Friday, April 27, 2007

What not to do when talking to bookstore clerks about your upcoming book.

Today I went out to my favorite bookstore, CHANGING HANDS, which was recently voted the #1 independent bookstore in ALL OF AMERICA by PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. No pressure. Especially since I went there purposely to chat with the YA book buyer about my book and find out if they'd maybe do my launch party, since it's the PERFECT location and has an attached restaurant.

I was nervous, but I did okay. I even remembered what my book was about.

I spent $50 on books to show her I'm a supporter of their bookstore (which I am, but I've never made pointed contact with them before).

And then.

The clerk who rang up my purchase asked me a question about my book while I was closing my purse (which has a long shoulder strap), and I got all nervous. I slung my purse over my shoulder, trying to be all nonchalant, and assuming, like every other time I've ever done this, that my ARM was inside the damn LOOP of it. But it wasn't.

And it went sailing off behind me (it was quite heavy, since my phone was attached) and hit a old woman who had one of those walker shopping carts.

So. How was your day?

(and yes, you may point and laugh)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I have a DATE.

A publishing date for book 1, that is. March 4, 2008. Isn't that the most perfect date ever?

And lookit over in the side bar!

a countdown-o-meter.

Innit cute?


----->

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Janie book 2

is finished well ahead of schedule and awaiting a first read by my lovely editor Jen. It will be a few months before we start working on revisions for that one.

Meanwhile, how do I get Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennett on Heroes, aka The Cheerleader) to read and give me a blurb for my first book?

Hayden, are you out there? Do you read my blog? Will you read my first novel, please? I think you'd really like it. My Janie, she's a lot like your Claire! Except, well, not really. In fact, Janie doesn't really care for cheerleaders, much. But I'm sure she'd like Claire. Oh totally, she would. Yeppers. So, please?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

On Being a Newbie Author

I'm increasingly fascinated by the book publishing process, and many fears have been laid to rest over the past few months. As I learn how this all works, I have found some really great resources written by very generous authors on the HOW of being a successful author. Author of the Jack Daniels trilogy, JA KONRATH, is among the most generous with his time and advice that I've discovered so far. If you are interested in straightforward information and advice not only on getting your books published, but sold (!!), click on his name for a link for his blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Plus!! JA Konrath has two free technothriller e-books he's giving away on this blog: THE LIST and ORIGIN.

Here are just a few of my own discoveries and tips:

1. Agents and editors are amazingly helpful people. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

This seems obvious, but when novelists first begin the querying process, it's pounded into our heads that we must follow a strict set of rules regarding proper, professional behavior -- and above all, don't be a nuisance! Learning the time frame of publishing is a hard lesson. A query to an agent might take a day to garner a response, or it might take four months. We learn that it is not proper to follow-up until the appropriate amount of time has passed. When in doubt, allow three months. For partials, four months. Full manuscript, six. (Of course, many agents respond much more quickly than this.) As agonizing as it is, we follow these guidelines.

After querying for months or years and finally getting an agent, we tend to continue in the pre-agent mode: We must not make a nuisance of ourselves. We must not bother the agent. Some new authors sit in angst, wondering how, why, when, for months.

It took me a few months to feel comfortable emailing my agent with questions. And guess what? When I emailed him, he responded with answers! And now that I have an editor, she responds to my questions as well! I just have to ask them. Isn't that simple?


2. Agents and editors are human. They have lives outside of work. They get the flu sometimes. They likely have good days and bad days, just like everybody. And you know what else? They are funny. All the ones I know are, anyway. I adore my team.

3. Being On Time is a good way to be.

The weird thing I discovered about being an author is that I've been in charge of my own writing schedule all along, and when I sold a book, that changed. Working on my own, I rarely had a day where I felt like procrastinating or blowing off work. Now that I have people expecting things from me, I have this tremendous urge to procrastinate (rebellion from my teen years has re-surfaced!). This new urge fights against my inherent anal tendencies to be early for everything. It's quite a humorous battle raging in my head. Odds are high that procrastination loses this battle every time, though.

4. Work ahead -- once you sell your novel, there are many new things to consider. Marketing. Promotion. Public speaking, visiting classrooms, booksignings (yikes! You mean, like, physically leaving the house?), marketing gizmos and gadgets and giveaways, contests. Start the brainstorming early, so that when you actually have cover art and a definite title, you are ready to promote.

Although I don't have a pub date yet, it is likely to be less than a year away for Janie book 1 (spring 2008). I've finished my first round of edits and sent them off. Simon Pulse has my bio and author picture for the spring '08 catalog -- they are working on that already.

If my revisions are acceptable to my editor, Janie will go to the copy editor. And now, I must work on the ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS page -- I'm told they'll need this soon. Wheee! This is so exciting.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Time to edit!

On Saturday, I received my marked up manuscript in the mail from my editor, so now it's time to do the first edits on Janie. Thankfully there are no major changes necessary and no over-arching plot lines that have to be fixed, but I still see a lot of red! Yikes! And what I thought was a pretty grammatically correct and clean manuscript turns out to have a few embarrassing third-grader mistakes, like YOUR/YOU'RE (Dang!). There is definitely something to be said for reading/editing a hard copy of a manuscript -- some mistakes are too easy to miss on a screen.

My editors, Jen and Caroline, did an amazing job and now they really have me thinking hard about a few concepts and suggestions for changes.

Despite all the red marks, most of them are simple fixes. The handful of other suggested changes will take me some time to think about and when I'm all organized, we'll have a discussion about what to do.

This is all very exciting!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bad blogger

I have neglected this blog, partly because I don't have much news. Right now I'm sort of in waiting mode with my lovely editor. She's working on Janie, and while I wait for revisions, I'm working on a couple of other books. Both are quite different from Janie, and both are turning out to be a lot of fun. More on those another time.

We are still considering titles for Janie 1 and 2, and may go with simple one-word titles with sophisticated cover art. At the moment, DREAM for book 1 and FADE for book 2 are at the top of list. Oh, and I got my formal contract, signed and returned. Things are moving along steadily.

I got my author photos taken -- the pics are on my Myspace page if you want to see a few of them. The link to that page is over there on the right. I am looking forward to seeing what sort of cover design S&S comes up with. And now that it's April, I'm guessing we're less than a year away from launch date, though I don't have an exact date yet.

My sister is visiting from Michigan this week, so we're taking it easy and she's enjoying the sunshine and warm temps (90/60 pretty much every day). Thinking about driving down to Nogales for a day -- Nogales is on the AZ/Mexico border.

Hope you are all having a lovely week! I hope to have more interesting news to share over the coming months. :)