Saturday, June 18, 2016

Brave or Stupid? You Decide... by Jannine Gallant


So, I was out walking Ginger, trying to decide what to write for this month's post, when my (brave or stupid -- you decide) dog nearly gave me a heart attack. We were coming back through the meadow when Ginger took off like a bat out of hell. I was thinking squirrel, since she routinely chases them up the nearest tree. No, such luck. Good old Wile E. was high-tailing it toward the woods with my brainless mutt in hot pursuit. Of course I had to chase both of them even thought I couldn't possibly catch up, screaming my head off. Yeah, funny. I hope you at least got a smile out of the mental picture. Believe me, this isn't the first time we've enacted this scene. I doubt it'll be the last since coyotes are thick around here.

But, it gets better. A couple of days ago, my husband came back from a walk and said Ginger had chased a bear. Until the bear stopped. Apparently she had enough sense to stop, too...and have a stare-off...before Pat's yelling finally sunk into her thick head and she retreated. Probably the same bear we met on the field at the rec center across the street one morning about a month ago. The bear was minding it's own business when Ginger ran up to within five feet of it. No barking or growling from either party. They just stared at each other. I was the only one making any noise as I begged my mentally challenged mongrel to "Come here this minute!" (Are you seeing a trend here?) She ignored me, of course. When the bear moved another five feet away, I sucked up my (courage or stupidity -- you decide) and ran up to Ginger to drag her away. After I got home, my husband pointed out the bear could have killed me, too. Uh, you think?

So, I'm not sure who's a bigger idiot, me or Ginger. You decide. I know who's braver. LOL I was trying to relate these experiences to writing, and I recalled seeing a post on Facebook not long ago from an author who'd published her first book and had decided to quit her job so she could spend more time writing. All the comments were congratulations, but all I could think was, "You, poor, deluded fool. I hope you don't need the money." Is this woman's optimism an example of Ginger-chasing-a-coyote-or-bear stupidity? Or bravery? I think we all make choices in our writing careers that take (bravery or stupidity). Many of us left the safety of a small press where acceptance was pretty much a given after a few books to pursue either self-publishing or big presses. It took guts to break out of that safety zone. In some instances, the move worked out. Sometimes, not so much. I had an agent, and I fired her. Maybe a smart move. Maybe not. The jury's still out on that one. I was shaking a little when I sent her the email. Almost as much as when I grabbed Ginger's collar right next to the bear who kept his eyes on me the whole time...

So, have you made any questionable calls in life or in your writing career? Feel free to share.



By the way, Every Move She Makes is still on sale for 99 cents until the end of the month. For that price, you definitely aren't making a risky purchase. Buy it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Or, visit my Website for info on my other books.

20 comments:

Alison Henderson said...

I enjoy all our wildlife, but bears? Eek!!! I'm glad you and Ginger lived to tell the tale. Something's been draining our birdbaths at night (I suspect deer), so OG set up a special camera two nights ago to capture the culprit. So far, all we got was someone's German shepherd. LOL

As to writing regrets, I have none. I hired, then fired, an agent many years ago. No regrets. I left my comfortable small press for indiedom, still no regrets. I may not choose to do everything possible to maximize my writing career, but those will be conscious choices. Owning your own choices leads to fewer regrets.

Jannine Gallant said...

Alison, you'll have to report back if you get anything other than dogs on your spy cam. That's pretty funny. Yep, we own our choices then live with them!

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Oh my God, Jannine. If I even SAW a bear, I would have a heart attack. As for bravery or stupidity in my writing career, I've had brushes with both and will again I'm sure. I'm a weenie at heart, HATE confrontation, so those moments that require bravery turn me into a procrastinator until I have no other choice than to make a move. I'm sweating just thinking of a few moves I've put off that need to be addressed. :-)

Jannine Gallant said...

Mac, I know you've faced down far worse in real life, so grabbing hold of that same courage in your writing career is just a matter of releasing your inner Ginger to confront the bear!

Vonnie Davis said...

Firing my agent was hard since she was also a close friend. I felt a double loss. I miss being able to write what I want. Something I could do with a small press. So, I'm going part Indie this year. I'm also working on a book with a stronger focus on characters and less plot or backstory...and writing it in first person instead of third. The first 3 chapters are with my editor now. I'll know in a week if my experiment worked or flopped. Since we never know what readers will buy, any book we write is taking a chance. I would never leave a paying job to write fulltime. That's financial suicide. I'm retired and write fulltime for the big guys, I'm not earning enough to live off of...just enough to help the grandkids and pad our savings.

Jannine Gallant said...

