Sunday, May 26, 2013

Extremes in the Writing Business

It’s a bit like a fairground. The writing business. So much is beyond your control.  At times, publishers could be akin to fairground ride operators. You know, the guys with the beer guts, sweaty arm pits and cigarettes clinging to papery lips. Taking your dollar bills while you climb aboard the dodgems or the helterskelter. Taking your chances. Putting your faith in their expertise, their wisdom. Hoping they’ll give you a safe ride.

I’ve climbed aboard a fair few writerly ‘rides’ recently. And yes, I handed over a few dollars in entry fees - not my normal modus operandi.  But it was time to send out some of my precious words to share with the bigger wide world. It has been a switchback of a month: two rejections and an acceptance. Is that like two strides backwards and a skip forwards?  It doesn’t feel like it. It feels like flying. Soaring to the heights. One acceptance.  An acceptance - oh yes sirree, someone somewhere liked my stuff enough to pay me fifty bucks for 400 odd words. The rejections are good for somewhere else, the potato story and the anthem to the 17 year old girl will find a place. Of that I am sure.

$50 plus a huge uplift (worth its weight in gold).

You can see it’s been a while since I was paid for my writing. Clocking up 1000 words a day means I’m working for far less than a far off knicker maker in the rag trade. But I’m grateful that I’m able to beaver away in a safe building. Very very grateful indeed. I’ve just whacked off an essay about my own knickers, the ones made in the factory that collapsed. The one where over a thousand workers died. I cry when I put them (my knickers) on. Not that that helps anyone, but I’m a sensitive emotional sort of writer, and I can’t help myself. I’ve just sent that (the essay, not my underwear) off to a lit mag too. As I said (or maybe I didn’t), it’s all about sharing.

Back to the acceptance piece. It emerged as a result of a challenge set by a member of my lovely online writing group. Interpretation of the challenge was wide open. So I popped the kettle on (it being my muse,) and the scribbling began. As so very often happens with my work, the ideas creep out of a song.  Emergence was written in the time it took to make and drink one cup of tea. An hour later a call for submissions on the theme of Emergence landed in my inbox. Serendipity? Of course I had to send it. How could I not?

And what d’ya know? It made the cut. Can’t wait to see the premier edition of the magazine itself.  Puffed up with pride, I am.

cover art by Anita Wexler

If you know your proverbs you’ll know what comes after pride. Yup, a fall. And yet again, something outside of a writer's control. Lulu made a blunder with the coffee table edition (the expensive one) of Distant Voices Talking Drums. Bound someone else’s morbid work in our cover.  They’ve apologised. Really. Apologised. Replaced the misbound copy. That’s it. So right now I‘m pushing the Amazon edition for Kindle.

I’ll not dwell on the falling stuff. I’ll keep the wings flapping. Keep on dodging the other dodgem cars, weeding out the publishers who don’t drink beer, sweat or smoke from papery lips and maybe one of these days I’ll get the call offering me an advance on my six draft novels. 

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