26.2 (It’s the marathon of footraces)

March 22, 2011 Personal Comments (1) 96

Right around my twentieth mile, I realized how much I’d underestimated the mental challenge of my first marathon. That was the point when the twenty-mile water station, the goal I used to keep myself running along every stride of a seven-mile straight-ahead incline through all-but-abandoned forest, turned out not to exist. That was also the point at which my race pretty much fell apart.

The first half of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon had been downright enjoyable. We lucked into a beautiful day in Virginia Beach, sunny and clear but cool enough that I only worked up a light sweat. the scenery was variable, the crowd was cheering encouragement, and after a couple of miles of adrenaline and nerves, I found a comfortable pace and settled in. My dear friend Elizabeth Corkum stayed by my side, rooting me on and offering training tips and encouragement, though my pace was almost two minutes slower per mile than her fastest.

Our eighth mile passed through Camp Pendleton, and the troops lined both sides of our path for high-fives, which made for another nice adrenaline burst. By the end of mile 13, I was feeling good about my pace and my training.

I knew from the map that the course elevated, mildly but steadily, from the ten-mile mark almost to mile twenty. From mile ten this path followed the line of the beach, and then turned through a residential district where we encountered the last returning stragglers in the half marathon, and then the marathon leaders. A few of our fellow marathoners fell to walking, but I kept on. At mile sixteen, the course followed a road through the forest, long and straight and steadily uphill. There was no crowd to cheer us on, no variation in the terrain, just trees and dry needles and pavement and the sounds of the runners around us, even more of whom were walking. Even my iPod had forsaken me, offering nothing but droning generic techno music no matter how many times I skipped to the next track. Continue Reading

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What can we learn from Amanda Hocking?

March 11, 2011 Writing Comments (1) 103

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I haven’t been Tweeting, and my Facebook activity has been diminished. I’m pleased to say this is partly because I’ve been writing. The rest is because of life – things are busy at work right now (which is good), I’m running my first full marathon in (checking calendar, feeling pit open in my stomach) nine days, and there have been various other life-related things happening, most of which I’m happy about. But I am going to try to get back in the habit of posting here a couple of times a week, at least, because I do care about this blog and I do care about my readers (reader?).

This week, the online literary community was all atwitter (see what I did there?) about Amanda Hocking, self-published millionaire. The discussion was interesting, especially because I’d never before heard of Ms. Hocking. In a nutshell, she’s earned millions by self-publishing her work on the Kindle, and as Nathan Bransford explained quite nicely, she keeps a much larger share of the sale of each eBook than a conventionally published author would.

The conversation around Ms. Hocking’s success, and the success of other successful self-published authors, took predictable turns. Agents and publishers wondered whether her success is one of the early indications that the electronic publishing revolution has arrived, or if she is an anomaly. Self-publishing saw her rise as a trumpet breaking the sixth seal on the death of conventional publishing. My favorite analysis of Amanda Hocking’s success, surprisingly, came from Amanda Hocking herself, who is quite pleasantly (and unexpectedly, at least to my thinking) not a conventional-publishing hater.

I just don’t understand writers animosity against publishers. So much of what I’ve been reading lately has made me out to be Dorothy taking down the Wicked Witch.

Publishers have done really great things for a really long time. They aren’t some big bad evil entity trying to kill literature or writers. They are companies, trying to make money in a bad economy with a lot of top-heavy business practices. Continue Reading

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