Monday, July 28, 2008

Promoting Your Book

Shrinking Violet Promotions has two interesting blog posts about marketing. The first is An Interview with a Real Live Publicist: Random House's Kathy Dunn, which talks about what shy authors can do to help promote their book. The second is BEA ARCs: A Marketing Study, which talks about the different types of marketing your publisher might do for you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Carol Berg on Creating Suspense

Carol Berg wrote a post, Me, Myself, and I - Part 2, in which she gave to following good advice:

Giving the reader information that the POV character doesn’t have is ONE device that can enhance dramatic tension....Tension is raised when a person in a dramatic situation lacks critical information and knows it. This is the key to many mysteries and suspense stories - things keep happening and the protagonist doesn’t know where the hammer will fall next. It is a sense of inevitable danger....

Example: if you’ve read (or seen) Touching the Void, the story of the two UK climbers in the Andes. One breaks his leg in a terrible storm and the other, to save his own life, is forced to cut the rope. He climbs down, assuming his partner is dead. The guy with the broken leg doesn’t die, and the book tells how he crawls out of a crevasse and all the way back to camp with a broken leg and no water. One of the greatest points of tension in this book is that the guy crawling doesn’t know whether or not his partner has broken camp and left the area. Switching out of his POV would actually KILL tension.

So what if you want the POV character to be “innocent,” unaware of her lack of information? Then you have to add the spooky music other ways. Warnings. Concerned friends or colleagues. Other events that the reader might be able to pick up on. The risk here is making your POV character seem stupid or incredibly naive - both turnoffs. But consider which is more dramatic…having a piano fall suddenly on your hero’s head or having him see the piano dangling and the rope fraying and knowing his foot is caught? Consider whether we really needed to know what dangers Frodo was to face or the entire history of the Ring before he set out on his journey? There was plenty of spooky music playing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The author-publicist relationship

Stephanie Mayabb, Tolly Moseley, and Rusty Shelton at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists have written posts on making the most of the author-publicist relationship:

Part One: Fatal flaws of authors
Fatal Flaw #2: Saturating contacts
Fatal Flaw #3: Not playing your part

How Not to Act

You might have heard about this already, but Moonrat has writen a blog post about how an author shouldn't act when an editor is discussing revisions with him pending a book deal. The post is How Important Is Your Book, or, Top Ten Ways to Blow a Book Deal #4

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Agents on Partials

Nathan Bransford wrote about what he looks for in a partial in Reading Partials: You've Got 30 Pages, Pal. Some might find the advise useful, especially if you're writing fiction.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Jessica Faust at Bookends wrote a good blog post about revisons.

The point I liked best was:

Revisions should only be done if they resonate with you, the author, and if you agree that they will probably make the book stronger. Revisions that are done only because an agent [or critiquer] asked for them are never going to work. If you don’t believe in them you probably don’t understand why they are needed and aren’t going to do exactly what that agent feels needs to be done.

Another Study on Kids

According to an article about Scholastic's 2008 Kids & Family Reading Report:

A new study released today finds that 75% of kids age 5-17 agree with the statement, “No matter what I can do online, I’ll always want to read books printed on paper,” and 62% of kids surveyed say they prefer to read books printed on paper rather than on a computer or a handheld device. The Kids & Family Reading Report ™, a national survey of children age 5-17 and their parents, also found that kids who go online to extend the reading experience – by going to book or author websites or connecting with other readers – are more likely to read books for fun every day.

This is useful to know for those of us who write for children.

The study also found

...that the time kids spend reading books for fun declines after age eight and continues to drop off through the teen years....“Despite the fact that after age eight, more children go online daily than read for fun daily, high frequency Internet users are more likely to read books for fun every day. That suggests that parents and teachers can tap into kids’ interest in going online to spark a greater interest in reading books.”


One in four kids age 5-17 say they read books for fun every day and more than half of kids say they read books for fun at least two to three times a week. One of the key reasons kids say they don’t read more often is that they have trouble finding books they like...

Other findings from the survey are:

• Both boys and girls (age 9-17) say that they prefer to read books rather than read things on the Internet when they want to use their imagination (63% vs. 37%).
• Boys are more likely to say the Internet is better than books when they want to read for fun (54% vs. 46%). Girls choose books (63% vs. 37%).
• Two in three children believe that within the next 10 years, most books which are read for fun will be read digitally – either on a computer or on another kind of electronic device.