This might be a manifesto
Yeah, I might have to nail this one to the cathedral door when it’s done.
Today is the official release date of Shorn by Larissa N. Niec: the first book published by my brainchild, Mercury Retrograde Press. I’m immeasurably proud of the work we’ve done on this one–and it *has* been a “we”, because in addition to the writer, any book must also have an editor, a proofreader, a typesetter/book designer, a cover designer, one or more artists, and people whose task it is to get the word out so people can fall in love with the creation and make its story part of their personal myth set. Shorn has had–still has–a whole team behind it. Because we’re a new press, and we can’t afford to hire full-time employees yet, I’ve done the majority of the work on this project, and for the most part I find the work fulfilling; but in the race to do this book justice, I have mostly set aside my own writing life. This is a thing I’ve viewed as a temporary necessity; in my mind, once we crossed the finish line on Shorn, things would calm down and I could get back to the study with a clear conscience.
I now understand that was unrealistic. There is still work to be done for Shorn, and the work will continue for a couple months yet: getting the word out, setting up relationships with new sales channels (a task for which I’m hugely grateful, btw), propagating the ebook versions and beginning to figure out the logistics of audio book production. Meanwhile Anointed, the next book on Mercury Retrograde’s menu, is already waiting for me to start doing my share of what it needs; by the time that’s done, I’ll be behind on the next one. (And, oh, you’re going to LOVE the next one, but there are still nagging legal entanglements that must be resolved, so for now I must leave you to fantasize. Two words to start with: Urban Fantasy.)
The bottom line: I am never going to be *caught up* on Mercury Retrograde business, at least not until Mercury Retrograde can afford staff. That’s normal for a start-up business, and I’ve done the whole start-up thing before, so while I’m not uncomfortable with the headlong dash and all the other stuff that goes along with it, now that we’re in a Mercury Retrograde period, my muse is crying for time in the study…and suddenly I remember that I founded Mercury Retrograde because the house I wanted to publish my own fiction didn’t exist yet. It exists now, and I love it; but if I publish six, nine, or twelve books per year that win the hearts of critics and fans alike, earn out and go on to make money for their authors, and yet I am not writing fiction, I will not have done what I set out to do.
It is never going to be a convenient time for me to go back to writing; so long as I am writing, things will move more slowly in the office than they otherwise might. But it occurs to me that, while I refuse to hold other Mercury Retrograde authors to hard deadlines when meeting those deadlines would require them to compromise their art, I’m giving my own work no such respect. That has to stop.
So, while Mercury Retrograde Press authors and fans may wish I could move a little faster in the office, I trust they will understand that I must go back to carving out regular time in the study. No book will go unedited, un-typeset, or unpromoted; it’s just that schedules will be a bit more fluid than they’ve been. In the long run, I suspect, all of Mercury Retrograde’s books will benefit.
In the mean time, I have to go back to the study.a writer's life, creativity, Mercury Retrograde, publishing, writing