State of the Fourth Estate 06

In the latest blog tradition, the annual “State of the Fourth Estate” post is late. Strictly speaking, it should have gone up on Sunday or, since I don’t do weekend posts, last Thursday. But the Facebook contretemps seemed likely to have wider appeal, so here we are. At least I’m closer than last year, when I didn’t get around to the SotFE post until mid-April.

Nothing much has changed on the blog. This is Post 883; on my current posting schedule, that should have the largely-meaningless, but oh-so-round-numbered Post 1000 sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. No doubt, I’ll observe the occasion with some modest celebration.

As usual, the infamous leftover sauerkraut post racked up the most hits of any page on the site. It beat the next most popular page, the one about The RagTime Traveler more than five to one.

As usual, the stats don’t include post read on the main page of the blog, through the RSS feed, or via email. So it’s possible TRTT is actually doing better than pickled cabbage. Unlikely, perhaps, but possible.

Speaking of email, it was around this time last year that I set up my newsletter. My thanks to those of you who have subscribed. You may be wondering why you haven’t gotten one lately. Well, it’s a newsletter, and there really hasn’t been any news about my career. No new book sales (or short story sales), no planned signings. So, rather than continue to send out a monthly “Hey, there’s nothing going on!” message, I decided to put it on hiatus until there’s something worth sharing.

What might be worth sharing? Well, selling a book certainly would. Finishing one probably would. And that might happen soon*.

* In the publishing world, “soon” is the equivalent of the software industry’s “Real Soon Now”. Nine characters shorter, because electrons are cheaper than ink and paper. They both translate as “I don’t know when, but it’ll almost certainly happen.”

Like Herding Cats is in beta. Yes, I know I said that back in November. I’m still waiting on one beta reader, for reasons that are nobody’s business but theirs. I understand, and I think the feedback will be worth waiting for. And, once I get it, barring a major surprise, the rewrite shouldn’t take more than a month or two. At which point that will be a finished book.

And, while I wait, I’m not sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I’m working on the first draft of a completely different book. Well, it’s also urban fantasy, so it’s not totally unrelated, but the location, time period, characters, and plot of Demirep* have nothing in common with LHC. I’m about 50,000 words in–about two-thirds of the way, since my first drafts tend to run short–and the plot is mostly in focus, and I’ve got a vague idea of where the ending will be. That’s actually more than I usually know at this point in the first draft. Even better, I’m keeping up with my daily target of 1,000 words more often than not.

* Or maybe “Demi-Rep”. Worrying about punctuation in a working title isn’t even on my to-do list.

So what happens if I finish the first draft of Demirep before I get the last beta report on Like Herding Cats? I won’t. No, really, it won’t happen. But, just in case it does, I’ve got, uh, hang on a second…five concepts in my “Possibilities” folder. I won’t be bored, or run out of things to write if it happens. Which it won’t.

Onward into Writing Year Six.

2 thoughts on “State of the Fourth Estate 06

  1. Muted, but tasteful, congratulations, Casey. You continue to be something of an inspiration to me, even as I am overawed by your continuous, and dogged, output. I do have to observe that if you had no cats, your output would be considerably lower- but maybe that’s just jealousy talking. “Write what you know”, right?
    Regarding your work as a novelist, I wanted to share with you a couple of quotes from the “Author’s Preferred Text” of “American Gods”- a book you probably already have near at hand. In his introduction, Neil Gaiman quotes his friend, Gene Wolfe, who says, “You never learn how to write a novel. You only learn to write the novel you’re on”.
    On the next page, Gaiman says, “A novel can best be defined as a long piece of prose with something wrong with it”.
    Though I am unlikely to ever tackle a novel- I think I have a book in me, somewhere, but it’s not a novel- I love the basic philosophy expressed in both these quotes: “You never really know what you’re doing, or how to do it, so don’t worry so much”. Seems like a rule for life, in general.
    AND….Opening Day is upon us! Sing hallelujah! -Buff


    • I think this is the point where I’m supposed to grind my toes in the dirt and say “Aw, shucks, ’tweren’t nothin’.”

      With regard to the cats, I see no reason to reject inspiration, no matter what its source. Let’s not forget, the cats function as something of a loss leader here. Those weekly posts bring in blog readers who will, hopefully, buy my books. If it works for electronics every November…

      That said, regular readers of the blog will recognize some familiar faces when LHC hits the shelves. As I said, inspiration.

      “…with something wrong with it.” Yup. Nailed it. (Great quotes. Thanks!)

      Less than 48 hours to go. Everyone gets to sleep in tomorrow, which is good, because we won’t be able to sleep tomorrow night, too eager to run downstairs and unwrap our presents.


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