Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Road to Publication: Part Twelve

[This is part 12 of a summary of Spookygirl’s journey toward publication. Use the Progress tag to access all related entries.]

This week brought a double-header of new experiences.

First, I spoke for the first time with my Penguin publicist. Tara is really friendly and enthusiastic -- she's a fan of ghost-hunting TV shows, so Spookygirl's subject matter is right up her alley. I'm learning all kinds of new info, like the various tiers of media outreach. Tara is also reaching out to local bookstores to set up meetings and signings.

I'll be doing some guest-blogging here and there, so keep an eye out for links to those posts as Spookygirl's release date looms ever closer.

Then I got an email from Dutton letting me know the first trade review for Spookygirl had just come in from Kirkus Reviews. I can't share the full text until it's published publicly in August, but it's a good one. Kirkus calls Spookygirl "a fun ride," which is just... Yay!

Totally made this face after reading the review. SMILES AND RAINBOWS EVERYWHERE.

"A fun ride" -- that pretty much sums up the last year or so!

Monday, June 25, 2012

But can he carry a tune?

A new film adaptation of The Great Gatsby? I was skeptical. It seemed unnecessary.

...Until I learned Baz Luhrmann was directing and co-writing. Um, yes please. I'm on board.

Is it wrong, though, that I sort of wish Baz had gone completely Moulin Rouge with this and made it a musical? Yeah, that's probably wrong. I don't care. Sing, Gatsby! Sing from inside a building shaped like an elephant!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bad Form, Etsy

I've been asked several times whether I'll be selling copies of Spookygirl in my Etsy shop. The unfortunate answer is no, at least not on its own. Here's why.

When I'm not writing, I'm usually wrangling monsters. In other words, I design and hand-sew collectible stuffed monsters and other artisan plush, and I sell my work through my Etsy shop, Mint Conspiracy. I've been a member of Etsy since 2005, and my shop has been active since 2006. I've sold over 3500 items. I have tons of amazing customers, many of whom supported me fiercely during Spookygirl's journey through the 2011 ABNA contest.

As an indie artist, I've always appreciated Etsy's support of artists, craftspeople, and the general concept of handmade. With the exception of the vintage and supplies categories, anything sold on Etsy must be handmade, hand-assembled, or hand-altered by the seller or a defined collective (although production assistance is allowable in certain circumstances). Items that don't fit this definition are supposed to be dealt with by Etsy's Marketplace Integrity team.

I'd love to sell autographed copies of Spookygirl in my shop. I'd even planned on hand-altering them further with some simple artwork and/or including some exclusive handmade swag. Unfortunately, according to Eliza, a member of the Marketplace Integrity team, authors can't sell their books on Etsy unless those books are self-published or craft books. Eliza and I went back and forth on this a few times last week. I argued that selling copies of my own book is comparable to a painter selling commercially-created prints of a painting, which is totally Etsy-legal and cited in the site's rules under production assistance:

A third-party vendor may be used for intermediary tasks in some crafts. Acceptable examples include, but are not limited to: printing the seller's original artwork, metal casting from the seller's original mold, or kiln firing the seller's handcrafted ceramic work.

Eliza was unable (or unwilling) to clarify why having a publisher print copies of a book wouldn't count as production assistance. Yes, the book is technically being mass-produced -- but there's no clarification in the production assistance guidelines as to how many copies of a work can be created.

Keep in mind that Etsy considers a commercially-made pendant strung on a commercially-made chain to be a "hand-assembled necklace." That's Etsy-legal. Spookygirl isn't. I'm not trying to bash sellers of hand-assembled necklaces -- I design a lot of my own jewelry, so I know what goes into the assembly process. But I can't see how the time and effort I've put into writing, rewriting, and revising Spookygirl over more than four years makes it any less hand-crafted than a beaded necklace or a knitted scarf or an oil painting. I'm just very, very lucky in that I have some snazzy production assistance.

There are ways around this rule, including a solution suggested by one of my brilliant customers that I'll most likely be implementing. However, I shouldn't have to do that. I shouldn't have to search for loopholes. Writing is very much a craft, and seeing it disrespected by a site that claims to support craftspeople and artists (a site that I've supported for years with my listing and selling fees) is disappointing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012 ABNA Winners!

Congratulations to Alan Averill and Regina Sirois, winners of the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Get ready to learn alllllll about the publishing industry, you two. It's quite an education. And I mean that in a good way.

Averill's The Beautiful Land and Sirois' On Little Wings are available for preorder on Amazon, naturally.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Road to Publication: Part Eleven

[This is part 11 of a summary of Spookygirl’s journey toward publication. Use the Progress tag to access all related entries.]

I'm home! Spent a lot longer in Augusta than originally planned, then stopped by Tallahassee on the way home to visit my brother for a few days.

While I was in Georgia, I experienced one of my favorite publication moments so far: I officially shared Spookygirl's dedication page with the recipient of that dedication. I've daydreamed about, written, edited, and nitpicked various versions of that little inscription for years, trying to decide who it would go to and why. In the end, I dedicated Spookygirl to one of my dearest, bestest friends:

Rhonda's been my personal writing support group for more than ten years. If I hadn't met her when I did, I'm not sure I'd still be writing, and I certainly wouldn't have a second family in Georgia. And she and I do know spooky -- we've communed with each other's characters, chased mysterious fairy-lights through dark forests, investigated middle-of-the-night noises, and shopped for voodoo wares. And that was just in the past month. We've also hugged a haunted pillar and lived to tell the tale. 

Once we tried to use a Ouija board, but the planchette just kept meandering off the board in the same spot without pointing to anything. Either spooky things are more afraid of us than we are of them, or the entity we contacted had gotten into the wine. 

For those of you who are non-geeks, the Time Lady bit is a Doctor Who reference.

I'll be in Florida when Spookygirl is released, so I was really happy to be able to take an ARC with me on this trip and be there in person when Rhonda saw the dedication page. There was much squealing and jumping up and down. 

In other publication news, last week I submitted a bunch of publicity-related info to Dutton, and now I'm waiting to be put in contact with Spookygirl's official publicist. Time to really get the ball rolling!