Categories

I’ve just added six more categories:

As a result of all the extra categories, I’ve gotten rid of the “writing and publishing” category, which was pretty much useless, and amalgamated the MorM books under one category: “Magic or Madness trilogy”.

Wow. I feel so organised. First new year’s resolution is now off the list!

This is my thousandth post!!!

Since May 2005 I have written a thousand blog posts!1 Those posts contain around 300,000 words which is longer than any of my novels, though, fortunately not longer than all of them put together.2 I am verbose! Yay for verbosity!

And yay for blog statistics! Here are some other numbers:

The posts here average 13 comments each. Given that when I started I was lucky to get any comments at all that number startles me. Of course, I have all of you to thank! Yay readers and commenters and lurkers and the occasional drive-by visitors. I love youse all.

The numbers of words in the comments is approaching 800,000. Astounding, eh?

I’ve averaged just under a post a day. But in the beginning I did not post nearly as much as I do now. The addiction has crept up on me slowly. Now going a day without blogging leaves me jittery and discombobulated. Must. Blog. Or. Die.

My most popular post by a very big margin is How to Write a Novel. Every day people arrive here to imbibe my novel writing wisdom after googling “how to write a novel”. So I recommend all writers post their own thoughts on same and give it the same title. Cunning, eh? Though maybe you should be less silly about it than I was.

Other than “how to write a novel”, my name, and titles of my books, the most popular search terms that lead here are “quokkas”, “Jill Grinberg” (my agent), “crazy writers”, “Sheryl Swoopes”, “Andrew Symonds”, “how to rewrite” and “what should I wear”. I feel that’s an excellent representation of the blog seeing as how writing and publishing, fashion, quokkas, women’s basketball, and cricket are some of my main topics. I am saddened, though, that “zombie” leads so few people here. Must work on that. Expect oodles more zombie posts.

When I first started this blog it was read by my mum, my dad, my sister and a few of my friends. Now I average over a thousand visits a day from people I’ve mostly never met. Who’d've thunk it?

In the olden days a thousand visits in one day meant that John Scalzi or one of the other internet gods had linked to me, now it’s standard and seems to be on the rise. Yay! And THANK YOU!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I love blogging. LOVE it. I love the speed and ease of it,3 having an idle thought and being able to publish it almost instantaneously. And I especially love the responses. The comments you leave—even when you’re completely wrong—yes, I’m looking at all you lunatic car and coffee worshippers—not to mention Diana and her crazy outlining love—make doing this way more fun.

It’s such a contrast to the novel-writing. I write the novel, send it to a few first readers, wait and wait, get a few responses, rewrite, send to agent and editor, wait and wait, rewrite, send it back to editor, wait and wait, rewrite, and so on, until it makes its way through copy editing and proofing and finally at least a year later winds up being read by more than that small handful of people. Is maddeningly slow. The instantaneousness of blogging keeps me sane while I wait.

Because of blogging I get to enjoy people’s thoughts and responses and teasing and off-topic musings. I watch conversations emerge and go in places I never would’ve expected and I get to join in and generally feel less alone. Tis a wondrous thing.

Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without blogs. Not just my own but all the other fabulous blogs out there that make me laugh and think and keep me informed and giggling and more in touch with what’s going on at home and elsewhere.4

Bless you intramanets and blog world. I adore being part of it.

Here’s to another thousand posts. Another billion!

  1. I am only counting the posts here, not my previous musings, which go back to 2003. []
  2. Because that would be embarrassing. I should admit that I’m cheating slightly by including the novel I’m writing now in that total. I could have cheated worse and included the two unpublished novels . . . []
  3. Well, most of it. Sometimes I take ages to write a post like the How To ones. []
  4. I would link to some but there are too many! Check out my blogroll for the blogs I love. []

Footless tights

To the person who got to my site by googling “is it bad to wear a long t-shirt with footless tights”:

Yes! It is very very very bad indeed. Burn those footless tights immediately. And long T-shirts should only be worn to bed. Not out on the streets! What were you thinking?

Ask Dr* Justine

I know I’m a teeny bit obsessed with search terms that lead to my website (especially when deadlines loom), but today’s list was a truly bumper crop. Here are my faves:

Q: does euphoria mean something bad?

