Even Technical Writing can be Sexy if You Do it Right
Recently I had a conversation that went something like this:
"Here it is. Read it and slip into a coma."
"Is that your first, bare-bones, rough and dirty attempt at a draft?"
"No! That's my..." I'm at a loss for words I've worked so long to get that draft ready to be looked at.
"It's your saucy b*tch of a draft?"
Yes. That small tome of non-fiction was full of attitude and thinks-she's-right. It was a three dressed up as a nine, but it was not wasting anyone's time.
I quite regularly beat myself up for not having sold a romance fiction novel yet. It sometimes kills me that I rely on a day job to pay the bills, but at least technical writing is technically writing. The funny thing is, a few years ago I began begging the universe to pay me to write all day. Voila! This gig fell into my lap, so I really can't complain.
(Dear Universe. Please pay me for all the words I choose to write, especially the romance novel ones.)
Technical writing isn't sexy. I'll cop to that lie, but I'm unusually suited to it. I have the attention span for it, I'm sufficiently interested in boring processes to translate them into layman's language and I don't take myself seriously so I'm not offended when no one wants to read what I've produced. (Hmm. Could this be a clue to why I haven't sold any of my fiction works?)
Actually, the bulk of my job is to rewrite, edit and revise what others have written. I figure if I can make the content accessible enough that my non-techy romance brain can understand it, anyone can. After I clean up the writing and format, I spell-check and print on demand. I've learned a lot about publishing from this experience. For instance:
- Authors are a pain. Their intentions are good, but they miss deadlines. They don't want to let go of their work if they can hang onto it and tweak. They get cranky if you accidentally credit someone else with their submission.
- Editing is a hurry-up-and-wait game. You have to juggle your own tasks on various projects in different stages of the process while begging for approval to move on with anything. Eventually you order custom covers and all the rest, but just when you think you've got something out the door, someone above you makes changes and you have to start over. Those same people get cranky when you go over budget.
- Printing is expensive. Electronic publishing is cheaper and, once you master the software and distribution, easier. I haven't, but I'm getting there.
- Electronic distribution is more wide-reaching than print. With print, because of the expense, the impulse is to keep the print runs small and only make the books available where absolutely necessary. E-publishing allows for freer access which means (potentially) a greater readership.
Like I say, I've beaten myself up in the past for not having any books on shelves, but I looked at my 'published' list at work the other day and saw I had five volumes completed plus one that we could term 'novella-length.' Two more are in final stages and that saucy b*tch I talked about above should be finished in a couple of months. After that, I'm 'contracted' for another four at least.
Go figure. I'm multi-published. Plus I know for a fact some of my work has been sent overseas. I'm practically an international bestseller.
I still want the bucks for fiction, though.
Dear Universe. I have a saucy b*tch of a romance novel...