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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Careers, Writing, and the Mid-list Ghetto

Well things have gone completely insane at the day job, rendering the posting here rather sparse. My department has lost two employees (really three, but the one was essentially a volunteer), and guess who's taking up the slack? So the writing and the blog have suffered (60-70 hour weeks will do that to you).

This has been leading to a couple of reassessments of both my careers, with the inevitable conclusion that I'm undervalued in both. While the day job's sort of a given for the next few months at least, I've started working on jump-starting my writing career— which, one hopes, could be elevated to the point where the day job wouldn't be necessary.

This may seem an odd assertion to someone not in the writing business, after all, I got 17 some novels published, most are still in print, and DAW does a nice job of reissuing their blacklist. What could be the problem? Well, comes down to money. I'm a deplorably consistent writer, a bean-counter's dream, and as long as they pay me X, they know they'll make Y profit with little or no effort on their part. It also makes it hard to argue that X is not enough-- especially when I don't seem to be going anywhere else.

Of course, no one here's to blame but myself. A few years ago my agent retired and I went though a financial panic and negotiated some contracts myself that I probably shouldn't have— contracts I'm still working out. Well, done is done, learning experience and all that. However, I am now searching in earnest for a new literary agent, preferably one with a good track record with foreign sales. I have a 17-deep blacklist that's doing nothing for me in that respect. I also need someone who can deal with my constant genre-shifting.

So, readers, got anyone you'd recommend? Let me know.


Isa said...

Just dropping in to say how happy I am to find that you've written more books. The only nom de plume we knew of for you was S. Andrew Swann. Both my partner and I thoroughly enjoyed the Hostile Takeover trilogy. Found it by chance some years ago in a library near the border of the U.S. and Canada. A while afterwards we bought the Moreau Omnibus and thought that was it. Just recently, however, I stumbled upon Hostile Takeover again and immediately bought it. I'm loving it and thought to look you up on Wikipedia. We'll be hunting down everything you ever wrote now, even though it isn't all science fiction. :D