Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fear of the Unknown

We all know the saying, no news is good news, yet I find no news drives me mad. It’s the worst thing in the world. I spend more time agonizing over what I don’t know than what I know.

And this is something I’m going to have to get used to.

It’s funny, because I seldom give it a second thought as a reviewer. I usually try to offer up my reviews in advance. Okay, sometimes I forget. Sometimes the author doesn’t want to read it. Sometimes the author does read it. It doesn’t matter – I’ve never rewritten a review to satisfy the author.

But now I find myself wondering if the waiting drives them mad. Do any of them agonize over what the forthcoming reviews of their book will say?

I don’t know about all those well-known authors out there who typically get reviewed. Maybe they’re so numb to it, it’s all second-hand. But I have to tell you, the realization that there are people out there reading the ARCs, who may or may not write reviews, is getting to me. Some even email to say they have the book… that’s nice… then nada.

I have to wait for the flippin’ review. ARGH!

I don’t know if going through this will make me more or less sensitive to authors I’m reviewing in the future. It’s quite possible that the if I had to deal with it, you can too side of me will show no mercy to any author in a similar position, though it’s more likely that I’ll be more sympathetic to authors in the future.

Truthfully, I don’t have time to get back to each person who gets reviewed in Spinetingler. But I can at least feel the pain of waiting for the reviews.

Last night, Kevin discovered that James Patterson’s website quotes from a review from Spinetingler, amidst many others. But still. That’s so… weird.

I suppose this isn’t so different from submitting work for publication. Despite the fact that we clearly stated all summer on Spinetingler that we were focusing on the cozy noir entries and that we wouldn’t resume consideration of regular submissions until the fall, some people evidently didn’t see that on the front page. Or the submission guidelines page.

It’s funny, because I’ve been dealing with a lot of submissions lately. Most of the Spring 2007 issue is edited. Half of the stories for the Summer Issue have been selected. The Fall issue is at 12,000 downloads. There is a stack of submissions in the inbox that haven’t been read yet.

And what have I learned? That no matter where you are in this process, you’re waiting. You send off the manuscript and wait to hear whether or not it’s accepted. You send off your edits and wait to hear if they’re good. You send off review copies and wait to hear if reviewers decided to review them, or if they liked them. And in some cases you may never know.

You wait for your book to come out and wonder if people will like it. And again, you might not always know.

I hate waiting. I’m the most impatient person in the world. This career is like an ongoing trial for me. How on earth do people cope?

All I can think to do is bury myself under a mountain of work and try to get so distracted that I forget about it, but somehow, the closer we get to January, I have a feeling that’s going to get harder and harder to do.

Not politically correct. This one’s from Deletta. You know you're a redneck when...

1. You let your 14-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.

2. The Blue Book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas is in it.

3. You've been married three times and still have the same in-laws.

4. You think a woman who is "out of your league" bowls on a different night.

5. You wonder how service stations keep their rest-rooms so clean.

6. Someone in your family died right after saying, "Hey, guys, watch this."

7. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia boss.

8. Your wife's hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.

9. Your junior prom offered day care.

10. You think the last words of the "Star-Spangled Banner" are "Gentlemen, start your engines."

11. You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.

12. The Halloween Pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.

13. You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.

14. One of your kids was born on a pool table.

15. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at The House of Tattoos.

16. You can't get married to your sweetheart because there's a law against it.

17. You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.

18. You like being out in the front yard with no shirt on... and so does your husband.

And Finally:
19. An East Tennessee couple, both real-live rednecks, had 9 children.
They went to the doctor to see about getting the husband "fixed". The doctor asked them why after nine children would they choose to do this.

The husband replied that they had read in a recent article that one out of every ten children being born in North America was Mexican and they didn't want a Mexican baby because neither of them could speak Spanish.

And this just in. Miss Snark has graciously plugged Spinetingler, despite the fact that we have at least one editor with a suspicious name on our staff list.

Somehow, I have a feeling we’re going to need to brace ourselves for another deluge of submissions, but that’s okay. It’s an honour to be so well regarded by Miss Snark. Maybe I should interview her some day? There’s a thought… First I need to schedule that interview with Ken Bruen, though. (No, Ken, I haven't forgotten!)


