Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I have few pretensions about being well-known, although I have achieved a slight measure of recognition by selling a few stories here and there.  I even get invited to the occasional convention as a panelist, although I doubt it is because of my sex appeal or sparkling repartee but rather because I usually show up on time, have never tried to kill another panelist or audience member ( and believe me, I have been SORELY tempted) or dominated the discussion.  Maybe they just ask me because I don't cost much, don't smell, and don't pester the con committee.

I've been writing in my spare time for almost twenty years for various magazines and anthologies; I've even completed a couple of novels and put together some POD and Kindle collections.  Yet, in all that time, with all that I've had published, I've gotten only minimal, nearly insignificant, feedback from anyone other than editors.   I also get faint praise from other writers and have the courtesy not to ask which story of mine they've actually read so as not to embarrass them, just as I appreciate not having to lie in return.  But hearing from editors doesn't count as meaningful feedback in my mind, especially when it takes the form of "Thanks, but we can't use this one," which is less than encouraging.

But from the readers I get nothing, unless it is someone complaining about a tenth decimal place inaccuracy of some obscure science fact, which usually makes me want to start writing fantasy or horror instead of hard SF.  In twenty years I've received three (3) letters saying they liked my story and perhaps fewer eMails with similar words.  Three!  Over a twenty year period!

Other writers might perform well in isolation, anchorites all who need not hie to the popular taste, but I want to know what my readers think - did they enjoy this or that, was it worth their while, what could I have done differently, how did I fail to gain their interest, and what would  they like to see improved?  These are important questions for me --hell, for any writer--  and without input I can only continue throwing literary darts in the dark, hoping to hit a target I can neither see nor understand.

It is so frustrating!

1 comment:

  1. Keep your chin up. You have a following, even if we are the silent uncommunicative types. It was your story, The Old Man's Best and the one about the crazy kitties that inspired me to write in a way that I could. I'm still awful and have a long way to go, but its your fault that I am even trying. Besides, what is writing if not pain? You should read the writing life my Anne Dillard. You might find it interesting.


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