When I was in college, I started an internet business. The business did not exist. I did make a website with products such as Lard Lips Lip Balm and personalized straight jackets. Membership cost $13.13 for thirteen months and got you a rubber monkey. The name of the company was Ruber Monkey because I misspelled rubber when I set up the website. I cared not one whit about spelling at the time and so I embraced this error in our slogan. RuberMonkey.com the misspelled website that doesn't exist. I involved a friend in a variety of antics. We produced a few videos, some of which we paid to air on public cable, very late night on channels few people watched when they were sober. Being imaginative souls, we got a kick of the idea that people were scratching their heads, and asking themselves WTF at 1AM. Perhaps we even broke some laws by doing this.
These days, I'm starting to query agents in a spartan fashion. Part of this is my finished novels needed CPR. Writing short stories has given me the novel and plot recitation skills I need. I have decided that I can't write any more short stories. My focus is getting the longer works into circulation.
Writing short stories also taught me that I like to work on multiple projects at the same time and how to do that successfully. Because novels cannot be finished in a week, I'm rotating three projects. This has been My Father's Heart Weak. So in three weeks, I'll work on it again. One of the tricks to doing this is to note everything you do. I used to work in a call center where everyday I summarized about 70 conversations into the computer so the next rep would know what the costumer called about. Every skill, everything you ever do will teaches you something you can use later.
Here is this skill from a job I hated, making it possible for me to pick on large works right were I left off. I use Notezilla, which allows you to stick notes to files or files to notes whichever you prefer, to track my progress and out look to manage my writing schedule.
Right now I have one novel (Meat Head) in circulation. I don't consider this an easy sell for a first novel. But it won't be an easy sell for a second or a tenth novel because it's the only book I have like it. I can't say, "this is the kind of author I am. This is the kind of books I will write."
Because of this, I recently decided to submit a query that deals with this issue (I am less concerned with landing an agent-- I either will or won't, and if it's the latter, I'll go the indie rout-- than how best to deal with my 31 flavors.) I have developed an analogy involving ice cream. I say that I can serve chocolate and vanilla, but that I also serve mocha-tuna-wtf.
I've talked about this before-- should I have pen names for different styles? This analogy triggered a realization about my own reading habits. I pick up Stephen King because I like his flavor. I read Christ Crutcher because I like his flavor. I return to the same authors because they each offer a flavor I like and I read the flavor that suits my mood.
Then, I realized in all of this, if I publish my 31 flavors all under the same name, I'm going to be such an unreliable author that readers won't ever been in the mood M.R. Jordan. Before, I thought it was matter of trust readers to not be confused. Now, I think it's a little more complicated than that.
And it truly does complicate the agent hunt. Should I be up front about my eclectic tastes or surprise them with a humor book that proves selling personalized straight jackets was not profession not so far off the mark. I don't know. I suppose I'll try both ways and go with what works.
Below is the Lard Lips Lip Balm commercial.
(pst, Lard Lips Lip Balm is 100% natural because it's made from lard. The items came from the back of a cake mix and some other random food products. To my knowledge, none of the ingredients are in lip balm. And yes, if anyone had been willing to pay $2.99 for 1/4 oz jar of lard, I would have sold it to them.)
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).