On Writing and Selling Out

Warning: ahead is a rant about the idea of authors “selling out” as the only way to make money, which probably stems from my annoyance at the objectification of queers for profit (as it was presented).

I went to a small (SMALL) convention last weekend, which wasn’t aimed at readers/writers, but rather queer anime/manga (with some other sorts thrown in). While there, I went to a panel, the name of which I don’t remember, but it was something like “How to Make Money Selling Your Book” or something of the sorts. I’m always curious to learn more, so I grabbed my notebook and scurried off.

Now, I’ll note by saying that the presenter was an author who earns a living by selling her books (according to her). I was not familiar with her name, and I didn’t google her (before or after). And I will say she was very upfront about everything. 
Her advice for selling enough copies of your book to earn a living? Sell out and whore yourself.
I might be truncating it a little. Just a bit. But the general gist of everything she said was, “Do what makes money.” Screw your “morals” or “muse” or “standards.” If a movie producer wants to option your book for $$$ but you have to let them change your one male character in a romantic pair into a female so it’s not gay? Go for it.
Don’t write X if X won’t make you money. Write Y. If you want to write X, well, have fun at your day job! *insert derisive laughter here* (Because having a day job is laughable, I guess?)
I’m not stupid or naive, I know that writers should be at least a little bit aware of what genre in their scope makes money. Yes, they should be familiar with what’s popular and how to reach the biggest audience (ie, which vendors to prioritize, perhaps). 
But the way she presented this to the group was that your work really means nothing and you shouldn’t think that it does. And that your only two options were not making money and holding on to your pitiful little dream, or make money by whatever means possible. As if there was no middle ground. As if there aren’t authors who haven’t sold out (as far as I know) who make a living off their books.
Is it easy? No. Is selling out probably going to make you more money faster? Yeah.
Will it make me feel really grossed out and leave your panel halfway through? Definitely.
Because this con was sort of supposed to be a celebration of queerness, and while I know a lot of people make money off of it, I’m a little squicked when someone comes into what should be a safe space and says “this is the type of gay porn you should be writing for older straight women.”
And maybe don’t mock people who would like to only write what they like (and what makes them comfortable). Possibly–here’s a wild idea–offer suggestions for how someone can make money without selling out. Because “selling out” is shitty advice (even if it is the most financially rewarding). If that’s the only advice you can offer to help someone make money selling their book, then you’re a shitty presenter.  
Did you get the feeling I didn’t like that session? Because I didn’t. I do recognize a lot of what she said was true (and maybe factual), but her presentation style and her view that there’s only ONE way left a lot to be desire. And I just needed to rant about it.

Another Year Wiser

I had my birthday last weekend, in which I got a little crisp (but nothing that hurt for more than 24 hours), but otherwise had a lot of time having fun in the sun with my family (especially the three five-year-olds). I might not ever want kids, but I love my nephews and niece! They really make for a fun birthday.

Of course, birthday parties mean less time writing (I literally woke up, ran to the barn, got home, napped, then went to gatherings until 8pm, at which point I was so exhausted I didn’t have brain cells to rub together to form a story).

But I got stuff. First off, my stuffed Fluffy arrived. He’s from the manga/anime The Morose Mononokean, and he’s adorable. I actually bought him for myself a couple of weeks ago, but I regret nothing. He’s very soft. And it was a nice gift to find on my birthday 🙂 Though I had to hide him when the kids came over!

If you saw my previous post, you saw me mention that as a kid/teen, I had an obsession with taking pictures of presents that I’d received. I still do that, although slightly less often now, oddly enough, even though it’s easier now.

I mostly take pictures to send to my friends. But I’m still not sure what my obsession with it is. Maybe so I don’t forget that I own this thing? Even though I own the thing, so I obviously have it. Although, now that I think about it, I believe at one time I heard that insurance companies only would replace personal items in a house if you had proof that you owned said item. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, or if a picture would even prove you owned it, but I think I got it in my head that I needed to take pictures of all my presents so the insurance company would buy me my stuff if we got robbed/the house burned down.

I don’t know. I was weird. Because I’m obviously not now.

So, good news on the writing front: Once I finish the current xmas story (which has a fast-approaching deadline, so I’ll either finish or give up), I can return to the rom-coms that I’ve been working on, and hopefully will have more information to share than just “Still not done yet.”

7 Points of Interest

1. I’m not dead.

2. I’m adorable as a Powerpuff character.

3. March was crazy with editing all week and writing on weekends and then Easter snuck up on me. This is the first weekend I’ve had where I didn’t feel like a headless chicken.

