Poor lad. He looked so sad, with his little face staring out from inside the stretchy head bandage they used to hold the icepacks to his cheeks. I just don’t have the heart to post the picture I took.
I'm over at the SF Signal Mind Meld today talking about the appeal of mythology, gods, and goddesses in fiction, along with fancy types like Tessa Gratton and Jennifer Estep, and my Angry Robot compatriots Chuck Wendig, Adam Christopher, and Mike Underwood, to name a few. Go check it out. Thrilled to be included, as always.
*Also, please to excuse my typo. That "definitely literally" was supposed to be "definitely literarily." I was fresh off an edit pass, and thus experiencing deadline brain fritz.
(Taken during a lovely May 4 years ago...)
(Taken during a very hot May 2 years ago...)
Today is also the last day of my life as the mother of an elementary school student, because next year my son starts junior high. Five years from now, we'll be celebrating our daughter's graduation from high school. Six years from now, our son's.
I know I will always be a mother. But it sort of feels like I only have six years left of being a mom. Which is, now that I think about it - I mean, *really* think about it - kind of heartbreaking. And also really strange... 0.o
Librarian Laini Bostian blogs at The Made Up Librarian. Today she talks to Eric A. Kimmel about authors marketing their manuscripts to publishers.
Learn more about Eric from Scholastic.
Eric: About writing and marketing, it’s never one or the other. Professional writers do look to the market. They have to. There are always compromises and adjustments to be made during the composition process and during the revision and editing processes.
The key is how does the author feel about making the changes. If you go too far and say "yes" too often, you may come to a point where it’s no longer your book.
Also, some editors will tell you upfront that they may not be the one to handle a particular manuscript. It isn’t doing anything for them, or the changes they’d suggest would turn it into an entirely different story. Sometimes the writer can go along with that. Sometimes we can’t.
I’ll give you a recent example that just happened with the manuscript I’m sending out. I originally conceived it as YA. Several of the editors who've responded so far made the point that it didn’t feel like a YA. It felt more like middle grade.
Jennifer Laughran called to talk to me about it. The editors may be right, she said. YA is edgier. The characters are older. There’s more sex and drama. My main character is finishing middle school. You might call the story YA, but it’s definitely on the younger edge of the spectrum.
It’s borderline between age markets, and as Jenn pointed out, “The border is where you don’t want to be.”
Editors can’t fit it into a specific genre. They can’t predict its audience or what it will do.
That can be the kiss of death these days.
What Jenn suggested is marketing, not literary advice: Take it down a couple of years. Forget YA and go for middle grade. It would be easy. The changes would be mostly cosmetic.
She also pointed out that the YA genre is glutted right now. It’s been so successful that everyone’s writing YA. Meanwhile, there’s a definite shortage of middle grade fiction.
So guess what I’ve been doing this past week? It’s a change I can live with. I see the point. It actually suits the characters, the story, and me more.
Are these revisions marketing decisions? You bet! Are they artistic ones? Definitely yes, because I feel comfortable with them and actually think the manuscript is better for my having made them.
Laini: So, if this work does not sell, will you be upset? What should young writers do? What would you say to them?
However, that doesn’t mean you give up. Set the manuscript aside. Maybe you can do something with it later. Times change, so a manuscript no one wants today may become a hot item in a couple of years.
The advantage I have over young writers is I know the drill. A similar rejection could be devastating for a beginner. But again, so what? Will you quit and never write anything again?
Guess what? Nobody cares. Real writers suck it up and start something else. The ones that are only in it for a payoff will find something else to do.
What should young writers do? Write! They think they’re going to get rich? That editors owe them something because they scribbled out a manuscript? That they don’t have to revise?
Well, they’ll learn, and they’ll be better writers for it. And if they decide to spend their time doing something else, what of it? I guarantee there will be no shortage of writers or good books.
Well. Instead, I eventually got up, got breakfast, and spent a long time cuddling Maya. It's worked for me so far. In 20 minutes, I'll go wake up MrD and get him ready for school, but in the meantime...
