Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Sandra of My Little Corner presented me with this award a few days ago in her post One Lovely Blog Award. Sandra's site is great for new short story markets and other of interest to writers sites.

The rules are simple:

1) Accept the award and don't forget to post a link back to the awarding person.

2) Pass the award on.

3) Notify the award winners.

And my first rule is say thanks, thank you Sandra! (Anyone who is looking for short story markets NEEDS to visit My Little Corner.)

Passing the award on is difficult only because there are so many great blogs that I follow. Many of them are on my "Blogs I read all the time" list, so check it out, but that needs to be updated (soon, I promise). Please check it out and go to those blogs.

So, in the interests of brevity and because I'm partial I'm awarding this to one blog, to my dear friend Kathy's fun, wonderful and full of great writerly wisdom, blog: Well Placed Words.

Next, what basil has to do with creating.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beyond and Above Platforming

This week, a good friend of mine, Lance Thompson, a script doctor will be presenting at the Idaho Writers' League's 2009 Writers Conference: Paint with Words. As well as teaching some excellent workshops, he'll be on a panel about "The State Of Publishing Today." He asked a couple of days ago for my thoughts on same, having gone to a major conference recently.

My recent experience at the conference and elsewhere is that the bottom line is (and will always be):

Like any major business, the publishing world is always in flux. At this time, two major factors are in play. One is the recession and the other is electronic publishing. So there's a lot of "It's harder than ever to sell" out there. But I've been writing and submitting and selling for a long time and that's always been the publishers' lament. In my experience, a recession helps the publishing business, which is usually slow and reluctant to change. And the electronic revolution provides a wealth of new opportunities for publication (I was published on Twitter, for heaven sakes!).

Every agent/editor who I spoke with or who was on a panel said the same thing: "We want to see the writing. It's only the writing that truly matters. Yes, we talk about platform and the publishing world and what's hot right now, but the quality of writing is everything. And as long as some people somewhere still read, we'll still be looking for good writing to publish."

It's the writing. We all need, in our desperate desire to publish, to remember it's the writing that sells.

Do you put the writing (often the most difficult part) first? Do you write first? Write every day? Or set aside times for concentrated writing and then work on other parts of your career by working on your platform or attending workshops or conferences or? Is your focus correct? Is there something you'd like to change?

Writing of workshops, Lance is also giving one of his excellent workshops, "Lance Thompson’s Screenplay Story Structure Workshop," in Eagle, Idaho on October 10 and 11--comment if you want more info.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Platform for Success

This seems to now be all the buzz. "Platform, platform, platform!" was what I heard at the Willamette Conference from the editors and agents. Platform before publication? Before you sell your book? It seems out of the natural order and it seems the stuff of controversy amongst groups and bloggers--for example see Sandra's post on My Little Corner and the link to the Writers in Residence blog that discusses how and why to platform.

One event, however, convinced me of the reason behind all the insistence on platform. The first night at the conference there was a "pitch practice" session where writers could get up and...practice their pitches, of course. One writer's first words were "I've had a million (!) hits on my blog." That's all the agents and editors needed to hear. Why? Think about it. Even if those million hits meant only, oh let's say 200,000 people have visited her blog and only 10% of those buy the book, 20,000 copies are presold. Plus it's still true that book sell by word of mouth most, so even if it's 10,000 people who visit a lot--the writer has name recognition. Though not a guarantee, chances are the book will be a bestseller.

The publishing world is changing moment by moment and the electronic revolution is driving much of that change. We writers have to change our expectations (the publisher will do all the promoting of my book, I don't even have to think about it) and our business plans.

Does this mean spend all your time writing your blog or developing a web page or working on Facebook at the expense of the writing? Of course not. The writing always comes first and foremost. But creating virtual and real "face time" and "name recognition" is now a necessity, I believe.

So, dear readers, what do you think? Do you believe this may be just another reason to turn down authors or does it have merit? What has been your experiences: with creating a platform, or promoting a novel, or both?