Tag: publishing

publishing

Change

This is my first post on the new, improved, faster, fabulous Miss Demeanor site. It’s much easier to do than I anticipated. But that did not stop me from lying awake for about five hours last night worrying about it. It’s fine. It’s fine. I just really don’t like change. Sometimes I visualize myself clinging to a cliff, hanging on by my fingertips while wolves circle below. And those are the good days. It just feels like every time I figure out what I’m doing, I have to learn something new. The new minister at my church is an interim minister, which means her specific job is to help churches deal with change. In this case, the fact that our beloved minister of 26 years retired. One of the things I like so much about her is that she keeps acknowledging change is hard. All change is a form of loss, even if it’s good change. I don’t know anyone in the publishing business who has not had to deal with change. Editors leave, publishing houses fold, agents disappear, or occasionally are nominated for fabulous awards. (Congratulations, Paula!) I’ll report back as soon as I figure out how to deal […]

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Pitching

This past weekend I was a workshop leader at the New York Pitch Conference. I’m in charge of the women’s fiction/literary fiction/memoir group, so I get to hear many wonderful stories. Many that I hope to read in book form at some point or another. I am continually awed by the diversity of stories out there. Just in my group there were people from India and Ghana and Lebanon and England. Professors and Ph.Ds. People who’ve survived some terrible things and others who’ve survived Hollywood. People who seem very polished and people who are scribbling notes on bits of paper. Mothers and daughters and some really odd people. It’s also fascinating to me how individual this publishing business is. Every editor reacts to each pitch in a different way. The very same pitch will be met with enthusiasm from one editor and blank indifference from another. They like for you to have a large social media presence. They like to know you’ve worked hard on your story–whether by studying writing or having pieces workshopped by beta readers. They like for you to have good comps. They like all these things unless they don’t really care because they like your story so much. […]

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Promoting… The All Important P In Publishing

Promotion! I hate it. Some folks may love it. Certainly, most folks are way better at it than I am. So, my question to the MissDemeanors this week was: What is the best thing you’ve done to help promote your book so far? I’ve highlighted some of my favorite bits that I will definitely be exploring with my latest book.   Here’s mine. I had a murder mystery party in my house for The Widower’s Wife. About 50 couples showed up and everyone had a character (most of which I made up). Pretty much everyone bought a book. More importantly, folks had so much fun being part of a mystery that they actually read the book and then shared it with friends. I am pretty sure that each person who came spread the word. At the end of the day, I can’t quantify the sales, but it was fun and it definitely got folks talking.  Michele: The unfortunate answer to this question is I don’t know. That’s because it’s very difficult to tell what works and doesn’t unless you can make a direct connection to your sales. My sense is that marketing my books to people who live in or visit and love the Virgin Islands […]

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Waiting…..

I am in a waiting phase of my career. I’ve spent five years researching and writing a book, which I have turned over to my fabulous agent. She has said very flattering things about it, and now it is all in her hands. All I can really do is wait and hope and pray and drink. And talk to my dogs. Not necessarily in that order.  Of course I am incapable of sitting around doing nothing, so for me, the waiting period is actually a very productive time. For one thing, I’m reading a lot. I’m gorging myself on all sorts of random books. I just started reading (and finished reading) Mary Higgins Clark’s Where are the Children? That’s a master class in suspense right there. I also just read Allison Pataki’s book about Benedict Arnold. The reading takes me outside of my anxieties and reminds of why I love to do this in the first place. I’m also jotting down ideas. Not big things, because there’s no point in writing a whole new thing until I know where I am with this thing. But mind is percolating with strange thoughts, and some of them I’m turning into short stories. I love writing […]

