Or three? Why not? Time is tight. Too tight for blogs, jobs, writing, reading. Plus kids. Kids and love come first. Always will. Kids and love. Oh and training. Self-training in HTML etc to stay employable in the job. Stay employable to pay for the kids and the love, which comes first. Stay employable in the publishing job that I enjoy but doesn’t pay too well, which has turned into a digital publishing job that doesn’t pay…well it’s still the recession I suppose?
I pushed myself into this area actually. I could have slunk away, could have said, ‘Ah! But a REAL book person doesn’t do ebooks!’ I could have been one of those cosy people, risk free in their pipe and slippers, in the sand, buried, enjoying it, looking at all the digi-fools poncing about worrying about ‘global opportunity’ and ‘data driven sales’. But I couldn’t be that person because really? I don’t believe that real book people don’t do digi. I believe the opposite. Real book people love reading. Real book people love access to more books. And books = content. So I think myself lucky to have a job producing content I love for readers who love reading in any media. I have the chance to hone the job I want in the future; to produce and sell well-curated content as globally (yet ironically as ‘vertically’) as possible.
It was like this.
One day I went to work. I turned on my computer, saw the archived content from close to 15 years back the road and said, ‘Holy cow!’ (well, not cow but something more bleep worthy) ‘All of this — legacy titles, backlist titles, front list titles, ALL OF THIS can not only be re-imagined but re-purposed?’ And brought to new audiences. And given a second chance. And I enjoy second chances. I enjoy redemption, even for books, for books sat on shelves in warehouses. I love digital if only for that, for liberating content that shouldn’t languish or that is languishing simply because it’s not wise to press the button on a 2,000 qty reprint. I love digital because it prolongs the ‘shelf-life’ not only of the book but of the author. Therefore as an author too I am keen on digital.
But why, why, WHY did the digital revolution hit at the same time I was starting a family? I went and made these little people, I brought them in and now they need of critical nurturing at the same time the book world is asunder! At the same time the recession hit and we all worried we’d lose our homes — some did, some are about to. At the same time colleagues hitting thirty-plus are renting dud house-shares and people with Masters degrees and tons of work experience interning for free. And for those still working? A denser workload with less pay and a cutting edge outlook to hone to feed a hunger that is real, not just a personal hunger but a pre-emptive almost primal one. Was breadwinning this complex way-back-when? Hunting wild boars in the Paleolithic or whatever? Did cavemen/women have to be top of their game to evolve? You know, have the most epic spear, the most adaptive opposable thumb or whatever?
The digi revolution in publishing also typically hit at a time I got an agent for my novel which means more productivity in this area too. Book 2 is currently being drafted while Book 1 is parked for a ‘maturing period’. Dammit, I could put in some good work here. I do when I can. But gone are the days I could devote all spare time to writing. Now I split spare time with self-training; HTML, HTML5, CSS, EPUB, MOBI, Metadata, SEO rich copy, analytics, data driven sales, keywords, BIC/BISACS, fixed format, KF8, Product Descriptions…Amazon, Amazon and Amazon, can I keep up? I think so. All this has replaced even-workings, recto-verso, paperback un-sewn, endpapers. Quaint and beautiful words to say aloud let alone write, possibly even luxury words?
But this I do willingly, ‘All This’ must be learned so I can have the most epic spear (or gathering gizmo?) I can get, like my cave men and women ancestors, the onus is on keeping my family stable and pass on some Darwinian tips to the kids, give them at least the mentality to go with change and keep going if it hits them. When it hits them and it will because change is life.
Is it money that worries me? No. It’s time. Kids and love? Non-negotiable. Blog? Writing Book 2? Self-training in coding etc? Pushable but not advisable. Is there a more efficient way? Let me think about this. Let me think. What kind of cave woman can kill three boars with one stone, be back with a solution soon.