Quoth the Book: “Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated”


James Surowiecki is the business writer for The New Yorker, and though I usually am not one to pour over the financial pages, I find his columns fascinating. None more so than the article he wrote for the July 29, 2013 issue of the magazine. The article is titled “E-Book Vs. P-Book,” although the online version of the article is actually identified more accurately as “It’s Not Over For Barnes & Noble.” The article, which I strongly suggest you read, basically argues that with Borders gone, Barnes & Noble is actually poised to do quite well, if it would only “focus on something truly radical: being a bookstore.”

As I say, the article is worth a read, but I would like to concentrate on a few data points that Surowiecki mentions in his piece that, I believe, point to larger trends in the writing market. In no particular order: [...]

Continue reading Quoth the Book: “Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated”

Grist For the Mill: Emotion and Creativity


As you read this, I am driving home from New York City having just dropped off my daughter at NYU. She’s a freshman this year, so all of this is pretty new to me. The last-minute shopping, the packing, the move-in day and orientation and getting settled. The bills — oh my GOD the bills. And underlying all of it, the emotions that come with seeing my eldest child go off to college: excitement on her behalf, sadness at the thought of her leaving home, happiness at the thought of her leaving home (yeah, some of these are pretty mixed), trepidation at all that she has to face in the coming years — we’ve been taking care of her for so long, and while she is bright and mature and confident, is she ready? I am more aware than I have ever been of my age, of the swiftness with [...]

Continue reading Grist For the Mill: Emotion and Creativity

Greetings from Calgary: Post-Con Report


Greetings from Calgary, Alberta! I am writing this Sunday afternoon, after a wonderful week of work at WhenWordsCollide and the pre-convention writer’s workshop.

Yes, that’s right: I said “work.” John’s post from the other day, on which I didn’t comment, but which I have read, is spot on. Conventions are work. They are super fun — I love meeting fans, working with other professionals, renewing old friendships and beginning new ones. And after 16 years as a published author I am nowhere close to being tired of having people ask if I’ll sign their copies of my books. To be honest, I’m always shocked when people apologize for approaching me, as if it’s an imposition.

But right now, after leading the workshop for two days and being one of the con’s guests of honor, I’m exhausted. It’s not that talking about writing or doing readings is that tiring. But I’ve [...]

Continue reading Greetings from Calgary: Post-Con Report

Lessons Learned While Preparing for a Writer’s Workshop


I am back from an extended vacation with my family, which ended with a glorious week on the North Carolina coast. I am tanned and reasonably relaxed, and am already getting ready to leave town again first thing tomorrow morning. (This has been a crazed summer: by the time the two months between July 1 and September 1 are done, I will have spent forty days on the road. Signing tour, vacation, conventions, oh, and taking my daughter to college.) Tomorrow I head to Calgary in Alberta, Canada, where I will be running a two day writer’s workshop and then will be Guest of Honor at WhenWordsCollide.

As part of my preparation for the workshop, I have been reading manuscripts submitted by those who will be attending. Using a structure very similar to that outlined by Mindy in her fabulous post from Friday, I write editorial letters to the students [...]

Continue reading Lessons Learned While Preparing for a Writer’s Workshop

On Publishing and Writing: A New Editor, A New Beginning


As of about two weeks ago, I have a new editor. The reasons for the change are not a topic I’m prepared to discuss, except to say that it was not a change I sought, nor a circumstance over which I had any control. But the upshot was that at some point, around the time Thieves’ Quarry was released, I found myself in need of a different editor at Tor Books. And my agent and I have found someone who I think will be great — her name is Stacy Hague-Hill.

But as excited as I am to work with Stacy, this has been a wrenching change.

I have worked with the same book editor my entire career. I have worked with others on short fiction (including our own Edmund Schubert, who is as fine an editor as I have ever met), but when it comes to novels, I have [...]

Continue reading On Publishing and Writing: A New Editor, A New Beginning

When networking and PR turn into something else entirely. Part Two.

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

Last time I posted it was on the benefits of networking in the business. And frankly the benefits are astounding, even for a social misfit like me. For some people networking is easy—thinking here of David, who seems to make friends like nobody’s business. It’s harder for me. It just is. Partly because I don’t remember names. (It’s a social affliction. I forgot the Hubby’s name on our honeymoon after knowing him since 8th grade and dating him for over 7 years.) Partly because of foot-in-mouth disease. But I still have made more friends as a writer than I have enemies. I hope. And a lot of them appear here regularly, and I have seen them at Cons regularly, and I plan to see them at more Cons, and I plan to do PR with them, and I really like them!

In fact, Misty Massey and David B. Coe (DB [...]

Continue reading When networking and PR turn into something else entirely. Part Two.

Anatomy of a Signing Tour


Misty, David, Faith, and John at the BooKnack in Rock Hill, SC, during Faith and David’s signing.

I have just returned from what I billed as the Summer 2013 Thieves’ Quarry Signing Tour, which is a somewhat overblown and pompous way of saying that I spent the week doing signings across a small section of the Southeast. It was a great week — fun, exciting, exhausting, and ultimately, I think, pretty successful.

I signed in a variety of bookstores. Three were independents: Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia; The BooKnack in Faith and Misty’s home town of Rock Hill, South Carolina; and Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina. Another specialized in used books — Oakley’s Gently Used Books, on the pedestrian mall in Charlottesville, Virginia. And one was a Books-A-Million in Gastonia, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte.

Each had something to recommend it. The three indies were marvelous places [...]

Continue reading Anatomy of a Signing Tour