Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friday Feature Celebration: Sarah Dooley's BODY OF WATER is Released!

I won't lie. I am a big fangirl of Sarah Dooley's. It tickles me pink that sometimes she chats in The Practice Room. She is funny, she writes rock solid books, and she works with autistic kids. However, she keeps rejecting my suggestions that she move up to the Boston area so we can hang out. :) If I had my druthers, I'd start a writing commune.

And, her new book, BODY OF WATER came out yesterday.

In the event that you want to love/investigate/check out/stalk Sarah, here are her clicks:

twitter: @swdooley
blog: Dooley Noted
goodreads: BODY OF WATER
goodreads: LIVIE OWEN LIVED HERE (Sarah's last book)

My Friday Feature interview with Sarah.

And, if you are lucky enough to be in Huntington, WV tomorrow, you can even SEE Sarah. If you do, please give her a hug from me. :)

I'll leave you with the BODY OF WATER BLURB:

Twelve-year-old Ember’s trailer home has been burned in a fire set most likely by her best friend, a boy whose father believes Ember’s family are witches. Yes, Ember’s mom reads Tarot cards as a business. Ember’s friend set the fire to warn the family before his dad did something worse to them. The friend never intended to do so much damage.

Now the family is homeless, and living in a campground. They have no money. Ember’s beloved dog is missing. School is going to start, and Ember and her sister have no clean clothes, no notebooks. The only place Ember feels at peace is floating in the middle of the lake at the campground. She has to make a fresh start. Can she?

I can't wait to read it!

Who wants to live in a writer's commune with me? Would it sweeten the pot if I got Sarah on board? :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Meeting, Toying with the Big Bad Cat

Hello all! I'm actually posting my Monday Meeting on Monday! Woo-hoo!

I am toying with the idea of NaNo--although I am halfway through a novel, so I would tailor it to my needs.

I was thinking, over the weekend, how trying to write a novel in a month (doing NaNo) can feel a lot like playing cat and mouse, or in this case, cat and chipmunk:

First off, it's always prudent to have a super hero on your side. (In case you can't see it, that little brown guy at the foot of the superhero, is the chipmunk. You in this scenario.)

It always helps to get cozy with NaNo--check out the site, make friends. Maybe even give it a kiss.

Play hard to get. Let NaNo know that 1,667 words a day is child's play. 

Fake it 'till you make it. Arch your back. Pretend your word count is huge and strong. Make sure to show NaNo that even though you might be falling behind in wordcount, that your manuscript SEEMS bigger than it is. Be confident. 

Scare it away. If this little chipmunk can scare away our big bad kitten, Jelly, then you can certainly best NaNo. Who's with me? 

Let me know your goals for this week, whether related to NaNo, or not. 

And if you are doing NaNo, make sure to leave your NaNo handle in the comment section so I can find you there! Having friends to chart progress against makes it much more fun!! 

Mine: HeatherLane 

*Is anyone else distracted by that tennis ball in the pictures? Who was playing with that ball? Did the cat have it in her mouth? What is going to happen to the ball in the next frame? Is it the smoking gun?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Have you met Misty?

So, today I am leading off (mid-day I might add) with a new spontaneous blog series (aren't those the best anyway?), which combines my love for the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, actor Neil Patrick Harris, and connecting with fabulous writers in the blogosphere.

So, we had a stirring discussion yesterday, here, there and everywhere, about what path writers are considering in order to get published. Many weighed in.

At some point, I came across Misty Provencher, who decided to take her book out of the path to publication.

But she isn't shelving it, and she isn't self-publishing it. Click over and see exactly what she is doing with it.

Her story resonated with me--we all get emotionally drained from this process. Let's circle the wagons, and help support one of our own.

Go meet Misty. Read her chapters. Read her blog. Follow her on twitter. (@mistyprovencher)

And, let's do a meet 'n greet here in the comments. Say hi, leave a link to your blog, your twitter handle, and say something Neil Patrick Harris-ish. :)

Happy weekend, everyone! I promise I'll get more Friday interviews up shortly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Choice In Publishing

Or, The Circus Comes To Town

I'm sure this isn't the first, or the last, blog post to equate the current climate in publishing to a three ring circus.

