All Is Well!!

I woke up this morning to see that the beautiful, wealthy people at the top of the American publishing scene are telling me publishing is doing well! Whew. That’s a load off. And here, I can’t actually remember the last time I purchased a hardcopy genre novel. I suspect it was before Wee Dave was born, for a couple of reasons. First, disposable income. Second, I don’t remember a whole lot of the last four years.

Ok, the truly entertaining part of John Sargent’s (CEO of Macmillan) comments wasn’t thanking President Trump for trying to block the publication of Michael Wolff’s magnificent work of fiction Fire & Fury. (I still think the POTUS’ mobilization of the DOJ – aside from being apparently juvenile – was mostly trolling his political and cultural opponents.) Oh, no. That’s what followed, where he pulled off his gleaming helmet, wiped his noble brow, and assured us he believes “free speech … is the greatest value” in publishing. Such a paladin. I’m so glad powerful businessmen are there to defend our rights. I just wish they’d do it consistently, since that’s what they claim to be for.

More curiously, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy went on to say they’re finding the current climate making publishing a variety of viewpoints “very challenging,” echoing late publisher Peter Mayer’s words, “our job is to challenge readers, and to challenge ourselves.”

Keep in mind, these are the same people who insisted ebooks weren’t more than a niche product. Who colluded to force Amazon to accept the prices the publishers wanted to set for their products, in violation of federal law, as well as of basic economics. Who have tossed seven and eight figure contracts at politicians for books that have rather failed to perform.

Oddly, I thought a publisher’s job was to make and sell books people want to read, make money, and keep doing those things. I’m of the apparently strange opinion that people should challenge themselves. Oh, well.

Speaking of challenging myself, I’ve been working my exercise routine for a solid couple months, now. I restarted Starting Strength as soon after the move as practicable. I’m taking it conservatively, and only making five pound jumps between sessions. I’m showing notable improvement, both in strength and body composition. The latter is nice, as more of my clothes are fitting better, which is to say, at all. But I’m really pleased with the strength gains. I’m sufficiently gamer-y to like leveling up on a regular basis, and improving one’s numbers is almost always a good thing (provided it’s genuine improvement). I’ve actually embarked on a mass gaining regimen, eating a shockingly (to me) high number of calories per day in order to put on more muscle. And I’m okay with this, which is really nice. (Incidentally, my waist size keeps going down while I’m doing this.)

Cool, Dave, but why does your lifting (bro) have anything to do with writing, I hear you saying. I’m glad you asked! I’ve been wanting to make significant body composition shifts for a while (lose fat, gain muscle) and, for a lot of reasons, haven’t been helping myself. One of them is, basically, I forget to eat, and that’s bad when you want to lose weight. Another is sleep. I’m punting to parenting small children on that. Though I don’t help myself sometimes (but I like it when the house is quiet late, late at night *whine*).

What did help most was a complete shift in focus. This is likely pretty basic, but I’m working on the fundamentals here. And most of my metrics are telling me things that I shouldn’t be listening to, so I’m working on figuring out things to which I should be paying attention.

Anyway, shift of focus. I’m not writing every day. I can’t, though the kids are starting to entertain themselves enough for me to make inroads on that. Which means my wordcount is generally rubbish. And I find it difficult to call myself a writer when I largely Just. Don’t. Write. Well, aside from these posts.

So I’m shifting focus. I’m hoping (frankly, expecting) that by setting very different goals, the metrics I also want to improve will do so. Honestly, I have no idea what that looks like, yet. Single parenting is kicking my arse, and just keeping up with my work-outs is proving a challenge. I owe Sarah a short in … shoot, like three days. Damn. And then LibertyCon is happening in two weeks, plus a couple of days. I’m looking forward to that. The break will be nice. Mrs. Dave returns to us between those two occurrences, to which we are ALL looking forward. And then there’s a family reunion I’ll be missing part of for LC, Mrs. Dave ships out, again, Mom and Pop Dave come to visit. I’m still weighing the 50-mile GoRuck challenge, and there are other trips to plan with just me and the littles. So there’s a LOT going on, and I’m certifiable (but you knew that). Just changing how I define success may be a key, if not the key to getting my head around this endeavor. I dunno. I’ll see you on the other side of that tunnel.

