Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Line Survival, by Terena

While on my quasi hiatus over the Summer, I collected several interesting articles about publishing, book marketing, and social networking. Here's one of the more interesting ones:

From Business Week - Book Publishers: Learn From Digg, Yelp—Even Gawker
Book publishing could keep itself vital by taking a page from Web 2.0 technologies, but it has a long way to go. Here are some lessons.

This article intrigued me because I am interested in the way the Internet and other forms of technology are changing business, especially the book business. Look at the Music Industry. For the last fifteen years Music Companies have struggled to retain control over their property, the bands they produce and the music those bands create. Anyone can download music for free with ease and share it with all of their friends, on-line and off. Plus, a band doesn't have to be "signed" anymore to find exposure and listeners. Thanks to I Tunes and My Space, your weekend garage band can be listened to by a world wide audience. However, with so many bands competing on line for your attention, how do they stand out from the white noise of the Internet?

Now it's the book industry's turn to figure out how to survive in a digital age. Some publishers are wondering if books are dead. If so, what's next? Many smaller publishers are only creating e-books because they believe e-book readers and on-line zines are the future. In ten years, paper books will be obsolete. The article implies everyone will be reading on a Kindle.

Rather than be afraid of all these technological changes and the impact they are having in the book industry, I want to learn and strategize so Medusa's Muse will survive into the future. So should every publisher.

Just like the music industry, the book market is flooded with books from small presses and self-publishers, all competing for the attention of a decreasing reading market. How can we find our audience? This article discusses that.

From the article:

Reading a book is an incredibly solitary experience. That's both a blessing and a curse. Like most busy professionals, I don't have a lot of downtime. What little free time I have could easily be filled by other pursuits—chiefly, time with a husband I rarely see. When I do commit to a book I love, I want to talk about it. This impulse explains why book clubs were all the rage in the 1990s.

There has to be a way for Web 2.0—a movement whose raison d'etre is to connect people—to meet the ongoing need for building community around books.

What's your online strategy?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Live a Little lives

My first 5 Spot book is out. I feel...the same. Okay, maybe a little thinner.

Here are some of the funniest reactions from people I know:
  • "Omigod, where can I get it?" (Whispered under breath, as if could only be pubbed by extremely marginal, nay, illicit publisher.)
  • "I bought it already! On Amazon! I pre-ordered it!" (Aiming for Best Fan. Is Best Fan.)
  • "Did you get any, like, reviews?" (Self-explanatory.)
  • "Is it pink?" (Fuuuuuuuck.)
  • "Is it better than your other ones?" (Much.)
  • "It's a comedy about cancer?" (Demoting me to C-list friend.)
  • "Will you just give me a copy?" (If I was Danielle Steele, I sure would.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why I Wrote This Book by Kim

So, I was asked to write a blog post recently for a site that chronicles the origins of books. To clarify: How authors conceive their ideas.

I found thinking about this weirdly rewarding. That's probably because it ended up being all about, well, me.

Here's what I wrote:

Live a Little
, or rather, Raquel Rose, the book’s fortysomething, frustrated heroine, emerged out of my own experience as a harried mom of two. Sometime around the thousand-odd days of parenthood mark, I started to realize that not only is parenting not about your (the grown-up’s) fulfillment, it’s actually about the complete abnegation of self. Kid need a toy while you’re in the first shower you’ve had in six days? No problem; hygiene is overrated. Sleep deprivation got you feeling paranoid or perhaps even homicidal? Read an attachment parenting book; it’ll explain that you’re just being selfish.

One day, while was stuffing my writhing offspring into my raisin-littered sedan while yet another writing deadline came and went unmet, I thought: What would a terminally unappreciated mother do to feel good again? How far would she go?

That’s where Live a Little came from. Now, maybe I’m a cynic, but I tend to think most of us are liars in one way or another. Maybe we just string together small fibs, or perhaps we’re more inclined toward the occasional whopper or self-aggrandizing feint and dodge. I think it is very possible for an otherwise ethical, normal person to spin a web of lies she can’t extricate herself from easily. This precept was the baseline for Raquel’s misadventure, and I demanded a lot from it (and, probably, my readers). I wanted to see how far I could take this idea and still make Raquel relatable (according to Publisher’s Weekly, not as far as I thought, but, hey, what do they know about pathologically lying moms with spare tires and a weakness for surfers with crooked teeth?).

That said, at its core, Live a Little is a suburban satire. It pokes fun at the trials and tribulations of married life, parenting, keeping up with the Joneses and raising high-end(!) children. Although I wouldn’t align myself with Raquel as a character in any specific way, writing this book was a way to shine a light on my own pathologies as a wife and mother. It was an exercise in approaching the challenges of marriage and parenthood with more levity and less zealousness. And, on those terms, for me at least—and I hope some of my readers—it was a success.