Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bottling Bitter IV

I should note that neither of the two checks that rescued me from financial despondency (note the usage) had anything to do with the Kornbluth biography. McFarland, being an academic press, is not the normal home for the freelance writer -- for it pays on the basis of sales, only. It pays royalties, without offering an advance on those royalties. I knew this when I put myself into the situation -- and a bit crazily I still relish having done something that is extraordinarily foolish to do as a freelance. From the time I started matters rolling with McFarland, in 2008 at Denvention, to the time when the first few pennies of royalties start rolling, will be a period of two years, or perhaps slightly more.

Had I an income of any sort, this would not seem so long a time -- which is why mostly academics write for McFarland. They can afford to do so.

Much of my life as a writer I have pursued by going down the probably-wrong path -- sometimes because that probably-wrong path has been the one that has looked most open to progress.

Let others take the obvious road, say I.

(In a similar way to the situation noted above, many academics are successful writers -- because they can afford to write.)

In any case, now that some ink drawings and a toy-collecting-research job have helped reopen the financial bottle, I seem finally to have enough mental wherewithal to contemplate realistically the promotion of this unprofitable book. Jacob Weisman at Tachyon Publications told me it was almost essential that I attend the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, in March -- for it has exactly the right academically-oriented attending membership ... and of course ICFA came and went, a few weeks ago: the opportunity fell victim to the financial Charybdis even if I did not. Similarly it seems to be the authorially responsible thing to do, to make the Madison convention, Odysseycon, this upcoming weekend, my first foray into book-pushing authorial appearances: it is local; it is relative inexpensive ... but when membership rates were cheaper, I was unable to make the commitment; and now a family visit is impending -- which means I cannot spend two or three solid days away from home (and from the massive home-reorganizing involved in preparation).

The positive aspect of this is that any such promotional activity gradually gets pushed later in the year ... when perhaps a few more people will know ahead-of-time that the book exists.

I have had several dreams in recent weeks, by the way, in which I was explaining to others why I had made no promotional appearances for C.M. Kornbluth. (See the exciting dreams had by authors?)

On the other hand, this morning I had a detailed dream about being employed by the local vineyard. As detailed as it was, though, I cannot remember if I fretted about how I was ever going to finish my next, unfinished, well-overdue book for McFarland ...

Cheers ...

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