Sunday, May 03, 2009

Monday Randomness

Sunday I got to attend the book launch of BECAUSE I AM FURNITURE by my dear friend, Thalia Chaltas. This is her first book, a YA novel in poetry, and let me tell you, it is one powerful book! A must read. There were two highlights of the launch: seeing her face alight as this dream finally became a reality, and her adorable daughter singing Happy Launch Day to her (sung to the tune of Happy Birthday.) This child had so much poise and presence and heart. I was in awe!

I have been working on copy edits for the past week, not my favorite thing. (Let me be clear--the copy editor is brilliant, I am the frack up.) This mss was a tad worse than usual, I'm guessing because of the stacked up deadlines. Thank god the copy editor uses green pencil instead of red pen, or I might have to kill myself. And double thank god there is no letter grade associated with the project!

Someone, I can't remember who and I'm too lazy to go back and search through the comments, asked which blogs I read regularly. The fact is, in the last year I've really tried to cull down my blog reading, for a couple of reasons.

1. All the marketing and industry chatter can be very distracting. I think it is essential when you're shopping a manuscript or looking for an agent or editor, and for general education, but at a certain point it just becomes so much static, pulling your attention from other things.
2. Blogs can be a very deceptive time sink--they make you feel like you're working (Hey! It's about writing--nearly as good as producing pages, right? Not!) when in fact they are taking time away from your work.

PubRants - good general industry information, but also educational, a good all purpose, all stage of one's career blog.
Nathan Bransford - I already have an agent that I'm very happy with, but I enjoy this blog for a couple of reasons, (1) A lot of his posts have to do with craft and the balance between creativity and commercial endeavors, and (2) I love his voice. Seriously. He has one of the best blog voices out there. In fact, it's a great example of voice in general, so check it out some time. Plus, he kind of reminds me of my nephew who is graduating from law school this week.
Taming the Muse - Full disclosure--this is written by one of my best buddies, Mary Hershey, and is a great combination of inspiration, creativity, and a (gentle!) kick in the pants. Great when you need a reality check or a perspective shift or feel like laughing (she is one of the funniest people I know.)
Cynsations, by Cynthia Leitich Smith - THE go to blog on the children's book industry. If you visit only one industry blog, let it be this one.
Bookends, another great combination of marketing and craft (as seen through the eyes of an agent)
Editorial Ass because she cracks me up and I enjoy her insights and anecdotes of publishing from her side of the desk.
Writer Unboxed - an amazing array of interviews, craft information, interviews, promotional stuff. Almost like a literary magazine, only in blog form.

And then there are a couple of author blogs I follow, just because I either like their writing or their books or for general voyeurism's-sake. (I'm a writer--of course I'm a voyeur...)


Dave Johnson said...

That was me Robin - thanks! I love Pub Rants and Editorial Ass as well.

You're using "Frak" an awful lot these days, which means you've been fully sucked into the vortex of wonder that is Battlestar Galactica. My wife thinks I'm crazy because every time the computer or car acts up I call it a "frakking toaster." (She has not yet been assimilated into the BG world).

PJ Hoover said...

It is challenging to keep the blog list under control, but you make a really good point. There are many blogs out there that actually do help keep up to date on professional stuff going on.

Robin L said...

Dave, thanks for 'fessing up! As for Frak, well, I am embarrassed to admit that the notorious F word is my favorite swear word ever. In fact, that was one of the hardest things about being a parent, having to give up that word. (Never woulda guessed, would you?) And when the kids discovered it in middle school and high school, well, it was like an ex-gambler in a Vegas casino. I've played with a lot of substitutions over the years, frigging, effing, frelling, and now my fave is fraking. And thank you for the spelling correction--apparently it is my week for grammar corrections! Argh. Although, in my defense, I'd never seen it written before.

PJ, what blogs do you visit on a regular basis? I think yours is a great example of a blog that's built a terrific community.

I also think it is good to stay up to date on professional stuff, but if you're happy with your agent and your publisher, and you have a schedule of upcoming books that you're happy with, it can be more helpful to just block that stuff out. For me, anyway, but I am easily distracted.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Mary got me into blogging. I'd never seen one until I visited hers. For me as a publishing newbie, it's been wonderful getting to know other writers and learning about the industry. But it IS a huge time suck and I've had to restrict myself. But it's so addictive...even more than Facebook!


And it was wonderful to have you there at my launch, Robin! Thank you so much for your participation and hard work.

Which character was it who said "Farking Icehole"? Not Steve Martin, was it? I have a whole string of profanities, and when I need it I love to use it. My daughter has never heard it and may she be 57 when she does. :)

I have to admit I love this blog in particular, and Mary Hersheys, just for the joy and frickin (how's that) huge amount of useful material presented. And Nathan's. And Cynsations, of course. Otherwise, I tend to read blogs outside our scope for the break of other brain use.

Robin L said...

Sherrie, Mary's blog is mucho inspiring, I can see why it got you blogging.

I wouldn't have missed the launch for the world, Thalia! And glad you find the information helpful!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Robin! I'm trying to incorporate more of the industry blogs out there - Pub Rants, Nathan, other agents and editors who blog, but not going overboard on this.
Since my agent doesn't blog, I guess I feel like it gives me more insight into the day to day activities of what is going on.
Pretty much whoever comments on my blog I follow.
Beyond a doubt, I've found the best way to build the community is to comment on other's blogs also.
I will point out, not all bloggers "mesh". It takes a few times back and forth to see if my tone and outlook on life matches that of other's blogs I'm reading. if I consistently disagree with what someone is saying, I'll tend to back off.

I've joined a couple group blogs recently. There's The Enchanted Inkpot which you also joined, and I've also joined The Spectacle. I'm really enjoying these as it gives me a way to talk about topics which might not be of interest to all my readers!

And of course I love your blog :)