So, as I’m leaving the grounds of our summer place, after I’ve already flashed my gate pass and been waved out, I remember: “You idiot, you don’t have your camera!”
Of course I didn’t have my camera. As usual I had waited until the last minute to get ready for the six o’clock book signing in nearby Jamestown, New York. I had jumped into the car just in time to make the drive. (I arrived at six on the dot. How’s that for planning?)
“No problem,” I told myself. “Your iPhone has a great little camera built in.” Half a block away I remember: “You idiot, you left the phone in the charger.”
Oh well. So if you want to see a photo, please check back later. (Thank you Carrie!) My friends who were also signing were not as silly as me, and I bet they’ll pass their photos along.
I’ve never done a barber shop signing before. I bet you haven’t been to one, either. But there we were, in the cutest little book emporium that shares space with an old-fashioned barber shop. (Men/women haircuts $10 to $12, including a neck, shoulder and scalp massage.) The room was full of readers, and Carrie, the owner of Novel Destination, had cooked up a wonderful spread for all to enjoy. And Carrie can cook!
Once the crowd settled down Carrie asked us to introduce ourselves and our books. I will confess the Goddesses Anonymous books are tough to introduce. How do I make it clear these are (I hope) riveting stories about the lives of women in addition to the theme of women helping other women? Because “do-gooder” books? Not a sure sell. And these are so much more than that.
Anyway, I meandered through, stumbling over myself, and the crowd smiled and nodded. Luckily I was signing with friends Mary Ellis and Casey Daniels/Kylie Logan–and too many other pseudonyms to mention. The chat was lively, and the readers had great questions. I thought I would share a few of the more unusual ones for those of you who couldn’t join us.
- When writing an anthology with several authors and a connected theme, does the publisher choose the writers, or do you plan and write it first, then shop for a publisher? Mary and I had both done this, and done it the same way. Our publishers chose the authors involved, and we did the planning among ourselves. Mary knew the other authors involved in her anthology, but I didn’t know the ones involved in the two I’ve done. Both times I’ve been delighted with my fellow authors and glad to get to know them. (I think I was lucky, right?)
- How do you feel about the fight going on between Hatchette and Amazon? Do you agree with one and not the other about who should set pricing for books? I gape from the sidelines, jaw dropping. It’s too much like watching the Democrats and Republicans in congress. Nobody is willing to listen. Nobody is willing to compromise. And now Amazon is circulating a letter asking ME to write Hatchette and tell them to do what Amazon wants. I shake my head in wonder.
- How do you handle revisions? The three of us were in agreement on this one. We revise as we go and revise again at the end. I also do an out loud read through when I’m all done and find a lot of errors that still need to be smoothed over. Many authors, by the way, are firmly convinced that you should not change a thing until you’re all finished. I could not work that way. I need to be fairly certain of what I’ve done before I do more.
- What do you think about indie-publishing? That would take a couple of blogs just to scratch the surface. I think there are some wonderful indie authors, including many who were and are still traditionally published. I also think that even some of the not-so-wonderful authors have found an entrance point into their readers’ imaginations, and have such good ideas, the mediocre execution seems less important. However I also think we’ll see the good authors rise and the others sink as readers get tired of misspellings and poor grammar as well as novels that read more like synopses (as if I were telling you the story over coffee) instead of well-considered prose that throws the reader directly into the story.
Thank you Novel Destination for organizing the book signing, and thank you Casey/Kylie and Mary for suggesting I do it with you. Thanks, too, to my Facebook buddies who made the trip to see me and buy a signed book. You really are the best.