Thursday, March 5, 2015

Gone Astray

Sometimes I wish my job responsibilities ended with The End.

I wish I could write those final words with a flourish and have that be enough.

Oh, if this was all there was.... 

But it's not enough. Even excusing the edits and re-writes, which I can take as part of the job. I don't even mind that part. I love my beta readers and my editors; they help me write the best book that I can. (Even if 2 beta readers and 3 different editors--and me--failed to notice a small error in Blues, such that a reader got to point it out to me. That she pointed it out only bothers me--I mean, after all, she's not wrong, the error is clearly in there--in that it adds to the number of stupid things that have to go through my mind every night before I go to bed about what an abysmally terrible human being I am, and that list is so long these days that I'm not getting to sleep until 2-3am some days... I'm only in my 40s. By the time I'm ready to die, I won't be sleeping at all...)

Then there's marketing. Which, honestly, I'd never expected to be part of my job as a writer at all. Marketing sucks; putting together release parties (by the way, please sign up for Howling Bitch's release party) and promo posters. Talking to people and asking them to do reviews... (If you've read one of my books and you have a few minutes, I'd love it if you left a review at either Amazon or Goodreads... you don't even have to like the book, just leave the review.) Making up postcards to leave at bookshops and coffee shops and conventions; mailing out books to people for prizes... all of this costs money out of my own person pocket, too... for that matter, most publishers only provide one or two copies of the book as part of their author compensation... the rest of them. My pocket, again.

This year, we actually had to pay taxes on my writing income. Of course, publishers don't put aside money for taxes... Even claiming all my advertising expenses didn't get us much in the way of credit for the taxes that I hadn't paid. We got 30% less back in returns this year to cover that gap. And yes, I realize that this is how returns work. A return isn't the money the government gives us, it's not extra money, it's the overage between what we pay out during the year and what we actually owe in taxes. That we get less back at the end of the year just means we had more money during the year...

Which doesn't really make me feel better.

But no, it's not just that; it's unexpected shit, like a publisher delaying, and delaying, and delaying, and finally cancelling a project.

I got an upsetting email last night from one of my editors--and if I'm upset, I can only imagine how upset she has to be--that three of her anthologies, which were already complete and edited and turned in and ready to go, were cancelled. The publisher is cancelling all contracts for those projects and returning the book to the editor, unpaid.

She's not the only editor who's had contract issues; You can look here for Violet Blue's blog post and here for Alison Tyler... There were also unusual and out-of-contract delays for another book I submitted to them. Honestly, if you agree to pay someone within 90 days of publication, then you should FUCKING PAY THEM.  not 45 days AFTER 90 days after publication. Just saying.

Now, admittedly, I don't have as much to scream about as these talented editors do; I'm out $50 and a couple of paperbacks. (And you know, the 2-3 weeks it takes me to write a short story... remind me again why you think I should be able to lend you $500??)

But I am frustrated. And unhappy. My sister-in-law and fellow writer, Nickie Jamison, is in the same boat. Her story, which I beta'd for her, was also accepted for one of these cancelled anthologies. And for her, this was only her second acceptance. She seemed mostly okay with it last night, but she also has so much on her plate, I'm not sure she's actually chill, or just out of fucks to give...

My editor has asked permission--which I gave her--to hold the stories for a little while and she's going to shop them around for another publisher. We'll see what happens. I'm not holding my breath.

I'm behind on projects, although I did talk to my publisher about one thing and I've got a 2 week extension, so yay for that, because I am just Not Feeling It today...


  1. I hear you! Sometimes I wonder why we bother when there's all this non-writing crap to deal with, and we still don't make a living from it.

  2. And then there's the whole disrespect for the profession, fielding stupid questions, and the people who expect you're living like Castle...

    No one ever, EVER asks my husband if he feels like a "real project manager"...