Vonnie, changing our writing style is always a risk. Hard to know if our readers will appreciate something different. As for the financial stability of writing, I remember way back when my first book published, hearing authors talk about their day jobs and being confused. I finally flat out asked why everyone had a day job if they were published, and no one would answer me. After repeated requests, someone finally told me not to quit work if I needed the money. Geesh, why are authors so reluctant to share the fact that we can't pay the mortgage with what we make? At least most of us can't... It's like the subject is taboo, and it shouldn't be.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Shaking my head here. I STILL can't believe you ran up to that bear. Do you know how long it would have taken the creature to close in on you? I know what you mean about the income thing. Who knew? I remember one time - back in the day - I went to a lecture a local published author gave. Just before she went on, she said she had to use the ladies room. Would you believe I was dumbfounded? She's a published author and still does THAT!? What? Right now I'm smack dab in the middle of a writing career 'risk'. Left the comfort of a small press to make a try for the big guys. Jury's still out. Cross your fingers for me.

Jannine Gallant said...

Approaching the bear wasn't too bright, but generally, they aren't aggressive unless provoked. I had no intention of provoking, but I wasn't too sure about Ginger. Definitely wishing you luck on the big pub front, Margo!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Bears scare the bejeebies out of me. Doggies can be too brave. But the fact you see such creatures where you live makes me envious. I fired an agent, too. That's been 3 years ago, and the verdict is still out on whether it was wise or not.

Jannine Gallant said...

Brenda, there's brave...and then there's stupid. I'm pretty sure Ginger leans toward the latter. I'm working on chapters for a new series proposal. If Kensington bites, I'll be very happy to be agentless. If not, well, we'll see how it goes.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Since most dogs reach the intelligence of a 2-4 year old, and bears don't want to have anything to do with humans or dogs, we learned to leash our dogs and carry a rattle/noisemaker. And talk loudly. No problems. If writing were so simple. My fear is losing my sense of freshness, pacing...the ability to craft a page turner.

Jannine Gallant said...

Rolynn, if these were grizzly bears, I'd probably be more worried. I don't like leashing her in the woods because she stops and sniffs and runs around like a lunatic. Since this is my exercise time, I keep a steady pace and let her do her thing. We only spot bears about 2-3 times a year, so we should be at our quota... As for keeping it fresh, my girls have mentioned my books are all the same. Predictable. I did point out they're romances and have to end HEA. They still think I should change it up... I guess fresh is something we all have to think about!

Leah St. James said...

A bear?! Did you say a bear?! I'm too much of a whoossie to even consider stepping a foot closer...although, like you, I would be tempted if a pet was getting "stupider." :-) I think the stupidest thing I've done with my writing career is spend far too much time trying to figure out promotions instead of focusing more on writing and producing the next book. I'm playing catch-up big time now (plus the crazy-busy full-time job, etc.). You live and learn!

Jannine Gallant said...

Leah, we do tend to "waste" a lot of writing time on promo. Waste being time spent with little results to show in sales. Lately, my focus is on putting out the next book. I was going to organize a FaceBook party for this 99 cent sale, but then decided to forget it. I'd spend a whole day online, not to mention a bunch of time organizing for a handful of sales where I get 6 cents per book. Not worth it since my reach on FB seems to be mostly to the same group of authors who have already read this book!

RE Mullins said...

I write because it's cheaper than therapy. Not by much, mind you, but a little.

Jannine Gallant said...

Funny, Robin! LOL

Diane Burton said...

Going indie was not so much brave as desperation. Not continuing the trad route was a choice I don't regret. Same with firing a do-nothing agent. No regrets. Ginger sounds a lot like our old dog. He'd go after anything, like an opossum in our fenced in yard. Come when he was called? Not a chance. Even so, I miss that old dude.

Jannine Gallant said...

All that control is a huge plus to going indie, Diane. But I do love that my pub occasionally pays for promo. I had a BookBub ad go out yesterday and was still sitting at #132 overall on Amazon and #33 on B&N this morning. It won't last long, but the residual sales out perform anything I can do on my own a hundredfold!

Alicia Dean said...

Oh dear Lord, Jannine. I don't think I could have confronted a bear. Scary! I'm not sure if Ginger is brave or stupid either. ;) LOL. Yeah, I know what you mean about writing and paying the mortgage. People don't understand just what it takes to actually make a good living as a writer. Since I'm a one-income household and have no husband...it's all up to me. Plus, I can't give up the benefits that come with my day job. Plus, I love it!

Jannine Gallant said...

At least you love your day job, Ally. And more power to you for being able to pull off three careers, day job, author and editor. You deserve an award for perseverance!