gillpolack (gillpolack) wrote,
gillpolack
gillpolack

Updatery (finally) - the pattern of the everyday

I'm popping in for a quick update, because I made a list of tasks I have to do before Monday week. Just the big tasks add up to a month's worth, and they include 2 interstate trips (not popping over the border ones - overnight and over-weekend ones) so I thought I should at least catch everyone up before I immerse myself in my little ocean.

What my little ocean means is that I'm talking a lot about some things in public and am silent on others, simply because my mind is focused on some things and the others will have to wait. It's not that I don't care!

There's a lot of work in picking up my books and moving on, I find, for instance. When I innocently posted that the remainder of my Satalyte books arrived, a lot of people got into touch with me privately, wanting copies. ('A lot' in this case is about 2 dozen, but they mostly want the same book, of which I have 4 copies.) As each conversation happens, I work out what can be done and what can't. It's complicated. My best bet is still to get my Satalyte novels back in print.

I've worked out why so many people ask. People put off buying my novels because other novels were on lists, in reviews and etc. My fiction was in the back of their mind, but not a priority. We all have books like this. Novels we must have but which have to wait til after we've caught up with the notables everyone else is talking about. But because Satalyte had a big hiccup last year and wasn't at some critical events, and because I had a ginormous hiccup and couldn't act as a liaison with my publisher (though some people asked me to, even in hospital), and because the distributor mucked up and books were not in bookshops (easily bought online, but not in most brick and mortar bookshops) my readers obviously thought "Time later. Gillian's stuff doesn't go out of print." Which it doesn't normally, for normally it has higher sales than most small press work. Cellophane's print run was used up without it reaching bookshops, after all.

But life is not normal for books at this time. We're in one of those periods when many publishers have to make tough decisions. At times like this the book-buying pattern for my novels works against most of my readers.

What is this pattern? A relatively large number at release (less for Satalyte books because Satalyte didn't understand this about my novels, because, to be honest, it's an unusual pattern for small press, and their PR was set for other purchasing patterns) then steady but slow for a bit, then faster for a couple of years, then steady but slow. Then very, very slow (trickledom) unless something comes up to bring the volume into the public eye. I keep expecting something to do that for the US edition of Baggage, because it explains a lot of stuff that's happening now (background reading for times of shock!), but writers and editors don't really control these things.

My selling path is not the first 6 weeks, but the first three years. Bad for prizes and grants and income of all sorts, but it's what readers do. I grumble from time to time, but I deal. Except this time it's readers who grumble, for their path is unattainable and they really want those books. Which is a wonderful thing... and also quite difficult and time consuming for me.

This is how I'm working at the moment. I think of something and get stuck on it or into it.

It's not a bad approach. My list of tasks (mostly 3 hours work each, but a couple are ten minutes and one is 4 days) must be completed within 8 days and is fifty items long.

I plan to stay sane by hanging around on the net while I do the non-brain tasks that require my computer, or when I need a 5 minute break. It does mean, however, that my mind will be focussed and I'll miss entire subjects and I'll be living in a strange place. This is good news, to be honest. It's the old Gillian. The Gillian who accomplished miracles. I look at my list and say "Welcome back." I'm going to do such very good work over the next few days. Unless my life radically changes, I'll have time for LJ and catching up with friends again after that. I miss you all. I read your posts when I can (which is not often enough) and then don't have time to comment.

I made the list when I was planning Women's History Month this year. I took an honest look at the list and realised that I needed to mostly skip WHM year, too. If anyone who has been a part of it in previous years would like to send me something (or had an article caught up in the dangerous mess that was March last year) let me know. I'm very happy to host reflections (not PR for books - actual essays, and by people from a range of backgrounds - that was my plan this year - to take things wide) but I can't chase them or edit them. I admit I am not the old Gillian. I can't pull 24 hour days every second day for a week to get everything done.

I suspect I should've done admin instead of writing a novel over the summer. I know I was writing a novel because I thought I had a contract for it, but I still wouldn't have regretted writing that novel. Nor the other one that forced itself out of me when I was convalescing. For one thing, those novels aren't nagging at me now, when my focus must be on other things. Everything is easier without the particular haunting a novel brings.

On another note, people keep trying to teach me my own subjects. This year I'm getting more non-Jews wanting to tell me what being Jewish is, for instance, and fewer men wanting to tell me how to be a woman. This is relative. It doesn't mean a diminution in the latter. I'm also finding more people from the Left are happier with general statements of "We are all individual" than with me asserting what my particular background and experience is.

Because I stop and explain whenever I can, there are some interesting outcomes. The biggest in terms of time (which is, after all the core subject of this post) is that I'm there for an awful lot of people behind the scenes. Especially writers. I'm one of the people they can ask questions of if they realise they have blind spots, or on whose shoulder they can cry on if other people are doing to them what similar people are doing to me. This is not one of my fifty tasks for the next ten days: this is my everyday.

I keep missing things I shouldn't miss, but this is why. If there's something I need to know about you and your life (or something I'd like to know and have missed) I'd be extremely grateful if you could tell me. I'm a bad friend right now, but I do miss you all.
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