Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 - 10:13 pm.
I'm beat after a long week, and this week only had three days. Monday and Tuesday were Independence Day holidays. Nevertheless, Wednesday to Friday were intense and I'm ready to forget about work for the weekend.
What am I up to? Glad you ask! I'm currently trying to publish a second edition of my novel. This October it'll be three years since it first came out. Of course it didn't get far and no one's asked for a second edition, but I want to have the book under my control.
I sadly chose a somewhat predatory publishing house. They didn't rip me off, really, they fulfilled everything the contract promised. But it still runs on people who are willing to pay to get published, and they have no quality control. The most significant editing they did to my manuscript was change my characters' accent and give it instead a Spanish (from Spain) spin. Ugh. But at least they changed it back when I called them out. Plus, once the book is out with a bit of promotion, the publishing house stops communicating with you but they get print-on-demand royalties if the book continues to sell. Which, I guess, most of the time it doesn't.
Anyway, the novel has a couple of small errors and I'd like to tweak a few words. I know this book won't get much further, sadly (I do dream of Taika Waititi directing the movie version, who doesn't), but at least if someone buys it, the money will come to me. But this isn't about the money, clearly I'll never live off my writing. I'm aware by now that what I put out for the world isn't very appealing, but the story is very dear to me, and I want it under my control. As it should have been all along.
It's a bit complex, though, doing this self-publish thing on Kindle. There are lots of hoops to jump through and I'm not sure if I'll make it. I almost had the publishing secured, but now there's a loop I have to solve between getting the ISBN and getting the cover.
The cover is my most pressing issue. I asked an old acquaintance if she could recommend me an artist who was taking commissions, including herself as she's an incredibly talented illustrator and animator. She read the message and it's just marked as "seen", and now I feel ashamed for asking.
We met in our home country. She's a few years younger than me, but I was always in awe because she studied animation and makes amazing art. I spent my teenage years wishing to be an animator but never really put any work towards that. I didn't know how. It seemed unattainable, and it was certainly impossible in my country. Even one of my brothers heavily discouraged me to pursue studying animation (there's a hint of that conversation in my novel, but of course it's about something else).
But I digress. This acquaintance moved to Canada to study, and she settled there. I once asked her over text how she managed to study animation, and I can't recall if it was to add logic to a story I was writing or just out of curiosity. She told me. Then, years later, from Andrew's job it was required to animate an illustration for a series of talks, and I asked this acquaintance if she could do it.
I asked as a favor, because we had no money to pay her, and instead we sent her a bottle of wine. I knew it was wrong then, but I was open since the beginning about the nature of the request. She didn't do much to the illustration, thankfully, I hope it didn't take much of her time. And I don't know why we bothered, Andrew and I, with getting this stupid illustration to move. It wasn't necessary.
So of course all that adds up to my shame. It felt wrong asking her to recommend me artists that are open for commisions, I couldn't really explain why. But there was a window this afternoon, a break from my shame in which I said ithere's nothing wrong with asking, and I sent her the message. But in retrospective it seems I mined her experiences and asked her to do a job without payment, and maybe she sees it that way, too, and wants nothing to do with me.
I was dumb. She and I were coming from a few years in which we'd meet regularly along with my friend Virginia and other folks. That was the time of blogs and Twitter, a bunch of us got together to hang out and do random stuff. Then I moved to Chile. Then my questions about animation and the favor happened around 2011-2013, when I couldn't afford to pay her, and I simply shouldn't have asked.
We've had other interactions in recent years that made me think it was OK to write and ask her. My Twitter pic is a drawing she made me of Bowie in exchange for a donation. And I commissioned her another drawing for Helen back when we were dating.
This is where I wonder if I'm overthinking things. Maybe she'll reply. Maybe she won't. All I can do now is wait for a few days and if I don't hear from her, pack up my shame and move on. Go find another artist on Fiver or something. And then hope that my book will come out in a shiny second edition that only five people will buy.
On another note: tomorrow's Bi Visibility Day. It makes me sad for some reason. Left out (of what?). I'm happy Andrew and I can celebrate together. Helen came out as bi when she was with me, I can be proud of that.
I have three other bi friends, friends of Andrew's really, but only one of them is out. Or maybe two. I know the third one, the one I'm closest to, is not. She came out to Andrew and me during the pandemic, but she seems to dodge the topic besides mentioning people she likes here and there. I mean, that's fine, you don't have to go on and on your sexual identity. I just would have liked to connect with her through this thing we have in common.
Wait, I have another friend who is bi. And this one is mine, not Andrew's, a friend from school. But she too came out and then we didn't talk about that. Not long after that, her nine-year-old daughter came out as bi as well, but my friend has a lot of concerns with this daughter (behavioral issues not related to her sexual identity) so we don't talk about bi-ness. Not her daughter's, not her own. We do love Bowie, the two of us.
So it's weird, Bi Visibility Day and all, but I feel lonely and isolated. Unseen. My comics helped me came out and explore that side of me, though, and I'm so grateful for that. The novel comes from those comics, and one character is rampantly bi. I suppose part of why I feel hurt that people don't make my book a best seller is because it means so much to me.
To be fair, I know my novel is a bit generic in some aspects, namely, there are dreams and a library. But I assure you it's charming and unique and well-written for the most part. I'm also working on a translation which will also get nowhere but in English this time.