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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Winding Down or Changing Gears?

I'm really excited to be interviewed tonight by Tamara of My Shelf Addiction on a live podcast. I'm up on her blog right now, and you can check it out! Then tune in at 6 to hear our chat. Click here. This is in preparation for the Rust City Book Con, here in the Detroit area, in August. And you may be surprised to find out that the book I'll be discussing in the interview isn't steampunk. No. I'm not just "that steampunk girl" any more. (Although I will be part of the steampunk/historical meet and greet at the con and will definitely be all geared up for it!) And, yes, I'll also be front and center at Motor City Steam Con, the 22nd-24th of this month, chatting with some of my favorite author friends.

But I have to come out of the fictional closet and admit, though I love steampunk, I haven't been writing it for while now. It simply wasn't selling. My two most recent releases are paranormal--which in one case is literally taking me back to my roots--it's a reissue of my first novel, Curses, ten years after I sold it the first time. I love this book. RT and all the other reviewers loved it too: it finaled in multiple awards and got 4 RT stars. But nobody bought it. The last book I sold to a publisher was another paranormal, Sea Change. This one took me back to college--I used a lot of my biology background from grad school, even while I was creating my own mythology for the dolphin-based merfolk. (Part fish never made any sense to me. They're mammals.) This book won a Prism Award. Also didn't sell.

All writers go through ups and downs and evolutions. Everyone has successes and failures. But the truth of it is, I'm like that TV show we all loved that got cancelled during it's first season. Great reviews. Lousy numbers. I've had an agent for several years, but haven't sold to a new publisher since 2010. I'm not whining, I promise. I can't say my life is bad. I love what I do. But I AM pondering. What am I doing wrong? Too much promo, not enough promo? Wrong voice? Wrong genre(s)? Now that I've finished up all my outstanding projects, I find myself in a quandary. What should I do next. I've started a dozen (or more) books, but can't get enthused about any of them.

This isn't writer's block. This is a multi-year-long spiral into confusion. I know I'm still a writer, and somehow, I will write. Honestly, after this long out of the real-job market, I don't have any other marketable skills anyway. But I'm not sure what I should/will be writing, beyond fiction, and that's a scary place to be.

So to those loyal readers I have, please lend me some patience while I work things out. I've got the rights to a bunch of older books back and may spend some time getting those up and reissued. And if there's something you'd like to see me take a stab at, well give me a shout. But meanwhile, I have a pretty long backlist that's still available. There might be something you missed.
I hope you're all having a marvelous summer! (Or winter, Down Under.) Signing off to continue to ponder.

Cindy Spencer Pape




6 comments:

Melissa Keir said...

I understand Cindy. It's a time of flux as you find where you are going next. Take the time to put the old things back out. Take the time to read, relax and have some fun. The stories will come when they are ready. :)

Rose Anderson said...

It's hard not to get discouraged sometimes. I find redirecting my creativity for a while helps my writing in the end. Here's to 2016 bringing you many new readers!

Cara Marsi said...

Cindy, I know exactly what you're going through. Books with multiple awards, well-reviewed, no sales. If I knew the answer to what works in selling books, I'd be a millionaire. I've considered quitting writing also. I've decided since I enjoy writing, I'll keep writing the kinds of books I'd like to read and writing the best books I can. They say writing is a marathon not a sprint. But that marathon gets longer every day. Good luck to you.

Paris said...

Cindy,
I think you've voiced the frustration that many of us feel. It's so puzzling when the books that garner so many awards/good reviews don't sell well. Why, is the mystery we've all contemplated and I don't know anyone whose come up with the answer. I'm putting up my backlist and contemplating which of the WIP's to work on next. One of them might hit it lucky and in the end, that may be all it is. Good luck to you and I hope your wonderful talent finds a creative outlet very soon and we're able to enjoy more of your stories:)

Michele Zurlo said...

Cindy, It's frustrating when you have a good product that nobody is picking up. I've considered throwing in the towel a few times, but I find that I'm addicted to writing. Keep at it and Something Good is bound to happen!

On another note, I had no idea we had writer's cons in the Detroit area! Thanks for sharing that news. Depending on what August looks like (with back-to-school,) I may stop by the Rust City Book Con. It's less than an hour away.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Michele, if you do make it, be sure to look me up!
The rest of you, thanks for the support. I guess all we can do is keep plugging away.

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