23 thoughts on “All Is Well!!

  1. “I do think in the current polarized environment there are lots of people on both sides trying to tell us what we should publish,” said Reidy, who faced blowback last year for S&S’s decision to sign controversial Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos. “And it’s bad coming from either side.”

    And yet, she folded. Didn’t she? It’s not as though anyone could have stopped her publishing what she chose to publish.

  2. Also, I swear, it’s nearly impossible to believe that he’s doing it on purpose but Trump may have just saved Free Speech single handedly.

      1. Reading the linked article the publishers are complaining that he’s trying to stop the publication of something (huh, sounds familiar… Hillary anyone?) so they’re actually talking about how sacred free speech is.

        Yesterday the only reason for free speech is for people who want an excuse to be a dick.

        Today, free speech is the Resistance.

        1. You’re giving the publishers too much credit. They say the words “free speech”, but they don’t actually believe in it any more today than they did yesterday. They still won’t lift a finger to defend speech they disagree with, claiming that nobody has the right to “hate speech” (sic). Their real positions haven’t changed, it’s just that now they find it expedient to claim to be the poor, persecuted underdogs.

        2. Just an observation, not knowing more about the book being ‘stopped’; given the ‘exposes’ having come out about Trump (one of which was nothing but pure fiction, admitted by the author, that is being taken as gospel truth by his opponents) there may be grounds to stop publication of something – especially if it pertains to current legal matters or such.

          And I wouldn’t be taking the vileprogs suddenly speaking in defense of free speech very seriously. They’re still okay with speech being stifled – just not their own, or their approved speech. Everyone who is against their agenda and threatens their great Commie cause? ‘DISCREDIT AND MUZZLE ‘EM!’ is pretty much still Standard Operating Procedure.

  3. For kids entertaining themselves, in a useful way– if you’ve got a TV that can take an output your wife’s computer (or a spare) does, sic the elder one on Entertains him, and his sister, and teaches them both. Minimal amount of PC BS.

    1. Ooo. Output your writing to the TV set and have your kids reading it. Have them take written notes to critique?

  4. Is S&S stability over the last 5 years have anything to do with their distribution deal with Baen?

    1. I wish Baen was that large, but I doubt that Baen actually had that large of an influence on S&S’s numbers. It’s probably along the lines of a swimming pool being dumped into the lake: sure, that’s a lot of water being added… but it won’t have a noticeable effect on the lake.

  5. “Second, I don’t remember a whole lot of the last four years.”

    Didn’t miss much.

  6. I’m curious about one thing; has anyone heard of a publisher refusing to publish an author for being too far left?

    This ‘both sides are equally bad’ thing really gets to me. Publishers and editors routinely choose writers whose politics match their own (far left), and when they stray from that mind set and deign to publish an ‘out’ conservative they make sure you know they’re doing it purely for monetary gain (which is fine, I’m good with all the ferengi-americans out there) but that declaration also seems to indicate they’re aware that many of the far left (specifically political) books they publish will not earn money. That they’re publishing the left wing books for the ‘right reasons’ and they’re just exploiting the hick right-wingers for the money.

    Both sides? Conservatives might mock and deride, but are not (for the most part) in the publishing industry, are not welcomed by the publishing industry, are not defended by the publishing industry, and so whatever complaints Conservatives might make about books are not only ignored but looked upon as a badge of honor. As if the whole point was to rile up conservatives. Which it probably was.

    But when a conservative author is attacked by the left, which is occurring more and more frequently, generally speaking their publishers don’t have their backs (except Baen, obviously).

    Hands up those who believe Tor wouldn’t have cut John Ringo sometime in the last decade? He of the ten million books sold. They absolutely would have cut their own throat to make that political declaration. And if they didn’t they’d make sure you knew they didn’t believe in his right to speak, but they were willing to siphon money from hicks with the trash Ringo writes.

