Tag Archives: publishing

The End of a Publishing Project

Dear Friends and Readers—

My publisher, Booktrope, is folding as of May 31, 2016, and my books will be (hopefully temporarily) out of print. I do have two works in progress: a follow up to my memoir with the working title of Bumbling into Baby, and the second in the Time Guardians trilogy, Intermediate Time Travel. The latter is further along than the former. I’ll be speaking with some colleagues in the publishing industry about my options for these two new titles and when I have an approach for them I will let everyone know.

I have no ill will toward Booktrope and I have to say I am honored to have worked with some very fine people, especially the senior team at the hybrid publisher, my editors Jennifer Munro and Danika Dinsmore, who are incredibly talented writers in their own right. (Right? Or rights? See, I need good editors.) Thanks also to Christy Price for helping to publicize Bumbling into Body Hair; I’m sure I’m still a nobody author but I was REALLY a supremely nobody author in 2012.

My plan is to republish the memoir with perhaps an author’s forward and a new cover. Expect that later this summer. Regarding the novel … well, I have to talk to a few people in the industry and see what my options are. I don’t want to leave readers hanging from the first book, although perhaps it could stand alone.

Yes, I have other projects. They’ve been on the back burner for the last six months as I’ve been working on Intermediate. If you could put in a word to the universe for something like a MacArthur Fellowship for me, feel free. (I know, it’s never going to happen. *cough cough GENIUS GRANT cough cough*) But my time is limited; I’ll discuss possibilities and then do my best.

Often, it’s all we can do. Be well, friends, fellow authors, editors, publicists, proofreaders, and cover designers extraordinaire. See you in the pages of the next project.

It was a good idea, Ken and Katherine. I’m sorry it didn’t work out.

Twitter for Writers

A few folks have asked me about Twitter over the years and how such a terse medium can be helpful for writers. What content can one even get communicated in so few characters?

The answer is: a lot. If we stop thinking about Twitter as the site of traditional content that takes eight hundred or more words to convey, and start thinking of it as a touchpoint and springboard or longer form pieces, then the possibilities open up. There are scads of great posts out there on growing followers, how to identify good accounts to follow, and so on, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. Here are a few of those, as introductory Twitterverse items.

The thing for writers (or anyone, really) to do to get started on Twitter is to set up a profile, find people who are already on Twitter who you know or by your interests, and start generating content. Let’s take these in turn. Read More…

On the Road for an Unknown Writer’s Book Tour

The book tour is an endangered species, part of the soon-to-be archaic practice of publishers in getting publicity for top- and mid-list authors when their latest books hit the market. I remember book tours from the bookstore perspective, because I was once a book buyer and I coordinated readings up in Syracuse, New York. Stephen King, impeccably nice. Oliver Stone, not so nice. Mollie Katzen had lots of culinary tips, William Bennet was reserved, and Donna Shalala had a great booming laugh. For each of these events we ordered 30, 40, 75 copies of their tomes, and the lines stretched out of the store and into the student life building atrium. We’d put extra people on shift and listen to the cash registers ring with sales. It was something of an assembly line: customers waiting, picking up books, paying for books, getting books signed, out the door. A signing could last one or two hours before the interest petered out. We tried not to frown when people arrived with their own books or with books that had been released years earlier, because the authors were sure glad to see everyone. Some of the authors had requests up front or in their contracts that we had to fulfill, things like having sparkling water, or having a rival’s books tucked out of sight, and of course, of course, we were more than happy to oblige them.

When I do a reading, I count it as lucky if the store remembers I’m showing up that night. One reading had me and a few friends standing nervously on the sidewalk, the store dark and empty of staff, while I called my publicist. We were saved from reading on the street or walking away in sorrow when a random car with three store employees drove by us, wheeled around, and opened up the building. By the time I started reading in the quickly rearranged room, 15 people had shown up. Read More…

By Way of Cover Design

Authors don’t usually have much say in the covers of their books, idioms about judging books notwithstanding, but in the digital revolution sometimes conversations about cover design make it to the writer, who naturally has  opinions about the thing. Trouble is, nobody else in the publishing house really cares about those opinions, and maybe it’s best if they ignore us writers. We may be too invested in relaying a scene or theme from the book as opposed to creating a visually appealing cover that will sell books. After all, we’re wordsmiths, not graphic designers.

Unless we’ve also done graphic design work (cough, cough). But even then our input is presumed to be minimal. Read More…

Writers’ Bad Habits

antique printing pressThere’s something about looking at a fresh, crisp trade paperback book that belies the messiness of the publication process, and writing itself. Books have bright covers, a little bit of heft when you pick them up, sharp edges, and lovely summaries on the back or inside covers–what a perfect little package of enjoyment. And oh, what it took to get there.

An idea, a cast of characters, copious hours spent writing, rewriting, ripping out words and inventing new ones. Then there’s the swaths of time just getting into writing mode, which I personally need to decrease this year, what with an adorable infant vying for my attention and all (and he gets it, no problem). After so many revisions and passes through the manuscript, beta readers come in and make the author rethink everything they considered perfect or innovative, or interesting. More rewrites. Boil down everything into a synopsis, fret over the book’s query letter, and email those lucky agents who could decide the manuscript is a gem. Handle the rejections, revise the synopsis, pitch it in person at a conference, dust off other projects and get started writing something new. And finally an email appears that someone wants to represent or publish the book.

And that’s just the beginning. I haven’t even mentioned publicists and press kits yet. My point is, if all of this goes into making a book happen–or its cousin, the ebook.

Writers don’t need any distractions or dead weight in this process of inspiration to printing press; bad habits are the one thing we can identify on our own and work to eliminate. And yes, I’ve exhibited or performed nearly every bad behavior in the following list. Read More…

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