Work Wonkery

Despite living a phlegm-based existence today, I have been reasonably productive; aside from my AOL Journal duties I wrote up and/or discussed with with editors or agents no less than five possible future book projects, fiction and non-fiction both. At least two of these, I think, have immediate short-term potential (I also discussed a sixth book project, which is unofficially official, which means that it’s very likely to go through but I can’t talk about it now — don’t worry, I’ll let you know when it happens).

Those of you who keep track of these things will note it’s now roughly a month after I completed The Ghost Brigades, which is the amount of time I suggested last month that I would be comfortable not having another book project lined up, but after which I would start getting twitchy and wondering how I would feed my precious family. So this orgy of book proposery is right on time. Now all I have to do is have all these proposals get accepted, and I’ll be good to go through 2008 at least. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Also, without going into any sort of detail, I passed on a potential book project that was offered to me; I thought it was a very good proposal and I suspect strongly it’s going to do well for the publisher, but I didn’t know how I was going to fit it in. I imagine the publisher won’t have any difficulties finding someone for it, though, and best of luck to them. I note this passed project to you primarily because it’s the first time I’ve been able to pass on a book project that’s been offered to me without first engaging in a long, drawn-out self-examination as to whether passing on this project means I’ll never sell another book again, and I feel pretty good about that.

Bear in mind I could be entirely delusional on this score, and may, in fact never sell another book again. But I don’t feel like that’s the case, and it was nice to be able to look at the project, think "wow, cool idea, wish I could do it but can’t" and then move on. I do have enough going on.

One of the things I feel best about these various book ideas and proposals I’ve been working with today is that there’s a nice range in them; as the poster child for the easily bored, I like the idea of having entirely different types of projects to keep me amused. I think this has been borne out in the books so far; I’ve had books on finance, astronomy, film and stupidity, and then I have fiction on top of that. I won’t leave this world without having established that my interests are all over the damn board, and I also feel good about that. Hopefully this new batch of ideas and proposals will keep that streak going.

Unless I never sell another book again. We’ll just have to see, won’t we.

3 thoughts on “Work Wonkery

  1. Bear in mind I could be entirely delusional on this score, and may, in fact never sell another book again.

    I don’t think you need to worry about that. Seriously.

  2. That’s one of my favorite small pleasures in life: having someone pitch you a good project and have to say “that’s very interesting, but not quite as interesting as what I’m already doing”. It means you’ve finally gotten to a good place in your professional life. I’m in software, so a few years ago that sort of thing used to happen every couple of days. Now it’s down to every couple of months or so, and has an almost desperate “I can get VC funding! Really!” attached to it.

    If you find such passes often, you should really cultivate a stable of young, bright, and hungry mentees that you can direct inquirers to. If you can say “No, but I know a guy this would be perfect for”, you’ll find yourself getting a lot more inquiries to begin with, in a virtuous circle.

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