Into which ring will you throw your hat? Today seven bloggers discuss their decisions, on their blogs, and on twitter, #MyChoiceInPublishing. Follow along, or better yet, join in and discuss! (Links to other bloggers at end of post.)

Center ring? Traditional publishing. The big six, and their imprints.

When I first got involved with the on-line writing world, it was in order to research agents so that I could pursue publication with the big six.

Right now, I am not just researching agents, with hopes that an agent will procure a solid deal for me with a publishing house. I am researching publishers as well. Because some publishers have changed the language in their deals to reflect their concern with how easy it is for writers to e-publish. Language in contracts has become more controlling and restrictive.

See this blog post by Anne R. Allen and follow through the links if you want to read about one author's cautionary tale. If you aren't following Anne's blog, you should. It's incredibly interesting and informative! Remember, not all big publishers are giving out raw deals, but I believe that hiring a lawyer to protect ourselves from bad contracts IS A MUST in this climate.

Further evidence of this need is featured on Kristine Kathryn Rusch's blog. Like this post about deal breakers. Or this post about surviving the transition. It's not light reading, but necessary food for thought.

Do I hope that I will have a kick butt agent, who will stand one handed on an elephant's back to get me a kick butt deal with a publisher? For sure. Am I hiring a kick butt lawyer to advise me on the finer print of the details of the balancing act in the center ring? Absolutely.

Now, tear your eyes away from the chaos in the center ring.

Side Ring Number One: Small Presses.

Small presses can be a great way to go. You may have an agent, but lots of small presses allow for unagented submissions. Small presses might be able to give your book more care and marketing.

However, I go forward in this ring with caution as well. Let's talk about the elephant in the room:

I have received emails from friends who have been published (or dropped right before their book was to be published) by small presses, and who had a very rough go of it. These writers could not go public with the issues they faced with small presses, because they didn't want to sabotage their career. Which is smart. This isn't limited to small presses--writers largely don't talk publicly about things that go wrong with interactions with big publishers either. Which again, is smart. But makes it tough for the rest of us to choose wisely.

I find that it is harder to find good information on small presses. Going to forums, and looking at threads where people post anonymously about their experiences is a good start.

I am researching small presses as best I can, and plan to have a lawyer (!!) go over any contracts.

Side Ring Number Two: Indie, or Self E-Pubbing.

To hear Joe Konrath talk about it, traditional publishing is in dire straitsHere's a link to a convincing conversation Joe has about e-pubbing. And, I think it is evident that the publishing world is in transition. Some small presses have gone under, and big publishers are changing how they do business. Do we really know where the balls are going to fall if the juggler stops frantically juggling? No.

I think it is a great idea to think of e-pubbing as a viable option. The author retains all control, and all profits. That being said, I think having a great team help with editing, cover art and marketing is always a plus. I would consider, quite strongly, having an agent assist me in e-pubbing. However, I don't think I would use an agent as an e-publisher.

I think we should also be thinking further than e-pubbing, however, and into the multimedia realm. E-books give us amazing versatility, especially since a lot of us are publishing for kids and young adults.

E-publishing is a fantastic avenue in and of itself, but it is also a great companion publishing technique. Agents at talked about the benefit to publishing a companion e-book to a traditionally published book, both coming out at the same time.

So, the long and the short of it is that I am planning on trying to throw my hat into every ring. I don't want my career to suffer because I'm walking the tightrope without a net. My security will be in knowing that I have many avenues of revenue for my career. Like in this post.

Oh, and I'm hoping to have an agent as a ring master, and a lawyer lion tamer to help protect my interests.

Please check out the other bloggers sharing their point of view on their #MyChoiceInPublishing:

So, what ring (s) are you choosing? Does this conversation stress you out? Are you actively thinking about more than one type of publishing?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Circus

So, I haven't been blogging for a long stretch. I don't really know what to say.

There has been amazing and terrible all in the last two weeks.

We had a death in the family, which, evidently, is still too raw to talk about.

And, I met the amazing Erica, and all her wonderful friends at a conference in Richmond. Which evidently, is too awesome to put into words.

I came home in time to take my kids to the circus. Which is just about right. :)

My life is a happy-sad, amazing, wonderfully chaotic circus.

And, you know, I wouldn't have it any other way.