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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-05-04 17:43
Subject: [writing] Miscellanea and a sale
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, health, personal, process, sale, stories, writing
Yesterday I emailed casacorona and arcaedia to tell them that I had not completed revisions to Endurance as planned, and enquire as to what we should do next. The book is complete, the plot is basically where I want it pending editorial guidance from them, but I have some minor continuity and characterization holes to fill, plus [street name here] geography to fix. After brief discussion, we determined that the needed changes were lateral to what they would be reading for, so I sent the manuscript along with some holes in it.

In short, not my best work. A concession to chemo. I am very frustrated and unhappy, but I recognize this is a cooperative effort, and neither of them would allow me to be truly unprofessional. So my feelings of unprofessionalism are essentially a coping issue.

But man...

Today at Fireside I have been trolling through my spreadsheet, finding balls chemobrain hasn't dropped. That would include (ahem) two unrecorded sales and several more unrecorded/misrecorded rejections. Various queries were sent, some submissions made, and spreadsheet updated. All ship shape and Bristol fashion now, at least until the next round of silliness on my part. At this point, I have five stories out to market and none in idle inventory, which would be my lowest level of short fiction submission activity since the year 2000. Oi.

There are several reasons for it. A busy novel career and chemotherapy are two obvious ones, but there's more going on here. I used to write virtually all my short fiction inventory on spec. My submission-to-sale ratio used to be above 5:1. These days the majority of short fiction inventory is written to invitation, and I hit those markets perhaps 80% of the time. So much less of what production I do have goes into spec inventory. Then my submission-to-sale ratio is down to about 3:1 now. So short fiction doesn't remain in spec inventory so long, either.

Mind you, these are good problems to have. Very good ones. But when I come out of the cancer thicket, I think I'm going to lay down some short fiction smack for a while, to build inventory (or sales, really) back up. And yes, I've sold thirteen pieces (in nine acceptances, one sale was a quintet of linked stories) this year either solo or collaboratively with calendula_witch. So no, I'm not complaining. But if I don't write more stories this summer, the well will go dry.

Speaking of sales, in my frenzy of querying, a query and an acceptance crossed in the email, thanks to the good offices of my spam filter. Which resulted in some very amusing correspondence. However, I'm quite pleased to announce short story "The Speed of Time" has been accepted by tor.com.

It really has been a good day.

Post A Comment | 5 Comments | | Flag | Link

User: dsgood
Date: 2010-05-05 00:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Congratulations on the sale. Commiserations on the problems.
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Christopher Kastensmidt
User: ckastens
Date: 2010-05-05 01:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Huge congrats on the sale!
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User: ex_camillea
Date: 2010-05-05 01:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Awesome to see you here.

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Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2010-05-05 05:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Excellent work, sir, especially on the Tor.com sale.

I really think you'll look back on the chemo-brain time and think "My god, how did I achieve so fucking much under those circumstances?"
It is because you are a ridiculously high achiever of course :)
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-05-05 09:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If it's any comfort at all, your chemo brain is way more organised than mine even on the latter's best day. I lose things. I forget things. My spreadsheet is a pile on my desk. Somewhere.
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