Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Howzit Goin', Eh?

I hope everyone is enjoying the Olympics over on our left coast. I spent a brief few hours in Vancouver while on the way to the Okanagan Valley a few years ago and I think British Colombia has everything a person could possibly want. Mountains, valleys, rivers and the ocean. Mmmmm.

Anyway, while meandering through blogland and Twitter, I picked up a few tidbits under discussion:

During a chat on Twitter, authors and agents discussed cross-genre. What does this mean? A YA book written for adults? A book with two story lines like mine, one in adult and the other with a YA voice? Or is it mixing genres completely, like paranormal romance, urban fantasy, thriller/suspense/mystery etc. Is an author at a disadvantage when they haven't found their specialty or their focus, or is being versatile a good thing?

Yes, La Nora has managed to do it, but I'm talking about writers near the beginning of their careers.

Janet Reid brought up an interesting point, discussing the merits of being approachable. Years ago, a fan couldn't directly contact a favourite author except through the publisher. There are still many recluses who protect their privacy, but a record number are right out there on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Goodreads etc. Up-and-coming and bestselling authors share cyberspace, allowing readers to sneak a peek into their lives.

This accessibility can prompt avid readers to cling to an author as if he or she is a lifeline. That can be a really big responsibility. To help alleviate the pressure, an author can provide valuable links on their blog or website related to their writing subject. If an author becomes so well-known that he or she is inundated with questions, my guess is that it would be great to compile all the questions and make an FAQ page.

Having some kind of contact information will also help an aspiring author, especially if an agent wants to make contact. Providing a valid email address on your blog is a good start. It doesn't have to be a traceable address if you are concerned about privacy.

Speaking of privacy, many authors have concerns about stalkers. What if you get so popular and well known that you draw all the crazies out of the woodwork? I can't imagine that in my case, but I'm sure many memoir writers who handled sensitive subjects might encounter the occasional nut bar. 

With the onset of the internet, what special precautions should we implement in order to keep our private lives private? Is a gmail account enough? Unfortunately, hacking is becoming more prevalent. I'm lucky my son is now studying Computer Security, so I can count on him to help keep my public private.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... my search for agents is much easier than just two years ago when I was seeking representation. New faces, and some familiar ones I totally forgot about! It's like a sinkful of spoons. As I feel around in the soapy water, I always seem to find one more.

I'm not sending my queries all at once. After I send out a couple, I tweak the query a bit and then send another. When I update my query and send it out, sometimes I feel like I'm going to get an A from the teacher.

And on a final note, I'm thinking and praying for my dear cousin Brian, who has been placed on a waiting list for a double lung transplant. Also, my friend and fellow Champagne books author Mike Davis is battling cancer. Sign those donor cards, people!