November 26th, 2009


And the saga continues

Mostly I feel like I've been sent through a hedge backwards - that would be my mother's saying. I'm kinda just running on reserves right now and I look and feel pretty damn knackered.

Other happenings this week: I was offered a 6 month contract out of Job Interview 1. This made me have to discuss options with my current boss and enquire about Job Interview 2. I was unsuccessful and wasn't even candidate number 2 for that and he had no money to offer me something else. So I took the job offer. Then I got emailed my job rejection. Soon they will just tweet those to you. In the New World. And right this second, my boss just popped his head in to ask me if I took the job cause he was vaguely thinking he could shuffle some money around, maybe. Doh! And yesterday A_ called me to tell me that the powers that be were finally looking into the situation of something related to my old position and the work I was doing. Two months TOO LATE. And guess what the new job will be? Being the me that the other dept wanted me to me in this dept. So ... the same advice will happen it will just be in house instead. Or something.

So that stuff has been doing my head in. Also that even though I was merit selected via Job Interview 1, I am going to be stepping into a job above the level I was selected at so they are retitling it for the 6 months and I cannot have it extended or rolled over. I have to reapply and get merit selected over there for the next level up if I want to. One wonders what the point of round 1 job application actually was.

Then I got home last night and was inspecting my cleaning handiwork and noticed "issues". I started to feel that my cleaning had been inadequate just as Benji came in and sat right next to the "problem area". He is now banned from the bathroom for the time being and I am just not focussing on that aspect. Anyway, on close inspection I have discovered that the toilet is STILL LEAKING. Ferfucksake! He's replaced the plastic o-ring with a wax sealant but when he joined the two pieces, he did so at the top and bottom rather than say mid-point horizontally and the joins are pretty thin wax so yeah it's fucking still leaking. And I just don't think I can cope. I really really can't face him coming into my house, I can't even tell you much of why, it's too revolting. And I can't, can't can't can't, have the toilet taken apart again and have to clean it all up again. I don't have it in me. I just don't.

I didn't sleep well again last night - I was so wide awake even though I was really really tired. A lovely friend had come round and distracted me by taking care of dinner, watching Celebrity Masterchef and mocking the contestants with me and then watching a bit of Dexter. It was good to try and feel normal and relaxed.

I'm ignoring a problem in my bathroom whilst knowing it's not going to go away but it makes me want to cry.


On publicity and promotion

Another hat I wear is Executive Editor over at the review site ASif!. In this role, I get posted review copies by publishers requesting reviews of upcoming books, I sort out the assignments amongst the reviewers (reviewers choose their own books and they manage their own workloads) and I mail the books out to them. I like to see all the books coming out soon and that I could be reading, if, like, I had time. And it also gives me the chance to see sample media releases, email queries, how to approach and present the material you are promoting and so on.

I've been using some of what I have learned in that process to tailor my own media releases, catalogue and how I approach potential review outlets. I've been privileged this year to have been taken under the wing by several successful people in the industry who have shared a lot of information and contacts with me. So many, in fact, that I need to tailor the promotion of each book because of the scale of the current projects. I have learned a lot about the review/publicity to sales ratio and have been tracking the success of different methods I have trialled this year.

One of the important things that has really been highlighted for me, is to tailor each request to the outlet or person I am approaching. Because my review copies are limited, I want to make sure that each free copy I send out works the best for me. This is why I research the outlets and the people I am sending my product to. I sent A book of Endings out to different places to where I sent Horn.

This all by way of contextualising something that happened to me yesterday. I've been very verbal in parts of this blog and elsewhere about works by self identifying Horror writers. You know, the stuff that's highly purile, simplistic, out for shock value without any depth to actually land a real punch and that revels in the torture, debasing and dehumanising of women. I haven't gone on about it lately cause I discovered this thing I could do, I could stop reading it.

Which is not the same as saying I don't enjoy dark fantasy, horror and thriller elements to stories. A lot of what I published this year was of that nature.

Anyway, I've had a tough week. I am tired and stressed and harried. And yesterday, I pulled a review copy sent to ASif! out of my PO Box. Very nice. I'd followed a bit of drama surrounding this work, piecing together tweets and facebook statuses and comments and replies. So it was nice to see that the book had made it out into the world. And I like to be able to support small press.

However, accompanying this book was a sealed envelope, inside which was a christmas card with a headless woman, scantily clad in christmas themed colours and a dripping knife with the inside that said "Have a bloody good Christmas" and when I turned it over the picture was titled "Santa's Little Bitch". As I said, I was tired and stressed out and as I skimmed this, my experience was: oh look, another objectification of the female body that doesn't deserve a face have a bloody good christmas santa's little bitch.

So what I walked away with was ... wait, did I just get called a bitch? No, not me, her. Oh. They've sent me this nice christmas card and they want me to promote their book for them and they haven't remotely considered that a woman might find that a little bit offensive.

I was tired, didn't sleep well and wasn't sure if I was over reacting. So I held off on this post. I tweeted and facebooked it and a lot of people seemed to agree that it was offensive and unpleasant.

Here's the thing. The book, clearly, is not aimed at me as a reader. And that's fine. I don't have to read it. But something that a publisher should really think long and hard about is, when I send this (request, email, mailout, media release) out to a person who is going to be opening the package (email, letter etc) harried, busy, drowning in other requests and is going to give it 5 secs glance at the end of their day, do I want to risk that those 5 secs could be misinterpreted, offend or be inappropriate to that person? Cause it takes 5 more secs to take the book and put it in the "to the second hand shop" box in my house.

Taking five seconds to read my blog or my facebook or hell, to ask anybody else in the scene, would have suggested that it might have been best to just omit the card from my package. It sure would have saved me being ropable for several hours last night.

I still support small press and I will make the review copy available for review by ASif! reviewers. Am I offended and pissed off that this kind of sexist shit still happens? Hell yes. Did I add it to what I already knew about certain people related to that project (not the publisher/editor) - yeah I did. Do editors and publishers in this country and in the scene in general talk? Yeah they do. Did every one already know about the card fiasco? Yeah they did.


I believe in Magic

Well miraculously I think angriest seems to have fixed my leaking toilet with the power of his mind.

Here's hoping that it remains fixed.

And with that, I think I'm going to be ok. I went out for dinner with jbaby77 and The Divine Ms B and had a lovely meal and catch up with them. AND I discovered that The Divine Ms B can fix toilets. And cars! How awesome is that?! And she said, yeah she'd have put a bucket under the pipe before she removed the o-ring. Next time, I can just get another plumber. Or see if she'll come and look at it.

I'm starting to vaguely feel a bit more back to me. I'm gonna go get some sleep in a bit and I think I will feel much better in the morning. I did ok, OCD-wise, I think, all things considered. I want to apologise to everyone who has had to read or hear about my emergency plumbing issues! I've been very focussed and one tracked about it. But I didn't flip out *too badly*. This morning T_ at work was making some really graphic jokes about the utterly feral sponge in the tea room (as she made the executive decision to throw it out - this was related to my tweet yesterday about wanting to add bleach to my coffee tweet) and I was able to laugh. I was grossed out, and A_ was all "don't listen!!!" but it was hilarious.

In summary: I survived! Thanks for holding my hand through it!

And I bought a book for next year - you probably noticed. It was obviously tentatively on my schedule for 2010 but it's good to have read the draft and officially buy it etc. It's the only thing I have had headspace for this week, the only thing able to captivate and distract my stressed headspace - and that's only the first draft. I'm looking forward to seeing how it shapes up.

Bed now. More later.