The Confusing & Constantly Changing Landscape of My Brain

Damn, that’s a long-ass title.

I was talking about this with Lauren Dane yesterday, and it seemed to me it was post-worthy, which is sort of like sponge-worthy, only it’s a measure of how much I want to spend the time formalizing my thoughts. Roughly equivalent to the Seinfeldism, no? Anyway. I have a point to make. Stay with me.

A few years back, my goal was to find an agent. I found one. But it didn’t work out. So the new goal became find an agent who can sell my work. I signed with Laura Bradford and omg, she was the THE ONE! So that goal met, instead of being happy and basking in my accomplishment, my brain chemistry immediately rewired itself, so it wasn’t enough. My new goal became sell a new project ASAP so if Jax tanks, you’re not screwed for a follow-up contract. And so we sold Corine! Woohoo! Time for me to be really proud of myself. I can relax, yes?

HELL NO. The devil brain in my skull casing whispers to me, is this really enough? Yes, you’ve diversified, but you need lots of irons in the fire. You need to build buzz around your name! Are you promoting effectively? You need to get on a bestseller list!

At this point, I am thinking, brain, why are you NEVER HAPPY? But I am a slave to my brain; I carry it around all day, and it is like a nagging spouse. Sometimes it doesn’t let me sleep at night. So I busted my ass, and lo, and behold, I made the bestseller lists. I can now put national bestselling author on my books.

But the brain is not satisfied. It still wants more. As I level up as a writer, it is constantly updating my goals. But some of them (like making the NYT or whatever) are pretty far out of my control. I can’t make one of my series “take off” magically. Of course I want them to, but I seriously have little impact on it. And it’s frustrating because my brain is like, None of your slacker-talk, missy! Make it happen! But I really feel like at a certain plateau, you almost need a lucky break or an increase in publisher support to bump you up to that next level. So the “goals’ I make at this point might as well be find a magic lamp or locate a four-leaf clover.

I write all this out in hopes of opening a dialogue. I don’t think there’s a magical formula for hitting big; otherwise more people would do it, surely! Is it confluence of timing, subject matter and publisher push? I know there are no magic beans–I’m the original proponent for hard work. But does there come a point where the success really can’t be improved at the author’s hands? Is there a mid-list plateau?


Things that Piss Me Off

People who drive in the middle of two lanes.

People who don’t own their faults.

People who write one book, spend three years revising it and getting rejections, and then say sadly, “I don’t think I can start over.” Guess what? This business is about writing books, most likely many of them, unless you’re Harper Lee (and you’re probably not), and if you don’t want to write another book, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? Sure, nobody likes to fail, but the business could use less whiners and more workers.

People who don’t apologize when it’s due.

People who talk on the cell phone while driving.

People who think the world owes them something.

Dogs who eat my lunch and think it’s cool. (I’m really talking about one dog in particular here. Bitch.)

People who want “tips” that substitute for hard work.

People who fondle me when we meet because they think they know me from reading my books.

People who Follow / Unfollow me repeatedly on Twitter to get my attention. (I’ve set those notices to go straight into my trash now. You’re not even hitting my inbox, people. So stop it. Either you’re interested in what I have to say or you’re not.) Let me be clear: these follow / unfollows would take place in the space of an hour or two, most times when I wasn’t even twittering.

People who spam their links all over my Facebook page, send me 12 messages, randomly IM me, and cover my wall with ribbons and hugs and toy poodles. Please stop. Seriously. Here’s a clue: if I didn’t answer your private message the first 11 times you said, “Hi!”, once in Arabic (I think you said hi that time but I am not sure since I don’t SPEAK Arabic), I probably am not going to answer #12 either.

Mole sauce. That shit is rank. Enough said.

Hey, that was surprisingly fun. Feel free to vent in comments.

Hell Fire Arc Winners

I’m announcing eight winners now, but I haven’t reached the 2K goal on Twitter yet. When I do, I’ll give away two more ARCs. So without further ado:

Amy Stewart
Katee Robert
Loves Sam

Email your name & mailing address, so I can hook you up with your ARCs. Congrats!

(If you didn’t win, don’t despair. If you follow me on Twitter, you’re still in the running for the last two ARCs, but I have to hit 2K first, and if that happens before midnight tonight, I’ll give away that $50 in book money.)