Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's on my mind?

I'm going in numerous directions these days and couldn't settle on a blog article to write. So here are some random thoughts and comments.

We need more questions from you to put in our idea file for days like today when I need a bit of inspiration. If there are questions you have asked that remain unanswered, I don't have them on file, so resend and we'll work on them.

On my "to do" list, now that the Fall 2009 list is full, it is time to start writing the marketing copy to be used in catalogs, ads, etc. Ashley in graphics is needing me to finalize back cover copy on a couple books. I have a project proposal to prepare for the team. I need to contact some authors and get some covers started. I need to follow up on finalizing some contracts, including Christmas novellas. There are plans for ACFW conference to work on. It feels a bit like a slow time after ICRS events, but I can't let myself procrastinate or I'll be way behind on some of these new things.

We have a new Title Management program to help us build a book from scratch, manage schedules, aide in cross department communication, centralize important details, and so forth. We have only been using it full speed for about a week. There are growing pains, including just getting in the groove of using a new method, but it looks like it should be a very good tool.

I'm currently surveying authors for their ideas on how to have a good book signing. If you want to contribute an idea, email me personally. The results will become a future blog article.

A month ago I got a Kindle. Barbour bought it for me as the first editor to test using it for reading manuscripts and saving paper printouts (though Susan has already been doing this on her personal device). I'm liking it so far. Though going back and finding a spot to check info is not very easy, making a notation is pretty efficient. I've downloaded 3 manuscripts to it that I need to read and bought a Bible to load on it for personal use. I can even hold it in bed fairly easily. But having one devise loaded with all my reading material isn't really great for a person like me who likes to have a book in each room to pick up when I have 5 minutes of down time.

I'm enjoying audio books these days. I've listened to Mary Barton by Gaskell and Vanity Fair by Thackeray in my car this summer, and I just started Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Now I can really have a book in every "room."

A book I recommend to Christians who are interested in global earth issues, the Green movement, and, more importantly, in serving God more fully is Serve God, Save the Planet by J. William Sleeth. His comments on how keeping a true Sabbath is beneficial to health was a challenging thought for me. I found many other motivators in the book besides.

How does my garden grow, someone asked? Weedy, though not as bad as some years since I put down cardboard on the walkways. And I just found out that one weed - purslane - is edible and high in Omega 3s. Haven't had time to try it in a salad yet as I've been putting 2 gallons of wild blackberries into jam. I've had VBS every night this week when I need to stay home and work.

Thanks for all the prayers. My nephew is showing some signs of responding to the world around him with movements on command, breathing on his own, etc. They even used a lift to set him up in a chair for a while the other day. It will likely only be a few more days before he is moved to a rehab center that specializes in nerve damage. My mom is feeling some better now too, but with all the medications she is on, it seems to be a constant battle to keep her body in balance. My best advise to you is not to get started on meds as they'll lock you into lifetime dependency and more problems from side effects. Grrrrrr

Hope things are well with you.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you've covered this but...

How important is research in plotting your novel? And to what means would an author be expected to go to get the 'correct' information?

This week, I'm in Washington DC on business but I've made time to do a bit of research on my latest WIP at the Library of Congress. I've even got a LOC library card! Because I love history and find inaccurate facts irritating, I really dig into my subjects and time period.

And today I had the priviledge of listening to a woman give her first-hand account of the holocaust at the National Holocaust Museum. I took tons of notes--seeing how one of my stories is set during WWII. But wow!

Sorry--I was soooo excited about doing research, I just had to share.

Patty Smith Hall

Sarah said...

New to this blog, so I'm not sure if you've covered this or not...

What type of settings are you looking for in Heartsong Presents books? I know you do a lot of state-themed stories, but are primary settings in other countries acceptable? (I'm working on a WWI novel set in France, and I didn't know if that's something that would be considered for Heartsong.)

Also, for the historicals, what time-periods would you most like to see?

I'd be very interested in your reply. Thanks!

