Although I've verbally accepted a new offer from my publisher, the contract hasn't arrived yet, and neither of us have signed off on the new agreement. It's pretty much a done deal, but until I officially read every word of the contract (twice) and scribble my name on the dotted line, I'm under no obligation to write anything for them, not even a Post-It note.
As it happens I've also just finished writing and turned in my last contracted novel. I have plenty of work to do; I've started writing the first book for the new contract, I'm putting together a pitch for another, and I'm working on a pile of free and promo stuff. But as of 9:00 am tomorrow morning I will (technically) be unemployed for the first time since 1998.
Realizing that I'm out of work didn't make me feel panicky, insecure or particularly happy. I like having a job, and . . . all right, I did indulge in a couple of fantasies we writers have at times like these, like:
Sending the Mass Expose E-mail: Writing to that long list of folks who did unforgivable things to you, and letting them know which of their significant others is having or has had carnal knowledge of other people on the long list. Bonus points: attach the pictures they never knew you snapped of them at the conferences with their boyfriend/girlfriend/adoring fan.
Reclaiming Your Honesty: Go back over every request or suggestion you ever received from your editor in regard to your writing, your manuscripts or whatever, and respond to each one again, only this time, tell her/him what you really think of their ideas.
Axing the Agent: (This only works if you've recently received a very lucrative offer) Fly to New York in person and take your agent out for a nice meal. Tell your agent how much the big offer is worth, give them a minute to work out what their hefty commission will be, then tell them you're not taking it because you're quitting Publishing, and they're fired.
Repaying the Buzzkillers: Do that really awful, terrible thing we discussed at length last month at the last Secret Publishing Handshake Cabal meeting. Remember -- unless they're illegal in your state, be sure to use at least two skunks, three rolls of duct tape, and five packages of firecrackers.
Beeg Name Grand Finale: (This is more for the huge bestsellers out there who'd like to make Le Grand Trampling Exit with a little style) Invite your agent and editor to your house for a barbecue, handcuff them to your picnic table in the back yard and, while you tell them that you're quiting Publishing for good, burn every one of your unpublished manuscripts, synopses and story idea outlines over the fire.
I'm sure I'll have a couple more fantasy moments before the contract arrives. Then I will dutifully read every word of it (twice) before I sign on the dotted line, and put away the conference pictures and the duct tape for another year of my writing life. Unless someone out there is interested in a really wonderful expose on the Publishing Industry from a writer who's been in the trenches since '98 . . . ?
What are your unemployment fantasies, Publishing or otherwise?