[LMB] The new thing (I hope)

Lois McMaster Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Tue Sep 3 18:30:45 BST 2013

[LMB] The new thing (I hope)
William A Wenrich wawenri at msn.com
Mon Sep 2 22:35:15 BST 2013

William A Wenrich:  Please, Lois, tell us that there is a "New Thing" in 
the works, of any

I'm hoping that you not on a long sabbatical or, worse yet, retiring.

LMB:  Alas, there is nothing in the works at this time.  (To keep to a 
commercial writing schedule, a writer should be turning in next year's 
book just about the time this year's book is being published.  I am now 
two years behind, if anyone is keeping track.)

I always figured that what I had was really two part-time jobs: one 
part-time job as a writer, and one part-time job as a writer's 
secretary, bookkeeper, publicist, housekeeper, and career manager. Not 
to mention the body-double and brain-double who goes on book tours, 
writes and gives speeches and interviews (and now podcasts), etc.  
(Although I grant I've been ducking the teaching-writing gigs for years.)

I am, currently, attempting to semi-retire, but I have it backwards.  
What I _want_ to do is retire from the PR etc., and keep writing.  
Instead, the PR burden keeps coming at me, seemingly endlessly, and I'm 
doing no writing at all.  (More precisely, I'm doing no more making up 
stories in my head at all, since my head is constantly being bombarded 
with other things (hello, Internet!), so the inner voice -- or in my 
case, inner movie theater -- is drowned out.  Also, there are 
frustrating post-menopausal sleep issues.)

When I am done with this last economic/moral obligation to a supporting 
publisher, which is the Baltimore Book Festival at the end of September 
in aid of the trade paperback issue of _Captain Vorpatril's Alliance_, I 
have no more business travel on my calendar at all.  We'll see if I can 
manage to keep it that way for a while. (Since trips are booked, 
sometimes, as much as 2 years in advance, clearing my travel calendar 
can take a long lead-time.)

Travel can be amazingly stimulating -- this past weekend's WorldCon 
being a fabulous example -- but increasingly, travel _hurts_.  And not 
just while I'm on the plane, but for weeks after.  Staying home and 
leading a quiet, regular life seems to help to minimize pain.

It is beginning to seem worth it not to write another book just so that 
no one can make me go on another book tour.  The other alternative is to 
grow a spine and learn to say "No" to nice people who like me and/or 
give me money (and who want all these not-actually-writing-fiction 
services in return), but that's hard.

Trouble is, a writer's name is their brand-name, by which one sells 
books.  Keeping one's name out there to continue doing so while leading 
a completely private life seems to entail a contradiction in terms.  I 
suppose one can be famously reclusive...

There is also the J. R. R. Tolkien model, of course.  Tolkien doesn't 
blog, or maintain his own website, or go on book tours, or give 
interviews or podcasts, or attend conventions; it's been decades since 
he's even answered fan mail, and yet his books continue to sell _just 
fine_, which rather contradicts all that "Run faster! No, faster than 
that!" book-promotion advice they keep handing out to newbie (and oldie) 
writers.  I need to figure out how to do the Tolkien 
low-entropy-high-sales PR model without the being-dead part.

Ta, L.  Con-fried today, oh, what was your first clue...?

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