Monday, November 7, 2011

Pre-Solstice Status Report

Busy and more busy. Too busy, once again, to prepare a halfway decent update. Let's talk about what's been going on.

1.) New job. The topic is difficult to expound on without cataloging the personal and mundane particulars, so it will suffice to say that I'm adjusting to some very different circumstances, but also enjoying myself -- as much I can this time of year, anyway. (As I've probably said before, T.S. Eliot was full of crap: November is the cruelest month, not April, and February is a close second.) For all practical purposes, what this means is that barring any unforeseen fuck-ups, I have a source of income and a place to stay for the next two years.

2.) My first novel, The Zeroes. I have asked one gracious and eagle-eyed (90% of the time, this person is the first to point out any typos or misspellings in my latest comic strip, article, blog entry, etc.) reader to give one last proofread. After whatever mistakes he finds get fixed, I've got to figure the manuscript will be as close to clean as it will ever get. After that only remains the formatting and design work before I can put it on sale as an e-book or pay-per-print paperback.

Making the thing available isn't the endgame, though. I want people to read the damned thing -- otherwise, why would I have gone to all the trouble of writing it? (Ut doceat, ut moveat, ut delectet.) It would also be real nice if the fruits of my efforts could, even in some small way, defray the costs of the their sowing and tillage in Red Bull, cigarettes, and lost sleep.

So how do I go about convincing perfect strangers that the book is worth their money and time to buy and read?

Facebook/Twitter/Blogger spamming are usually pointless, especially if nobody's heard of you. I don't think the oft-advised electronic junk-mail campaign will do my cause much good at all. And this brings me to the topic of few other projects I've got on the table...

3.) Comics. I've begun work on a brand new recurring comic strip and a new website. (I'll be holding onto, though. It's got too much sentimental value to mothball.) People may need their arms twisted into spending money and reading words without pictures, but they're certainly willing to read funny free comic strips. If all goes according to plan, people will read the strips regularly (provided I can post new ones regularly), come to appreciate my work, and will feel compelled to check out my book. That's how I'm hoping it will play out, anyway.

The new comic page will be updated weekly, but it won't see the light of day until I've got at least three months' worth of updates queued up and ready to go.

4.) Mother series writeups. Well, I'm pretty much out of Final Fantasy games to examine, and totally bereft of my old enthusiasm for the series besides. But I still like the Mother/EarthBound games an awful lot, and people sure do like reading about them. "Where can I find other stuff you've written?" The email will ask. "WELL!" I'll say...

This project is still very much in its nascent stages, and will begin following the completion of my...

5.) Novella. When I try to write a novella, it turns into a novel. When I try to write a short story, it turns into a novella.

This is what I'm working on now: a short story that ballooned into a novella. It just seems like the right thing to do at this time. It's about 65% done, which demands I begin considering what to do with it reaches 100%.

Do I self-publish it? Do I draft a new pitch letter and send it out to another hundred literary agents in exchange for another hundred rejection slips? Do I submit it to various literary magazine of various Midwestern state universities?

I think this story has the potential to be a very good, very relatable, very disturbing piece, but it's going to be a hard sell in a market where the shopkeepers are all convinced that people only want to read chick-lit and young adult fantasy serials. And for all I know, they're right. Who the hell reads literature anymore unless they're being forced?

I often wonder if this is all worth the trouble. It probably isn't.

And yet, my being capable of doing this work -- having the time, the means, and the circumstances necessary to keep at it -- is more precious to me than most everything else in my life, and I am ingratiated to you for taking the time to read and engage with it.

6.) The Sot-Weed Factor. The friend who lent it to me said, "this is the best damn book nobody's ever heard of." He was absolutely right. I am astounded by how it is consistently and coincidentally one of the smartest novels I've ever read, and one of the filthiest. One chapter will be a probing discussion about Heraclitan flux and personal identity; the next will be about John Smith and the unbreakable hymen of a young Pocahontas. Recommended!


  1. I can't wait to read your novel, and hopefully your novella someday. By the way, how long do you think it should take for it to be proofread?

  2. Oh jeez. It's pretty much proofread now. The last person to look at it was the same fellow who is always the first to point out the typos in my comics and blog posts, and he only found four or five typos.

    Hmm. At this point I guess it's just a matter of maybe coming up with a cover design?