I only realized after I selected my moving day of January 12th that it's also the pub day for my most important anthology I've ever edited, Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1. Maybe that's fitting, because my last book, Dirty Dates, came out on my 40th birthday. But with under a month until I move and this book I'm so proud of entering the world, it's a bit of a hectic time. Moving throws your life into chaos, and your normal routines get upended. I've been thinking about the costs, which so far meant paying a security deposit and a month's rent in advance, and will include moving costs, but those seem minimal compared to all the time that's spent packing up our dishes and books and clothes and figuring out if we want to keep some random item we haven't used in years but still want to hold on to. Moving sucks up time and seems to expand to fill the time you previously thought of as "free," and then it does the same on the unpacking side.
If I've learned anything in the last four years of working for myself as a freelancer, it's that time is money. This year, much of my income was made by being able to say, "Yes, I'm available" at a moment's notice, or hopping on the phone at 11 p.m. to interview a source for a pop culture story unfolding over a weekend. That's an aspect of what I do that I both love and hate. If I wanted to, I could stay up writing until four in the morning, and sleep in. That's not what my daily life looks like, though. I usually am in bed by 10 or 10:30 at night and up by six, sometimes before. I probably don't use my time as wisely as I should, which is something I'm trying to change for the new year, but I certainly value it, both the time I spend actually writing, and the time it takes to send emails, make phone calls, transcribe interviews, research or simply daydream and dawdle and browse and then, through whatever synergy or luck or circumstance produces ideas, realize I've hit on a great topic for an article or essay or short story in my seemingly "mindless" mental wanderings.
Books are probably the primary thing I spend my time on: reading, rereading, browsing my bookshelves, browsing bookstores, adding items to my wishlist, perusing what's coming up or reading reviews or getting ideas for what I want to read next. The thing with me is that right now, I'm packing up my books, and since I just moved in June, I remember the painstaking process last time of packing them and then very carefully shelving them, and now I want to pull out ones to read that I either never have, or read so long ago I've largely forgotten them. I've transferred many to a shelf of "to read soon" books, because they're either advance copies of fascinating books coming out very soon or ones that I'd meant to read and just hadn't.
I'm also leaping headfirst into marketing Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 in a way I haven't done for my previous 60 anthologies (yes, I counted, and this is my 61st anthology). I decided that one of the things I hate about putting a book out into the world is the lack of control I have over how it does. I don't mean the lack of control over how readers perceive what's inside; the reading experience is theirs to appreciate in whatever way they see fit. Of course, I hope readers are as smitten with the stories as I am, but I can't control that.
What I can control is how much effort I put into making sure I know I did everything I could to make this book a success. Right now that means trying to schedule readings, posting interviews on Tumblr with my authors (and myself), reaching out to sex toy stores and bookstores and asking them to stock it, and generally spreading the word as much as I can. I'll be sharing more excerpts and details as the book gets closer to being available for purchase. I will also be using what I learned from this anthology to craft my next one (call for submissions is coming soon!), because while there were some authors I had hoped would submit to this book and some topics and characters who aren't in this book, the ones that are stand out to me so much.
I don't want the fact that both my pub date and my move a block away coincide mean doom for either one. The truth is, I won't have as much time on January 12th to devote to promoting my book. Maybe I'll finally learn Hootsuite and Tweet ahead. I'll sneak peeks at my phone while the movers are here. I'll post a lot the day before. But the truth is, a book launch doesn't happen in one day. I've been working hard on this book for weeks in the hopes that it does better than all my previous books, because I think it's that good and I want to honor the time and effort my authors put in by giving them a wide readership. I want them to get fan mail. I want people to say, "Wow, you really brought that hot black superhero actor from the 90's to life" or "wow, I didn't know séances could be so sexy" or "You made being passed between two men sound so sexy." I wish I could do a reading with all my contributors because I would love to hear them read the stories in their own voices (although I am beyond thrilled that Rose Caraway, my favorite audiobook narrator and a contributor of to the book with her story "The Carnalarium," will be narrating the audiobook version, which should be out in the first half of 2016).
So that's where my focus is these days, in addition to wrapping up some freelance writing and trying to read a few of the many, many books that I've accumulated over the past year(s). I'm not moving far, but between turning 40, a new calendar year and changing homes, I'm trying to use these new beginnings as a chance to push myself toward new directions, to think differently not just about material goods, but about what I want from my life, my work, my home. I'm also planning what I'll be doing in 2016, which will include teaching erotica writing classes for LitReactor, speaking and teaching at CatalystCon and new things like webinars.
I want to push myself to get past that learning curve, and the attendant fear that comes with it, to try things I've never done before. After all, in 2013, when I moved in with my boyfriend, I'd lived in the same apartment for 13 years. Moving petrified me, but I did it, then did it again in 2014, 2015 and now, I will again in 2016. I wouldn't say the moves themselves were fun, but each home has taught us something, and now, I've learned that I will happily stay in my little corner of suburbia for a decade, or even forever, if it means building a stable home. So in my working life, I'm ready to try new things too, knowing full well that some of them may fail, in order for me to learn from them and figure out how to succeed next time.