You can pre-order A Kingdom Lost from the BSB bookstore right now!!!!
What the crap are you waiting for?
You can pre-order A Kingdom Lost from the BSB bookstore right now!!!!
What the crap are you waiting for?
ConDFW went off without a hitch last weekend. A modestly attended con, but still an attentive one, it left me with ample opportunity to talk with readers and other writers. Most of my panels were well attended, and I picked up several new blog and twitter followers.
All in all, a big hooray.
There were lots of small presses in attendance as well as authors (like yours truly) that publish through other small presses. There were some indie authors as well, and quite a few set up tables in the dealer’s room alongside bookstores selling the wares of larger presses. I did not join them as I hate sitting still for hours, and for someone who only has two books available, I don’t think I’d see the sales needed to justify the cost. Some of those who had several published books seemed quite busy.
Even to someone like me who loves my small press and has had a wonderful experience, there is a whiff of legitimacy about books from large presses. Their authors don’t have to hawk their own books. (But they do have to do all their own marketing online.) To a lot of people, this makes them seem more…real.
Never mind the fact that I know for certain that my books are sold at major bookstores around the country. They’re just not sold at those stores in the south, where LGBT prejudice is still very easy to stumble upon. But it was because my books weren’t available at the con that I think many people automatically equated me with “not as good.”
We all know this is shit. As the big houses continue to coalesce and falter, small houses rise. And you can get stories from the small houses that you can’t get from the large ones. (Like lesbian princesses, for example. As a side note, there are definitely other gay fantasy main characters, but their stories are usually tragic in some way because of their gayness. Finding a no-big-deal tale like mine is a little harder. Just throwing that out there. ^_^)
Many small presses continually put out quality work, and people know this, they acknowledge it, and still that legitimacy stench comes creeping out. One person at the con (who I know is in favor of small press) expressed the opinion that small houses must be easier to “get into” than larger presses, like they’ll take anything that comes along. When is the last time you ever heard of a publisher being desperate for things to publish? Yet small presses seem a healthy target.
I fell into the trap myself, watching people pass over small press tables in order to spend their hard-earned cash at the bookstores. People had told me many times over the weekend how entertaining I am. They loved my buttons and my cover postcards. I can hope they’ll buy the ebook or order the paperback online. But they ambled right up to the stores and handed over their money.
I suppose some of it could be subject matter. Though my books aren’t graphic sex-wise, some people get weird about two women falling in love. But I have to wonder how much is that legit-vibe. I even thought, Gee, I have to try and sell something else (something non-LGBT) to a major publisher again, which means trying to get an agent, which means boarding the rejection train, a pit of despair from which many writers never escape.
It would mean throwing all my hopes and dreams and hard work at the feet of a crumbling industry, all for the hope that a bookseller in Texas would deign to carry me at SF cons.
Well, when I put it like that…
Writers, if you’re published through a small press or if you publish your own work, do you ever feel this way? Readers, do you pass over indie or small press books because you assume the quality is lower, despite what your own experiences might be?
As another aside, my time with Bold Strokes is and has been fabulous, and I hope to keep publishing with them for a long time to come as I have many many LGBT stories to tell. And they are one of the largest LGBT presses and one of the largest small presses there is. I guess I’ll just have to form a thicker skin when it comes to comments thrown around at a con. And I’ll have to turn more people on to LGBT fantasy stories, one reader at a time.
Another another aside, this was one of the first times at a SF con (as opposed to a lesfic con) that someone showed up to see me. Thanks @shadowriver, you made my day. ^_^
Okay, campers. I’ve got my deets for ConDFW, and they’re comin’ at yo face!
MAIN PROGRAMMING (Addison Lecture Hall)
4pm: Selling Yourself for Fun and Profit
Panelists: Barbara Ann Wright (M), Peggy Dee Haslbauer, David L. Gray, Melanie Fletcher, Gloria Oliver
Self-promotion is always a tricky issue in this day and age. Where do you do it? What is trustworthy? How do you get the news out to the public that your book, or art, or movie is ready? The internet is a big place, and easy to get lost in. Our panelists look at ways of getting the message out to the masses so you can earn more than blank looks.
And that little M means I’m moderating that one. So come here me crack wise about when to put naked butt pics on the internet and when not to. (Hint: Don’t do it when you’re looking for a job. Do it every other time.)
SATURDAY:PROGRAMMING 2 (Chinaberry)4pm: One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor: Creating MapsPanelists: Rachel Acks (M), Mel While, Barbara Ann Wright, Dusty RainboltIt is amazing how much easier you can visualize a world once you have built a map of it, or see a map on the first few pages of a book you picked up. But how do you build such a map so it doesn’t look like a five year old scribbled on a napkin with random crayons? Our resident scientists and creative artists help collaborate to build a map that inspires the imagination. Note: Maps may or may not allow you to simply walk into Mordor.
