Friday, August 15, 2008

Great Info on Advances

Check out this blog, from one of the agents, Michael Bourret, at Dystel and Goderich agency. He breaks down exactly what an advance means and how important (or not) a big one is.

Check it out here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Do Reviews Matter?

So today, I'm over on Writer Unboxed talking all about reviews: who reads them, if they matter, and how authors cope with them.

Head over and check it out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Are You in a Book Club?

Hey guys, anyone out there in a book club? If so, anyone out there interested in selecting Time of My Life for an upcoming read? If you do, I'll be happy to call into your club and chat with you guys!

I'm trying to gather a list of potential book clubs to pass to my publisher - who will be putting out a discussion guide, by the by - so they can get jazzed to put some serious marketing muscle behind a book club push.

Incidentally, I just got another rave review, this one from Booklist, which said, "Scotch’s second book shows a writer coming into her own, a storyteller who doesn’t take the easy way out, and a woman with a fine understanding of human nature."

So, come on! Consider it for your club! :)

If you're interested, feel free to email me off-blog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Are Men From Venus?

So today, I'm happy to mention a new book that comes out this week: Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy. I don't really know Richard, but his galley was passed to me by a mutual friend, and I really enjoyed it. Head out to your local store or to Amazon and pick up a copy today!

What I found interesting about Richard's book (among other things) - and what I'm finding more and more these days - is how appealing a man's writing can be to a woman. In fact, some of my favorite writers these days - Jonathan Tropper, Tom Perotta, Nick Hornby, Larry Doyle, Joshua Ferris - are men, and I think that Richard's book falls well into the same category of these aforementioned authors. All of their books transcend gender lines, and some, in fact, might even been aimed slightly more AT women than at men. (For example, Tropper's How to Talk to a Widower was widely read by a lot of female friends I know.)

But when I thought about the flip side- do men read works by female writers - I started to think that maybe this is a one-way phenomenon. Am I crazy? I can't ever imagine seeing a guy pick up a book by Jennifer Weiner or Emily Giffin or even less-chicky writers like Jodi Picoult. (Well, maybe Picoult. Maybe.) Yes, there's a huge category - women's fiction, duh - devoted to female writers and their readers, but there really isn't such a thing for men. Is there? Have I missed something?

So are female writers being helped or hurt by this? I'm not sure, to be honest. I suppose that part of the whole "women's fiction" or "chick lit" category is nothing more than a marketing ploy...and that really, even if a book didn't have pink on the cover (or whatever), men wouldn't be interested in the words inside. And maybe having these easy categories helps women readers narrow down their choices at the book store. Hmmm. I don't know. But it definitely makes me think.

What do you think of the gender divide in books? Do you tend to read mostly male or female-authored books? Or doesn't it matter? And don't forget to pick up a copy of Richard's!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Art of Juggling

Question of the day: How does a writer balance novel-writing with freelancing? I'm writing my first novel and have allowed (I know it's me) my freelancing to fall by the wayside. Well, that's no good is it? I'd love to stick to a schedule, but my writer's brain doesn't always follow the plan. Do you set certain days or times aside for one project or another? Not to mention fitting in time for relationships, kids, exercise and the dreaded, awful laundry!

The way that this worked best for me was to have a very refined, delineated schedule. Keep in mind, however, that I do have child-care, so that certainly helps, and these days, I'm focusing mostly on fiction and celebrity profiles, so I'm not as busy juggling the magazine work. But yes, there was a time when I did both full-throttle, and I really think the only way this works is to be 150% organized.

I found that, for me, I focused best on fiction in the morning. Because I have such a tendency to procrastinate working on my novels, I really needed to attack it first thing...or else I'd find dozens of excuses not to attack it at all. So, my mornings broke down like this: walk the dog (or, these days, take my son to school), have coffee while I surfed the web, eat breakfast while I got the rest of my web-surfing out of my system, then at 10:15ish, start working on my novel. I'd do that for at least an hour - usually about two - until I reached my designated word count for the day - the goal was usually about 1500-2000 words.

From there, I'd take a break for the gym. Because I live in NYC, I walk everywhere, so this gym-time was also combined with errand-running time, and after my hour at the gym, I'd pick up lunch and eat while I once again checked in on my favorite web sites. The afternoon -broken up by another dog walk at some point - was devoted exclusively to magazine work. At this stage in my career, I knew exactly how long an interview or a story would take, and really, if I focused on the articles and got a good early jump from my deadlines, I wasn't too harried.

That said, I do remember that I wrote both of these books over the summer months, which are usually a bit slower in our industry, and I also remember that I intentionally took on slightly fewer magazine assignments. The biggies, yes, I'd do those. The easy-to-work-with editors, yes, I'd also do those. But the smaller FOBs or the real PIA pieces that weren't really worth my time and would suck out a lot of energy...well, I started passing on them. Part of being so well-organized is knowing that you can and must say no to things. So I did.

So that's what worked for me. Readers, how do you juggle all of your writing day to day?