Dr Justine says: It can. It really really can. Over-the-top happiness can lead to all sorts of injuries. I broke my toe that way once.

Q: where does andrew symonds lives 2006?

A: Ya know, I have a feeling it’s prolly better that you don’t find out. Leave the poor bastard alone. He’s injured and in South Africa. Stalk someone else!

Q: what genre do first time novelists publish easiest?

A: What now?! There is no answer to this question. There is no magic path to publication. Write the best book you can in the genre you know best. Even then publication is not guaranteed. (Though, actually, I hear mainstream domestic novels like The Ice Storm are a complete doddle to write. No research, don’t you know . . . And highbrow domestic novels are always in high demand.)

Q: similies and metaphors for counselling?

A: Umm. Kind as a sweet-tempered viper?

Q: justine in hippie goddess?

A: Not to my knowledge.


*Yes, I am a real doctor. No, not that kind of a doctor. The same kind of doctor as Dr Kim, Dr E and Dr Jenny.

I am easily amused (Updated)

Top ten searches that led to my site over the last 24 hours:

Is there no topic on which I’m not an authority? Nope, not one.

Update: Just so as you know, I cheated and left out all the obvious searches like my name, books I’ve written, Elvis and mangosteens.

another question from googleland

Someone landed at my website after googling the following question:

“how do publishers decide print runs first second printing”

I don’t really know the answer to that question. Or, rather, questions, because the decision on the initial print run is a different (and more complicated question) than whether to reprint or not. If the book’s selling well and likely to sell out the first run, then you print again.

Or, mostly, I have heard horror stories like a recent unexpected bestseller whose first print run sold out flash quick and the editor had to plead with higher ups to do a second print run.

There are also houses that do such tiny initial runs that second printings are inevitable.

One editor told me that they go on instinct when recommending a print run. That if it feels like a 10,000 copy book that’s what they’ll ask for.

But, you know, I only got gossip. Are there any publishing people out there with actual information who want to respond?

Desperately Seeking Inspiration

I’m endlessly fascinated by the search terms that lead people to my website. Today these desperate words typed into google led them to some not-exactly-directly-related pearls of wisdom: inspire me to write my thesis.

Ouch.

I remember those days. I finished my PhD thesis in 1996, having started researching it in 1991 (and taken a year off due to some bone breakage), but it sure felt like it took a lot, lot, lot longer than that. At the time writing my thesis seemed by turns nightmarish, unendurable, hallucinegenic, boring, fun, hideous, never-ending and plain out-and-out pointless. I endlessly procrastinated until, faced with the prospect of no more scholarship, I buckled down and wrote day after day, night after night, barely sleeping, or eating, or doing anything else, until I was a sobbing insane mess and the thesis was finished.

Eventually it became The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction, a book I’m still ambivalent about because it’s not the book I wish it was. To me it will always be my PhD thesis: the monster that almost broke my brain.

Hmmm, that’s not very inspiring is it? Here’s why you should write your thesis:

  • Until I finished mine I had never managed to finish anything long. I had started many novels, but never finished one. Finishing my 120,000 word thesis taught me not only that I could crap on at length, but that I could produce a (mostly) coherent, whole text. That’s a mighty fine feeling and a bloody useful skill. I’ve since finished four different novels. Now when I start a novel I’m no longer afraid I won’t be able to finish it, just that it will suck.
  • The research skills I learned have come in mighty handy over and over again. Yours will too.
  • Finishing my PhD thesis meant that I was eligible to apply for a post-doctoral fellowship. I was lucky enough to get an Australian Research Council one, which ended up changing my life. Once you’ve got your PhD you too can apply for post-docs as well as academic jobs. No comment on how much fun writing all those applications is (I applied for six and got one and was ecstatic with my strikerate).
  • Having a PhD under your belt can be helpful in landing other jobs. A PhD proves that you can stick to and finish a major project, that you can organise yourself, that you know your way around a library (or whatever facilities you used for your research—don’t want to leave out science types), and that you know how to make a very small amount of money go a very long way.

On the other hand, I know plenty of people who haven’t got a PhD who are quite capable of finishing long prose pieces, have great research skills, a job, and know how to make a tiny budget stretch . . .