4. JUST OVER A WEEK UNTIL SECOND SKIN RELEASES

5. The week of April 11 will see a lot of blog posts from me in the Second Skin tour, and I’ll try to forward them along so you don’t miss any.
6. If you’re going to be at RT this month, be sure to stop by and say hi! I’ll be there, wearing a Riptide tee! I’m the short one with the short brown hair.
7. Horseback riding season is starting up again and I really need to organize my life better in order to get anything/everything done. Could someone please loan me their Time Turner? Thank you.
Happy April!

Snowy woods

We had snow today in my little world, which is odd in itself and is probably a sign we won’t have a white Christmas. But it was a lovely snow, wet and heavy and will probably be gone in a week. But it made me think of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and I thought I’d share it.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. 

Robert Frost

Scattered

My head is extremely scattered right now, so that I am having trouble focusing on what needs to get done and what I want to get done. Sometimes it feels rather futile, because no matter how much I get done there is always more that needs to be done.

My laptop is being difficult. I don’t know if it’s Ubuntu or the laptop, but it freezes (seemingly randomly). This weekend it froze every ten minutes, if that. I had to do a hard reboot (I think that’s the word for it). I’m trying to find solutions online, but I swear they are speaking a different language. Ever since the fiasco in Anaheim, my laptop has been a little wonky. Thankfully there is very little saved on it that is vital to my writing. I think I’ll back up everything I currently have, just in case.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently and a little writing. I feel like I should read higher quality books in order to improve my writing, but there are few high-quality books in the genre I’m currently devouring. And I want to read books I enjoy, it’s my time afterall, but I also worry that the stories I read influence the books I write which aren’t really mainstream (not that I’m writing for fame, but it’d be nice).

In order to spread my wings a bit, I’m going to start submitting to Bang*Bang, maybe, you know, if I don’t chicken out. Maybe it’ll encourage me to submit to real magazines, and real publishers. Once I have a completed piece.

Also, I was supposed to sew a suit jacket tonight and instead read half of Whistling in the Dark. Is anyone really surprised by this? Go ahead Soba, yell at me, I know I deserve it.

To everyone: I’m working on it.

I have a horse show tomorrow, that I’m not riding in, but I get to wake up really early for. like 5:45. Ugh. Weekends are for sleeping!

Nothing new has really happened recently. Riding horses, reading, writing, having friends, watching anime, and working.

Ambitions are really something. My current ambition, which I constantly stumble over and try to reaffirm, is to find more balance in my life. This is a two parter, one of which involves being less reliant on items. That doesn’t mean I won’t use my computer (etc), but that I should stop buying all those things that I don’t need (like all those little figurines sitting on my shelf). The second half is to work on meditation. To relax, focus, realign.

But these are both difficult things for me to accomplish because I (1) never set aside time for meditation and (2) like buying things. If I were to represent a deadly sin, I’d be envy. I don’t think I am “keeping up with the Joneses” as much as other people, but seeing people have things makes me want them, not for “OMG look at me” purposes, but because those things look fun. I see people playing the Wii and I think “Maybe I should get one” before I remind myself that I don’t set aside time to play my GameCube. But still, I’m a consumer and it’s a very hard habit to break. Any tips are appreciated.

I may need to ease into the meditating with crocheting, because crocheting has an end result, and it makes it feel more productive. I hate feeling unproductive. I hate waiting. I hate losing minutes. I wish I could take all those lost minutes of waiting and bunch them together to do something with. On the other hand, if I take those minutes and use them to meditate, I guess I’d be putting them to use.

As you may have realized from my frantic typing, I’m a little…high strung recently. I don’t know why. I feel restless and unhappy and unfocused and explodey. Like one long sugar high. So those things I’ve been meaning to get done aren’t getting done. I apologize to anyone on the receiving end of that.

I just made a scarf:

(I’m fond of it, even though it’s bright orange. Like the MASH shirt?)

Finally, to my eldest sibling, I’ve been meaning to call you. So hopefully I’ll actually do it sometime soon.

Gloves: Bane of my Existence

-Sigh-

I’ve made several pairs of gloves, and yet I still make stupid mistakes. I have the benefit of stretchy material this time, so of course I put the stretch the wrong direction. -headdesk- ETA: The next one I made then was too big because I over compensated. I now have 3 almost finished gloves that don’t quite work how I want them to. Least I’m learning.

I took a half day today, because it was lovely out, I hadn’t slept well the past few days (damn heat) and I’d been wanting to for a while. Slept. Went riding. Crafting. Good times all around.

Still can’t believe I didn’t realize I put the stretch the wrong direction until I went to put my hand in the finished product. I should be able to mod. it and make it useable. Not that gloves are the hardest thing to make. But these have half fingers, so it’s slightly more annoying.

To not make this a total waste: People who like learning new things and hearing other’s ideas should go here. People who like the weather should go here. You can check out my arty side here. And if you’re bored and like puzzles, check out this.

And finally: