September 11th, 2008

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[links] Link salad for a San Francisco Thursday

shadowhelm with her 15 Step Program for Good Writing Habits — Some good, clear advice here. (Thanks to lt260.)

rosefox at PW interviews Irene Gallo about my book covers

Credit crisis blamed for rising number of adulterous wives — Weird stuff. (Thanks to danjite.)

Giant penis man needs ‘re-chalkers’ — I hate it when that happens to me. (Thanks to danjite.)

Flash toy — A really cool animated spider. Well, cool if you’re not arachnaphobic… (Thanks to yourbob.)

Essential stemness — More thinking about the biological mechanisms of ageing. (Thanks to lt260.)

A Strategy for Coping with Climate Change — “Amid rising seas, a California modeling effort recommends abandoning land tracts in the Sacramento Delta.” Wow, I can pretty much figure the property rights conservatives going apeshit over this. I guess it’s not welfare if the government is spending taxpayer’s money help you keep your land, instead of, say, feeding your kids.

WaPo calls bullshit on McCain’s campaign ads — When even the Washington Post tells a Karl Rove Republican they’re full of shit, they are really full of shit. Talk about McCain losing his base.


9/11/08
Time in saddle: n/a (45 minute urban walk this morning)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a
Currently reading: Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

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[process] The dangers of marketing metrics

I was reflecting this morning in chat with karindira that my active inventory of short stories has dropped as low as it’s been since I began my current tracking system in 2001. So has my count of active submittals.

Ordinarily, this would be a bad thing.

However, over the past year or so, the sell-through rate on commissioned or requested short fiction has approached 100%. And the amount of spec short fiction I’ve written is, so far, 1 story in 2007 and 1 story in 2008. (I might have missed one or two.) Which basically means I’m not putting new fiction into inventory in any appreciable manner.

What I am doing periodically is taking older work which I still like, revising to my current level of craft and sense of style, and sending it out. In a few cases, I’m also ‘turning’ work which has been out to market all along and resending it. But I don’t do much of these.

My success criteria for myself used to be “have X stories in the mail at one time”. (Simplifying slightly, I also cared about targeting certain markets and some other nuances.) This year I’ve sold or placed 17 short stories, and reasonably expect that number to top 20. The best part is, I don’t really care about this anymore. I write what I want to write, sell it to whoever wants to buy it, and get on with my life.

If I were still working with my old marketing metrics, I’d be a failure right now in my own eyes. I’ve grown as a writer, and I’ve grown as a business person. All my goalposts have moved with me. Moral of the story? Don’t get so hung up on process (or metrics or what have you) that they interfere with the reality of your career progress.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.