Sunday, June 6, 2010

the story of the arc

Now that it's officially summer vacation time for me, I suppose I really should start writing something. I mean, I had two serious projects going, but decided to stop because I've been in a bad mood for, like, four months.

It's not like it matters, anyway. My next book is coming out in 155 days, and the one coming out in 2011 (let's estimate 525 days from now) has already been written.

Do you know how many books I can write in 525 days? Do you know how many cockroaches can be spawned from a single egg-laden female cockroach in 525 days?

The world turns, my friends. The world turns.

I kind of want to punch myself in the face for saying that.

Maybe I should go get a job at a theme park. But theme parks usually hire bubbly people, so that kind of rules me out on the spot. Maybe they should open a Jean-Paul Sartre World in France, where all the employees can smoke those little French cigarettes and express their unrestrained contempt for other people, give prizes to children who vomit, and all the rides lead into black holes with -- predictably -- no exit ramps.

So, let me tell you about the story of the ARC. When my first two books came out, I gave out ARCs like crazy. I sent them to librarians, teachers, bloggers (I know. What an idiot.)... you name it -- anyone who pretty much had a pulse and asked. Oh, and family and friends, of course.

This go-round, though, for The Marbury Lens, I was, like, forget it. As soon as I got my little box of ARCs, I gave them out. To kids. Which left a lot of people asking me when they were going to get theirs, too. I just shrug and say, well, it's not coming out until November. Do you know how many cockroaches will be born between now and November?

The thing is, and I have to be precise in how I say this, that probably around 90% of the ARCs I have ever sent out -- including those to close friends and family -- I never hear one word of follow-up. These are examples of things I don't hear 90% of the time:

Thanks for the ARC!

Your book makes me want to punch myself in the face. I can't believe I wasted my life reading it.

I didn't read your book, but I gave it to my nephew that I don't like for Christmas.

I liked your book! Thanks for sending it!

Usually I hear nothing. Just the sound of cockroaches. Breeding.

I asked a writer friend of mine (not the one you think... and it's probably not you, if you think it is) about this observation, and she said, yeah... come to think of it, about 90% of the people she'd ever sent ARCs to never said a single word in response, either.

Good or bad, I think we writers all want to hear what people think about our work. Of course, the bad stuff can be pretty painful. But it's kind of like handing in something you've worked really hard on to a teacher at school. You at least want to hear them say, "nice job," or something... as opposed to, say, just dropping it in some slot and then... nothing.

So, if you've been getting pissed off at me for ig-switching your plea for an ARC of my next book, I'm just not into it anymore. I'd rather smoke cigarettes and watch kids vomit (but I do not smoke), or punch myself in the face.

Now... I'm not saying EVERYBODY. Some people are really cool and say thanks, or tell me what they liked or what troubled them about my work. But not very many people -- in the overall scheme of things -- take the time to do that... especially close friends and family, whom, I suppose, feel like they don't actually "need" to say anything because we're friends. Or family.

I don't mean to sound whiney. I'm not a whiney person. And today, I'm not bubbly, either.