Monday, April 30, 2007

Saturday in the 'Lumbus...

Hi to everyone who attended my session on promoting yourself online at the Central Ohio conference this past Saturday. (I hope a you are all visiting my blog and the other blogs and websites we talked about.) I wasn't at this event for long--I arrived about an hour before my session, then left a few minutes after. But here are a few things I learned (mostly from the drive):

  • PowerPoint is fun! I had no technical difficulties at all (except when I tried to use the remote).
  • The 50th most popular song on the Billboard chart in 1979 was the "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band (Thank you Casey Kasem and XM Radio.)
  • The most interesting site on the drive from the 'Nati to the 'Lumbus is the "Hell Is Real" Billboard.
  • I really love and appreciate trucks. (It's Murray's fault.) I was getting excited when I'd see a big tractor trailer or a concrete mixer or a group of construction trucks on the side of the road. I saw a couple of flatbed trucks hauling what I can only conclude are pieces of UFOs--they were the strangest looking huge pointy things I've ever seen. They looked sort of like giant space-age jacks.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


  • Bluegrass Festival: Our panels at the Bluegrass Festival of Books went very well. At 3 hours each, we were worried about filling up the time, but there are a lot of writers with a lot of great questions in the Lexington area. Our discussions were lively and interesting (at least from where I sat) and there were still many hands going up as we ended the programs. (Greg the Publicity Guy took some pictures of the event, but I look weird in all of them, so no photos on my blog.)
  • Book Sense Picks: I have a copy of the Book Sense Picks, Children's Spring 2007 list here on my desk. Sadly, I have not read a single book on the list. Happily, it's spring--more daylight, lots of reruns on TV, some upcoming airplane time. It's Reading Season! Look for the Book Sense list at your local independent bookseller.
  • Central Ohio Conference: I'm headed to Columbus, OH (or as we in the 'Nati like to call it, the 'Lumbus) on Saturday for the Central Ohio Writer's of Literature for Children Conference, and I'm getting quite excited about my Powerpoint presentation. (Please send no-technical-difficulty thoughts toward central Ohio around 2-ish on April 28.) I'll be talking about promoting yourself on the Web.
  • '08 CWIM: It's pretty close to going to the printer, folks. And I have to say this edition is really the best one ever. Soon, I'll post some teasers! (Right now I'm looking through Writer's Market and Guide to Literary Agents. New GLA editor Chuck did a bang-up job on the 2008 edition. Those books hit stores in early August along with CWIM.)
  • It's raining. Again: After a few glorious days here in the 'Nati, it's once again gray and gloomy outside. But it' s not so bad since I've been doing some season-appropriate shopping recently and I have a great new trench and the coolest pair of red wedge rain boots. (One of these days I'll start my fashion blog with tips on how to shop for the chic on an editor's salary without making your husband divorce you and/or cut up your AmEx.)
  • Angry Robot Dogs: Murray, who is now well past 2 1/2, woke up several times last night crying and he told me there were some angry robot dogs roaming about and they were scary. Just wanted to give you all the heads up.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fact vs. Fiction: The Hoax...

I loved this piece in The New Yorker--it's an interview with Clifford Irving, the writer on whom Richard Gere's new movie The Hoax is based. Irving "perpetrated the most intrepid publishing fraud of the modern era," as writer Jeffrey Goldberg put it, when he pretended to be writing an autobiography of Howard Hughes even though the two had never met.

I find literary and journalistic hoaxes quite fascinating. (If you've never seen Shattered Glass, add it to your Netflix list--it's riveting.) I simply can't imagine the anxiety one would feel about the possibility of getting caught (something that kept me out of a lot of trouble in high school), but I guess that's all part of the thrill--that Catch-Me-If-You-Can sense of adventure. Do these writers just want to see what they can get away with? (Irving, who is now with his sixth wife, also had extramarital affairs.)

I can't help but think of the also fascinating ongoing discussion of the memoir as a form, and the liberties authors may or may not take with facts in the name of entertaining writing. For instance the recent criticism of David Sedaris in The New Republic, after which the humorist received much love from the press. Or the fact that, not long after the James Frey incident, Augusten Burroughs' publisher placed a disclaimer on the back of his book Possible Side Effects. (Full disclosure: There's nothing I love more than a great memoir or collection of personal essays. Sedaris and Burroughs are two of my favorite authors.)

A few years ago at BEA, I saw memoirist Alexandra Fuller speak on her book Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier. Fuller commented that both memoirists and novelists are often hit with the question, "Is this really true? Did this really happen?" Do readers on some level think there's always some fiction in the facts and some facts in the fiction?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bye Bye Brodie...

PW reports today that Deborah Brodie, one of the founders of Roaring Brook Press, will be leaving the publisher next month. I've dealt with Deborah a number of times over the years and always found her to be helpful, kind and professional--and I think she's brought many wonderful books to the world.

If you have a copy of the 2001 CWIM hanging out on your shelf, turn to page 203 for an interview with Deborah, then still serving as executive editor at Viking. Here's a snippet in which she answers a question about where children's publishing is going:

"...the one thing that will never change is the collaborative nature of publishing--the supportive, mutually nourishing relationship of editor, author and illustrator."

I wish her the best of luck in whatever new publishing endeavor she chooses.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Alice's April Mini-Tour...

I'm hitting the road the last two Saturdays of April. Here's the scoop:

  • Saturday April 21--Bluegrass Festival of Books. I'm heading to Lexington, KY to do a workshop on writing and getting published along with two wonderful and knowledgeable Writer's Digest Books editors, Lauren Mosko and Kelly Nickell. Tickets are still available for this event. We'll be doing two three-hour sessions, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. (And we have to get up ridiculously early, but Greg the Publicity Guy is driving us, so we can nap in the car on the way.) There are also a slew of other authors offering sessions on lots of topics including a young adult author panel. Unfortunately the lunch with Paula Deen is sold out. (I think just being in the same room with her would make my pants feel snug--that woman loves to cook with the butter.)
  • Saturday April 28--Central Ohio Writers of Literature for Children conference. I head to Columbus, OH for this event to do an afternoon session entitled "Promoting Your Work Online." I'll give some tips on creating an online presence with some examples of authors and illustrators who have done it well, and discuss blogging, listservs, online social networking and other things. And I'll even have some Power Point visuals (as long as I don't experience any technical difficulties).
If you are in the Lexington or 'Lumbus area, sign up for an event--what better way to spend a Saturday than talking about books and writing. I'll be posting some photos and a report from each a event so please visit my blog again soon.

Friday, April 06, 2007

WSJ Tackles YA, Part 2...

I finally read the Wall Street Journal article on teen books thanks to Flux editor Andrew Karre who was nice enough to pass it along. I said previously that I'd offer an overview of the piece here, but why don't you just check out Andrew's blog--he's sums it up and offers his thoughts. (And you should bookmark his blog while you're there.)

An aside to the WSJ article which discusses the decision to publish certain books with young characters as adult books (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, for example) and not as YA--I interviewed Judy Blume several years ago as she was finishing up Summer Sisters. At the time, she said, her publisher had gone back and forth as to whether the book would be marketed as YA or adult. It was ultimately published as an adult book. That interview took place in 1997, so this discussion is certainly not a new one in the publishing world.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Wall Street Journal Tackles YA...

There was an article in WSJ this weekend about teen books. Unfortunately I don't have a subscription to either the print or online version of this newspaper (although my husband often swipes it from our neighbors driveway. She said it was OK.) Did anyone read this piece? I'm determined to track it down without spending $79 for an online subscription. Hmmm...maybe my brother gets it. After I read it, I'll provide a complete summary for the blogosphere.