has been

I finally got asked the question by a young writer. As a has-been NY author, now only an e-writer do you feel bitter, Kate? Are people who once sought you out now avoiding you? She was less blunt than that, way more polite, but that was the gist.


Oh, so is that why you people never call or write?

Seriously, to be a has-been you have to have had a Top of the Trees time and I haven't really. I'm not likely too, either.

I went outside after I read that email and had a sort of reverse paperback writer moment. She reached someone's idea of the pinnacle** and went outside to drink tea. I reached someone's idea of a bottom and went outside to drink tea.

It's entirely comforting and pleasant to be reminded that except for wanting a few contracts now and then, I'm fine with who I am and what I do. Of course it helps that the weather's perfect and the climbing rose is in bloom.


**okay, nearly everyone's idea of a pinnacle in this business


  1. You're kidding right? Or did you stop writing.

  2. Umm, I'm not sure about the kidding part.

    I did drink tea.

    To be honest, I was near tears (skipped that part) but then thought WTF? You're fine, beyotch.

    I haven't stopped writing, I hope.

  3. Kate, geez. I'm sure you managed to be polite, but you can always exact the bard's revenge. Put that person in a book and make 'em suffer. *eg*

  4. Charlene Woman,
    You always have the best ideas. Really.


  5. Do I need to state the obvious? Am I going to have to pull a true story out my ass and whap you with it? If you talk to almost any "successful" author they will be happy to tell you all about their numerous "bottom" days. Never EVER allow some wet behind the ears brainless no clue about the business kid tell you where you are on the ladder.

    If you want to be somewhere you currently aren't then make a business plan and get to work. If you like the pace of your life and career right now then tell the kid to kiss your grits.

    Yeesh. Writers are so fragile I swear.

  6. Ferfe, don't bother. Well, actually I like those out an ass stories, so you can if you want.

    But I'm not gonna bother with grits kissing because the two-year-old two doors down can tell me where I am on the ladder and I'd believe it. You said it, fragile writers.

    I believe and accept that I'm not high on any ladder and I'm not going to go high and today I say, hey, that's fine. I can ignore the damned ladder most of the time. Life, she is good. Business planning? Maybe when school starts again. Maybe not. I think I'll just write.

  7. Just uncouth, what that writer said. :P to her.

    Somebody Wonderful... Griffin buys the pearls... lovesick sucker that he is. Had me grinning.

  8. Gack. I mean Somebody to Love. Did you have different titles for them originally? They confuse me, because I am simple.

  9. Hey Kate,

    Pay no attention to that "wet behind the ears brainless no clue about the business" kid who asked the insensitive question and please allow this wet behind the ears no clue about the business kid to sing the praises of your ePubbbed work.

    I like your ePubbed work better than most big-publisher paperbacks I've seen lately. I like the way you tweak the genre, and I am in total awe of the way you make your h/h realistic and likable, no matter what the length of the story.

    Given the amount of attention ePubs and ePubbed authors have been getting from NY lately, one has to wonder if that other clueless kid has any idea which way is up.

  10. Hey man, are you making pretty good money at what you do, and enjoying the stories you write? That's all that matters.

    This is all I want from my career and I don't think it's too much to ask, just a reasonable f'''kin' income to supplement my stupid secretarial job. I don't even dream of being big time--just read by a good number of people and sent a comfortable check every month. Seriously!

  11. Carrie--
    I didn't give them those titles. I suck badly at titles.

    bettie and everyone else. awwwwwww. see? I love getting pats on the back. sniffle. I love it. I should feel sorry for myself more often. Or maybe not.

    The thing is,it wasn't the wet-behind-ears girl person's fault. She asked if she could use my name with a NYC publisher and I said, well, um, okay but it won't make any difference and the "golly that must be a bummer" note came after that. I suppose the "at least you've still got epublishing" part was gratuitious.

    Bonnie. If *you* don't get at least a reasonable fucking supplement then I'll know the world really isn't fair.

  12. Anonymous3:17 PM

    The young writer sounds like a clueless sort who has a black and white view of a very gray world. Maybe she's the kind who secretly gloats behind her keyboard. People avoiding you? What, do you have bubonic plague? It's publishing. Young writer needs to learn about the nature of publishing, and first of all, to be kinder and considerate of feelings. The best and the biggest have been rejected and experienced down cycles.

    You've got more talent in your little pinky than many writers have in their entire bodies, so you just keep writing, Kate/Summer. Send young writer a bloom with lots of thorns from the climbing rose as a metaphor for what publishing is. Nice, pretty flowers still have the thorny side.

    If that doesn't shut her up, just remind her that all the celeb idols you know she secretly worships are all either in jail or rehab or lose IQ points each time they pee.

  13. awww jeez, now I feel like a heel.
    I'm going back to look at the notes and here's the gist of the conversation

    her:"I know you went out to lunch with her so can I mention you when I send editor Z a ms?"

    me:"I wouldn't bother. I've sent her a couple of emails lately and haven't heard back."

    her:"That's a bummer. Do you think not having a ny book out for a few years makes a difference?"

    me: "probably."

    her: "It must make you feel sort of bitter [actually the phrase was 'rub out a couple of editors'] to see other people who started at the same time getting contracts. Do you think that the lapse might be what hurt your chances with X and Y?" (two NYC editors who'd once expressed strong interest in seeing more of my stuff)
    her: "Well at least you have ebooks."

    See? the interpretation was all mine--fragile flower.

    But the main point is, I had the moment of "Damn, Rothwell, you're clearly a has been" which was almost immediately followed by "So what?"

    It's yet another reminder that I have no control over anything but the rioting. I get those reminders all the damn time, naturally.

  14. What the FUCK? Yeah and I spelled it out instead of using my usual dash and all that for the "u." My face is flame red with anger. You are hugely successful and what the hell does "her" know about jack shit. May I kiss the hem of your Bosnian socks, Ma'am? Ignore twits like this. Worse yet, send me after them.

  15. Yeah! What Corn Dog said! Complete with expletive.

    You're my guiding light, Kate. Don't you go dim on me.


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