So this morning I am sitting at the East Wind kopitiam (Vietnamese favourites!*) near my apartment, drinking my kopi c (coffee brewed in a sock with heavily sweetened condensed milk**)
Not really doing a lot of writing at this very moment (no, blog posts don't count). I am, however, doing a lot of thinking about writing, how I write, why I write, and why I don't write. This last week has been something of a therapy session for my inner writer, I guess. Lots of things to digest.
Thagoth: The novel that has been the albatross around my neck for close to a decade. Much as I hate to admit it, the whole experience damaged me. Somewhere in my psyche it seems the notion lodged itself deep that either I was a faliure as a writer or that it didn't matter how well I wrote, because the game was rigged. Either way, I've had a hell of a hard time writing fiction for years now. It's damn hard to shake a loser mentality. It wasn't just the Thagoth experience that contributed to it; many events have happened in my life over the last few years that fed into vicious cycle of self-defeat. We'll save that for another post, though.
Acknowledgement: Over on Scalzi's blog, a simple conversation with Kat Goodwin about the state of the ebook market gave me something I didn't expect, right out of the blue:
"Yes, in 2003, you were screwed. Publishers had been burned on e-books before back in the early 1990′s. And there simply wasn’t a real set of working bookselling vendors in 2003 to sell much in e-books. (Amazon had not fully committed.) There were some companies doing some stuff, including self-publishing, so Del Rey tried the contest, but it wasn’t enough of a market then. When they decided to dump it, you should have been put into print, although that might have required a new contract, but you got “orphaned” — your editor and advocate left and the new ones didn’t want your stuff. Happens a lot; never meant that your book wasn’t worthy of an audience."
A few words from someone in the traditional publishing arena telling me things I already knew carried a psychic weight that surprised me. I told myself this stuff for years, but it made no impression. External confirmation has. It's still working through my system, honestly.
Validation: 1. Thagoth Yes, telling my facebook friends has raised sales of Thagoth, but honestly it's not the sales. The money I'll make from it isn't such a much (we're talking low three figures or high two figures unless something truly unexpected happens). What's priceless to me is that people actually cared enough to repost the link to the book and say nice things. Food for the writing soul, after years of wandering the desert. I can't thank people enough.
Validation: 2. "All the World a Grave" There were 21 stories in the anthology, and the Speculative Book Review singled out three for praise, including mine. The story that only I and Sarah Prineas believed in.
I'm a writer. I write. I can't let all the other nonsense get in the way anymore.
* Not sure if they are referring to the food or the ladies of the evening who frequent it.
** Don't you dare judge me