First an apology: I am so very sorry! I dropped the ball not one week but two weeks in a row. In my defense I've been without internet connection and I was packing and moving to a new state.
So the basic notion of this week’s collection of essays is infrequently asked questions.
I can dig that. Instead, however, I prefer to climb upon my soapbox and have a little discussion about how questions are asked.
Here’s a notion: Ask politely. When you are done and you’ve had your answer, try to move on and avoid presuming more than you should.
This has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject at hand, except in a peripheral way. And yet…
Okay, story time.
Last weekend, I was at the World Horror Convention and having a good time seeing friends and recovering from a week of packing my books and possessions first into boxes, then into a garage, and finally into a 26 foot U-Haul. At the end of the convention it was time for a quick lunch and then on the road. (That quick lunch was followed by an hour and half of grown men trying to understand the basics of strapping a car to the rear end of the of the truck, but that’s another story for another time.)
While in attendance I was talking to one female author friend of mine and her husband among a few others and suddenly they vanished,. I didn’t think much of it until she told me via text that she was trying to avoid a hanger on that was basically stalking her. His intent was not to woo her or anything along those lines. He has apparently taken to brow beating her whenever he can in an effort to get free passes to conventions and to learn THE SECRET OF GETTING PUBLISHED.
Folks, I will now tell you the THE SECRET OF GETTING PUBLISHED. It’s not the answer anyone wants, but it’s the truth. Sit your butt in a seat and write. When you are done writing, start submitting to agents, editors, et al. Repeat as many times as necessary to get published.
I know. Sucks, right? But you’d be amazed how many people do not want to hear that. What they want instead is an EASY answer. What they would dearly love is for that writer they’ve just met to set them on the EASY PATH TO GETTING PUBLISHED. That path might exist, but after over 20 years of searching, I have not found it yet.
Fast forward a week. I’m talking with another writer who has discovered a new trend: This seems to be one that is almost exclusive to the younger generations but I haven’t really examined the phenomenon as yet. It comes down to this: Ask a question (or sometimes just watch someone else asking) and immediately pull out your smartphone to film the response.
Yeah. NO! Don’t do that! Personal space, folks. I doubt anyone reading this is guilty, but just in case, NO!
When my associate asked the individuals filming him to stop, they all looked offended. Listen, you need to film a panel at a convention and the people running the con are okay with it, that’s one thing. It’s a public forum. Still maybe a little rude to do it without permission, but okay. But at a book signing or in a restaurant? No. The people who had been called on the use of recording devices then immediately lost interest. They were looking for THE SECRET OF GETTING PUBLISHED, you see, and they wanted to record it for posterity because, apparently, actually listening to the author’s response was too much like effort.
Ultimately this all comes down to that old song and dance. Manners are a good thing.
On a brighter note: LOOK! My new book cover. This one is for CITY OF WONDERS, the third in the SEVEN FORGES series. That would be Swech, one of my favorite killers.