Good Months and Bad Months

An extended email exchange on Saturday got me thinking about good months and bad months.  When you’re a writer (I won’t even qualify this as writing for a living), you measure success in short bursts of time.  If you’re really good, your units of measurement get bigger.

Allow me to explain.

August has been a good month for me.  A week after I signed the contract for the Bruce Springsteen anthology, I received an acceptance from Delirium Books’ for their Horror D’oeuvres series of flash fiction.  Two pro sales in a month is a feat I’ve never managed before, and I’m thrilled about it.

But they were my first story sales since February.

And let’s face it, without either one of those story sales, I would have just had a good week.  And at this point, I can only hope to make another sale in a week or two, making it a good couple of months.  Maybe I’ll sell something a little bigger, a novelette or novella, and make it a good year.

But maybe that’s not fair.  In the last year I’ve made three pro-rate sales.  Even with a six month dry spell between them, I’ve had a good year.  Hell, I’ve had my best year.  Would I kill to make a sale a month?  Sure.  I don’t know anybody who’s managed that feet, though.  Well, maybe Jim Moore, who sports a bibliography big enough to choke an elephant.

So yeah, it’s been a great year for me.  Know what, though?  Next year could suck.  There’s always that possibility.  You’re only as good as your last sale.  Or worse, your last publication.  If I sold a novel today, it might not make it to shelves before 2009.  Hell, with how well the small press is doing, the publisher could be out of business by then (this is why you always try to sell to the best small presses first).  You never know.  You take your success as it comes, and you bite, claw, and scratch for the next little bit.  That’s all any of us can do, I guess.

So there you go.  I hope you all have a good month sometime real soon.