Tuesday, December 30, 2008

8 things I loved in 08

1. My spiffy new Kindle leads the list. Are you sick of reading my gushing posts about the Kindle? I've yapped enough about it here previously that I'll just say this now:

I wouldn't have bought one as soon without Kristin Nelson leading the way. Kristin has been a friend, colleague and sounding board for years. When she bought one, and showed it to me, and told me how much she valued it, I got one for myself. Thanks Kristin!

2. Google reader. I subscribe to 144 blogs. I follow all my clients, and as many of the trade oriented blogs I can find like bookstores, editors, other agents, and interesting observers of the scene. The ONLY way I can do that efficiently is by using Google reader. I know it's helped me help my clients. If you're not on Google reader, I encourage you to do so.

3. Twitter. I use Twitter for a very specific purpose. I stay in touch with my clients by a gossamer thread. It helps me know what's happening in their lives that's important (things like the death of a dog, death of a close friend, two bombs, and a lot of snow!) without them having to email me.

It's also been invaluable for early news. I don't use it to market myself, or do much actual business, but it's been extremely useful for what I want it for.

I started using Twitter because I read a post on DorothyL from someone who was excoriating all the new fangled things they thought were a waste of time. I realized I didn't want to dismiss something as useless unless I'd actually tried it. Twitter turned to be very useful. I tried a couple other things that weren't, but the key was I tried them first. Sort of the like Spinach Principle: how do you know you'll loathe it unless you've tried it.

4. Joanna Stampfel Volpe. She arrived at FinePrint in February as an intern. She soon became an assistant, then an agent. She has an extraordinary editorial eye. I value her opinion very highly and in some categories I value hers more than mine.

I had the great good fortune to have her with me on our foray to Wichita Kansas. We talked the hotel shuttle bus driver into taking us to the liquor store when we arrived on Friday night. Well, Joanna did. I just egged her on. The image of pulling up to the liquor store in a hotel van is either horribly embarrassing or really funny. I'm not sure which but most likely it's both.

Joanna is a class act and a delight. I'm pleased to be her friend and colleague.

5. Bouchercon. Five days in Baltimore with clients, friends, and crime novels. I didn't have a single obligation other than hang out at the bar and listen to a lot of very talented people talk. It was so fun I came home and registered for Bouchercon 2009 in Indianapolis and B/con 2010 in San Francisco.

6. Barbara Poelle and Holly Root. Technically they are two separate people but they've been joined at the hip for years since their desks are about six inches apart. I had the good fortune to meet them at the Thomas Dunne party this year. It was love at first sight and all of 2008 proved that to be true. The fact they are my competitors makes it all the more more fun. I adore them both and plan to drink them under the table for years to come.

7. The Abbeville Manual of Style blog. I just plain love it. The writing is incredible. Read it. Don't argue. Just do it.

Other favorites are Fail and CakeWreck which have nothing to do with publishing but on the eighth rejection of the day, they are invaluable mood brighteners.

8. New York City. It will be on the list of things I love until I die. I love this city with a passion beyond reason. I'm profoundly grateful to have a job I love, in a city I love, working with people I admire and respect. I'm extraordinarily fortunate in this, and I know it.

Unstated, unnumbered but always there: my appreciation for those of you who read this blog, offer comments, insights, and goat tales. The time you spend reading and writing to me is deeply appreciated this year and every year.

Happy New Year!


Ann Victor said...

And a very happy new year to you as well!

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

I love Twitter, too, but Google Reader got out of control for me and I couldn't keep up with it so I stopped using it, lol.

Happy New Year

Crimogenic said...

Happy New Year, Janet! Thanks for providing valuable publishing and query writing information all year, and also for your rants, some of which had me rolling on the floor.

Julie said...


Argh - between you and Vicki Pettersson, I've now got at least four more new addictions on my reader! Bah, humbug!!

Julie K in Winnipeg
(P.S. - Happy New Year!)

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

so ... why aren't pixies and goats on that list? huh? just why?

