Sunday, October 08, 2006

Once Burned...

I've been burned. You've been burned. We've all been burned, probably multiple times, in multiple scenarios. I know I've been burned in love, burned in business, burned by friends and, perhaps most regrettably, burned in publishing.

I think perhaps the latter hurt the most. I wanted it so much, for so long. With everything in me, I wanted to write -- and have that writing published. I figured I was good enough to achieve it, and smart enough to decide when the time was right and then go get what I wanted, the way I wanted it. Instead, I walked right into a trap. It's my own fault, of course; I didn't do enough homework. I felt bad about it for a while, and then I reached the point where I no longer gave a damn. It happened. Big whoop.

When love burns your toes, you don't run and hide in a convent/monastery. When you're roasted in business, you don't quit your job, stomp off, and sign up for Welfare. If friends burn you, well, you quickly figure out they were never friends in the first place. You tell them where they can go, write them off, and get on with your business. But man, that publishing thing...

So I made a crappy deal. So what? I told myself I could write other, better books and still reach my goal. And yet ... I haven't. Two more books have been written, but I'm having a hell of a time mustering up enough motivation to try very hard to sell them. (I'm now serializing my "drawer novel" in a new blog, 'Give A Girl A Tiara;' link in sidebar.) I'm doing good to put together a half-assed query package every few months. It's not exactly writer's block. It's more like complete writer's ennui.

I don't want to -- won't -- talk about the ridiculously bad publisher I got hooked up with. That may have something to do with it, because surely that stupid blunder will have to be disclosed (eventually) to any potential new publisher. I don't normally hide my head in the sand, run from trouble; yet I have a total mental block about this. I simply don't want to deal with it.

Just a couple of weeks ago, at my niece's wedding, I found myself in an embarrassing situation. At the reception, I was surrounded by a bunch of my sister's girlfriends, all holding copies of my book, wanting them signed. I signed them; no problem. But the questions just made me want to grab a bottle of champagne and run. I hedged, of course.

Q. How are your book sales?
A. I can't complain.

Q. When's your next book coming out?
A. I don't know yet.

Q. Was it hard to get published?
A. Not so much.

Q. Is the same publisher doing your next book?
A. I think they're about to declare Bankruptcy.

And so on and so on. No way did I want to have to get into explaining that after a year-long fight with said crappy publisher I was finally able to get my contract rescinded. Or that all that and its after-effects was holding up any new books. It's just not something I want to talk much about other than with people who've been through the same thing.

I've been busy during the two years post-faux publishing. I edit other peoples' work. That's interesting, engaging, and fairly lucrative work. I enjoyed acting as Surreal's poetry acquisitions editor for a while before burning out on it. I've toned down my contributions to the fight to shut down the aforementioned shoddy publisher. Just so they know, that doesn't mean I've shut up and gone away. I'm just not as publicly vocal as I once was.

So, what does excite me these days? Heh. I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out.

12 comments:

RexZeitgiest said...

Whoa.....yea, it hurts to get burned and the more important the situation or close the friend, the worse it hurts.....Sometimes distance is the best thing, someimtes taking two steps back and holding, can clear and refresh the soul....

I hasve been burned in many areas of life, and somtimes you get burned so bad, you simply walk away from the problem, like a failed marriage or a bad career....

But every time I get really down I think about this girl that goes to my library....She is about 16-17 years old...Is difficult to tell how old she is because she has been literally burned over her entire body....Her face is gone and her hands are missing fingers....When I first saw her at the library, she was very very weak and very worried about being seen, but as time has gone on, you can tell she has gotten stronger and stronger....

The last time I saw her ther ewas a bounce in her step, a confidence in her gait.....You could tell she wasn't going to let her tradgedy define her and her life would continue...In some ways even better then before....


So when I get really down, I think of that girl and how she overcame getting burned.....

Serena Joy said...

Wow, a story like that really does make one's own problems seem pretty insignificant. She sounds like a really brave young lady. It's wonderful that there's a bounce to her step again.

Anonymous said...

Just send it. Get slightly drunk or intoxicated in your manner of choice and send it before you can think twice. You are a better writer than I can dream of being and should do it. Think of it as the loss of every publisher that says no, not your loss.

Always just scream the word verification slogan "PHUCG" and do it.

Serena Joy said...

I know I should, Kan. It's like I have this damn Brain Block going on. Maybe I should get drunk and scream PHUCG at the same time, then send it. Ooops, I just said that out loud. You DO know what it sounds like? LOL.

Maybe I should scream XJPFTZP! instead.

RexZeitgiest said...

How many times did Edison fail before he got he light bulb right? Of course Edison was more then a little kooky, but you get the idea.....

Serena Joy said...

Yeah, but how do you know I'm not as kooky as Edison? LOL.

RexZeitgiest said...

This is true...

kanrei said...

I can tell because your pictures are more normal looking than his. You are not yellow for one thing.

Serena Joy said...

Good grief, was Edison yellow? :)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes =D

Serena Joy said...

Ahhhhh -- the dreaded sepia tone. That's sort of what I look like when I get up in the morning. LOL.

Steve G said...

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, though it may be but a pin prick. Hang in there.