Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taking a Short Hiatus from Writing…

As you can see below, today I received a Comment from a friend who actually helped me with some publishing initiatives and set up this blog a few years ago. Kat, as I’ve always known her, said:

It's been awhile since you posted last! Just checking in to see how it's going!

And rather than just send her a short, polite and politically-correct, “All’s well,” I decided to dash off a reply to her in a more robust fashion and do so in this Post so others who have sent similar queries to me can know what’s going on with me as well.

On May 31, 2010, I officially retired from the University of South Florida with the honorific title, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus. And while I indeed miss my students and classes, I do not miss the administrivia that has consumed many of our public sector organizations over the past few years. After 40 years as a full-time professor, it recently has been an uniquely interesting experience to not have to live my live around a university calendar. To be blunt, moreover, my last few years were some of the worse. As a researcher and scholar for those 40 years at four different universities, I published over 100 refereed, professional journal articles and 27 books. In my last five years, I published six books – three textbooks, two novels and one pop-psych book (sans my last pop-psych book, they’re on my Website: Over the last five years, none of my colleagues ever even asked to see my six published books and I essentially was told by administrators that my time would have been better spent teaching larger classes, serving on committees and writing grants – yes, now-a-days it’s all about money.

In addition to my wonderful family and enjoying a fun, loving relationship with my girlfriend, Sharon, riding my Harley, playing softball, working out at the gym, etc., since June I have read a book a week (and have been enjoying every minute of it). And while I have my next novel outlined and pretty much ready to begin writing, I have decided to take a hiatus from writing for awhile. Adding to this decision was the tarnishing effect of today’s publishing world – for example:

1. general, recreational reading our society indeed has plummeted – people don’t read nearly as much as in the past (this of course has been influenced by our economic realities… and let’s face it, $15-$20 for a round of beer is more important than buying a new book);

2. the publishing world is in tumultuous turmoil (the Internet and e-books and e-readers, etc. have closed many bricks and mortar bookstores, etc.); and,

3. many publishers have become more concerned with selling books to their authors than marketing their authors’ books to book readers, and some publishers have engaged in questionable business practices. For example, regarding the latter, last spring a co-author of mine went to our publisher’s office in New York and at that meeting (which I attended via a conference phone) the publisher promised to place an ad for our new textbook in a professional journal and send a cover letter and a complimentary copy of the book to 100 pertinent university program directors – he never did either of these two promised tasks or offered an explanation when we asked why). Trying to find a top-shelf agent for my outlined romance/mystery novel will be a daunting challenge – finding a top-shelf publisher will be almost impossible.

Thanks again for thinking of me, Kip! I shall continue to enjoy my life as it is, and when the writing gods shine down upon me and say, “Bill, there’s a few more good books in you… start writing again,” I will. In the meantime, pax vobiscom,



Unknown said...

All of that sounds familiar! It is amazing - years ago I used to just read books for fun. Now I'm reading them to catch up on some business topic and it's far and few between I get to just read for pleasure.

So nice to hear from you - enjoy the retirement and all that comes with being able to do what you want, when you want!


Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Kat,

Great hearing from you again. And I couldn't appreciate what you're saying more -- over the past few years we indeed have put the word "busy" on steroids in our society. I smile when my friends say, "I need a vacation so I can relax and read a book." Sad in so many ways.

Yes, I'm involved in many TTDs but for the most part they are of my own choosing (e.g., I see a few "clients" each week, pro bono... after our "session" they buy me coffee, and it's wonderful -- no paperwork, they're truly appreciative and it keeps me grounded).

Be well and let's stay in touch!