Anne-Marie said...

Happy New Year, Janet, and thank you for all the tips, insights and great storytelling!


BJ said...

Princess Sha'el, she did mention goat tales.

Happy New Year, Janet! It was a great pleasure to meet you at Surrey, and if I ever write a mystery, I know who to call. And if you ever start repping science fiction with possible mystery/thriller elements, let me know.

Thanks for all you've given us.

Joe Iriarte said...

Google Reader is fantastic--especially if you stick a button for it on your Google toolbar, because it changes color when you have new posts, without you having to actually load Reader up. However, every now and then I have cause to suspect it's missing posts here and there.

(The best thing about Google Reader may be that it completely bypasses my workplace's filters, though. :D )

Sarah said...

Happy New Year to you as well! I love this blog, I do. Great posts, great links, and great comments.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

I am a little goat,
Short and stout.
These are my hornes,
And sometimes I pout.

I’ve submitted to many an agent, true;
One of these days I’m going to be more famous than you.

There is room in this world for a Goat Detective,
A solver of crimes from my perspective

Dear Janet,

Please read the manuscript for Murders in the ‘Roo Pajamas, A Mystery. At 270,000 words this semi-autobiographical novel tells the story of a handsome French Alpine and his goat-moll Fluffy. They save Europe from spies sent by the mountain goats of Tibet who are bent on the destruction of Western Goat Civilization.

Reginald Goat is retired from Mi-7 2/3 after years of defending Goatish kind. There is a hint of scandal based on one blurry night spent in the company of Pixies, but he is innocent. He merely got lost. No one believes him. In forced retirement, he hooks up with Fluffy, who’s run away from slavery. She was tricked into moving to Devon to work for high wages and found herself in a bit of a bad spot. But taking her problems by the horns, so to speak, she skipped off and made her way to London where she met Reginald Goat in an East End dive called the Holmes and Watson. (Nice touch, that. Don’t you think?)

Reginald finds her fascinating. While he’s watching her wagging tail with renewed interest in life, he overhears a conversation between a Marino sheep and a Labrador that sets them on their quest.

To save goat culture, they must fly to Philadelphia (USA, not that ancient city that’s in ruins) and retrieve a map that’s glued to the bottom of an Italian made shoe in the closet of a school janitor named F. F. Fine. Miss Fine is really a Tibetan spy, but she is fatally cute, even with her chipped left horn and the nick in her one ear. Reginald romances her while Fluffy breaks into her apartment and steals all her shoes because she hasn’t a clue which are Italian made and which came from Brazil.

Reginald and Fluffy spend the night in a seedy motel 6.2 miles from the out side of Albany, New York, sorting shoes. They discover the map, but being goats can’t really follow it. Reginald immediately thinks of a ner-do-well pixie of his acquaintance who is expert at reading maps. Her expertise comes from years of getting her knobby-kneed Scotsman husband out of difficulties.

He calls her on her cell phone, knowing full well he has debts to pay, and not of the financial kind. For one thing, there is that matter of the missing sock. And there was the Day of the Clothes Line Incident. He sighs but umm bucks up enough to make the call.

The pixie is agreeable. Too agreeable. He suspects he’ll have to spend a few nights in a Pixie Bar in East Cleveland working off his debts to pixies. It’ll be rough, but he can do it.

Reginald and Fluffy end up in Seattle. It rains a lot there; did you know that? Well, it does. They get wet, but in the Seattle Public Library they make contact with Roger Roo. Roger is a reject from the Whinny the Poo series. All he has left for his hard work is a pair of pajamas and intimate knowledge of the Sewers of Tacoma. (Hey, he’s led a rough life. He had to live somewhere after the show was canceled.)

They find a specially marked man-hole cover near the Point Defiance Zoo. The rest is history. There is a semi-erotic bath in the last chapter. Hey, it was Tacoma! You’d need a bath too.

So, there ya go. Read it; make my day.

