Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I'm having this hand lettered on the office wall, I am.

7. Trust that you have greatness inside of you. This is the big one. 

Warren is a utilitarian potter, meaning he makes a lot of pots, mostly for everyday use. Mark and I eat off his work daily. But with each firing Warren sets a few pieces aside for museums. The pots that sing. 

When asked how he creates those pots, he said he doesn't worry about it, because he doesn't set out to make a great pot, just one that's useful. He said to trust that there's something inside you, something simultaneously human and divine, that will come out in the work. When you find a pot that exhibits the ineffable, then you've made art. It's easy to pick the functional pots from the brilliant pots. The brilliant ones glow from within. 

And yes, I'll say it: Just like him.

I stole this ruthlessly from Robin Becker's blog post about her father in law Warren.  Read the rest of it here.

And I'm not kidding about the lettering. It's going to take a while, but there will be photos.

And here's Robin's book BRAINS.  Just in case yours exploded when you read that.

Sean Ferrell says it better than anyone else

With apologies to anyone who has ever been verbally assaulted by the use of the term, the word "nigger" matters.

A new edition of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is being released by NewSouth books with the text censored to remove the word "nigger" and replace it with "slave." This galling decision has been done, claims Twain expert Alan Gribben, because, "Race matters in these books... It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century."

I think Mr. Gribben has confused the importance of history and literature with contemporary mores and marketing.

Here's the link to the rest of the post.

I'm glad we're all offended by use of that terrible word, but the way to deal with it is not to bowdlerize the novels it appears in. As one of the commenters on the post replies: erasing is the first step to forgetting.

Another reason you want to be on Twitter

It's where people hear about your book.

If you don't believe me, here's the latest piece of evidence:

It's funny how we decide to pick up books sometimes. I was introduced to David Eddings by some fanboy-types I knew while going to college. I think I'm grateful I wasn't running with the Oprah-crowd back then. I don't think I could handle the angst. 

Anyway. The Breach by Patrick Lee is a book I wouldn't have even known about if it weren't for John DeNardo over at SF Signal and I might still have passed it up if it wasn't for the occasional tweet to remind people that it might be worth checking out. 

So I picked it up over the holidays and I probably read it faster than anything else I picked up in the last year. 

Read the rest of the blog post here.

If you are an author and you want to reach your audience, there's no substitute for an effective twitter presence.

Is one of your new year resolutions to be more connected?

Media Bistro has a list of reasons people won't follow you back on twitter.
 I think it's a pretty good list.

The only thing I would add is that if you protect your tweets (ie you require someone to ask if they can follow you) you won't get followed a lot.

I never request permission to follow someone, and I block people who do from following me. The whole point of twitter is to expand your network, and protecting your updates doesn't do that.

(yes, this post was up at QueryShark this morning. For some reason, I didn't click the correct blog. Argh! Morning!)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Our spies are everywhere

yes, that is the ceiling light fixture.

For those of you who missed the arrival of Awesome the Octopus (aka The Scourge!) here's her backstory:

How to find out if your agent is an idiot-part deux

I was chatting with one of my editor pals yesterday and in the course of the conversation, Editor Amazing mentioned a book with an AWFUL premise, one that left both of us ewwwwing till our respective assistants glared at us.

Today, Editor Amazing calls me back. Update on the AWFUL:

It turned into the house joke yesterday afternoon. I bragged to a few other colleagues about my "awesome submission" and it turns out at least three of them also got the same submission the same day - apparently said agent does mass e-mail query submissions, at least with individually addressed emails. Said "agent" has now been added to the editorial spam filter.

So, what does that mean for you? Well, if you're a client with this agent, your work is in the spam filter. Nice start to your career.

If your agent is pitching your project ASK to see the list of editors.

And before the comment column lights up: YES you can ask. And if your agent won't tell you, or makes you feel like a loser for asking, that tells you something.

I had a phone call with a client this morning who asked where his work was going.  I said "I know but I can't tell you yet cause I haven't put together a list. When I get ready to pitch this, I'll send you the list."

So, timing is important.  An agent may not know five weeks ahead of time, but s/he will know the day it goes out. Ask to see it then.  If there are seven editors all listed as the same publisher, you've got a problem.

This is your career. Manage it well.

What ho, BaPo!

It's amazing what La Slitherina is looking forward to reading in 2011.

