Monday, April 19, 2010

Day Off Ten

Ten Holidays for Writers That We'd Like to See

Amazon Dump Monday: A day of mourning for authors whose e-books have been removed from due to retail price squabbling. May also be used to write anonymous hate letters to Jeff Bezos and/or author's publisher before reading the classifieds part-time day job column for positions that might augment respective ruined portion of income.

Query Calamity Tuesday: A day of rest and meditation for any writer who realizes 1) they sent their latest query to the wrong publisher or agent; 2) they misspelled their own name on it; or 3) they accidentally sent it to every single person in their address book, including that chick in their local chapter who steals everyone else's story ideas. Must unplug from the internet for the entire holiday.

WIPlash Wednesday: 24-hour mandatory downtime in locked/dark room for any writer who loses or accidentally deletes 30 pages or more of their latest manuscript. Includes any destruction of said manuscript due to weather conditions, negligent spouse, angry romantic interest or bored house pets. Best writer friend (BWF) must remain on standby for emergency phone call response to any/all suicidal-sounding e-mails.

Royalty Check Bounced Thursday: Day when all banks will be closed to give the writer the opportunity to contact their editor, their agent, that guy they know in accounting, and (when unsuccessful at getting anyone to explain on the phone) borrow the money necessary to cover said rubber deposit. Writers who receive overdue royalty checks that, oops, accounting somehow forgot to sign, also qualify for this holiday.

Hatchet Job Recovery Friday: A day off, a massage and a week's supply of chocolate-covered Valium for any writer whose novel is torn to pieces by Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, or another trade their editor routinely reads. Re-reading of glowing fan letters, receiving reassurance of talent from BWF, and hours of sobbing and cuddling with furry household pet strongly suggested.

Cover Art Conniption Fit Saturday: One day of group therapy, psychiatric counseling and as-needed mental health interventions for the author who discovers their cover art is so unsightly that it threatens to blind their readership (or just come over to PBW's house, look at a couple of hers, and feel instantly better.)

Submission Rejected Sunday: A day of prayer and heartfelt conversations with the Almighty for any writer who receives a form rejection letter, postcard, or scrawled "not for us" in pink ink on their returned submission. An extra day may be taken for any rejection that personally insults the writer, the writer's future employment prospects, the writer's mother, the writer's DNA, etc.; funding for which will be paid by the rejecting publisher.

Fire My Agent? Week: A seven day period during which a writer in a distressed or combative situation with their current agent can spend rehearsing phone call speeches, writing piss off letters, and otherwise contemplate the pleasures and delights of finally firing that lazy/indifferent/ineffective blockhead. Toward the end of the holiday the writer must gather far worse agent horror stories from other colleagues, reconcile with their own and trudge on because really, do you want to go through this crap again with someone new?

Jump Ship? Month: Thirty days reserved for the author whose editor, contracts or other problems has pushed them to the brink of abandoning their backlist and signing on with another publisher who promises not to do the same to them (writer will not get this in writing, of course.) The month should be devoted to coaxing colleagues into spilling the beans about their situations with the prospective house so that the writer may verify that the devil they don't know is or isn't as bad as the one they do.

Why Did I Want This Job Anyway? Sabbatical: Four months of freedom between contract signings, during which the author may update their dusty old resume, go out for interviews, discover that ten years of self-employment does not make them dazzling candidates for hire for any industry, and once again confirm that while writers are routinely abused, used, rode hard and put away wet, it's still the only job to which one can go to work at noon while wearing bed hair, SpongeBob Squarepants pajamas, and fuzzy green socks with holes in the toes.


  1. Ha! I've never needed the rubber royalty check holiday, but I have heard tales.

    And um, the danger of the last one is that you actually find another option that lets you work in jammies and where you could actually get paid. (They might not be made of rubber, but those checks take the slow boat from China months after the work to earn them was done.)

  2. I won't tell you which of these holidays I've celebrated, but it's been more than one...

    A BWF (best writer friend) is crucial on days like this.

  3. This should be a calendar. Honestly.

  4. Thanks for the grins. I like this calendar!

  5. Like Margaret, I've celebrated more than one of these holidays--in my SpongeBob Squarepants pajamas, of course.

  6. Slowly but surely I have come to love your blog and the little topics you write about each time. :)

    These are quite creative holidays and much needed!


  7. I found this article today with some interesting information about ebook publishing and pricing. If you haven't read this yet I think you'll find it interesting...

  8. Ohhh Friday, please.

  9. Stumbled across this link and just had to share:

    A blog devoted to bad SF cover art. Truly, epically bad cover art.


  10. Anonymous3:48 PM

    I'm not a writer, but there are days when I need the chocolate covered valium. Sometimes working with living things sucks.


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