Friday, September 03, 2010

Burned out and the amazing changes in publishing

I'm not sure how it's possible to feel burned out in a life as leisurely and stress free as mine, but I did work hard all week on my food book, and tonight I just can't face the subject of Texas beer--too much information, too many contradictory histories. Who to believe? So I did something I never do--I watched a two-hour Dateline program. And now I'm going to read--but not about beer.
I think one reason I feel I'm batting my head against a brick wall is the change in the publishing scene. Everyone's writing about it, and I have nothing new to add. The other night at dinner, my successor, Dan, talked about the multimedia format Google is about to announce--when you read on an e-readeer, characters will walk across the screen, etc. He said, "It boggles the mind." He also said nowadays he goes to paperless meetings--everyone has an iPad, iPhone or some simiilar device. His wife echoed that that's usually true in the classroom, though she'd run into trouble trying to present a Power Point program to a class.  I wondered to myself if I can find a place in such a world. The Sisters in Crime listserv has been full of speculation about where the new world of technology will lead writers--and even agents and publishers. It is, most agree, an exciting time for writers, with all kinds of new opportunities opening up, including self-publishing on Smashwords, Kindle, and similar sites. Does that mean the end to good editing, good writing? Not necessarily. The general feeling is that the wheat will separate itself from the chaff, the cream will rise to the top, whatever metaphor you want. (One of the features of Kindle that I love is the ability to preview a small portion of the book before deciding to buy.) There's a brass ring out there for writers, but you have to be bold enough to grab it--and tech savvy. I am wondering (worrying?) if I'm bold enough--and savvy enough. But I'm distinctly feeling the lack of action--going to call my agent next week and then, if need be, take some basic steps on my own. It's a scary new world, but  I think having my older works available would be a boost to newer ones. Wish me luck.Besides, I hear there's nice money to be made if you price books at, say, $2.99.
Blessedly cool today--a high of only 88, down to the low 60s tonight, and only 88 tomorrow. A few of us will have a porch party tomorrow night (a chance for me to enjoy people I like to be with and an excuse to make that potato salad I love). Tomorrow I'll clean up the porch--it's beeen bandoned for a long time because of the heat. And I'll make potato salad, empty the trash, and have a thoroughly domestic day, without worrying about writing.
I haven't had a good ear of corn all summer--they seemed tough and tasteless. But today at Central Market I found local corn with small kernels and bought two ears--ate one tonight, and it was so sweet and good. Too bad it's the end of the season!

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