    Larry Correia has spark. His first novel was rough in a lot of ways but that spark was obvious and spark is rare. That first sentence should have sold that novel to almost any publishing house.

    But Larry is an outspoken gun guy. Who thinks he’d have gotten in the door? Who thinks he’d have had a shot? And if by some miracle he had been published how much would you like to bet some piss ant little art director or assistant editor or proof reader would have found a way to sabotage his career? Bad formatting that makes it hard to read. Bad proof reading that makes him look illiterate. A boring cover designed to sell an entirely different book to the exact wrong audience.

    Both sides. Bullies on both sides.

    One has no power. The other has that power.

    Bullies on both sides.

    One is the littlest kid in class. The other is the entire rest of the class.

    Bullies on both sides.

    That looks like lying to save face. To not say that the bullies are almost exclusively on the left side of the aisle. To make a false equivalence in order to obfuscate the point the person dearly wishes to make (publishing in current year is difficult partly due to the identity politics of the left).

    That refusal to tell the truth confirms what anyone paying attention probably already knows; there are no both sides. There is only one side primarily responsible for the state of publishing today and I’m going out on a limb and say it’s probably the side with the power and not the side with none.


    1. I think that mostly it’s a way to soften your audience so that they’re capable of hearing the complaint at all. The “of course I agree with you that pressure from the right is bad, but the left does this, too.” It’s a rhetorical thing you’ll see in any sort of essay or article written by a lefty that attempts to hold the left to account. The the first half will often be the author proving that they do think all the right things agree that the “right” is bad and establishing principles and then after all the tribal signaling the second half will be a gentle nudging, easing in the evidence of leftish bad behavior.

      But I think you’re right. The “right” will scoff or point out how off-balance it is (and internally self-contradictory it is) for a publisher to imply that they need a special policy to buy books from a certain sort of author instead of, you know, just buying them. And the “right” will suggest that the amazing money paid for a Hillary Clinton biography is probably a pay-off (though I’ve no notion how the numbers run.) But the respectable and mainstream “right” will not be harassing the publisher if she dares, dares ,dares, to give a publishing slot to Bill Maher.

      What was popular several years ago, before everyone started talking about mere opinions causing “harm” and the desperate need to make sure that “bad” ideas or “bad” people are never published at all, the popular thing was to whine that a publisher who prints a book by a rightie has taken that publishing slot away from something more worthy. Finite pie.

    2. I’m amazed that David Weber still has a series published through Tor. I suspect that after his defense of free speech at ConCarolinas, he won’t ever have another one.

      1. Depends on whether the politics talks or the dollar signs. Weber is one of the ‘big names’ so the sheer number of dollar signs a publisher sees when he walks by tends to cloud anything else floating in his vicinity.

  7. Don’t know if you retire to an Inner Sanctum to write, or sit at the kitchen table and hammer out your words. However, you have little kids. Do you read to them? Do you tell them stories? Do you make up stories to tell them? Do you tell them the stories you’re writing? If you make ups stories and tell them the stories you’re writing, perhaps you could record them and run them through a speech to text processor? Kill two birds with one stone?

  8. The thing about lifting weights: You can’t stop. This could be good or bad depending on how you feel about your gym time (I don’t dislike it, but I don’t really enjoy it either). I spent six months moving my belly to my shoulders. Now, six gymless months later, it’s all back on my belly.

    I tried to get back in May, but since then I haven’t made more than twice a week. Stuff keeps happening (e.g. today is a gym day; I’m on antibiotics; tried to go Monday and almost passed out). I think it’s a sign from G*d that I should be overweight and weak (if “sloth” and “lethargy” are the same thing, I’m in trouble).

    1. It’s not that, it’s that getting rid of fat is much more difficult than shrinking it. Basically, fat cells can get about 6 times larger than their minimum size, so even if you don’t look fat, that doesn’t mean your fat cell count isn’t high.

      1. I’d understood that “fat cell count” is unchangeable. At least without liposuction. No?

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