It's been a very rough year for me, writing-wise.
In this year I've experienced more rejection and disappointment with my writing career than ever before.
But it being Thanksgiving, I would like to dwell on some of the stuff I'm most thankful for, in terms of my writing life.
Tessa MastersonWill Go To Prom.
I'm tremendously proud of this book. I think it's the best one Emily and I have written together, and I'm glad it got published this year. I had a lot of fun working on it, and as I said, I'm really proud to have my name on it. And I'm glad it's in so many libraries; I hope a lot of kids who might benefit from it will find it.
A Really Awesome Mess.
Trish finally saved us from title search hell by pulling this phrase out of our collaboration that we called Escape from Assland (and that will probably always have that title in my mind). I just re-read this for the first pass on the typeset pages, and it is just fantastic, if I do say so myself. It's coming out next year from Egmont.
Emily Franklin and Trish Cook.
I've been very lucky to collaborate with both of these talented writers. Writing can be a lonely business, and bouncing ideas off someone else and sending chapters back and forth has been fun and social and has made me a better writer.
In spite of a number of professional setbacks, my agent Doug remains an unwavering supporter of me and my writing. He is awesome.
A New Life for Old Books:
It felt good to bring back both It Takes a Worried Man and Forever Changes from out-of-print purgatory. I'm certainly not making huge money on the ebook sales, but both of these books mean a lot to me, and it makes me feel good knowing they're available for readers to continue finding and enjoying.
My Monthly Mutants & Masterminds (and/or Marvel Heroic Roleplaying) Group:
I've written about this before, but reconnecting with the collaboarative storytelling of tabletop RPGs has been incredibly energizing to me creatively. I get to play with a bunch of really creative and funny people every month. The games are fun and hilarious and always make me want to write things that give as much joy as this game does to me.
Living in the Future:
The terror that is paralyzing the publishing industry right now and that has led, directly or indirectly, to some of my career setbacks, has an upside. There are now more ways than ever to reach readers, and it's invogorating to consider all the things I can do to get my work in front of people. Crowdfunding? Podcasting ? Who the hell knows? All I know is that it's fun to think about trying new projects.
I have met and interacted with a lot of really cool people through my writing. I have a small but really cool core of fans who interact wtih me on a regular basis and who seem to enjoy my work. I notice that a lot of popular authors have these fans who post five-star reviews for everything they've ever written and post worshipful comments on every blog entry. I would be fundamentally uncomfortable with that kind of attention, and I really appreciate having real interactions with people. When someone who's friended me on goodreads posts a 3-star review of one of my books (for those of you unfamiliar with goodreads culture, 3 stars is the equivalent of a pan for most people, though not for me), I really appreciate it. Because I can't think of any author who's written books that are all 5 stars for me, and your willingness to post a 3-star review with some criticisms attached knowing I'm going to see it just feels incredibly respectful to me. And it makes me take your 5-star review way more seriously. I also enjoy it when people comment on a blog post to disagree with me. These feel like genuine interactions with real people rather than some kind of weird adulation, and I really value all of them. Because people who praise you when you've done something good and nudge you when you've done something not so good aren't fans; they're friends. I know the idea of friendship across digital social platforms is weird--it's not like I've had any of you folks I've met only through my writing over for dinner--but I guess what I mean is that it feels closer to friendship than fandom to me, and I'm grateful for that.