Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some Things Don't Change

In a lot of ways it was easier to get things into the mail when all I had to work with was outdated print resources speaking in general terms. These days I keep up with the deal news from Publishers' Marketplace and read all the high concepts of all the new deals and think: "Agh, that sounds awful! The person who bought that won't want to even look at my stuff," or sometimes, "Agh, that's the high concept of the book I'm trying to mail! The person who bought that has already bought the only lesbian western he's going to be allowed to buy this year!" about every single entry.

Which isn't true, or not always, and in many of those cases I need to suck it up and send the query anyway, but I know that in the same way that I knew, in high school, that I could get the research paper in on time, with all the footnotes placed correctly, and get a good grade. It was intellectual knowledge only. I didn't believe it in my gut, which was convinced the only way I was going to get an A was if I could write the paper amusingly enough that the teacher read it indulgently and overlooked the glaring errors in footnote formatting (which I was doing on a manual typewriter - don't miss that!), bibliographic depth, and interpretive subtlety.

Which was a pretty constructive misapprehension on my gut's part, now I come to think of it. Now I'm older I know that lots of people wrote stone-cold boring papers and got A's, while I was getting an A+, a red-pencil smile, practice in good writing habits, and the enmity of my peers (which would have been mine even if I'd written poorly so, to heck with it) for being a teacher's pet. My gut is much less useful in parsing the current market.

I guess we don't get better at everything as we grow older.

Which isn't where I planned to end up when I sat down, but it'll do, since I'm crashing kind of hard.

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