Thursday, June 11, 2009

Not as pessimistic as it sounds

This has been a tough couple of days. While the editing for Skinners 3 isn’t quite as far along as I would like, the extra effort is making it better. Still a lot to do, but it’s coming along.

The rough part has to do with the business in general. There’s a reason most professional writers have day jobs. Unless you’re one of the very few who struck it rich, you need to hustle to keep getting that next deal and hope it will be better than the one before. Sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes, you just need to take whatever work comes along whether you truly want to do it or not. My philosophy isn’t a new one. It’s been to get as many proposals out there as possible so there are better odds that something will stick. Irons in the fire. Lines in the water. Pick your cliche. Then again, that also leads to times when you get shot down by several different people within the span of about 12-24 hours. Now that’s what I call timing!

I’ve been in this business for long enough to know it’s rough. I’ve been rejected more times than I can count and I’m sure plenty more of my ideas will get shot down in the years to come. All of my ideas are written down and I keep coming up with new stuff for that glorious day when editors might someday come to me and ask, “We’re looking for _______. What have you got?” If I didn’t already have a proposal ready to go, I could surely come up with something that would fit the bill. Well, this happened recently from a couple of different editors. I was happy to finally see that I’ve built up a little bit of credibility with these people after working for well over ten years to earn it. I know I’m not high enough on the totem pole to get the seven figure contract for turning in that magical 1 paragraph proposal, but I thought I’d at least get another much-needed bit of income and the chance to write some more cool series.

One of those editors tossed my idea back because they’d changed their mind and didn’t want what they’d originally asked me for. End of line. Not long after that, another proposal gets nixed for no reason. I’m sure there was a reason, but nobody tells me these sorts of things. All I heard was, “We’d like a series of __________ books.” Followed by, “Wow, this proposal is great!” And then, “Still love it, we’ll be right back to you.” Then, several weeks later, a generic no.

This is the business. This is common practice. From my end (or any writer’s perspective who doesn’t fall into the “superstar” category) this part also sucks. Sure, the recession may explain why publishers aren’t buying as much as usual, but this sort of thing happens all the time, good economic climate or not. I know, because it’s been happening to me. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes being a writer is great. Sometimes it sucks. Hard.

My point is this. When people come up to me and say they want to write for a living, this is the sort of thing they DON’T want to hear. Then again, this is the sort of thing that forges someone into what it takes to be successful. Maybe one of those newbies will get lucky and score a 6 or 7 figure deal with an idea that struck them in a dream and they wrote down on a napkin. Good for them, but you can’t exactly aspire to hit the lottery. You need to be ready to buckle down and work. This is the stuff I tell myself to get through the tough times. I’ve spent the last few days moping and griping, but kept working and editing. Skinners is still out there and I won’t let Book 3 suffer because I had a bad day. I’ve been rejected before and I’ll be rejected again.

Anyone who wants to do what they love has to be ready to fight for it. And fighting doesn’t just mean swinging your hardest and never stopping. It also means taking hits that would put most other people flat on their ass.

This is what happens without editors

I'm Marcus Pelegrimas, author of the SKINNERS series. Here you'll find various ramblings about movies, video games, TV, and...oh yeah...those books I write. If there's anything you'd like to discuss, just let me know. I try to update whenever the mood strikes me, so feel free to leave comments. There may be some occasional foul language, but anyone who's too easily offended probably doesn't read my stuff anyway.

Free Stuff

Here's how it goes. As usual, I've got my truckload of promo covers from EOS Books. I'll be going to some conventions, so I hope to see you there and I'll gladly sign your books. If you can't make it to a con, just email me your name, address and any inscription so I can send you a signed cover.

BONUS ---> If you would be so kind as to write up a review for any or all Skinners books and publish it on a site like, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or any other major review site, I can send you something extra. I made up some bookmarks (which I'll sign) and I've even put together some Shimmy's VIP passes (which I'll also sign). Can't guarantee the passes will get you into a real strip club, but I think they look pretty cool. Send me a link to your review along with your name, address and inscription, and I'll get these out to you as well.