Angry Robot author Anne Lyle makes many good points in this post – here – about the business of writing. Some of these points got mentioned in passing at one of the AltFiction panels, and it’s a bit unnerving to think of the author as a one-(wo)man production line, always looking forwards, not just to the next book, but the book after that and far beyond, negotiating contracts mid-term like footballers (yeah, I know, that one doesn’t quite fit…sue me).
The other year, Brent Weeks saw his first three books published, in successive months. Now that’s planning ahead. Also, a good indication of how a writer needs to make themselves visible in the market. Not saturate the market, but keep a consistent presence there. In that way, a book a year isn’t such a big ask. The writing business is a business, after all, and it doesn’t matter how well you can write – it’s all about writing to order.
Something I’m getting better at, slowly. I bought Nettie – an Acer Aspire One, my writing machine – because it was built on Linux. I know nothing about Linux. The chances of me getting anything except the pre-installed OpenOffice to run are naff-all. So, no football management games. Not much internet access (Vodafone’s dongle-thing ran out and the unhelpful staff couldn’t tell me how to re-credit it; now it’s blocked and useless, and I refuse to shell out for another one – it took me 12 months to go through 1GB! – so I just hook in through available public access…and the Apple shop upstairs). No whizzy distractions. Perfect.
But it has still taken me three and a half years to get HTTN to full first draft status. Time to speed up, I think.
(Quietly uninstalls Championship Manager from Bloody Stupid Thing.)