Various & Sundry 2/13/08
More bits and pieces:
* First, dig this: The super-mega-ultra deluxe versions of Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades:
These things are wrapped in so much leather that when I took them out of the shipping box, I thought I’d stepped into a boot store. The insides of the tray cases you see here are covered in buttery-soft suede, so again I spent some time petting my books. And to top it off, green and black are my favorite colors. There’s nothing I don’t love about these things. Yes, some animal had to die for it to get to me, but I like to think that up in cow heaven, this cow is happy that it didn’t just get processed into some convenience store heat lamp hamburger. There’s at least some dignity here. In any event, it’s a very nice presentation for the books, and it ought to be, because these particular editions of OMW and TGB go for $250. There are still some of this version of TGB available, if you feel splurge-y.
* As another quick follow-up to the money advice entry, I do see online that people are now complaining that my “20 cents a word” lower bound (see tip #9) is unrealistic. I agree it’s unrealistic in the SF/F genre, where that rate is on the upper end, but then I don’t think people who want to write full-time should be confining themselves to genre. I disagree that it’s unrealistic elsewhere, and I’ve got a Writers Market with at least a couple hundred magazines and markets that pay in the 10-to-49 cents per word range (that book’s “$$” tier of markets) to back me up on that, and this doesn’t count corporate or other sorts of writing gigs. There’s a reasonable amount of opportunity for a writer to get work in that range of pay.
That said, fixating on a specific per-word rate is kind of missing the point. The point is that writers need to understand that their work and time has value, and that, particularly if they want to write full-time, they have to exercise some judgment as to what is going to be worthwhile exercise of both. Personally speaking, if a gig is below 20 cents a word, I have to ask if there isn’t a better use of my time. Other people’s lower bound may be lower than this, or (gasp!) higher. But I think establishing some sort lower bound is useful for a writer, particularly those of the full-time stripe, because then they don’t get suckered into doing work they can’t afford to do. They can just say “sorry, not worth my time,” and look for something else. This lower bound can be fluid based on a realistic assessment of one’s experience and the state of the market, but it needs to be there.
(Also, and to be clear: Yes, I do sometimes write for less than 20 cents a word. Because it’s a project I want to do, for reasons other than money, or at least money is not the primary reason to do it. I’m not purely income driven, nor, for their sanity’s sake, should anyone else be. But you have to make sure you have the balance right.)
* Speaking of the money entry, my fellow writer Jim C. Hines adds his perspective (and outs his own writing income) here. It’s worth reading.
* Obama wins eight straight primaries and he’s only now ahead in the delegate count? How many “superdelegates” are there, anyway? Also, if anyone doubts Clinton’s going to push to get the Florida and Michigan delegates counted (they were disqualified because they pushed up their primaries), this state of affairs is going to make it inevitable. Fightin’ and scratchin’ all the way, folks. It’s that kind of year. Unless she gets hammered in Ohio and Texas. Then, as I understand it, it really is all over.
That said, there wasn’t a contest last night where Clinton, who didn’t crack 40% of the Democratic vote, didn’t get substantially more votes than McCain on the GOP, who swept all three primaries and didn’t get less than 50% of the GOP vote last night. Overall the turnout was incredibly lopsided, even if you throw out DC, which you should (McCain got 3,900 votes there; Obama, 85,500, which tells you just how Democratic-leaning DC is), and has generally been lopsided all the way through the primaries, even when the fields were better populated, and the GOP field hadn’t been narrowed down to a candidate whom conservatives loathe and one who has no chance of winning. I don’t expect the disparity to be so great in the actual election, regardless of who is nominated. Even so, GOP strategists can’t be happy with this state of affairs.
* Today is the second straight day school has been canceled here in Bradford, and for the second day, the weather really isn’t that bad. The school is closed because of “road conditions,” but I suspect that translates to “we decided to save a little extra money by keeping everyone home today.” Yes, I’m cynical. They did this last year in February, too — there were like 10 snow days. At least then there were actual snowdrifts. Not that Athena is complaining. Of course, now she’s bouncing off the walls because she’s bored and I’m working. Go us.
Speaking of work, off to do some now.