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JamesO said...

Oh look, another blog spam.

I hate the waiting, too. I find it really difficult to concentrate on what I should be doing if there's something that should be happening soon. But that's what you have to do - knuckle down and get on with everything else. You've no control over when or even if people will review your book, so stop fretting about it.

Yeah, it's easy to say;}#

Anonymous said...

Regarding number 1, my aunt, a retired teacher, remembers a parent/teacher conference featuring the student's grandmother, aged 40, her mother, aged 27, the student herself, aged 13. At the meeting, the student was holding her own 18-month old daughter. The girl was pregnant with her second child.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Well Bill... Nothing to add to that. Not without getting in a whole pile of trouble.

James, it isn't just reviews. It's also waiting to hear if subs are accepted. Waiting to hear if the edits are good.

In general, I just hate waiting. Reviews are just the latest thing to obsess over.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Actually, I sent this story to Bill yesterday, and he didn't even answer the fucking question.


Anonymous said...

I am a jerk. But I am reading it right now. Monday nights I'm out till late.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Of course, this begs the question, how can you be commenting here and reading there at the same time?

I live in awe of you Bill No Chin.

Anonymous said...

I have the POWAHH!

Okay, and you go right ahead and write the Ruby Jane/Peter/Skin three-way fan fic. You're definitely up to the challenge.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ohhh, literal permission to fuck with another author's characters.

I could have some fun with that. Except I'm a prude.

Anonymous said...

You are definitely not a prude after that story, though you may play one on blog-vee.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Hey, it's all about using your imagination. I mean, if I wrote a story where some guy was cutting up women, would you think I was a male serial killer?

So, just because I wrote it, it doesn't mean I've ever tried it. Any of it.

I'm so innocent I'm practically a virgin.

Anonymous said...

Wait. You're not a male serial killer are you? Because I totally didn't get that vibe from you in Madison.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Hmmm... Should I leave Bill to wonder how good of an actress I am? ;)

Anonymous said...

Sandra a gra
Interview........wot interview?
Oh yeah, am......right
You a male serial killer......sure gonna m,ake an interesting interview and you certainly had me fooled at madison, so glad I didn't piss you off..........yet, there are benefits to being in the West of Ireland after all
Sin an sceal

Sandra Ruttan said...

Of course, this could be incentive for me to set my next series overseas. I used to live in Ballincollig, and I've spent time in Co. Kerry, but I've always wanted to see a bit more of the Irish countryside.

anne frasier said...

there are different periods of waiting, and they all suck.

i'm about ready to enter the revision/copyedit/galleys period of waiting. this is my least favorite, because it involves months at the mercy of someone else's constantly changing schedule. i can't really plan anything, because i have to be waiting and ready. this period can last months and can really disrupt life in a huge way, but i don't think there's a way around it.

angie said...

Waiting sucks. Completely, utterly, totally, without any sort of redeeming quality whatsoever.

I HAVE TO KNOW, and it's best to KNOW RIGHT NOW. Unfortunately, the rest of the world does not comply with the list of demands from the People's Republic of Angie. But they'll learn...

In the meantime, I write, get involved in other projects. When all else fails, I start scrubbing the toilet or cleaning out the cabinets. That usually sucks to the point that I go back to the writing PDQ!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Anne, being in limbo like that is paralyzing.

At least, it is for me. Ugh.

Angie, scrubbing toilets is an extreme act of desperation. One hopes it never comes to that.

mai wen said...

Once again, I totally relate. I'm super impatient and I think I'd rival you as the most impatient person in the world! It's funny because it's the waiting the kills me and stresses me out. For example, waiting to move out of Ohio has been excrutiating for me, but now that our house is finally up for sale and things are progressing and I have actual tasks to do and to keep me busy I've been totally relaxed and now my husband is freaking out and stressing!!! Sometimes it's a very good thing that him and I are polar opposites.

Side note: As I was typing this comment I just heard a co-worker say "No news is good news!" into her phone. Weird.

Daniel Hatadi said...

As part of procrastinating, I've been coming up with taglines. How about this one?

Limbo: Learn To Love It.

No? Wait, put that knife down. I didn't mean to...