If I wasn't terrified of falling over a crashcart and a still, I'd swim over and thank her myself.

If you annoy me, I'm less likely to do what you want

This was the subject line in an email today: Secure Your 2011 Foothold in the Trade Book Publishing Market With (company) information

Well, at least they didn't say toe-hold, but foothold??

Maybe I read that without enough coffee, or without my sense of humor nailed to my noggin, but sheesh.

You want me to buy something that implies I'm a raw beginner?  Not bloody likely.

What's missing on this list?--contest closed/winner picked!

Warren Richey's book about paddling around Florida in a kayak for The Ultimate Florida Challenge is hilarious, and has drawn quite a bit of interest from the denizens of The Reef.

It's also gotten interest from the nice folks at Florida Rambler who asked Warren to list what he packs for a kayak trip.  His list is in the article.  

I've read Warren's book more than once and yet, this article was the first time I realized there's something missing from the list.

What is it?

First person to guess correctly (sole judge of what's correct = me) wins a copy of WITHOUT A PADDLE by Warren Richey.


of course I thought of "something to read" and Jaymg guessed that right off the bat at 8:35am.  There's one winner.  (Jaymg, send me your mailing address and we'll be happy to send you copy of the book)

Then I read the rest of the comments, and howled!

Delilah, the unruly helpmeet (which has to be one of the best names ever) weighed in with Underpants and shark repellent.

I can't believe I didn't think of those!  Clearly a winner.

Delilah send me your mailing address, and we'll send you a copy of the book as well.

Thanks for a great start to the morning!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Mer_Bear @ fplm .com?

We have two Merediths at FinePrint.

One is an agent.

One is a godsend.

The agent was here first, so she got the email address that follows our pattern: Meredith@FPLM

What do we do with Mer-Bear?

Mer-Bear is a terrific name, and lots of fun but she does make business calls and some lame-o is sure to ask her if it's Mer-Bare, so that one is out.

We wanted it to be easy to remember, so nothing with a number. Besides she's really not Meredith2.
More like MeredithExponential.

As we were gnawing on the dilemma, swimming about in the reef, the perfect suggestion surfaced:

Great guffaws all around of course, but I kind of like it.
I wonder if I can talk them into changing mine to ApexPredator @FPLM

Query letter intensive workshop

February 13, here in NYC.

The course leader is my pal Jenny Milchman who organized a great panel at Wachtung Books this past October.

Here are the deets!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Oh crap, I forgot to post the contest winner!

Yea, ok, I'm a total slacker. This vacation thing has been a LOT of fun! Probably not quite so much for those people who were wondering if they won the writing contest!  (and who were kind enough to NOT send flaming bags of crustacean poop to the reef.)

Alrighty then.

When we last visited the five finalists I asked you who you thought won.

As of 4:20pm shark standard time, here are the results:

LeAnne: 9%
Janet B. Taylor 32%
Patrice: 19%
Reality Analyst: 27%
Joel: 14%

Since this was a new and really terrible way to torment writers, I've decided to give all five brave participants the same prize:

A copy of GHOST COUNTRY by Patrick Lee.

For the winner selected by the Great Reader Horde, Janet B. Taylor, you'll also get the swag created by the elves over at Harper pr and marketing. (It's a water bottle and go-bag, but without the flowers.  Those are one of Mer-Bear's foliage flourishes)

For the second place winner selected by the Great Reader Horde, Realityanalyst, also the swag.

And my choice, which you probably knew and didn't vote for just to cause me consternation:


the book, the swag, and a copy of The Breach, also by Patrick Lee.

If all five of you will mail me your mailing addresses, we'll get the swag out to you.

I should mention that we can't mail anything but books to overseas addresses.

Congratulations to the five winners!

Hell with the subway fare increase!

I will now be driving a SharkTerrain Vehicle to the office.

And I might share some of the cupcakes sent by His Hilariousness The Editor for the Ages!

MIGHT! (don't even think about stealing one or I'm sending Mer-Bear from the Lair after you!)

List this!

DAY ONE is on the best of 2010 list compiled by the Portland Mercury!

If you haven't treated yourself to this amazing book, well, click here and get cracking!

Yes, I'm bullish on NYC..and you will be too!

Here's how it happened:


The nicest compliment ever

Found at The Novel Road interview of Sean Ferrell.

Happy New Year

Lifted ruthlessly and shamelessly from the  
kept by Kevin Burton Smith.