Here's a list of things that have made me happy in the past few days, because honestly, I'm still feeling jittery from that nightmare (oh, how I hate the vivid dreams of pregnancy!), plus I've been pretty stressed-out over my freelance deadline and all our practical house-moving issues, and I really need this reminder right now:
1. Watching MrD in his nursery school's spring show yesterday. Possibly the most adorable sight ever (in my clearly unbiased and objective opinion)! And ohhhh, was I proud of him.
2. Eating gorgeous strawberry-cream cake at my favorite cake-café in town afterwards, with friends, while MrD and his own friends quickly devoured their own cakes and then just played and played together.
3. Knitting - possibly the most relaxing and de-stressing occupation I've ever found (and also the one gesture I can make to appease my frustrated nesting instincts right now, while our house situation is still undecided - I may not know where we're going to live with our new baby, but at least he/she will have a handknitted blanket!) - while watching MrD build enormous structures out of lego or play-dough, at various points over the last few days.
4. Re-reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time in 7 years, and sinking into it with total delight and wonder all over again at just how good it really is. Re-reading it is a process of re-discovery - oh! I'd forgotten how much I love the writing! - and also pure comfort - because I absorbed this book into my bones as a kid, and almost every scene resonates with memory, for me.
What about you guys? What have been the brightest spots in your week so far?
Yesterday, while I was talking about books and writing with an amazing group of 4th and 5th graders in Western New York, another group of elementary school students took shelter in their school, clinging to walls, huddling in the protective arms of their teachers as a tornado swept through their city. Later on, I saw the rescue crews on the news, and my heart ached for all of those families.
I spent time in the Oklahoma City area when I was researching my weather thriller, Eye of the Storm, and the people were so welcoming and wonderful. Those of us who weren’t in the storm’s path may be in a position to help now. So here’s a chance to do that.
Instead of pulling together an auction like we did to benefit the SuperStorm Sandy KidLitCares relief effort, I thought we’d try something faster, because Oklahoma needs help right now, given the magnitude of damage from this week’s EF5 tornado. Please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort now. If you donate at least $10, I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a signed book.
I’m donating some of my books, and some other authors are doing the same – not because a book giveaway is the real reason to make this donation but because it’s a way for the children’s literature community to promote the effort and say thanks to those who decide to donate. I’m hoping that we can also donate signed books to the library system that serves families affected by the tornado, either to add to their collections or to distribute to displaced families. More on that when things settle down some…but here’s the KidLitCares Donation Drive information.
To be entered in the KidLitCares for Oklahoma Book Giveaway:
Click here and make a donation of at least $10 for American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Ideally, you’ll do this now. Like, right now. But if you want to be entered for the book drawing, be sure to do it before 12pm EST on June 7th. I’ll enter your name in the drawing once for each $10 you donate. So a $50 donation equals five chances to win.
You’ll receive an email receipt from the Red Cross. Forward that receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll automatically be entered in the drawing for one of our donated signed books! You can see an ever-updating list of donated signed books below!
On June 7th, I’ll draw names for as many books as we have donated. I’ll contact you via email if you win so that you can provide a mailing address for the author to mail your signed book. Because our authors are donating postage, books can be mailed to US addresses only. (Sorry!) Again – the deadline is 12pm EST on June 7th.
Authors: If you’d like to donate a signed book as a Donation Drive Giveaway, please email email@example.com and I’ll send you a link to the donation page. Thanks!
Agents and Editors: If you’d like to donate a signed book by one of your authors or clients, that’s great, too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you that link, too.
Readers: Please help us spread the word about KidLitCares for Oklahoma by sharing this link on Twitter, Facebook and wherever else you have friends!
Here’s the list of books that have already been donated and will be given away on June 7th…
(It will grow…and I will try my best to keep up with it…please be patient! New books will be added daily.)
HIDE AND SEEK by Kate Messner
THE REINVENTION OF EDISON THOMAS by Jacqueline Houtman
SIRENS by Janet Fox
BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX by Laurel Snyder
PASSING THE MUSIC DOWN by Sarah Sullivan
SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE by Joanne Levy
1 ZANY ZOO by Lori Degman
THE GENTLEMAN BUG by Julian Hector
TRADING FACES by Julie DeVillers and Jennifer Roy
BEDEVILED: DADDY’S LITTLE ANGEL by Shani Petroff
HOUNDS: LOYAL HUNTING COMPANIONS by Becky Levine
THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY by Nikki Loftin
SPLISH SPLASH! by Naomi Davis
COUNTING ON GRACE by Elizabeth Winthrop
THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES by Jody Feldman
PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS by Diane Zahler
FLUTTER by Gina Linko
WHERE DO DIGGERS SLEEP AT NIGHT by Brianna Caplan Sayres
THE WIG IN THE WINDOW by Kristen Kittscher (will be sent in August!)
