If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In a Funk

Many are the stories of talented artists, including writers, who produce wonderful work but are not discovered until after their (often premature) death. Van Gough is a classic example. Now revered, during Van Gough’s lifetime he sold only one painting before he shot himself. John Kennedy Toole, whose Confederacy of Dunces won the 1981Pulitzer Prize 11 years after his suicide, is a 20th century example. With so many called to try to provide the world with their artistic works and so few chosen, it’s not surprising artists are often in a funk, although few are driven to commit suicide.

While artist communities provide peer-to-peer support, regardless of what they say, deep down most artists want public recognition (with the possible exception of academics for whom peer acknowledgement may be sufficient). Recognition comes only after the artist has sold his work.

Now, lest you try to read between the lines that this blog post is a silent cry for help before I do myself in, let me assure you it’s not. I am in a funk, but I’m not even close to slitting my wrists. I sent out my first fifteen queries for Bad Policy and received six “no thanks” and nine silence-is-not-golden responses.

I know preservation is the key, so I’m rewriting the query and will send out the next batch soon. In the meantime, I’m editing Cabin Fever—the next in the series—and working on my next non-fiction project and also the first draft of a novel in a new series. I have plenty on my plate, but my enthusiasm for any of these projects is currently a bit low.

As I reflect on this writing business forty plus years after torturing my lab rat in Psychology 101, I do recognize the power of intermittent random reinforcement. I trained my rat to pound away on his little lever to “earn” a few drops of water. At first he got regular positive feedback. Five lever hits and a drop of water would appear. Then I trained him to do more and more work before he got his positive reinforcement. Finally, I hooked him with the all powerful random intermittent reinforcement. The poor rat became a nervous wreck; his fur became patchy and he tried all sorts of aberrant behaviors because he thought perhaps it was them that triggered his water reward. But through it all he pounded on his lever.

I think I generated some bad karma getting my A in Psych 101 through rat torture, and this query business is payback time. Really, when you think of it, aren’t writers going through the query process pretty similar to that rat of mine? Every once in a while an agent asks for a partial or says something nice (or has a new twist on the query rejection that you interpret as a bit of a pat on the back). In the meantime you work away, hoping for a miracle.

Well, on that positive note, I have some more keys on my keyboard to pound. Never know when someone might send me an encouraging note.

~ Jim


E. B. Davis said...

Yes, I remember marketing A TRAVEL GUIDE TO MURDER two years ago--rejection is hard to accept--but only if you accept it as rejection. I look at it as creating my backlist and having manuscripts on hand for the time when marketing that high concept break-through book will be so all consuming that I'll have little time to write.

Janet Evanovich is the perfect example. She's dusted off every manuscript she's ever written and now they're all best sellers. She finally created her brand. Those who scoff are jealous.

If this one doesn't sell, the next one will. And then, by having this book to pop out, you'll have time to market and taste success without scrambling.

Keep querying and tweaking your letter, it only takes one acceptance, and only succumb to meloncholy if you can use the mood in your writing. Otherwise, it's a waste.

I know, consoling words are easy, but that doesn't mean they are any less true.

Warren Bull said...

When I met with a fourth grade class and told them it took seven years to go from idea to published novel, Abraham Lincoln for the Defense, one student asked, "Why didn't you quit?" I answered, "I did quit. Several times. I just started back every time after I quit.

Pauline Alldred said...

I hate that low enthusiasm time when I wonder whether I should spend my time more profitably. I hate the days when I decide anything I had published was a fluke,proof that even editors and publishers make mistakes, and that my present writing is trite and boring.

But then I force myself to open my WIP and before I know it, I'm immersed in an imaginary world. Besides, if I wasn't writing, I could be doing something harmful, criminal, or fattening.