The one thing that seems to be cropping up most frequently on the "Ten things I have learned (about/from/in avoidance) of writing" thing (which I have stopped linking because, as the song goes "there's too many of us.") is the one about how there will always be somebody more successful than you (that, and blackholly's advice to take off your nametag when you get drunk) and I realized I need to make an addendum to it.
11. No matter how successful you are, it will still drive you. I met a very successful author a year or so ago who joked about being jealous of my then-current Locus review, and another one who made a crack about "Yeah, I keep telling myself, this book has to get one rung higher up the NYT best seller list than the last one did."
These guys were being arch and ironic, and they were trying to teach me something. (Both of them were, in fact, NYT best-sellers. Top ten. No, I won't tell you who.) You can't control that
stuff. Nor can you control how readers will respond to the story. What you can control is the words on the page in a measured and consistent fashion.
Well, most of the time.
*piths another horta, going by*
ten things I am mostly ignorant about
- number theory
- types of Austrian sausage
- eighties horror movies
- color theory
- the !kung language
- network architecture (though I do listen to netcurmudgeon, I swear)
- nonfiction publishing
- how the heck Marketing goes about picking the cover art
- classical sculpture. although truepenny recently told me a heartwarming story about the first female curator at the Met going around with a box of genitals, trying to match them to defaced statues
ten things I, like Clive Barker, don't really know much about--but do know enough to get myself into trouble with:
- internal combustion engines
- the second world war
- the publishing industry
- current events
Pursuant to that, I can also tell you that Hammered has gone back for a fourth printing. Which by my count puts about 40,000 copies in print. Which I probably wasn't supposed to tell you, but hey, yours for transparency in publishing.
And which is, yes, they tell me, really rather good for a first mass-market paperback novel in genre. Yes, 40,000 copies. Is rather good. Four printings. (Somebody over there just fainted. Medic!)
...but what about Dan Brown?! And his billions and billions served? Why is Bear not Wealthy? Where are the Fans?
Well, this is why rezendi makes more money than I do, guys. (Or possibly because he's a better writer.) *g* There are only so many people who will buy that crap with the starships on the cover.
Oh, and Worldwired made the March Locus best seller list. Life is not so bad. And it's a living, after all.
...and now, my hair is filthy and so are my contacts, and the media mining calls.