Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Award-Winning, Bestselling, or What?

A front came through this morning, and I could actually feel it getting colder. I love that. It should be another good writing day. I was really productive yesterday, finishing up the part of the book I was working on. Now I have to switch gears and do the other plot thread, which will require getting into a totally different mindset. I was going to go grocery shopping today, but I don't want to waste the good writing weather.

In other news, I haven't yet decided if YouTube is a blessing or a curse. If there's a camera around, chances are that whatever you're doing will end up on YouTube. Fortunately, this isn't so bad. It's a short clip of some Browncoat Ball waltzing. I'm the one in the pale pink in the background. I have also found that there's a ballroom MeetUp group in this area, and there are actually men in it (finding a dancing partner has been my big challenge -- ballroom dancing isn't really a good solo activity), so I think I'll sign up and maybe get some dancing in, so that if I can make it to next year's ball, it won't take me so long to relax and get into the dancing instead of being so terrified I'll make a mistake from being so rusty.

It's getting to be contest season for published books, and I'm trying to decide what to do about it. There's the Rita Award from the Romance Writers of America, and the issue there is figuring out which category to enter. They have the "novel with strong romantic elements" category for books that aren't strictly romances, and Don't Hex with Texas would probably fit best in that because while there are touches of romance, that's certainly not the main plot. However, that's a big catch-all category that incorporates everything all the romance authors who've broadened their scopes are doing now -- suspense or mystery with romance in it, fantasy and science fiction with romance in it, chick lit and the broad range of "women's fiction." And generally in most judging situations, serious is considered "better" than funny (even though funny is arguably harder to do well). It's the same as with the Oscars, where the actor who puts on weight or uses makeup to look ugly in a dramatic role will almost always beat the person who is utterly brilliant in a comedy. So my fun, fluffy little book will end up competing with books about women who've lost their babies and are trying to recover while rediscovering love or all those books about the strong bonds of female friendship with a group of women who meet at a knitting shop/coffee shop/book club and help each other through things like cancer, divorce and new love. Books that make you cry, no matter how manipulative they are in doing so, usually beat books that make you laugh (unless I'm judging). On the other hand, this book has a stronger romance plot with an actual romantic conflict, so I might be able to go for the "paranormal romance" category, but then I'd be competing against all the books about sexy vampires.

I'm not even sure it's worth the entry fee and postage, to be honest. There's some minor recognition that goes with it and more exposure, but it's certainly not a guarantee of a stellar career or increased sales. A few of the chapters also have similar contests, with the same pitfalls.

To be honest, I'd far rather be up for a Hugo or Nebula, but you have to be nominated for that, so it's out of my control, and I don't think my books are widely enough read or known to even appear on the radar. And, again, it seems like the more literary books that deal with heavy social issues are more likely to end up on the ballot. I think what we need is an award strictly for funny books, somewhere or somehow.

Maybe I'm just not cut out to be considered an award-winning author. I'd settle for bestselling, but I haven't managed that, either. I suppose it's enough that the dozens of people who've managed to find my books in spite of the odd shelving seem to generally like them. And even though the publisher likes to act like sales have been disappointing (their excuse for no book 5), all the books have gone into multiple printings, which means they've all sold better than they originally anticipated, and even the first book remains in print, when a lot of books published at the same time have already been remaindered. (Which is both encouraging and frustrating.)

But that's all water under the bridge. All I can do now is write some more and get something else out there.


Carradee said...

*e-hug* Hey, I'm telling all my friends (and a lot of people I meet online) about your books. And pushing them (nicely). Also, since I'll FINALLY have a job come next week, I'll be able to buy your books soon!

Actually, I'm a bit tempted to just buy the last three and suggest the same tactic to others. If we can bump up those latter books' sales enough… *grin*

Does the publisher have rights to the series, or could you theoretically find another publisher or self-publish for others? (Just verbalizing a possibility I'd be interested in checking out, were I in your shoes.)

That said, I like your attitude; it's likely better than mine would be. at this time I'm just interested in getting my own work ready for an agent's interest so it can be sold to a publisher and be enjoyed by people, but considering my personality… Once that happened, I'd be hoping for more. Et cetera.

I like your examination of the awards, though. If it makes you feel any better, I've been suggesting your books—repeatedly—to almost all my friends. I can't do that with most books I like.

(I'm one of those weirdoes who, despite her very cheery demeanor, happens to orient towards "dark" stuff. You know, bands like Evanescence over… uh, what would be a popular cheery one?)

Eeek, I'm chatty, tonight. Sorry if it's irritating.

Shanna Swendson said...

Sadly, other publishers aren't interested in the last book of a series published by someone else (we tried).

And, uh, I own an Evanescence CD. :-)

Carradee said...

Ooo, something else we have in common!

If you ever want some band recommendations somewhat comparable Evanescence, I know several. (Within Temptation is probably my favorite.)


*grin fades* I am sorry to hear that about other publishers' lack of interest. *e-hug*