Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Size doesn’t matter when you’re talking books

Today, I’m not looking at votes counted or pundits projecting. I’m offline, mostly, and it feels amazing. Social media can make an anxiety-churning thing like this election even worse, at least for me. So I’m not really here, you don’t see me. :)

This week on SFF Seven we’re talking about how long a book ought to be. If you’re curious, Jeffe Kennedy posted some word counts on Sunday, and I would refer you to her post. It’s all the info you could possibly want, and I don’t have a lot to add.

Oh, except maybe one thing: if you’re looking to preserve your debut, never-been-published status, please know that size does not matter. You publish a thing, anywhere, and you are no longer a proper debut. I co-wrote a short story years before I sold my first book, and on a lark my co-writer submitted it to Harlequin, who bought it. It was fun, at the time, to see my name on something. I submitted a couple of short stories to anthologies after that because writing short stories is a blast and really kept my “I can do this” confidence up. Fast forward to when I actually wrote a for-real, full-length book and sold it, and I submitted that book to a “best first book” contest. Because it was my first book, right. Those short stories had required an entirely different skill set, or so I thought. Well, the folks running the contest sent me a note telling me I wasn’t eligible and they were refunding my entry fee. Eep. I felt like I’d been caught cheating or something, which had never been my intention. Still feels dirty, years later. 

At any rate, don’t do that to yourself. You can ruin something nice — like your debut moment — by writing anything, even the tiniest short story that no one even buys. 

So be kind to you: stay off social media when it makes you feel even lonelier... and keep the guilty pleasure writing projects to yourself.