Sunday, 8 November 2009

Reasons I might, or might not, get published one day

Okay, I like lists, and I like writing bad things first so you end on the good things. Let's begin!

- I do not give a capital shit about what's trendy, or what's in, or how to style myself in the "current market". I don't give a damn about schoolboy wizards or teen vampire dramas* or whatever new fad the creative world wants to market. If I wanted a job where I had to act like someone else and produce work I didn't like, I'd work in advertising. Pursuing a career is about compromise, but there's a difference between being practical and selling your soul. Which is all very principled ... but it's hardly going to help in the world of The Publishing Industry.

- I don't go in for "conventions of the industry" as one agent said in an interview, listing things she liked in new authors. I am committed and dedicated and professional, and none of these things require the arcane traditions of any industry's conventions such as schmoozing with the right people or restricting who, how, where and what you talk about. Which is again great ... but not helpful.

- I'm outspoken and stubborn. I reserve the right to speak my mind, especially if I'm being bullshitted or taken for a ride. This doesn't engender me to anyone in a professional industry who's looking for a safe working relationship. I'm unashamed about this, and stand by outspoken comments I've made - whether slating a truly awful nu-metal band in a 2002 music review, or describing how a music promoter took our money and did something completely unacceptable to our original agreement - but it's not going to help me.

- I'm outspoken and political. Professional agents and publishers who want to maintain a sleek public relations strategy probably don't want a client bleating on about Palestine and Westminster and the UN.

- My writing is unconventional. Even my newest books, which are my best and most engaging work so far, are set in a bizarre fictional world I conjured out of my head/arse. The Publishing Industry will tell you they want originality, but what they really want is saleable, conventional orignality that strays from the norm just enough to give it a catchy soundbite.

- I live in Wellington, New Zealand. While I love it here, I can hardly have coffee with darlings in London or New York.

- I write science fiction and fantasy (often shortened to SF), which is by no means a busy market, and establishing a name for yourself as a credible SF author is hard.

Okay, so that's quite a negative outlook, and it's not even an exhaustive list. It also looks quite angry, which I'm not, just passionate. Okay maybe just a little angry :)

Anyway, here's the positive stuff. I'm looking forward to this!

- I'm YOUNG. There's no shelf-life like there is in rock music - I have a long, long time to become an author.

- I'm a musician as well as writer. I can, and will, and do cross-promote myself in both fields - and the more I produce in each field, the better the promotion.

- I am tech-savvy and internet-friendly and I love engaging with people online and offline. I combine the patheticness of an internet geek and the glitter of a real-world socialite in one buzzing ball of self-promotion, both online and offline.

- My stuff's good! Okay blow-your-own-trombone time, but I've had an energetic buzz from seeing people reading this trilogy and enjoying it. I think it's largely down to adding surreal-yet-casual comedy in the vein of Hitchhiker's Guide or Terry Pratchett, and I shall be working more on the humour in future works.

- I'm original. Noel Gallagher was asked once about pop music, and his reply was something like, "well I'm laughing, cos I write all my songs, so in 15 years I'll still be getting paid". In the long run, it's original people with new ideas that make progress and see the rewards.

- I don't necessarily need to beg and plead for a leg-up from The Publishing Industry . In the 21st century world of internet ideas and personalities, I may easily be able to gather enough intial success and momentum - enough to get noticed - all by myself.

- As much as it looks like I dislike anyone or anything associated with "the industry", if anyone actually came to me and convinced me they a) liked my stuff and b) understood it, I'd be over the moon and a keen, engaged, co-operative partner. These people are out there. I just have to find them.

So, a whistlestop tour round the feelings, worries and hopes in my mind of attaining a professional, realiable writing career in the future. Personally, while I realise being a stubborn little gobshite puts me at a distinct disadvantage, I'm hopeful that my dedication and self-belief will get me somewhere. It's the only thing that's got me here so far.

Oh, and the quality of my work. But that was never in question, right?

*I am a fan of good, original vampires though, such as Brian Lumley's Necroscope series.

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