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Writing: It’s A Team Sport

I mentioned people yesterday. Let’s talk more about that.   We’ve all heard what a singular endeavor writing can be, shuttered away in a dark corner with just your imagination and your preferred implements for putting thoughts on paper. I bought into that image for a while. Then I asked a friend with an impressive list of non-fiction credits to her name for advice. What should I do once I had a completed manuscript that I thought was pretty good?   “Test it out. Workshop it at writers’ conferences,” she said.   That turned out to be darned good advice. Life-changing, in fact. Finding the right conferences introduced me to the difference between writing for myself and writing commercial fiction. Both are fine, of course. But the latter was my goal and there’s nothing lonely about it. Yes, it’s my butt in the chair creating characters and weaving their stories. However, I learned very quickly commercial writing is a team effort. Agents, editors, publishers, publicists, mentors, writing groups, and, the crown jewels: readers. At writers’ conferences, you get to meet and mingle with them all.   Take a look at the photo in this post. I snapped it while attending a recent conference. It illustrates my point. […]

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The Developmental Edit

Today is my birthday. It was also the initial due date for my developmental edit. As a birthday/Christmas present to myself and my family, I finished the second draft a week early. And, it was one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life.  Novel writing is the long distance running of careers. You have to maintain a pace and get to the finish line, which is typically months, if not years, away.  People take a year or more to pen a first novel. It then takes months–if not a year–to secure an agent and several months to secure a publisher. (Obviously, some books never do. But I learned from the experience of NOT getting an agent for a few novels in drawers that it takes about a year to give up on them too and start something else). If you have a publisher and a contract for a next book, you still have six to eight months or so from the publication of the last novel to the delivery of the next one.  However, writing becomes a sprint during the editing process.  I got back my latest novel from my editors on December 3rd. I had until today to add fifteen to twenty thousand words to it (some […]

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What's New in Social Media

One of the perks of being a Random House author is that you get invited to webinars where various publishing folk tell you about things they think you should know. I love going to these webinars. You don’t know who else is sitting in, of course, because you’re just looking at a screen with a picture on it, but I like to imagine Paula Hawkins sitting across from me in the void and thinking, “What if Maggie Dove met The Girl on the Train? Why don’t I call Susan and ask?” Anyway, yesterday the topic was “What’s New in Social Media.” The speaker was a young woman who handles all the social media at Penguin Random House and she had a lot of interesting tidbits. Here are some of them. 1. Share content you enjoy. (Yes, it’s okay to post all those pictures of dogs!) Readers want to know who you are and what your interests are. Social media is about getting across your personality! 2. You don’t need to be on every platform. Pick the one you like. But. If you are only going to pick only one, go with Facebook. That’s the big one, with more than a billion users. She advised authors […]

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Copy Edits

    This is my week for going over the copy-edited version of my new novel, Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency (which will be coming out on November 8.)  It’s my last chance to make changes before it goes into publication, which means it’s my last chance to get everything right. On every page of the draft, there are notes from the copy-editor. Sometimes he just wants me to think about a word. Other times it’s more substantive.  Here are some sample questions: 1. Timing is very important in mysteries, as you can imagine. At one point I say that something happened two weeks ago, but actually it happened 20 days ago. Fix that! 2. Early in the novel I refer to a cat as having green eyes, but later on he has yellow eyes. Fix that! 3. I keep misusing “further” and “farther.” 4. Maggie has a conversation with her nemesis, Walter Campbell, and she feels badly for him. But soon thereafter she loses her temper. Take more time, the copy editor cautions. Wait a beat before she yells. 5. I tend to use the word “dumbfounded” a lot. Which I frequently am. But I shouldn’t use it too much. 6. I refer to a book of magic spells. (There are witches […]

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What scares you?

  So much of writing is scary. Should you write down those thoughts? Will your family think you’re crazy?Should you send your work out to an agent? What if she thinks you’re crazy?Will anyone buy your book? What if all the reviews are one stars? So much of publishing makes me nervous, but I vowed to myself, when I turned 50, that I would try to say yes to everything people asked me to do, which is how I came to take part in a reading at the Parkside Lounge last Thursday night. This was an event fraught with anxiety. First of all, it was in the East Village in NYC.  Once I get south of 14th Street and the numbers go away, I just have to accept that fact that I’m going to spend an hour lost.  I carefully mapped out subway directions. Dragged my sister-in-law and a friend into a subway, which wound up being un-airconditioned. It was 100 degrees. My make-up dripped onto my lap.  Then there was the place itself, which was, exactly as I feared, much cooler than I am. (I’m not speaking of temperature here, but of a state of mind.) The walls were red (I think). There was a pool […]

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