Tuesday, June 10, 2014

More Signs of the Impending Apocalypse

We really seem to be celebrating the great holiday of Send Money to Shanna Day (or week). Just yesterday, I got my royalties on my self-published books, which really went up after the price on the first book in the series was dropped, plus the second half of the advance on my steampunk book. The audiobook royalties will be coming later this week. And I got a check from the last Worldcon, reimbursing my membership fee since I was on programming. Plus, I got a Starbucks gift card in the mail as a thank-you for leading singing in the preschool Sunday school department. My bank balance makes me grin. But quarterly taxes are due next week, and I have a lot of business expenses over the summer, so I can't go totally nuts.

I'm still making progress on the book. I'd say I'm probably in the "the road back" phase of the hero's journey. I know what the next couple of scenes will be, but then I'll hit another big scene and I need to figure out what that will look like.

Tonight's the start of summer ballet and I'm a little nervous because I'll have a different teacher than I usually do (since the regular teacher should have had a baby this morning -- I haven't yet seen the announcement on Facebook). I'm not sure why I'm so nervous, since when I first started dancing my teacher went on maternity leave after just a few months, and the sub was the rather strict teacher who normally worked with the very advanced students (I called him the Ballet Nazi). He was very tough on me, but I mostly just laughed it off and we got along great. But that was when I was a beginner. Now I'm in the intermediate/advanced class, and I'm worried that the teacher will have real intermediate/advanced expectations. Most of the other students are of the sort that danced all their lives, maybe even did a little professionally, and are getting back into it after having kids. I'll likely be the oldest in the class, and I didn't start (other than the occasional class here and there) until I was older than most of these people are now. So I'm likely to both get hyper-competitive and push myself and have my self-esteem dealt a serious blow. Or it could be fun. Who knows. I don't think I've ever met the summer teacher.

But back to publishing … I think we've had a potential Sign of the Impending Apocalypse. Apparently, there's been yet another person getting a huge book (and movie) deal for a book that was originally written and posted as fan fiction. But in this case, it wasn't fan fiction of a book, movie or TV series that's having the serial numbers filed off and the names changed. It's a work of real-person fiction involving the members of a boy band, who, of course, are all kind of in love with an author stand-in. The story apparently isn't about them being a boy band, though. It has the same people doing something else, so I guess it becomes "original" just by changing the names. Though I wonder how that fits into the "this is a work of fiction, it's purely an accident if any of these people resemble any real person" disclaimer, since the whole point of the book is that the characters are based on real people, and that's going to be a huge part of the marketing hook -- maybe not overtly, done by the publisher, but the author achieved this success by pandering to fans of the band. If it had just been a story about characters, with no relationship whatsoever to the band, it probably wouldn't have gone anywhere.

But, yeah, this is the kind of thing publishers are currently throwing millions of dollars at. It's kind of depressing. Or it would be if it hadn't been Send Money to Shanna Day. It's not millions, but I can live on it.

To cheer myself up, here's a look at what conversations might sound like if people talked to everybody like they talk to writers. I think I've had just about every one of these conversations, but they forgot a few common lines. There's "I've thought about writing a book. Maybe you can introduce me to your editor or agent." There's "Oh, you write fantasy novels. I wrote a how-to book about a technical topic. Maybe you can give me some pointers about getting it published." (Sometimes it's "I've written and illustrated a children's book.") And the ever popular "You should give me a copy and I can tell you if it's any good." But those are mostly from strangers. For people I know, my favorite is "I've been wanting to read your books, but I can't seem to find any copies in the used bookstore."

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