Archive for the ‘agents and marketing’ Category

Torrid Press has accepted Bad Fairies. I signed the contract this morning.

No details yet, but I will keep you posted.

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If anybody’s into New Adult fiction (fiction for and about characters in their late teens and early twenties), check out the new blog at NA Alley. They’re celebrating the start by giving away books, blog graphics, and critiques — go check it out!

I’m excited to see New Adult finally gaining its niche. I hope that means Overamped can find a home there. Joey and his friends are getting lonely just sitting on my hard drive.

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Since most of what I’ve written to this point is literary/mainstream, it’s just been published under my own name. I’ll probably keep it at that, but I’m looking into whether I might want to try to keep the romance persona separate from that. I’m curious about what other people have decided and what sorts of factors went into the decision.

As a reader, how do you feel when you find out a writer you like writes something quite different under a different name — especially if it’s a genre you don’t think highly of?

As a writer, do you use more than one writing persona for different kinds of writing? Do you try to keep them completely separate, as if they’re two separate people who never even met, or do you have them all under one umbrella — something along the lines of “Bonnie publishes under the names Writer1, Writer2, and Writer3”? Do you have a separate web site for each persona?

If you’re published, how much input did your publisher have?

Any other thoughts?

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You know how sometimes when you’re just chatting with various people, the same topic comes up two or three times in the same day? Yesterday, one of my non-writing friends commented on how exciting it must be to have things like a writing website where people could actually talk to the author, and that’s you! And how much fun it must be doing things like author chats and giveaways. (I had to tell her I’m not really at that level yet, but that’s a different topic.) Not five minutes later, another friend was complaining how she spent all day just working on the outline for one story and the edits for another, and she never gets to write any more. This morning another friend said basically the same thing, only she counted the outlining as real writing.

And that got me to thinking about what I consider to be “writing.” It’s not just sitting down to generate new words that never lived anywhere but my head before. For me, editing and rewriting are integral parts of writing, as much a part of the process as the wildest 5K day during NaNoWriMo. I have issues with editing that I don’t usually have with new words, but a day spent polishing Overamped and making it a story that lives and breathes is just as satisfying as a day spent drafting a new idea. Maybe more so, because the draft is always so far from the story in my head.

But there’s also, as my friend who loves author websites pointed out, “writing” as a profession. Back when I was making a living as a freelance technical writer, I found I needed to spend one hour on overhead activity (market research, job listings, maintaining skills, bookkeeping, etc. etc. etc.) for every billable hour. Sometimes that went up to two hours of overhead for every productive hour. Other professionals I’ve talked to have said that’s about their ratio, too. People don’t hire you to write computer manuals if they don’t know about you and the skills you have to offer. [Aside: one of the advantages of working in a corporate environment is that the company assumes much of the overhead.]

The same is true for fiction writing. People won’t buy my fiction if they don’t know I wrote it.

When I think about it that way, the whole cloud of amorphous tasks related to “building a platform” suddenly make a lot more sense. Of course I’m going to have to present a professional image that targets the people I expect to become clients. I’m going to have to network and be involved in shared activities and generally do the same things that any other professional does. And if I don’t find all those activities as enjoyable as the core writing tasks, it’s going to be a difficult slog.

Of course I do have the option of continuing to write as essentially a hobby — finishing a few things and sending them out now and then just for the satisfaction, the way I’ve been doing. I don’t need to earn a living and nothing says I can’t be just an “artist.” But if I’m going to take the other path, I need to look at it more seriously and see what work needs to be done to do it right.

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Has anybody had any experience with Smashwords for self-publishing?

I’d be interested in any comments, experiences, advice, thoughts, etc.

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New York Times article about how publishers decide when to publish ebook versions of hardcover books. Not really much depth, but interesting that the big publishers seem to have decided to treat ebooks the same way as softcovers.

I’m somewhat surprised by how much people care about this, since it’s routine for paper to come out months or in some cases years after the hardcover version. I’m also surprised to learn that Amazon is currently taking a loss on ebooks; apparently they’re subsidizing the development of the Kindle. The article seems unaware that most of the experiments that have been done have resulted in increased hardcover sales; I wonder if the big publishers are also unaware?

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I had a lengthy post about SF versus literary fiction half-ready to go, but I revised my intention so I could point out two recent posts Nathan Bransford has had about revising novels:

First, a very useful revision checklist.

And yesterday, an interesting discussion about how to tell when your novel is done?

I suspect I’m going to be posting sticky notes on what’s supposed to be the last proofs. Revision is my favorite part of the process. In revision, the vague idea in my mind, the one I’ve rambled around and through for far too many words, finally starts to take shape as a real entity, with interest and focus. I start to understand what the story is about. I start to get rid of junk. Then I can see where I have extra characters, where subplots can be eliminated or combined, where I’ve left out critical scenes.

And then I can start to work on whether I’ve said it well.

And then — well, I just hope I’ll be able to resist the temptation to write corrections in the bookstore copies 😀

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Interesting post on Nathan Bransford’s blogs about the reasonableness of agent preferences.

He’s correct, of course (except for the bad agents and the scammers, but that’s a different issue), but doesn’t address at least one underlying problem: getting an agent means selling the manuscript, a job that is nothing like writing a novel.  The skill sets are entirely different.

I won’t go so far as to say they’re mutually exclusive, but the introspection and sensitivity that goes into many novels is a liability when you’re trying to convince somebody to put out actual dollars on the gamble that other people will put down actual dollars to buy something you wrote.  They take different perspectives, different knowledge, different approaches.  Some writers are very good at both.  Many if not most aren’t.  Most of us have to learn about building platform, presenting a persona, tying different facets together, and all the other tasks that go to making “author” a brand name in the eyes of the reader.

The task seems less daunting when I think of it as something separate from the writing.  When writer-me thinks about platforms, I want to go hide under the bed.  If I shift mind-set, it’s not so bad.

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