting about my ‘online presence’.
I’m not a nice person all the time. It takes work for me to maintain a healthy social life, and being social online to the extent I was back when I wrote comics brought out the worst in me. I can’t go back to that, and I won’t. When I tweeted that I was taking the Pynchon approach as a writer online, I wasn’t kidding. It’s why when my Twitter gets too many followers; I cut and run. I’ve had about three Twitter accounts.
This morning I put my desire for publication aside and just told them my terms: I’m not promoting online, doing interviews with bloggers, making writing101 blog posts, or becoming a tweet marketing machine. I know small presses need this, but these guys are bit bigger than that, but I get it: the literary landscape has changed; it’s a big web out there, and I need to have readers online know who I am.
I won’t do it.
My mental health comes first, and if being a constant online presence is now part of the writer’s toolkit to success, then I guess I’ll be in the corner continuing to write for myself.
Like that title? SEO that, bitches.
When in our old house, outside of Austin Texas, I didn’t have a writing-room apart from the house. I wrote in the bedroom vacated by my oldest (he moved out and got a life for himself). That room shared a wall with my spouse’s TV room. When I was doing the pacing and narrative pass on my Suffocation manuscript, my spouse was binge watching 24. Every fifteen minutes I would hear that blasted digital count-down clock. There are times when I’m alone now, and I hear it. I shudder.
A writer friend lamented the invasion of new story ideas during a challenging and time-consuming revision. We all get to a point during the editing of a book (for me it’s that proofreading stage before reading aloud) where you’re so sick of the book that you need a break. It’s during that break that great ideas come crashing in. Short stories, new sagas, seedlings that are so good, you can’t let that shit go! Unfortunately, you can’t stop what you’re working on because doing so means you’ll never finish anything you’ve written.
I collect Decomposition Books. What are those (you’re not asking)?
They’re composition books made of recycled material. I like them because they look cool. While working on the Femitokon series, there’s been times when ideas have overcome my brain to the point that if I don’t do something, they’re overwhelming. Two of them (one a new series, the other a big novel), are housed in Decomps. La Mestiza, and Amazonomachy. Each book has characters, settings, plots, and dialog, things I jot down when away from my edits.