Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Trailer Envy

Check out this awesome book trailer:

First of all, this was one of my favorite books of 2010. Second of all, this book trailer is just perfect. It's what all other book trailers should be. Not cheesy. Not long. Just very professional and totally the right tone for the book. This is the kind of trailer I'd love to create for all my future books.  If you haven't already read A Tale Dark and Grim, you should. (Thanks to Betsy Bird for the link!)

This trailer got me thinking, though. How much money should you spend to make a book trailer? Who actually watches them? How do you distribute them? Do they have any impact on sales? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I'm very curious. I'm even curious about whether or not you even like this trailer. Is it only me? If you have any thoughts on this topic, please feel free to comment.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Step Away From The Novel.

My editor once told me I should put a manuscript away for six months before trying to revise it. Was she crazy? Who has that kind of time? Who has that kind of patience? When I finish a first draft, I can't wait to start revising. Maybe I'll wait a weekend. Or a week if I've got a really great book to read and a huge to-do list to conquer. But I'll be itching to get to that revision. And I'll be calculating how quickly I can revise it and how fast my agent can sell it. I'll have a contract by fall, I think. Or winter. Or spring. Or summer. The book will be published in no time. I'll have to update my website and hope for good reviews and plan promotions and...

Wait a minute. It never ever goes that way. The publishing industry moves at a snail's pace. Agents take weeks to read your work. Editors take months to reject it. When you do finally get an offer, it takes years for the book to actually come out. This is the process. There is no fighting it. It can be incredibly frustrating, but recently I've discovered the positive side to this long, drawn-out journey: Objectivity.

Yes, my editor was right all along. (She is always right about everything, actually.) You need time away from a manuscript to see it clearly and to make it the best it can be. Case in point, my new middle grade novel that my agent and I really love. She's been submitting it for months, and editors have been rejecting it with the loveliest rejection letters I've ever received. I can blame the state of the industry all I want (and I do a little bit), but really, obviously, there's something wrong with the manuscript. Something I need to fix.

And guess what? Six months away from the story gave me the perspective I needed to see what needs to be done. It also gave my critique partners perspective, too. They gave me some perfect suggestions that I can't wait to use. So I'm diving back into revisions, even though my new young adult manuscript is quite a bit jealous that I'm leaving her for a while. Don't worry, I'll be back! Maybe even with some helpful objectivity.  

Friday, January 07, 2011

Jemma Hartman's Twin!

I've received lots of photos of Jemma Hartman Lookalikes, but this one for sure takes the cake!

Lauren from Tampa, Florida. What a cutie!

Lauren's teacher sent me this picture, and today I'm heading to the post office to send Lauren and all her classmates some excellent Jemma Hartman swag.

Today I'll also be cheering for my nephew in his school Geography Bee. (This is a kid who at age 3, in the backseat of the car, shouted, "The capital of Alabama!" as the car zoomed past a street sign that said Montgomery Drive.) In other exciting family news: We are celebrating my niece's Bat Mitzvah and another nephew's Bar Mitzvah this weekend! Too bad one is in Chicago while the other is in Detroit.
And too bad cloning is not an option.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

365 Day Challenge Update

I am proud to say I've now written every single day since December 1st.

Even when I was on a totally amazing Caribbean cruise with my family, I wrote.
The view from the balcony onboard The Adventure of the Seas

True, some days I only wrote for 30 minutes, and true, the writing wasn't all that great, but the important thing was that I kept on writing. I didn't interrupt my flow, and now I've reached page 100 of my work-in-progress. Quite an accomplishment considering it usually takes me six months to write that much. I got this far in a little over two!

I'm at about the halfway mark, which means I'm in that most dreaded part of first drafts: the middle. Why are middles so hard to write? I think it's because beginnings are full of promise and creativity. Anything goes. And you usually know your ending (generally speaking) before you begin, plus by the time you get to the end, you've got all this energy propelling you there. But middles are complicated. You have to follow the threads you started in your beginning. (Why did I make such a big deal about that minor character? Clearly he needs to come back into the story now. Hmm...) And you have to direct everything toward the end. Plus you have to keep the interest and the tension and the stakes high. It's a lot to think about.

At this point, I keep reminding myself I can fix everything in revision. I'm halfway there! I can totally do this. One of my favorite books when I was a child was The Little Engine That Could. (Between that and Free to Be You and Me, it's no wonder I ended up being the persistent optimist that I am!) So I'm thinking about that Little Blue Engine and chugging along, right up the mountain.

How's your 365 Day Challenge going?