Thursday, May 27, 2010

Peter Watts

Via cassiphone's Velvet Threads LJ . Many of you will have heard of the run in Canadian writer, Peter Watts, had with border control officials when trying to leave the US to return to Canada resulting in his being maced and arrested among other things. If not you can hear Watts describing the experience on this Sofanauts podcast. Towards the end Watts raises some interesting points about the reactions of the public to his arrest that I certainly found thought provoking.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Time Management

Via girliejones at Live Journal comes this link on Time Management. As a publisher girliejones sees writing in an entirely different way to that of the writer and it's salutary to realise this. Publishers are the people who purchase a writer's work and we need to be aware that they have completely different needs. They need to on-sell the writer's product in a value added way to maintain their business - and it is a business, something that writers sometimes forget.

Maggie Stiefvater's blog deals with something that has been occupying my mind lately. The past year has been a horror one for me and mine. Deaths and illness have taken the gloss off the successes and a serious toll of my energy and enthusiasm. As a result I have slipped behind in many areas of my life. I'd like to say that doesn't include writing but sadly it's not true. In previous years I've worked at it as a job with a set amount of time allocated and as a result I've been productive. This year I felt the need to give my self sick and compassionate leave to deal with what has been happening and, while it was necessary, it's been difficult to get back the rhythm. This blog has reminded me of what I need to do again. What it comes down to is just do it. Carve out that time and use it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Author's Job

I was watching Jennifer Byrne Presents: Bestsellers & Blockbusters on Channel 2 last night. I'm not a regular viewer of the First Tuesday Book Club and hadn't even noticed this special was to be on but I didn't turn off as quickly as I usually do after QI. I was very glad I didn't too because Jennifer Byrne's guests were best selling genre authors, Lee Child, Bryce Courtney, Di Morrissey and Matthew Reilly.

In a wide ranging discussion they talked about much more than the process of writing. Very interesting to me was that they pointed out that, although they are very productive and successful commercially, because they are genre writers there is a tendency to look down on them as if they aren't real writers. They made the point that just because they write a thriller it doesn't mean they haven't had to put in the work. Di Morrissey took particular offence at reviewers and critics who claim she 'churns' books out to a formula. For a start, she said, there really is no formula. Genre writers have to spend time and effort on the quality of their writing, polishing it in the same way as any other writer. She is right of course. There are only a few plots in the world and they are used over and over again by all writers. What is important is what those writers bring to a simple plot line, the detail and variation that makes it different and catches the imagination of the reader.

They also had much to say about promotion and marketing and other aspects of book selling. The publishing business has changed dramatically from the days (if in fact they ever existed) when you handed over your carefully typewritten manuscript, caught the eye of an editor, who loving worked through every detail before it reached the shelves in a blaze of publicity so it sold in vast numbers. Authors these days have much more responsibility for promotion of their work and it is just as important as the carefully crafted story. Although I sort of knew this it was really brought home to me by the guests at Swancon this year and here it is being hammered home again.

You can view a video of the show here. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Things That took My Fancy

From the blogiverse:

Over at Twelfth Planet Press there's an interesting article on the importance of editors and how they can help a writer improve a story.

One of my Clarion South mates, Ben Francisco has his story, Tio Gilberto and the Twenty Seven Ghosts, up on Realms of Fantasy website. I read an early draft at Clarion South in 2007 and it was one of the stand outs among many fine stories. You can read it here. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Joys of Publishing

Over on LJ punkrocker1991 has put up some interesting essays on why books cost what they do and the whole marketing chain. It's a fascinating insight to small press publishing in particular. As writers I think it does us good to have the full picture. We spend so much time hunkered down over a computer that we forget the rest of the industry has its own problems to deal with.