Time to get back to work

I don’t know about you, but I usually have a very difficult time getting back into the swing of things after a holiday. After all, holidays are supposed to be times to relax and enjoy friends and families. But, if you’re like me, much of that time is spent cleaning house, cooking, cleaning after cooking, eating, cleaning after eating. Well, you get my drift. Add to that the exhaustion of real life demands before the holiday and I usually need a holiday after the holiday. This year is different. Hurray!

Yes, there was still the usual clean, cook, clean, eat, etc., of years past. But that was actually therapeutic because it was a break from all the doctors appointments, PT appointments, surgery preps, etc., for Mom. It was, instead, a time to enjoy doing things we both liked and seeing my son who managed to get home for the holiday. And so, when Monday morning rolled around, I was able to sit butt in chair to do some editing on a long-overdue project as well figure out my schedule for the next eight to ten months.

Now, I’m tired all over again. But more on that later.

Several things caught my eye this morning as I was looking for blog fodder. The first comes from Publishers Weekly. The question the article asks is simple: will traditional publishers see an increase in sales this year? The answer will be yes, but not necessarily in the way the article or the publishers want. Yes, because there will be an increase in sales for non-fiction and scholastic-related materials. After a year of home schooling where parents had much more input in what their kids would study and when so many college students didn’t “return to class”, we’re going to see a return to more “normal” business–at least from what I’m seeing.

As for the question of whether they will see a return of profits on the fiction end of things, they will say they do. It’s amazing how publishing accounting uses–and misuses–hand-wavium economics and finance. We’ll see them touting a return of profitability because one or two areas will post a profit but they will remain silent, or nearly so, on those areas that see no rise in profits or that will see a loss.

And who will suffer for this? Writers and readers. Why? Because publishers still have yet to understand that the best way to make a profit is to publish books that more readers want to buy. That is especially true when it comes to the fiction market. We read fiction to be entertained, not to be lectured to or to indoctrinated in the “right” way to think or act.

And that brings me to the next article that caught my eye this morning. This comes with a hat tip to The Passive Voice where I first saw it. How could I not follow up and go to the source material when the title of the post was “Why Writing Second Person POV Appeals to Marginalized Writers”? This isn’t to diss writers who are marginalized but to ask a question. Who should we be writing for: ourselves or our readers?

The article itself, which relates back to an article published in SWFA’s The Bulletin #216. Apparently, that article was written in second person and brought about “discussion”, etc. The article on the SFWA site I found via The Passive Voice discusses some of the points made in the OP. While I don’t enjoy second person POV in stories–and it isn’t anything new. It was there long before we started hearing the term “marginalized persons”–I was interested in much of what the article said. . . until I got to the end of the article.

None of this examination is meant to be a condemnation if you don’t enjoy reading stories written from a second person POV, nor is it a veiled accusation of lack of empathy or racism, or a suggestion that only marginalized people can write this perspective effectively.

Now, I don’t know about you, but this sort of sentence is like when someone starts off by saying “Meaning no disrespect”. Most of the times, they are meaning to be disrespectful with what they are about to say.

But that doesn’t address my initial question of who we are writing for and, related to that, why we are writing. That’s a question each writer has to answer for themselves. For me, I write what I hope readers want to read–which means I look at what is selling in the genres in which I write–and I write to make money. I’m never going to tell someone not to write something (unless it is illegal), but I will question their motivation. My job as a writer, in my mind, is to entertain. If I manage to get a point across while doing so, all the better.

Read the comment by Karen Myers to the post over on The Passive Voice. The second sentence of the second paragraph perfectly sums up how I look at writing.

Finally, I said I’d get back to my schedule for the next 8-10 months. I blogged about it yesterday, but here’s the short(er) version:

Danger Foretold
Release date: Dec. 7th

Fire Striker
January 4, 2022

Foil of the Gods
(Sword of the Gods 3)
March 8, 2022

Jaguar Rising
(Nocturnal Awakenings 2)
May 10, 2022

Destiny from Ashes
(Honor & Duty final book)
July 12, 2022

The last three books will be available for pre-order once I get the blurbs written. You can see the working covers on my blog post linked above.

Now it’s time to get back to work. Until later!

16 comments

  1. Ah, I see. Let me translate: Someone said something like “I don’t care for second person, such as [novel by author terribly marginalized by a shelf full of Hugos],” and the writer of the SFWA screed then condemned all who share that personal taste, because of course everyone is exactly alike and it can only be because you hate everyone who even vaguely resembles said “marginalized” author.

    And then to condense her next breath, “but readers can only appreciate works written by people just like themselves.” So, yer sayin’ we gotta become marginalized first? Achievement unlocked!!

  2. Amazon’s algorithms are a bit weird at times. Around an hour and 15 minutes ago, I received an email from Amazon advertising Fire Striker, with a claimed release date of Dec. 14 on Kindle.

    Yet, when I follow your link to the Kindle store, I see the current date of January 4th.

    Odd coincidence, and I’m sure more a result of throwing AI at everything than an issue easily fixable if Amazon wanted.

    So, I appreciate the heads up.

      1. I kinda of figured it was something like that.

        I’m not sure following an author on Amazon has ever got me an email notification of a new book at a timely moment. Partly that is me being a weird purchaser.

        This one was really strange, because I saw the email, took a note down to remember it by, and then came over here and saw the update.

        On the other hand, marketing seems to be a hard problem in a way that I expect is very difficult to automate with AI.

  3. I find second-person demanding. You this, you that. I want to scream, “no, I’m not!”. I find close-third immersive enough.
    It’s similar to a movie filmed with a “mounted on actor’s head” camera: It seems as if that would be interesting, since it’s how we experience the world, but it’s awful. It’s a bit better in VR because one can turn one’s own head. But it’s still not like first-person games because I can’t move “the character”, just change the direction of his gaze.

    1. I totally agree. There is a reason why it hasn’t caught on with the reading public–and, as I noted in my post, 2nd person POV isn’t new. It just isn’t something that the vast majority of readers find entertaining.

        1. This. When I start to read something in second person, it feels like I’m back in 5th grade, picking which pages to flip to.

          I wrote a flying story in 2nd person once. It sort of worked, for low values of “sort of” and “worked.”

  4. Not sure why I scare-quoted “the character”. It seemed right at the time, but it looks weird, now. Another blow to my proof-reading career.

    1. “Jackson is always biddable, and very friendly to every one.”

      “Really? Daniel Jackson?”

      “Daniel? No, of course not, I’m talking about Andy. He’s a total sweethart.”

  5. I don’t care for second person POV. First is fine, third is fine. Since I’ve lived my whole life on the margins, (for other reasons than race or sex, so I don’t appreciate lectures on privilege from the privileged) that has nothing do do with it. I don’t think I could write to the market. I write what appeals to me and hopefully to people who are sufficiently like me to appreciate it. If I can learn the craft of turning the raw stuff of life and learning into a story, my goal is to produce a high quality story that entertains, delights, or educates someone (preferably all three), If it can sell, so much the better. I have several ideas on deck and I can try again.

    1. Fortunately for us all, ‘folk enough like us to appreciate the stories we tell’ tends to be a lot broader than ‘folk like us’ by most modern measures.

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