Saturday, April 22, 2017
As the finish line is in sight for publication of THE MOMENT OF TRUTH by Pegasus Books on June 6th, I thought I'd share some of my 'loves' and 'dislikes' on the journey in hopes it will help others about to be published or wanting to get published and/or entertain those interested in the process. LOVES: Amazing high after your agent informs you a publisher wants to publish your book. Working with your agent on the contract. Meeting the people at your publisher over lunch to talk about the novel and exchanging ideas. Makes all the hours spent alone in your writing space worthwhile Working with my editor during the development of the novel. Seeing your novel’s jacket for the first time—that sure is a blood-rush moment—and the publisher actually listening and acting upon some of your suggestions to improve various drafts. (I must point out this was unusual and not all authors get such an experience as some publishers don’t do this.) Seeing the final typeset version of your manuscript on the computer and the colophon you suggested being used to indicate space breaks. Working with the publisher’s marketing people to discuss promotion ideas, etc. Great brain stimulation DISLIKES (and fears): Approaching peers for endorsements (blurbs) because I feel like a beggar and many decline or don’t bother to respond. (That’s not a complaint, just an observation.) There are many reasons why an author won’t blurb: too busy and have their own pressing deadlines; story doesn’t interest them; they get asked by hundreds of people; don’t want to blurb it for personal or professional reasons. Don’t take it personally or you’ll become bitter. Accept and move on. It’s part of the process. And celebrate when you get a great endorsement from a writer who gave his or her time to read your work and tendered the blurb. Make a commitment to do the same and be open to writers if you become well enough known and your opinion is sought. As authors nowadays have to get involved contacting influential book clubs and other important review sites to ask them to read your book or select it as one of their picks, etc—again, one feels like a beggar. View it as just another cog in the publishing machine. Often the response will be ‘no’ or there will be no response, which can disappoint and even hurt. That’s a normal emotion but don’t take it personally. Remember there are hundreds of books released every year and, while your book is your new baby, to them it is just another novel or memoir, etc. The terror when a pre-pub review has been published and you begin reading it. (You will also experience it on the book’s publication as, hopefully, you will get ink in newspapers and magazines, etc.) Whether it is a good or bad review, treat them the same and don’t take it personally. Try not to over celebrate if good and not get despondent or want to cut your wrists if it’s bad. Remember that reviews are subjective. Move on. I said, Move on. And if you’re really sensitive, don’t read reviews—good or bad. Same goes for Amazon reader reviews. And remember there will be trolls on the internet. Do not comment on Amazon or Goodreads. As oxygen gives life to the body, responses give life to trolls.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Went shopping in New Orleans to help advise a senior friend buy a new computer and printer at Best Buy. He and his partner who celebrated his 92nd birthday have been having serious health problems including heart failure. Given he's not as sophisticated computer user, I suggested he buy a three-year contract for piece of mind. "I don't believe I have three years," he said. "A two year contract will do." He said it with such certainty and acceptance, I was incredibly moved. It made me think about the end of life amid the flippant buzz of commerce taking place in the store. The fact is he and his life partner of 62 years are down to two years or so of life. There is no more five or ten-year plan. A day will come when the sun rises and we are no longer on the planet breathing its air. We will no longer exist. Everything we have done begins to move into the dusty past. Our money and wealth gets distributed to offspring and friends whom we imagine will handle it with the care we did. It doesn't matter. Regardless of one's personal or religious beliefs, that should be enough to encourage us to live good and productive lives full of love and regard for one another.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Anybody watch 60 minutes last night. Thought-provoking segment from a former Google ethicist who left Google because he was unhappy with the way it and other social media companies like Facebook, Snapchat, etc are creating apps to create addictive behaviors in users. The Apps appeal to the lowest past of our brainstem where we feel anxiety, fear and other base emotions. It's geared at making users crave 'likes, etc' and they are even holding back on various User feedback and sending them in small bursts so the user gets an artificial high and keeps using the social media app, etc in an insatiable need for more and more. Research is showing that psychologically developed app programs to stimulate happiness and highs can create addition. Parents scoff at his warnings and compare it to them being nonstop on the phone in the 70s. The ethicist says it is NOT the same because at social media companies employ thousands of engineers working to stimulate the emotions that result in addiction. In the seventies, the phone companies did not employ engineers to target and monitor user responses, etc. When asked to comment, Apple, Google, Facebook, etc decline and refused to sanction Apps aimed at reducing one's appetite for artificial highs. The worse offender apparently is Snapchat aimed at young people and it's making them anxious, depressed and pressured. He says the industry needs to reform or there could be dire consequences psychologically for users in the longterm.
Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Rather delicious review of THE MOMENT OF TRUTH from the ever so important Booklist who service the libraries throughout the US. McNicholl’s moving novel, rich in emotion and written with style and precision (the bullfighting scenes have the crisp clarity of Hemingway), strikes a fine balance between love story and historical adventure. Though he sets the book in another place and time and evokes both vividly, McNicholl uses the sensibilities of his heroine to give the story a very modern-seeming immediacy. This pairs well with Malcolm Brooks’ Painted Horses.” —Booklist
This is fantastic. Carole Blake was a UK literary agent whose FB page I loved reading because she was interesting, witty and could be quite upfront and scathing about people whom she thought foolish. She died suddenly last year. She was a secretary prior to becoming an agent and never forgot her past. Her agency has started a project to give people experience in publishing who would normally never get a chance to do so. Giving people a helping hand. Isn't that what life's about? Read here