Got lots of action on my response to a query from a fellow writer, on the SF Canada mailing list, about balancing the quest for fame-in-fiction with more-than-fulltime employment in the day job and a stubborn resistance of wise advice about branding. ‘Cause I just wanna do what I wanted to do. So sharing my response here. Not sure I have permission for sharing other people’s input or I would. Just FYI all.
I cheat. I have a day job to pay the bills. So I can get away with things I couldn’t if I made a living writing. I have done that, but as a reporter long ago. Not really a working librarian, either. Manager in ed tech support and parttime teacher of tech. Bottom line for me – if it bores me to read it, why the %$$ would I write it? Make more money doing other things. So rebelling against the dogma of the pro world. It may be hard to get noticed as a maverick. But hell, it’s hard to get noticed, period. Running into the “little boxes on the hillside” business again as a publisher, trying to conform to distributor’s needs for pitching to bookstores. No one ever escapes. But think of that, more, as learning the right rituals to get over hurtles.
As for the literary thing … been conflicted forever. And bored with myself. Sure, I think I convey some profound stuff about the human condition (and how people OUGHT to build AI) but it’s true. I write space opera. I’m proud to have readers with PhDs but trying not to be touchy about the young ones into the romances or sword fights, either. So am I! Literature is in the eye of the beholder, in the end. My whole saga’s meant a lot to me, on the front of processing big questions about life from “what is male vs. female” to “how responsible are we for our actions if we’re unbalanced mentally” and “can culture constrain us from mass destruction?”. I re-read it and find it deep as well as entertaining. I was self-consciously aware of the themes and subplots and symphonies of parallels and all the rest one could discover. But if others don’t see these things, either they’ve failed or I have. It’s all so subjective in the end. I give up. I just want to be read. 🙂