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Crank! October 16, 2010

Posted by bobv451 in conventions, e-books, ideas, iPad, movies & TV, VIPub, westerns, writing.

One of the curious phenomenon of writing is how ideas from widely disparate groups seem to come together. You’ve noticed it in a different context, I suspect. For years nobody will do a movie, say, set in ancient Rome, and then a dozen sword and sandal epics surface. All out at the same time. They didn’t steal from each other (unlike TV which can have a short turnaround time, a movie takes a long time to get going.) Maybe whispers came out so-and-so was doing one and everyone else jumps on the bandwagon? I don’t think so. Not exactly.

You see this in writing. For years there won’t be any books set on Mars. Then a shelf full comes out in a few months. What happens isn’t one author poaching from another but, I suspect, similar thought processes that go something like this: What hasn’t been done in a while that’s fun? We’re always looking for a plot or setting that will elevate our work. Unfortunately, if there has been a gap in movies or writing, we’re all clever enough to see it and jump on it. Mostly at the same time. Independently, I assure you. There isn’t some weird Illuminati plot that sends out coded messages telling us: write about Mars. Or whatever.

In the past week I’ve come across four other writers who have come to the same conclusion I have about work and career. Zeitgeist? Panic? Realization we’ve been goofing off? More likely, realization that the publishing world has changed and is still changing.

Work harder, work more seems to be the current mantra. The impetus for this is probably the opening markets for our e-books. Opportunity knocks and we all heard it at the same time. What bothers me right now is having to violate Al Sarrantonio’s advice given a long time back: take the deal. He has a plaque on his desk, he says, with that dictum on it. I’ve had to turn down two projects because I just don’t have time. That makes me irritable because I wanted to do both of them. And then a couple more potential ones dropped into the emailbox and, with their tight deadlines, I couldn’t even consider them.

Busier? I am certainly working hard but less of it is writing. More of it is PR, doing blogs, editing, getting my name out there any way I can so I can get more readers on B&N, Kindle, iPad, whatever new venue might pop up. As I was driving back from the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium an idea hit me for something that might sell well next year, if I’m invited back. But it would take several weeks to shepherd into existence. Got an idea for a tie-in mystery but have to track down the guy and convince him. And a lot of other stuff that takes away from the writing but is necessary if I want to sell what I do write.

Maybe our feeling of not being diligent enough hitting the keys comes from taking the time to do PR that would have been spent writing in earlier times? I think so. Mostly, I need to crank up the volume. And so do the others who’ve said similar things to me in the past few weeks.



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