Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Slump

It's that draggy, cement-laden phase following a short burst of inspiration and hope.

Slumps are more like reverse humps.

Crawling out of one is like trying to climb a glass-smooth wall coated in olive oil.

Like sinkholes, slumps can expand.

Scientists have yet to discover a vaccine.

Drat.

For a few weeks I flew through my days on a high from the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference. My shoulders ached from hours slouched over my laptop. Questions about fiction proposals bubbled out of me like shaken soda on a hot day in high altitude. And I actually thought my story was good.

Now, the doubts creep in. I'm paralyzed by the proposal. My brain hurts as I read through my ms again, doing more edits and applying some Donald Maas theory (Breakout Novel dude). Will I ever capture the imagination of an agent or acquisition editor? Is my voice "fresh"?

Then there's the whole platform/marketing thing - the source of my slump.

Our economy sucks. Disposable incomes are in the negative for most normal people who buy books. Publishers are cutting titles and print schedules. "Tried and true" is the anthem sung by agents/editors seeking new material.

Am I famous? Do I have a following? Can I convince 15K plus people to buy my book in less than six weeks? Is my marketing plan ultra-slick and compelling? Oh, and that image . . . growing emphasis is placed on The Author Headshot. Am I attractive enough to sell books? Will Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear give a "Shut up!" approval to my wardrobe?
Have I had my manuscript edited and polished by freelance editors prior to submittal?

Uhhhhh . . .

So. I want to write because?

I think I have a better chance of being accepted by NASA's astronaut training program than catching the eye of Book Contract.

Great stories and great writing appear to be sliding down the scale of selling points. I've recently read a NYT best-selling novel. Friends and family raved about this book.

I'm glad I borrowed it instead of buying it.

Turning the pages was laborious. I couldn't keep characters straight - there were so many. I had to back track to figure out whose head I was in. Head hopping galore!

I so did not care about any of the characters.

Off to another acclaimed writer who hit the big time. Ugh. Better than aforementioned book, but still.

Celebrity sells over talent. Too many fabulous authors' careers are on the line because they are "unknown". Nobody knows who they are. Nobody is willing to support their marketing campaigns. Nobody will sign them on b/c their bottom lines were small.

Slump. Feels more like a pit.

Anybody got a rope?

3 comments:

WordVixen said...

I hate to tell you this, but I heard that pay for astronauts is as bad as it is for writers. And you're only getting rope if you plan to use it as a shabby chic belt or ceiling fan pull!

pt said...

Ah, Darcie -- stop trying so hard. You've always been at your best when you're playing with the words & not forcing them. Don't worry about the economy, other writers and publishing houses. Get it on paper and see what happens. Who knows what the Lord will do with it?

BTW -- note the blog URL change.

Red Letter Believers said...

Darcie

On the down side, Astronauts have to wear diapers.

Keep plugging. You have a gift. But no one ever said that a gift has to pay the bills!

So keep writing, keep sharing and let the blessings come naturally. Don't get spooked off because no one is giving you contracts. It doesnt mean a single thing in the end.


David