Best or most of the best at least (I gotta save a few bests for me, don't I?),

William E. Goat, III, esq.

L-Plate Author said...

Happy New Year to you too Janet!

May all of your dreams come true in 20009

Mel Stoke on Trent, England

Southern Writer said...

Although Janet may drink enough McCallans to pickle her -- I mean preserve her -- into the 201st century, let's hope she doesn't have to wait that long for her dreams to come true! She deserves them all now, straight away. At the top of the list: a dozen or two multi-million dollar-bestselling-award winning authors in the coming year. That would be 2009.

Chris Eldin said...

Happy New Year!

ryan field said...

I like your view about Twitter. I've been doing it for a few months now, and I've been wondering why I bother. Someone I don't even know is talking about a stale ham sandwich he had for lunch and I couldn't care less. I think it's time to see if I can get rid of the strangers and focus on the connections I do care about.

Have an excellent New Year.

Debs said...

Thank you for another year of excellent posts.

Wishing you all the very best for 2009.

Anita said...

Your blog is one of my 2008 favorite discoveries.

Joelle said...

Your post inspired me to do my own! Thanks for everything this year, Janet...your fun posts, your great book recommendations, and the help you give to everyone. Blessings in 2009!


Eileen said...

On my list this year would be meeting you at Surrey and having you tell me that you liked my writing. Sure, you had some wine by then, but it was still enough for me.

laughingwolf said...

happy new year to you and yours, janet :D

Pepper Smith said...

LOL! Goat tales, indeed!

Janet, I'm glad you've still got this blog running, now that you're no longer posting at Dead Guy. I appreciate your insights into the publishing world.

courtney summers said...

Here's to a ~*sparkly*~ ~*2009*~ !! :)

spyscribbler said...

I can't stop gushing about my Kindle, either! My non-Kindle friends think I'm a little crazy, I suspect. They tolerate my gushing and change the subject, having discovered their but-I-love-the-smell-of-paper argument is wasted on me.

I can't wait until they get one. Then they won't think I'm crazy. Then they'll be gushing for a year!

R.J. Mangahas said...

Hell, Janet, I registered for the 2009 B'Con while I was still in Baltimore ;-).

However, I noticed that New England Crime Bake wasn't on your list. I hope that was just an oversight (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

Kerrie said...

janet, if you have time, it would be great if you could participate in the activity I'm running on my blog until Jan 4

Janet Reid said...

As you might guess, I don't do "best of" lists, since in my opinion my clients write the very best stuff.

Marian said...

Happy New Year, Janet, and thanks for all the posts!

Rachel Brady said...

Great list, Janet. Here's to a wonderful 2009 as well. :-)

austexgrl said...

Well, what can I say.... New Year from a disgruntled, but grudgingly reader of your blog. I like it mostly, but sometimes I don't. I have, however, learned a lot from you this past year. Thanks

Mountain Gurl said...

OMG! You read 100+ blogs a day? Wow. How do you find time to work? Share your secret.

Evelyn Wood would be proud.

Happy New Year!

BJ said...

I think she *has* shared her secret -- it's called Google Reader. :)

I haven't collected that many myself, if I get much more, I may have to follow Janet's lead.

May the new year shower publishing successes on everyone here!

abbeville said...

As always, Ms. Reid, we are deeply in your debt for all the kind words you've said about our blog! Here's wishing you a happy, peaceful, and prosperous 2009.

- The Abbeville Manual of Style Team

Maggie Stiefvater said...

I love my google reader -- great place to keep all my YA industry blogs in one place.

And I adore cakewrecks. Anything celebrating public idiocy is fine by me.

I've recently become enamored of Cute Overload, which is not always saccharine, as I'd suspected, but rather more often like a daily digest of America's funniest/ randomest home animal videos. Definitely the videos are the best.

Joanna said...

Omg, Janet--I'm flabbergasted! Thank you! You rock! And maybe I've got such a good editorial eye because your taste is so good. Everything you sent me was just the cats pajamas : )