Friday, October 30, 2009

3rd quarter royalties

Got my third-quarter royalty statement today from my main epublisher. I'm pleased to report that most of my titles with them have now earned out their advances. Which is good, but still not a whole lot of money (actually, a tiny amount of money, but it shows continued sales growth for a relatively new epublisher, which is promising in the current environment). A couple of my books are doing way, way better than the others (and not at all the ones I expected to do so well), which goes to show that some types of books will sell better than others for reasons that nobody can really fathom, even if they're by the same author.

What was really great news was the numbers that came in on my two books that were featured on HSN. I basically sold 5,000 copies of my books in less than one hour of airtime. Which is absolutely stupendous. A lot of debut authors in midlist print can only expect to sell 5,000 copies for the length of the life of the book, which might be two or three years in bookstores. I did that in less than an hour. That's like, 83 books a minute. And the books are continuing to sell online via HSN's website. Ravenous Romance is going to be featured again on HSN (details TBA) in what will very likely be a monthly and/or bimonthly feature, so it looks like I could keep pulling those numbers in. I just wish those numbers would spill over into other books on my backlist.

In other news, I'm working on beefing up my freelance medical writing business. My specialities are healthcare policy, nursing, surgery, general academic medical writing, and pharmaceuticals. I also dabble in legal/business/technical writing. I'll be redesigning my personal website this fall, and I plan to include a section on that. Would appreciate any suggestions.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

A much-needed break

Well, I finally dashed off a proposal and sample chapters for my latest project and got it off to my agent this past week. Earlier in the week, I also finished my latest under-contract novel a full week ahead of my (albeit extended) deadline. So now I have a bit of a lull. I'll still have articles due for my freelance writing "day job", but without anything creative taking up my extra time, I'll finally have some time to do some chores and also some "fun" stuff.

Such as:
1) Clean out my closet (and my son's closet---it is truly amazing how quickly he outgrows his clothes) and donate a ton of castoff stuff to the YWCA;

2) Try to organize the ever-more-chaotic place that passes for my home;

3) Appear as an actor (yes, an actor---sometimes I dust the mothballs off my old acting chops and perform) in a staged reading of a friend's play. There will be another blog post about this soon, because it's shaping up to be a very odd experience.)

4) Catch up on some reading.In other news, I have a good feeling about my latest book project. I'm not spilling any beans on what it is yet, since I don't want anyone copying my idea and getting a deal on their version of it before I do. But my agent is actually having dinner with Gore Vidal (yes, THE Gore Vidal) next week, and she and I both think he might be of particular help on this project if we can get him to do a jacket blurb for it. And that's all I'm gonna say right now.

Stay tuned.


Friday, October 9, 2009

I can now truthfully say that one of my former neighbors is now a Nobel Laureate.

When I was in graduate school at the University of Chicago in the mid-90s, a young law professor and community organizer named Barack Obama lived three blocks north of my crummy student housing building. He and his wife occupied a tiny two-bedroom condo, saddled with massive law-school debts that his community-service oriented job couldn't pay. While other Harvard Law grads raked in piles of money doing corporate law, Barack and Michelle Obama did low-paying work on such legal issues as civil rights and health care for the indigent. They lived small so their work could live large.

I saw Mr. Obama speak at a small community rally a block away from campus when he was running for state senator representing the working-class college neighborhood where I lived, Hyde Park. I was impressed with him. So impressed I voted for him that first time he ran for office (a tiny, inconsequential office in state government) in 1996. And followed his career ever since.

To all of those who don't think that Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, because he's too early in his presidential term, or he hasn't achieved world peace yet (or whatever other petty nay-saying reason you come up with) I say this.

The Nobel Peace Prize is not awarded to recognize efforts for peace, human rights and democracy only after they have proven successful. That was never Alfred Nobel's aim. More often, the prize is awarded to encourage those who receive it to see their efforts towards peace through, sometimes at critical moments. That's the whole reason there's a large sum of money attached----not to personally enrich the fortunes of the winner, but to help support and sustain the causes the winners champion. This is the part that a whole lot of people are missing right now----including a lot of top media people.Dr. Martin Luther King actually won his Peace Prize before his civil rights movement had actually garnered any real legislative action or had even quelled racial violence. (indeed, the worst of the 60s race riots occurred after Dr. King was assassinated.) Instead, Dr. King essentially won the Peace Prize for his "I Have A Dream" speech, which inspired the national call to action on civil rights. Inspired. Sound familiar? King's speech was a "promise" that inspired millions----not at all unlike what Obama has done, in both the United States and around the world. Plus, Dr. King's movement was local, and didn't aim to bring peace between nations---only between citizens of the same country. King's winning of the prize is now widely considered the tipping point in the civil rights movement, along with the "I Have A Dream" speech itself, which the prize recognized. And I don't think anybody today would argue that Dr. King didn't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize just because his movement hadn't "succeeded" yet when he won it.

Chew on that, Republicans. The more you guys deride this, the more you look like you're on the wrong side of history.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Whoa, two daily blog posts in a row. . .

Okay, I have actually managed to write a blog post for two consecutive days. Can't remember the last time that happened. It's amazing how life can get in the way of something so simple as making a simple diary entry. Then again, my blog isn't a diary so much as it is a public rant about the insane demands of my ever-more-busy-and-frustrating life.

Today was a very interesting day. My son took a three-hour afternoon nap for the first time in months, which meant I actually got something productive done before 8 pm. I managed to catch up on a bunch of administrative stuff for the freelance gig I'm doing (healthcare-related writing for a major university), and also do some household stuff. I'm stuck in a rut on the current novel, though (which, incidentially, is due in to the editor next week). But the end is in sight. I've done a thorough copyedit of what I've already written, and I only need about two more chapters before I can call the thing finished.

I told my agent and editors the other week that I needed to take a break from my Jamaica Layne sexy writing for a while. I have cranked out 9 books in less than a year, which is just plain insane. The well is dry. I got nothin' left. At least, not for a while. I need to refuel the tank.

But it seems I will have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime. The freelance gig seems like it can go on to infinity. I got an email today from a writer friend asking I come out of retirement from performing onstage and act in his play later this month. And I just signed a contract to have one of my plays included in the annual Best American Short Plays for the third year in a row. Lots of other interesting accomplishments and opportunities abound, too.

But what I'd really like more than anything else at this point is a steady paycheck. Well, scratch that---I've got a steady paycheck, but it's small. I need a BIG steady paycheck. Big enough to buy myself a goddamn nanny. I've been a full-time mom for two years now and I am starting to forget how to be an adult.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Okay. . .

. . .so I haven't been good about blogging lately. I admit it. But there's only so much of me to go around these days. I'm trying to meet novel deadlines, and I'm coming up with new book proposals for my agent to pitch, plus I've taken on some corporate freelance work. AND I've got a two-year-old. AND I was busy with rewrites/rehearsals for one of my plays (just finished). AND I seem to be coming down with the flu.

So, cut me a break here, folks. More posts to come.

(Note to the FTC: No gifts were exchanged/received/promoted via my blog in the past year. So keep those $11,000 fines to yourself, please. And please take your Nanny State and shove it up your ass. )