Vickie said...

One thing I've learned about booksignings is to not just sit there but to get out in front of the table and talk to people. That's not easy for an introvert. But if you get people talking by asking them what they like to read, they will end up buying a book quite often. I'm amazed that you can have "Meet the author" signs up and people will still, "Oh, you wrote these books."

Thanks for the info on the Kindle, Becky. I've wondering about those.

A question: What's next for Heartsong after all the states have been used up? What are you looking in the longer fiction line?

Debby Mayne said...

I'm glad your nephew is showing some improvement, Becky. I know how difficult this must be on your family. Just know that there are quite a few people praying for him.

The Kindle sounds like a wonderful, convenient device! Are Barbour books available in this format?

Mary Connealy said...

I'd like to hear more about cover art.

I mean DETAILS. I find it really interesting.

So like, if I say, love the cover but my heroine's hair is darker, is that a big deal? Can you fix that with a computer?

Do you take a person from one cover, clothes from some saved files, background and props from another and assemble a cover or do people really pose?

My boots cover, for example, are those just drawings? Photographs? altered stock photos?

In the cozy mystery covers Susan sent pencil sketches as jpgs. Do all covers start that way and do you employ talented pencil sketchers? Or does some computer do this?

And I just saw Nosy in Nebraska pop up on Amazon. A book releasing next June. So that's almost ten months ahead it comes up.

Is there a set time?
How rigid is it all, covers finalized, up on Amazon, up on CBD, up on the Barbour website?
Do you have time tables or just general guidelines and 'we'll get it done as soon as possible'.

This is five blogs, not one. Don't waste them.

None of this is really important to know, I just find it really interesting, part of the inner workings that mystify me...probably because I couldn't draw a pencil sketch to save my life.

Mary Connealy said...

And here's another question, more a dilemma really, I'm getting asked to do some speaking here and there, not big, just some church groups. So I take my authors copies of book and for the most part I sort of 'give' the books away in exchange for a donation to my church. I take the money but I do pass it on as part of my tithe.

So, is there any way for a booksigning like that, at a small church or library, to be supplied somehow by a bookstore? Or Barbour? And how does that work if the bookstore gets too many. The returns are hard on my royalty statement so I hesitate to ask a book store to order fifty copies then possibly end up returning 25 of them.

How do I balance that?
Could I buy left over copies from the book store for cost?

I know people who do a LOT of speaking. I don't foresee the day when I'll be one of them. :) NOT my thing at all, but I do wonder how they do it, just haul copies they've purchased along, even on airplanes?

Becky said...

Mary, I think you have asked your quota of questions. :)

I'll save these and try to get to them. Thanks to all! More are still welcomed.

Cathy S. said...

The deadline for sign up for ACFW conference, without costing a late fee, is coming up.

How beneficial is it for an unpublished author to go, from an editor's standpoint? We've all heard of the slush pile. If you meet someone at a conference and like their pitch, how much could that potentially speed up the process of getting the mss read?

I'm trying to weigh the possible benefits and don't want to have unrealistic expectations.

Also, if a person doesn't have an appointment with you at conference, what is the best way to inquire about your listening to a pitch? Or should someone without a pitch appointment not plan to pitch to you?

Do your presentations at conferences have different information from what's on the blog and in the guidelines?

If a mss isn't finished, is it much less effective to go?


Cara Putman said...

I love doing booksignings with other writers. It allows me to sell their books and introduce them to my writer friends. It also makes the slow periods more fun, because you have folks to talk to.

I also send out emails, postcards, post it on my blog, etc. to hlep the bookstore publicize it.

Lynette Sowell said...

Wow, Mary totally covered the Questions Dept. LOL. Good ones, Mary! Becky, I'm glad your nephew is improving. Praying that it continues. :) I won't talk about my garden. We've had over 11 days of 100+ temps here, and even though I planted according to zone, most of what I started this spring has DIED. :( I'm going to buy some cactus after this...