Saturday, April 20, 2013

Going a bit mad here

So no news on publishing front. It seems that my work is defo 'under consideration' but there are unforseen delays. My agent can't tell me more, and I can't tell you more either.

People, it's been 11 weeks since my thing was first sent out and while people are saying I have a bright future ahead of me and that I have an amazingly strong voice, fluid writing style, am a 'great writer' that I'm a real find etc - there are elements in play, obviously that I don't know about. Probably stuff like: yeah, but we can't sell a book like that OR oh another family saga? yawn OR Hmmm. This doesn't work so I can't sell it. Oh well.)

I am being calm and still and centred, as much as I can. But I've had a few dreams. In one, there was an email from my agent telling me this particular publisher who loves it had passed on it with regret. Another one where they made an offer and I couldn't get to a computer to read the email. Then other types of dreams, non booky ones but clearly anxiety dreams. In one, someone was wearing the exact same jacket I got in LA - a Calvin Klein orange puffy jacket, but so light, as light as air. I couldn't believe this person had my jacket. Otherwise I'm sleeping so well.

I'm also going a bit mad in other ways too. These flight benefits I've got at the moment are temporary and so 'to feel like I'm making the most of it' I've booked a trip to Hong Kong for me and Clokes next month for our anniversary and also a day trip for me to Brisbane to attend a writing workshop at the end of this month.

I'm walking every day and we have a new lead for the Gigi. I swear, she's 8 years old and has never walked well on a lead. I know now, because we got last pick of the litter, that she is the bad egg. She's a beautiful girl and lovely-natured and sociable; never shown any aggression BUT she is pig-headed and dominant and wants to walk out in front, thinking she is in charge. So I have one of those extendable/rectractable jobs which makes me feel like she's a fish on the end of my line and sometimes I have to reel her in, and sometimes I give her her head. It's working well. So P and me are walking every day and it's making me fitter and this, along with my stopping milk in coffee and 'avoiding wheat especially pasta' I am feeling really good and energetic.

Shit is happening overseas and at the moment, it's hard to filter it out, or filter it at all. Shit is happening here too. Tony Abbott is getting positive headlines to do with same-sex marriage? WTF is Gillard doing? Why oh why won't she go there? I don't get it. I bet personally she's okay with it. Good on NZ for doing it. I've said it before but really: NZ is the place to move to if things get too bad here.

And then the ANZAC thing is coming up again as it always does every year but this year it's making me sweaty in the armpits because I have a work in progress (my Turkish novel) that is concerned with Gallipoli and I'm thinking there'll be so many people trying to capitalise on next year being the 100 anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign. I was there at ANZAC Cove for the 75th anniversary. I shook Bob and Hazel's hands (his: limp; hers: firm and friendly.) I feel I have so much material in my head, so many things I could write/can write but MAN it's hard to settle.

I need a list, and a plan. I have a new fascination with all things airline too. Did you know that on some of the Gulf State airlines you can take a falcon on board with you? As long as it's hooded, and tethered and only in Economy, you can travel with it on your arm. Limit of 6 per cabin though, on Qatar. This stuff is real in the world and it blows my mind.


Anonymous said...

I don't have any experience with book publishing, but I'm going to take some experience I've had in other fields and things I've heard and that people have told me and make a bunch of semi-educated guesses here:

Publishers don't stay in business by publishing the best books they find. They stay in business by publishing the books they think will sell the most. I think the biggest obstacle for any unpublished author is going to be that the most saleable aspect of anything is the name(s) attached to it. A recognisable name comes with its own audience. Look at the amount of shitty movies that are around now that are remakes or sequels or in some other way leverage some older recognisable bit of culture or, um, thing. And a lot of the actors who star in these movies do not put in performances that warrant the huge payments they receive. Those payments reflect the audience that said actor's name will likely attract. We talked about this too on TSFKA with Jackson Pollock. Blue Poles is not a multi-million dollar example of artistic ability; it's worth money because it was painted by Jackson Pollock. If you or I painted it, most art critics wouldn't wipe their arses with it. I've heard tech journalists talking about getting jobs -- not because of their abilities -- but because of the size of their Twitter followings. I even heard one say that she was turned down for a book deal until she mentioned she had so many hundred thousand followers. There's a social network called Klout (I think that's how it's spelled) that scores people's "social network influence" so that businesses can decide if it's worth putting in the effort of treating them decently or not.

And of course, the other highly saleable commodity is copy-cats and stuff that falls into the "hot right now" category. It's a shitty system that heavily favours incumbency and lack-of-originality over ability, but that's how it is, as far as I can see.