SATURDAY:MAIN PROGRAMMING (Addison Lecture Hall)6pm: World-Building, and When to STOPPanelists: Barbara Ann Wright (M), Julia S. Mandala, William Ledbetter, Rhonda Eudaly, KM TolanIt is always a temptation to keep building in detail into your baby. Building a world is a labor of love! However, there is a point where you have to stop. Perfect examples in film are the Prequels of Star Wars (why so many worlds…whyyyy) and Peter Jackson’s Hobbit. (Three films? Really?) And this is only recent examples, there are many examples that bog down novels. So when do you stop building? Our panelists discuss methods, and possibly a ten- step program.
SUNDAY:PROGRAMMING 2 (Chinaberry)12pm: Interstellar Archaeology: Part Two–The DebunkingPanelists:Mel White (M), Dan Bernardo, Barbara Ann Wright, Chris Donahue, Julia S. Mandala, Frank SummersThe second of two panels where we inflict discover startling artifacts of OBVIOUS alien origin. Our experts tell us how wrong the previous esteemed panelists were! Last year, Sunday’s panel thoroughly debunked Friday’s experts. Help us, they can! Confuse us, they will not.
I know you were hoping for sooner, but you’ll just have to be patient, precious. See you all at the con. Wait, you’re all coming, right? I bought a bunch of snacks.
We’re here, we’re swamped! Only sort of, I guess. I finished the page proofs for A Kingdom Lost, which is the last step for me before printing. So, all is on track for April. Hooray! Now I have to finish the manuscript for The Fiend Queen and then I’ll hop on that promotion train.
First stop, ConDFW. I’m listed under Panelists, and you’ll know my schedule as soon as I do, so come see me if you’re in the area.
If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. They folded the napkin like a rose for fuck’s sake. You can’t get much cooler than that.
And where can I see you in the upcoming months?
I recently got an interesting question about the writing process. What’s, this? A real writing post?!!? Nothing about dolls?!?! I know. Bear with me.
When I posted an update to Facebook that I was still cutting my manuscript, someone asked, why so much cutting? She wondered if maybe I didn’t like what I’d written.
Oh, I love what I’ve written. It’s all precious little snowflakes made of gold to me. And I will keep on cutting. I’ve compared writing to lots of things: puzzles, fruit, rivers, doll adventures. I think this time I’ll go with clay…or meat. You picture whichever you like.
The first draft is like acquiring my meat clay. It’s brand new, just unwrapped and it has lots and lots of problems. It doesn’t look like anything, and it’s raw. It’s just the materials I have to work with. My second draft is about creating a basic shape and making sure character arcs and plot points are flowing smoothly. I guess this is molding the clay into a rough shape of what you want it to be, or alternatively, doing something to meat that conveys the same image. (Can you tell that I don’t sculpt or grill?)
My third round of edits, ah, that’s where the detail work begins. One of my writing group partners called me the Chainsaw of Loving Kindness, and that still makes me laugh. Though I don’t recommend using a chainsaw on clay or your dinner. I think the nickname is apt because if anything is unnecessary to the plot or to character development, it’s cut. Doesn’t matter if I think it’s the cutest scene on creation, it’s cut. Repetitious words are cut. A hefty amount of dialogue tags are cut. Lengthy conversations are cut down, and similar conversations are cut altogether. Adverbs are cut down as are many participles and their phrases.
Now my clay really likes look a horsey, and my meat has no more fat, and is probably cooking at this point. Part of the art of cutting is trying to hit your word count. More often, it’s about trimming and tightening, making every word work, or trying to. I’m looking to shave 6K or so off my current manuscript, and so far, it’s going well. On my first two drafts, I leave a lot of extras to remind myself what’s going on as I’m writing, where a reader wouldn’t have any trouble keeping track. Where I am right now, many “wounded hands” are getting cut. Yeah, that sounds like the image to end on.
If you write, do you often have to cut like the wind or add words to make your manuscript better? And if you read, do you often find yourself thinking that whole scenes could be cut? Do you use clay or meat in your work?
Part 2 is live!
Link is here.
Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. The more the merrier!
Turns out is not cute at all. I had planned to film today, but I’m afraid all my dialogue would sound like a frog caught in a sewer pipe.
So, instead, here’s where you can find me in 2014 (so far), both online and in person. Hopefully, you’ll never hear my frog/sewer pipe impression in person.
January 21st — The Hereafter Online Release Party on facebook
June 2st – 22nd: The Denver Pride Parade and Festival
That’s it so far. I don’t have the latter half of the year figured out yet. And don’t forget that A Kingdom Lost comes out April 15th, so I’ll be all around the interwebs. See you there!