I DARE YOU NOT TO YAWN! by Helene Boudreau
THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING by Linda Urban
SEE YOU AT HARRY’S by Jo Knowles
CANARY IN THE COAL MINE by Madelyn Rosenbert
NO SAFETY IN NUMBERS by Dayna Lorentz
HOPE IN PATIENCE by Beth Fehlbaum
COWBOY CAMP by Tammi Sauer
THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN OKLAHOMA by Tammi Sauer
NUGGET AND FANG by Tammi Sauer
THE WATER CASTLE by Megan Frazer Blakemore
ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Linda Mullaly Hunt
WANT TO GO PRIVATE by Sarah Darer Littman
LIFE, AFTER by Sarah Darer Littman
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: THE POWER OF POSITIVE by Sarah Darer Littman
THE UNQUIET by Jeannine Garsee
SAY THE WORD by Jeannine Garsee
BEYOND LUCKY by Sarah Aronson
I’M BORED by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
THOUSAND WORDS by Jennifer Brown
MADHATTAN MYSTERY by John J. Bonk
THE FLINT HEART by Katherine Paterson (signed by Katherine Paterson & John Rocco, donated by Anne Moore)
TEACH YOUR BUFFALO TO PLAY DRUMS by Audrey Vernick
THE UNIVERSE OF FAIR by Leslie Bulion
BROTHERS AT BAT: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMAZING ALL-BROTHER BASEBALL TEAM by Audrey Vernick
SCARS by Cheryl Rainfield
STAINED (ARC) by Cheryl Rainfield
PHANTOM STALLION: THE WILD ONE by Terri Farley
THE CAMPING TRIP THAT CHANGED AMERICA by Barb Rosenstock
FEARLESS by Barb Rosenstock
THE SWEETEST THING by Christina Mandelski
BOY + BOT by Ame Dyckman
THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST by Sarvenaz Tash
NEVER EIGHTEEN by Megan Bostic
MELONHEAD AND THE BIG STINK by Katy Kelly.
One of the things I love about steampunk is the chance to explore the Steam Age from a variety of angles and cultural viewpoints. The author team of Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris is definitely pushing the envelope with their Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series (PHOENIX RISING and THE JANUS AFFAIR), with missions from the Ministry taking place all around the world.
Ever since my last visit to Beijing in 2005, I’ve been fascinated by Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace. It was razed to the ground during the Anglo-French Invasion, and it’s still a very sore spot for Beijing natives. I have always wanted to write something about those ruins because they fascinated and hurt me with their ravished beauty, but I never knew what to write. When Pip & Tee invited me to write for the Ministry Initiative, the old wheels started turning and the destruction of Yuanmingyuan became the setting of my story. I’m very thankful Tee & Pip were on board with this!
Galileo Games and Imagine That! Studios have teamed up to bring you an ambitious steampunk project! The Ministry Initiative is a two-part creative endeavor that will not only premiere new fiction from the steampunk world of the Ministry but also present a brand new role playing game from the makers of Bulldogs! and the ENnie Award winning game Shelter in Place. Thrill to the tales in Ministry Protocol anthology, or join in as an Agent in The Ministry Initiative RPG.
To celebrate this endeavor, I'm offering up a free e-copy of my short story, "Chinoiserie," for your delectation when the anthology becomes available. To enter to win, all you have to do is comment on this post by midnight, May 29th. A winner will be chosen via random number generator. And of course I will happily e-ship internationally. Find out more about this endeavor and support the Kickstarter here: http://bit.ly/ministry-initiative
It's an article I'd like to hang onto for me, mostly, but it's also a damned good article.
This entry was originally posted at http://mmegaera.dreamwidth.org/434480.h
- Current Mood: pensive