Look, I'm not saying I think your book was such a masterpiece that a hundred years hence, literary scholars are going to be exalting it as one of the great works of the twenty-first century; but I did think it was good, and I know it was better than a lot of shit that does get published. I know that getting published through traditional means is a big deal for you, but I guess the 'round-about point I'm making here is that I wouldn't get too worked up over all this and I absolutely wouldn't see it as a clear-cut testament to your ability (or potential) and get discouraged.


Well done on the walking thing. People so often want to make fitness about vanity, but it really is that good energetic feeling that's the main pay-off.

The gay marriage thing is fucking ridiculous. Abbott makes a statement that maybe perhaps he might consider letting his party be a little less homophobic if he gets elected and all of a sudden he's the best bloke in the world. And I would like to point out that the gutless turd is still dodging interviews with anyone he thinks might lob an actual question at him. I can only guess Gillard's position is an attempt to throw a bone to bible-thumpers (and maybe poofter-thumpers) who aren't also rusted-on Liberal voters. So long as the Greens refuse to support a Liberal government, I suppose Labor's best strategy is to take the left for granted and try to claw away the Lib's base by gradually shuffling to the right.

What part of "The ANZAC thing" is so problematic? Do you mean how it's become a weird jingoistic celebration of warrior culture, as opposed to a sombre reflection on the price of conflict and why it should be avoided? Or do you mean it's personally difficult being in a mixed Australian-Turkish family?

Melba said...

Thanks Alex, just blowing off a little steam re the publishing thing. It is what it is.

And I think you're right about the perceptions about Fraser now compared to then, however I don't think Howard will enjoy the same sort of rehabilitation. I think Fraser really has become more about social justice, or maybe before he had to suppress it.

The ANZAC 'thing' is about the pressure of trying to get my thing finished to maybe try and get it out there for next year. Because you know it's all about me.

squib said...

11 weeks is nothing. It will be fine. It will be more than fine. And no one but no one has a puffa jacket like you

Our dog was the runt, also and now he's 11 he's really playing the old card like he knows we won't tell him off. He completely ignores me on our walks. I took up running end of last year (not far)and so we go along this great path near our house. The other day, he fell so far behind, some busy body was looking for his tag because she thought he was lost. He made me look really bad. I fell like he needs a sign 'I AM NOT LOST. PLEASE DON'T RESCUE ME'

squib said...

that should be feel not fell obviously

Another Outspoken Female said...

Thanks for the update have been resisting asking if there's been any news.

I've known publishers to fall over a writer's first novel, fast track it, sponsor them to go on a writing retreat in return to having first dibs on it - then once submitted, sit on the manuscript for a year.

In the meantime I agree with Alex - tweet blog and raise your social media profile. They want authors to be able to sell themselves these days.

Anonymous said...

The danger is Melbs, that if both major parties drift slowly to the right over a long period of time, in twenty years, we'll look back on Howard and he'll seem like a moderate.

Squib, maybe you could embroider it in a coat or something. I'm sure yer puer wee dug must be feeling the chill after eleven years in Freo. No wonder he's getting about like a creaky old man.

Also, I'm guessing you probably know this, but seeing as how you've only taken up running recently, I'll give you the same advice I just gave Nomes -- make sure you have a good sports bra. The aches and pains and general shitty feeling that can develop over time if you don't can really ruin the benefits of exercise.

Melba said...

I know Alex. See new post - I need to get a new idea out of my head. Saw in the paper today that Abbott wants Howard as GG?

AOF - I do what I can re the platform but I get cranky when I just want to write. I also heard a story about an established writer, like 4 or 5 books in, who - after proofs were delivered, so this is like just before the print run - the project was pulled. In Australia, not so long ago. I think it's always been hard to get published but it's even harder now.

Thanks for your faith, squib. And for your dog tale, maybe he is cold? But also maybe he's trying it on. Gigi has a little look - a sideways flick of the eyes; like a child gives when they think you might be watching them do/about to do something naughty. And go you with the running! Wow, I'm just walking cause I do not want to push my luck but if I can still be in my 60s, 70s and beyond (I'm assuming the 50s will be ok) with my legs still working and able to go for a walk, I'll be really happy. It just keeps everything moving along and helps with energy.

squib said...

I am not a running sort of person so yes, go, me! Had a stroke of genius today - ran with a doggy biscuit in my pocket. Behold, Squiblo kept up and was all ears